January 22, 2016: Doctors

Doctors Oz and Roizen in a King Features Syndicate, bemoan the lack of research money for gun violence. Specifically for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.  They start off by comparing the bans on smoking in most bars and restaurants, spitting in public, and dancing on Sunday in many States to the CDC and NIH bans on researching gun violence imposed by Congress.  

A little research into the 1996 CDC budget reveals a retraction of funding and then a reinstatement in the appropriation bill so that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control”.

The reason not mentioned by the popular Doctors was that the CDC was accused of performing “advocacy research” to promote gun control. They were tainted by past controversy and have avoided the subject since. 

They are calling for money to be allocated for gun violence research citing an assumption that there is no “research” to back the claim that only people with mental health problems shoot people. Then they suggest the NIH can’t answer the question of how many children are accidentally shot every week.

They do acknowledge that private organizations and some states keep statistics. They don’t mention the data available through the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports.  It sounds like they are asking for money for the CDC and NIH so they can be the keeper of statistics.  That is not a research function.

The research of mental health and violent gun use should not be any different than mental health and the use of any object to impart violence on another human. The choice of a gun versus a knife or a bludgeon or any other method falls to availability, opportunity, and to some degree the particular psychosis. 

We see mass murders as cowards who want to kill from a distance and often kill themselves when opposed. Guns are efficient because they can be used from a distance to strike down a victim. But knives have also been used by mass murders.  Do Drs. Oz and Roizen really need the CDC or NIH to spend millions to determine mass murderers are mentally ill? 

Jihadists use guns, knives, bombs and even airplanes to kill. Do you need millions to be presented with a report that tells you Jihadists exercise sacred vengeance because they are authorized by Islam (an interpretation of it) to do it.  You shouldn’t need a study to tell you why malcontents with a psychosis of extremism are flocking to join in on the sanctioned murder or their perceived oppressors. 

The need for study is not why guns are used to commit violence, but why some humans follow through and carry out their violent endeavors. That they may use a gun is less important than their desire to harm other humans. 

Federal money would be better spent educating gun owners. Not all legal gun owners are responsible gun owners. Every gun owner needs to be a responsible gun owner so that they are a positive force in reducing the number of accidental shootings and the use of guns in violent crime.

Gun owner responsibility includes secure storage, limited access, and training for the intended purpose of your firearms. Secure extended storage involves the use of a device that offers a high-degree of protection from theft. Quick-access storage provide a greater degree of access for use in self-defense but also provides some degree of resistance to theft.

Access to unauthorized users is controlling access through the locking mechanism. You are responsible for the individuals you grant access to. This should be limited to individuals who have reached a level of maturity and mental stability commensurate with the liability of using a gun. They should also have the knowledge, skills and attitude to use the guns they have access to safely.

Training in the safe use of firearms in general, and for the specific purpose for which you purchased firearms is essential. I have had students suggest that anyone owning a gun should be required to take a full day safety training course and be required to have a safe. This heightened awareness of the responsibilities that come with gun ownership does not seem to be reflected in individuals you have their guns stolen from unlocked cars. It is certainly not present in the homes where accidental shootings occur.

America was founded on a violent response to intolerable conditions and the people who lived through the revolution saw to it that future Citizens would have the ability to do the same, if the need should arise. The revolution was not fought by Patriots with pitch forks and axes but by riflemen who knew what they were about.

Federal money comes out of our pockets. The money wasted by politicians to privatize profits and nationalize debt can never be regained.  Our representatives should choose wisely.  Our fellow gun owners need to invest in acting responsibly. 

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