From USA Today:

Congress approved $25M in funding for gun safety research. Now what?

Yes, now what?

Firearm-related injuries kill nearly 40,000 Americans each year – more than die in fatal car crashes – and the nation’s firearm homicide rate is more than 25 times that of comparable affluent countries.

While researchers have long said the gun violence problem should be evaluated like any other public health epidemic, there’s been meager funding for research for the past two decades.

That’s finally changing.

That’s because firearm death hasn’t been treated like other health epidemics.

When there is a spread of an STD, the medical community says “stop having unprotected sex with strangers.”  They focus on the behavior that causes the disease to spread.

When young men kill each other over drugs and gang affiliations, they come out against guns, not for harsher prison sentences for gang crime and drug dealing.  It’s as though all of a sudden, the medical community doesn’t think that behavior matters.

In December, Congress approved $25 million in federal funding to study gun safety. The money, to be split evenly between the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be used to examine gun violence from a public health perspective.

Experts in the field concede the amount is small in comparison to the scope of the issue but are celebrating it as a watershed moment for gun safety. They say researchers may finally be able to answer basic questions about gun ownership and evaluate the effectiveness of firearm policies and violence prevention efforts.

“Don’t join a gang, deal drugs, or engage in petty crime, that will cut the homicide rate by 80%.”  But that sort of common sense and understanding of crime statistics don’t get activists in white coats money.

Since 1996, there’s been an effective government freeze on gun safety research. That year, Congress – under pressure from the NRA – approved the Dickey Amendment, which forbids CDC to “advocate or promote gun control.” Federal lawmakers also slashed the agency’s funding by $2.6 million, the same amount it spent on firearm violence research the previous year.

“For 25 years, I’ve never told doctoral students that they should become a gun researcher because they couldn’t make a living. So we’ve lost a generation of researchers,” said David Hemenway, a health policy professor and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, who estimates that there are 10-20 full-time gun violence researchers in the U.S.

But we have lots of crime data.  That’s the fundamental problem with doctors studying this issue from a gun perspective.  They are often too Liberal with bleeding hearts.  This is a criminal behavior study, guns are just tools.  The more the focus is on restricting the ownership of the tool and not the behavior of the user and what causes them to have a predilection for violence, the less effective the research will be at curbing the problem.

Gun violence research received far less funding than research on car crashes and cancer.  Between 2008 and 2017, firearm injuries were the second-leading cause of death for U.S. children and adolescents, according to a 2019 study by University of Michigan School of Medicine experts.

Cancer is clearly a medical problem that can be addressed with better drugs.

Car crashes are a technological and behavioral problem.  Reducing drunk driving, texting while driving, and not wearing seat belts has been one improvement.  Improving crash survivability technology with multiple airbags, crumple zones, and other safety features has been the other.  Better enforcing of laws and mandating safety features has decreased the motor vehicle accident fatality rate.

But if New York and California continue will bail reform, sanctuary city, and other catch and release policies that encourage criminal recidivism, that is the opposite of what we did for motor vehicle accidents.

That same year, physicians nationwide rallied on social media in support of a public health approach to gun violence. The online movement began when the National Rifle Association published a tweet accusing medical professionals of “pushing for gun control.”

“Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” the NRA tweeted.

Physicians were furious. “This is our lane,” many responded on Twitter. Hundreds posted images of bloodied scrubs and trauma bays.

“A lot of us in the healthcare community were really incensed by those comments, because we’re the ones on the front lines of taking care of those patients day in and day out, said Joseph Sakran, director of Emergency General Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “So we made a point to the public that we do have a role to play in coming up with solutions that is based in data.”

Activist doctors with an axe to grind.  Where are these doctors arguing for more anti-gang enforcement?  Oh, they are not.  They are arguing against the “school to prison pipeline” that treats criminal behavior in schools with a slap on the wrist.  The exact problem that led to Nikolas Cruz being enrolled in the Promise Program and not being sent to Juvenal Detention.  Bleeding heart Leftists have more Parkland blood on their hands than the NRA.

Dr. Wintemute grew up in Southern California with guns in his home. He learned to shoot from his father, who had been a soldier in World War II, and taught riflery as a camp counselor at the local YMCA. He later joined UC Davis’ firearm and pistol club and became a member of the NRA.

“My problem is not with the firearm, it’s with misuse. I’m an ER doc, and my commitment is to try to intervene upstream in that flow of events that brings people into my ER with holes in their bodies, or, more likely, takes them directly to the morgue,” he said. “My loyalty is to the science, not to an agenda. Research is not advocacy.”

He’s not getting the money, that’s for damn sure.

Many researchers compare the complexity of the gun violence issue to that of motor vehicle injuries. In 1966, more than 53,000 people were killed, a fatality rate of 5.5% per 100 million vehicle miles, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. That year, Congress held a series of hearings and passed the Motor Vehicle Act, which created what would become the NHTSA, headed by a public health physician.

Scientists received funding to develop seatbelts, airbags, steering columns, safety glass and more. Studies revealed the dangers of putting young and alcohol-impaired drivers behind the wheel. By 1992, the fatality rate had dropped to 1.5%, NHTSA said. By 2017, it was 1.2%.

That’s what I just said.  The only similar technical solution is safe storage to prevent accidental deaths.

Note to readers, lock up your guns before the activist doctors demand that safe storage to the Nth degree is mandated by law.

But there are no similar solutions for the majority of gun homicides, which are gang and drug-related.

The NIH released a statement saying it was still reviewing the language of the bill and identifying new research opportunities.

The agency said gun violence prevention studies usually include research on parental roles in preventing injury at home and other places and understanding the relationship between alcohol abuse and gun violence.

I wonder if they will come to the conclusion that having a dad at home helping to raise the son will significantly reduce the likelihood he will join a gang and shoot someone?

“One thing that tends to happen in this country after a school shooting or mass shooting, one of the causes that is often talked about is video games. But researchers across the country have found no relationship,” she said. “At the federal level, a rigorous scientific study would help us understand if there’s a relationship there.”

“Violent video games and gun violence” has been bullshit since the 1980’s with the dawn of the widespread home video game system.

How about a focus on things like Facebook and social media.  Kids without real, flesh-and-blood friends and face-to-face human interaction seems to be a bigger part of the equation.

I’d love to see the NHS come out and say that Facebook and Twitter should be like gambling and smoking.  Something you can’t do until you are 18-21.  Holy fuck how that would fix society.  I’m tempted to run for Congress on that platform.

Crime data shows that gun violence is behavior-driven.

If the medical community focuses on the guns and not the behavior, this will not reduce gun violence and only end with more useless gun control.

If it focuses on the behavior that drives shootings, it will be more effective but will make the Left-leaning medical community have to face some ugly truths they just won’t like.

My fear is that the money will go to activists in lab coats who will rely on their anti-gun prejudices to push an agenda instead of doing real research.

That’s what the Dickey Amendment was intended to curb years ago.

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By J. Kb

12 thoughts on “What anti-gun agitprop can Congress buy for $25 Million”
  1. Guns are not bacteria, and any “doctor” who pretends to study the use of guns as if it were an “epidemic” is not a doctor but a quack.

  2. Safe gun storage and teaching children how to properly handle guns is a great idea in any case but the argument that we must do so or else the opposition will take action is misguided. It does not matter how much accidents are reduced they will always find one to champion or misrepresent. Safe storage and gun education should be done for yourself and the children’s sake to try and placate the intentionally offended and the cry bullies is always a lousing action as it is never enough.

  3. I received a form letter from my Representative the other day, quoting this magic number “25 times greater than other comparable countries”. So I started looking for statistics, as I wanted to discuss with my wife.

    I first tried murder per capita. What I found was that the US has a rate of around 5/100,000 (and if you take out a couple of city hell holes, it drops greatly). This runs somewhere between 1 and 5 times higher than other first world countries.

    Next I tried to find the statistics on murder per capita by firearm. And what I found was very interesting. Every result I found had a headline of “gun deaths” and every one that I checked included accidental and suicides.

    I finally found some numbers from 2002 which shows the US at 32/1,000,000. This puts the US 10th and according to these numbers, ranks the US higher than Mexico at 24.42/1,000,000 (https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Murders-with-firearms-per-million)

    Finally I find “Violent Death Rates”

    Quote: US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher.

    The total firearm homicide rate is 3.6/100,000 in the US. Total homicide rate is 5.3/100,000 The suicide rate is 12.4/100,000.

    The homicide rate is driven by a rate of 8.9 in 15-24yo and 8.2 in 25-34yo.

    All other countries in the high income: firearm homicide rate: 0.1/100,000, total homicide rate is 0.8/100,000 but the suicide rate is higher at 15.0/100,000.

    When you compare homicide rates you get that the US is 7 times higher than the other countries studied.

    (https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(15)01030-X/fulltext)

    1. We can make this even simpler.

      America is a huge country. Third largest by both area and population. We have some pockets of large, high density population and areas of rural, low density.

      We can’t easily be compared to other countries.

      What we can say is this:

      If you live in a the suburbs, where the demographics are mostly middle-class, with some college education (or better), high rates of employment, and high rates of two-parent families, you live in one of the safest places on earth.

      If you live in an area where there is low rates of employment, high rates of goverment assistance, low rates of two-parent families, and low levels of education, regardless of race, you live in a vary dangerous area.

      America is like pockets of the Luxembourg set next to pockets of Somalia, and then they measure the average.

      1. My lady says the same thing over and over again. You can’t compare other countries to the US because of our size. So let’s take a different look:
        South Dakota: 1.4 which ties at #165 against countries.
        New Hampshire is 1.5 so #163
        New York slides in at 2.9 at #123
        California is 4.4 at #99
        Michigan is 5.5 at #85
        Illinois is 6.9 at #75
        Louisiana is worse at 11.4 at #36
        Missouri is 9.9, Alaska 8.2, Maryland 8.1, New Mexico 8.0 for the rest of the bottom 5.

        The US sits at #89 with 5.3.

        Regardless, I don’t care what other countries have as a crime rate in homicides or suicides or violent crime or just crime.

        We need to be responsible for our own safety, and that moves from me, to my family, to my “tribe”, to my community, to my country. Every single infringing law that exists is intended to remove my ability to be responsible for my own safety.

    2. I find many other countries statistics suspect as well with some only counting incidents with convictions towards their statics.The US will report things even if it makes it look bad, other countries not so much especially if they just need to massage some numbers to save face.

  4. “I’d like to have this notion that anyone using a gun is a wuss. They aren’t anybody to be looked up to. They’re somebody to look down at because they couldn’t defend themselves or couldn’t protect others without using a gun.” – David Hemenway.

    By default, any ‘research’ he does is biased.

    “To gather data for the study, Wintemute and his colleagues used Google and Yahoo! news alerting services and the news archives of GunPolicy.org to track stories published between March 2008 and February 2009 that contained the phrase “stray bullet.” http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/6483

  5. “researchers compare the complexity of the gun violence issue to that of motor vehicle injuries. In 1966, more than 53,000 people were killed, a fatality rate of 5.5% per 100 million vehicle miles, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.”

    So, exactly WTF does “five point five per 100” (which is what ‘percent’ means) (per 100 WHAT?) “per 100 million vehicle miles” mean? 5.5 per 10 billion passenger miles(100 x 100 million…?

    I do not find gibberish to be a compelling argument.

    1. He’s misstating the NTSB with “5.5% per 100 million vehicle miles” which shows an lack of understanding for a ‘scientist’. It’s that “%” thing that shows a lack of understanding.

      That said, 5.5 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles would be a reasonable metric. Fatalities per registered vehicles is not bad, just not as good because vehicle miles incorporates vehicle use. Useless is the metric of motor vehicle fatalities per 100,000 (population). While the standard for medical stats, totally disregards actual use of the vehicle/device.

      If device safety were an issue in itself, then injury / fatality rates relative to use would be the metric (because not a disease all are equally likely to be exposed to). To parallel motor vehicle fatalities per 100 million miles use gunshot fatalities per 100 million rounds (or some other order of magnitude).

      Gunshot fatality rates per 100 million rounds may well find the USA to be the safest country in the world. Or water it down and compare rates to number of gins owned (legally).

  6. Funny how doctors arent insensed about horrific CAR CRASHES with pictures of bloody scrubs. Hey doc! FUC YOU!! When you fuk up in the operating room do you blame the scaple?? Prob you do. More idiots who dont have a clue

  7. Per capita is stupid IMO because it does not consider probability. Simply more people, more chance for any given event to happen. Per capita removes that by reducing raw numbers from normally incomparable statistics to comparable statistics.

    The most accurate comparison IMO would likely be the US to Western Europe by raw numbers. That would give a collection of countries with a similar total population, laws, and level of economic development. However even that has it’s limitations because ultimately culture is different and not homogeneous across all of Western Europe.

    It’s also very easy to see the problems that cause violence; lack of opportunity, violence, shitty households and families, shitty schools, lack of education, and shitty neighborhoods and environments and to see that it is often a cycle that feeds itself. It is also very easy to see that it is easier to lack onto a side effect or mechanism (firearms) than to address the actual causes as stated above, and in some respects I understand, that not exactly a obvious or simple nut to crack.

    I also believe that you can only change human behavior so much. There is always going to be shitty people doing shitty things and as population increases and the flow of information continually speeds up and intensifies it will seems like it is getting worse when it perhaps actually is not.

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