I am a physician and guns are a disease

I am a physician and guns are a disease

I feel guilty about the killings in Colorado.  As a doctor, those horrid events are a personal failure.  I have spent a career fighting illness, often investing hundreds of hours in a single cancer case, yet in minutes, a dozen people vanish and 58 are grievously wounded.  Another 32,000 will die this year from gunshots, over 76,000 will be crippled and I cannot keep up with this slaughter.  Why is this my fault?  Because, I am a physician and guns are a disease.

The great plagues of history killed hundreds of millions: Polio, Small Pox, Rabies, Yellow Fever, Influenza, Measles, Dengue and now AIDS.  These diseases are all caused by viral infections.  What is a virus? It is a perfect submicroscopic machine with only one purpose.  It does not create beauty like a flower, nourishment like a fruit tree, nor knowledge like man.  Its sole purpose is to create more viruses and at this it is the ideal mechanism.

A virus recreates itself by infecting the cells of the host on which it preys.  It destroys those cells, turning them into virus factories until overwhelmed by billions of virus particles the host, often a human, becomes ill.  As virus numbers explode the host gradually dies, the whole body becoming a massive sick infected virus-shedding machine and as a last act the virus spreads to the next person.  Then the cycle begins again, making new viruses.  That is all viruses do, reproduce themselves.

Where once we required guns to protect ourselves from wild animals and to provide food, in a modern society this is a rare need.  Except for marksmen who enjoy target shooting or hunting, guns have limited use for recreation.  Therefore, in a modern society, what is the purpose of guns?

Guns have multiplied through our great Nation like a highly virulent virus.  They infect one person at a time.  Other people become threatened believing their neighbor or that “other” person might be armed.  They go out and get guns, more guns.  Eventually, like the virus, a gun kills someone.  Then, just as a cell bursts and spreads virus through a person’s body, the fear from a gun death results in dozens more grabbing a firearm. “Gun permits skyrocket in Colorado.”   More people buy guns and more people are shot. What is the purpose of a gun in the United States?  The purpose of a gun is to create guns.

Our society is sick with spreading Gun Disease.  It is does not matter whether a gun is legal or illegal, it adds to the carnage and fear and results in more guns.  To defend the disease because it is legal or Constitutional is irrelevant.  Breast and pancreatic cancer are legal and Constitutional, but I have never heard it said that we should stop doing cancer research because everyone has the right to get sick.   A civilized nation does not encourage disease.

There is no immunity from the either guns or bullets and under the pressure of enough fear of gun violence, anyone will pick up a firearm and anyone can be shot.  Guns are contagious and epidemic.  Whether it is a four year old on a play ground in a drive by, a cop on the beat, the owner of a pharmacy, a cheerleader walking with a friend or 12 people who make the fatal decision of watching a movie, this kind of sickness is primitive and unsupportable.  Like a host with a virus infection, we will become so burdened by the mass of arms that America, as we know it, will collapse.

In the Middle Ages, plagues were blamed on Witches and Warlocks.  In order to fight infection, men and women were burned at the stake.  Epidemics spread until entire societies were wiped out.  Our need to find blame for gun violence whether it is demented criminals, computer games, poverty or drugs is equally ignorant.  In order to prevent contagious infections, whether it is from virus or guns, you must get rid of the infecting agent.

Guns create guns.   Feeding off their human hosts, they are a fatal infestation of our Nation.  Perfect, uncaring, relentless, soulless metal machines, they proliferate and we die.  The history of medicine makes the future clear.  How we act now will decide whether our society survives.

James C. Salwitz is an oncologist who blogs at Sunrise Rounds.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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  • NormRx

    Well, now I heard everything. “Guns are a disease” I thought when I first heard that alcoholics and drug addicts suffer from a disease the world has gone bonkers.
    Let me clarify a few things. Yes, there are about 30,000 guns deaths a year, of those, about 16,000 are suicides, about 9,000 are murders and the rest are defensive use of a gun. If guns are outlawed suicides still happen, people merely change their method. In Japan they jump in front of high speed trains, in Vietnam they drink insecticide.
    According to a study done by the National Academy of Sciences doctor screw ups result in over 100,000 deaths a year. This is over 3 times the deaths from guns, including suicides. Maybe the good doctor should spend more of his time cleaning up his own profession first. During my 30 years working in the medical profession, I knew doctors that were still practicing yet they were alcoholics, drug users, suffered from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and the associated dementia, yet their colleagues rarely took action to remove these physicians.
    According to several studies, guns are used defensively between one and two million times a year, most of the time the gun is never fired, the aggressor flees. I am a 70 year old male with two arthritic knees, what am I to do should I be confronted with one or two youths in excellent physical condition bent on causing me harm? I know, just take the beating, give them what they want and wind up in the hospital if I am still alive. Personally I would rather send them to the hospital or the morgue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      And what in the world makes you think your assailants won’t have guns themselves. Somehow gun lovers have this over-imaginative delusion that if they have a gun on them, they can kill all the bad guys with no innocent casualties. I have news for you, bullets follow the laws of physics, not your heart. If you are 70 years old with two arthritic knees, you are the LAST person I want walking around with a gun.

      • Ambulance_Driver

        Now you’re being ludicrous. What do his age and his arthritic knees have to do with anything, other than make him unable to fight back or run away?

        And I’ve got news for you. Gun laws do not prevent criminals from owning or using guns, despite what your heart tells you.

        • LeoHolmMD

          True. The criminal, by definition, has no regard for the law.

          • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

            As I stated above

        • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

          Sure while we are at it, lets eliminate all laws altogether because technically no law can prevent any criminal from doing what he or she wants.

          There is no commonsense with gun advocates.

        • Molly_Rn

          Funny how things seem to work well without the guns in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, etc.

      • NormRx

        My assailants might very well have guns, however if I am unarmed I have no chance whatsoever. So just because I am 70 years old and I have two arthritic knees I should not carry a gun. Let me give you a little back ground on my self. I have been shooting since I was about 7 years old. I was on the base rifle team in the USAF and I shot expert in basic training. I teach hunter safety in Wisconsin, I have a Utah non resident and a Wisconsin concealed carry permit. As I said previously I shoot about 2,000 round a year for both fun and practice. I will never use my gun to defend someone else, only if I or the people that I am with are threatened will I use it. (I couldn’t live with myself if I later found out that I risked my life to save some anti-gun liberal) You talk about innocent casualties resulting from my engaging a threat, you should know that people with concealed carry permits kill less innocent bystanders than the police.

        • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

          That is good to know that with your age and knee condition that you have the expertise to defend yourself in a sudden attack. Just wish I could the same for all others.

    • Molly_Rn

      I bet it would be easy for the youths in your example could disarm you and kill you with your own gun!

      • NormRx

        You think so. I have had other anti-gun zealots tell me the same thing and I always challenge them to try. Of course I would not use a real gun, I would use a paint ball gun. If you have ever been shot at close range with a paintball gun you would not want to experience it again. It leaves a nice big bruise. I have yet to have one of these zealots take me up on the challenge. I have even offered to put a thousand dollars on my person and tell them if they can get to it before I shoot them they can have it. Again they refuse.

  • John C. Key MD

    What an utterly stupid post, so typical of the muddy thinking that characterizes the anti-gun movement. We may as well outlaw water to avoid drownings, autos to avoid MVAs, food to avoid foodborne illness. It is rank senselessness to believe that making firearms illegal, or otherwise controlling their ownership and distribution would have in any way served to prevent any of our recent incidents of mass murder–or even of individual murder for that matter.

    I prefer to leave tired cliches to those who write on the liberal left, but one old cliche seems totally appropriate here: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”. Let us not work to disarm the peaceful populace. It is a cinch that the government won’t be able to protect us.

    • PaulArkay

      And I am tired of the cliches that we can compare water, autos, and food to guns. When used as intended, water, autos and food are beneficial to our lives. However, when a gun is used as it is intended, something dies.

      When all gun owners are required to have stricter licensing and training than hairdressers, maybe we can talk about something more than taking your precious guns away.

      • NormRx

        “However, when a gun is used as it is intended, something dies.”
        I never knew clay pigeons, paper targets, bottles and cans were alive, but according to you they must be. I probably shoot over 2,000 rounds a year for both fun and practice. And yes, if someone tries to harm me or my family they stand the distinct possibility of experiencing the fate that you describe.

        • PaulArkay

          I can also drive my car around an empty parking lot and be fairly assured that no one will be harmed, but we both know that your example doesn’t negate the fact that guns are intended to kill.

          “…if someone tries to harm me or my family they stand the distinct possibility of experiencing the fate that you describe.” I’m sure that the man that shot my son in a parking lot, when he was taking a gun to a store to get the gun appraised, mind you, spoke similar words.

          Guns need to be better regulated. Education must be a requirement before purchase. Violations need to be punished with sufficient gravity that the people who choose to own them act responsibly. That is not the case now.

          • NormRx

            “but we both know that your example doesn’t negate the fact that guns are intended to kill.”
            What do you mean “we both know” I know no such thing. Guns are used for hunting, sport shooting and self protection. There is a criminal element that will use a gun for evil, this includes governments. As for regulation, there are over 2,500 laws on the books regulating guns. Guns are regulated to a greater extent than drugs. I am sorry about your son however, I had an uncle that was traversing a road and was run over by a truck. I think we should increase the regulations on trucks. We have about 9,000 murders a year from guns, compare this to the 30,000 people that die from prescription drug overdose.
            If you don’t like guns, by all means don’t own one. I am totally pro choice when it comes to guns.

          • PaulArkay

            You don’t realize that the primary intended use of a firearm is the death of another living thing?

          • NormRx

            And sometimes that is a good thing.

          • Molly_Rn

            Who died and made you God?

          • NormRx

            Nobody made me God. That is why I am pro-life, unlike the physicians that have slaughtered over 50 million babies.

          • Molly_Rn

            How do you feel about war? Or
            terrorism? Or criminals? I bet you are pro-death except when it comes to embryos
            and blastocysts. Maybe we should outlaw masturbation to save all those
            potential babies!

          • NormRx

            Nope masturbation is ok, so is a good BJ once in a while.

          • Molly_Rn

            Think of all those precious potential babies; every sperm is sacred. Typical male response.

          • NormRx

            I think you better go back to school. A sperm or an unfertilized egg is not a potential baby. Only when they unite do we have the possibility of having a baby.

          • Molly_Rn

            If so then why are pro-lifers so opposed to contraceptive like the morning after pill? Many women spontaneous abort before they even know they are pregnant and the body absorbs the products of conception.

          • Molly_Rn

            Let’s see now, hunting is killing, self protection certainly could mean killing. Do you not understand this?

          • NormRx

            There is nothing wrong with killing. Murder is wrong. I am sure you are a vegetarian since you are against killing, or would you just rather have someone else do your killing for you. If a mosquito lands on you, do you swat it or let it suck your blood? I realize it is just an insect, but does it not also deserve to live.
            I no longer hunt. I am currently at my summer home and I have a mink that is giving me problems. He is making a mess, defecating everywhere and leaving crab claws all over. I tried setting a live trap baited with tuna (yes a tuna gave his life for this meal)the mink just ignored it and crapped all over the place. I could just shoot him or use a leg trap, however I refuse to do that. I’ll just keep trying different baits until I catch him and relocate him to a liberals house.

          • Molly_Rn

            Hmmm, there is nothing wrong with killilng. How about if someone wants to kill you and thinks that you do not deserve to live and they have a gun?

      • LeoHolmMD

        A gun, when used as intended, is owned by a responsible citizen, used safely, spends a lot of time in storage, and is never pointed at another person except in the most dire circumstances. Consider a gun like insurance if you will: It is a useful tool that you hope you never have to use (other than practice, hunting, etc.)

        • PaulArkay

          A gun is not an insurance policy, a gun is tool designed, refined, and nearly perfected to kill. Don’t delude the meaning of the weapon, it endangers us all.

        • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

          This is the gun lovers delusion. Keep a gun locked in storage so if a bad guy climbs into your bedroom, you will have enough time tip toe downstairs, get your gun, comeback and kill the intruder….so stupid. Guns beget guns PERIOD.

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      It makes sense to all other industrialized nations….but of course we are Americans, we are better than all of them.

      Look, I am sick of talking about this issue. Keep your guns but the joke is out. As it turns out the Colorado shooter had enough ammo and gear to singlehandedly take out a village. I am quite sure he inspired future mass shooters. So keep your gun but very soon you will need more than just a gun to protect yourself….So see you at the tear gas aisle at Walmart.

  • karen3

    15,000 Medicare recipients die from preventable medical errors every MONTH. Who is going to stem the tide of these deaths. It is does not matter whether a doctor is legal or illegal, doctors adds to the carnage and deaths and result in more doctors. So lets ban doctors. And for those of you who are slow, this is irony. But it does make the point, pull the log out of your own eye first, dear medical profession.

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      Very weak straw argument.

      • karen3

        Yep, that’s what the main post was. Stupid. Probably one of the stupid docs who are responsible for the 1 unnecessary patient death due to preventable medical error per every four doctors per year. You probably are another candidate. I’d rather have the 70 year old guy posting here have a gun than have the poster have a medical license, given the wanting analytic skills. I know of alot more people killed or hurt by bad docs than hurt by guns.

        • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

          There is a clear hidden agenda with gun advocates. You bring it up and they mention something else completely unrelated….or as we saw in the Colorado…”This is not a good time to talk about it” blah, blah.

          You guys are hopeless.

          • NormRx

            You want to see hopeless, look in a mirror.

          • Molly_Rn

            The gun zealots are beyond help as they have minds like a steel trap, closed. I can only hope that some day you are not killed by your own weapon.

          • NormRx

            I’m glad you care to deeply about me. The only time I would ever be killed by my own gun is if I did it myself. If I was terminally ill and in great pain I would consider suicide, but because of you anti-gun zealots I would be forced to adopt another method. I suppose a fifth of bourbon and a hand full of barbiturates would do the trick

          • Molly_Rn

            Sounds like a better and more peaceful way to go and less messy.

    • NormRx

      I just saw on the news that a doctor in Tennessee is being charged for poisoning his wife over a five month period with barium. I always said it is safer to have a gun in the home than a doctor. Another doctor, urologist Adam Levinson (39) of New York is charged with using a camera pen to look up women skirts. You would think that being a urologist he would see enough female genitals, but I guess not. Take this post with a little levity. I do not mean to denigrate all of the many great doctors that we have.

  • Luana Thermos


    Where once we required guns to protect ourselves from wild animals and to provide food, in a modern society this is a rare need

  • Chrys

    It seems strange to me that whenever there is such a brutal slaying of innocent people, people miss the mark repeatedly, and turn their attention onto the means used by the perpetrator. He could have easily chosen a bomb, or some other means. It seems to me, the focus should be more on mental health and intervention. These individuals are obviously sick. We need to be able to identify those at risk, and find ways to intervene before tragedy occurs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      It is impossible to do so. It is why we ALL get screened when we board a plane. No one can detect when someone will snap.

      • Chrys

        There are times you can identify when others are struggling. My point, was mental health intervention. Instead of arguing over gun control, my line of thought was to help individuals we see struggling.

  • LeoHolmMD

    Violence and fear might be better characterized as diseases. “Modern society” as you put it, is rife with both. Should we then turn to “modern society” to control one of the side effects of the fear and violence they promote?

  • Ambulance_Driver

    You’re a physician and you can’t distinguish a symptom from the disease itself?

    Gun control: It’s like stopping drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to drive cars.

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      Another weak straw argument. Look we have a way of identifying the drunkard about to get into his car. We cannot identify who will snap. Till there is an app for that, gun allows are necessary.

      • Ambulance_Driver

        Speaking of weak straws, consider the number of guns and gun owners in this country. 99.9% of guns and 99.9% of gun owners in this country killed absolutely no one today.

        So tell me how guns are such a looming public health menace again?

        It boggles the mind that seemingly educated people cannot grasp the fact that if someone is going to commit a crime with a gun, the fact that possessing it may be illegal is not going to make one bit of difference.

        The only way to accomplish what you propose is to a) eliminate all guns in the U.S. (an impossible proposition), and b) restrict other rights so much that America becomes a de facto police state.

        Neither one is ever going to happen.

        And even if you manage to accomplish A, people will just turn to another means of violence. A rampage killer managed to kill 9 people in China last week… WITH A KNIFE.

        • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

          In 2010 there were 8,775 murders using firearms. It is a public health menace especially if you work in any urban ER.

          The either A or B propositions you offer are typical gun advocate garbage. There are many other ways a civilized society can be accomplished this but it will never see light of day because people like you scare others into thinking their rights will be taken away or we will become a de facto police state. It is not true and it is sad that we live in such a violence country.

          • Molly_Rn

            Great response!

  • John Henry

    Guns are weapons, not a disease. And guns do not beget guns, figuratively or otherwise. You might as well say sugary soft drinks and fast food are “diseases” or fast cars. The illogical process is the same.

    Paranoia is a symptom. Schizophrenia is a disease. Antisocial behavior is supposedly not a disease, only a disorder of personality. Guns are not a symptom or a disease, just a fact, in the philosophical sense. Behaviors like buying guns may or may not represent a symptom of a disease. Sometimes they are merely evidence of characterological or personality disorders. Most times, I suggest they are neither.

    If you don’t like gun ownership, say so. If you think availability of guns in our society incites a civil arms race and stimulates gun sales by instilling fear in the population fearful of criminals with guns, then say so. If you think the laws allowing purchase of guns and ammunition are too permissive and allow mentally-ill people too-easy access to destructive means of acting on their delusions, then say so. Pretending that guns are a disease and using your professional standing to announce your belief does nothing except impeach your credibility and make thoughtful readers wonder whether you can think logically.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucy.hornstein.1 Lucy Hornstein

    Yes, this post veers into hyperbole, but…

    Hopefully we can all agree on the value of evidence, which, if good enough for medicine, should be good enough for this issue. Look at the evidence: every other country in the world has stricter gun control laws than the United States. The United States loses more citizens to firearms each year than every other country in the world. The evidence points toward the fact that fewer (far fewer) guns increase public safety, regardless of all the “just in case”/castle doctrine arguments put forward by gun rights advocates.

    • NormRx

      Where to do you get your stats? The Brady bunch or the Joyce foundation? You are wrong on both counts.

      • Molly_Rn

        Nope you are wrong.

  • Joseph Walch

    So I suppose that machetes were the disease that killed so many Tutsis. Easy, all we have to do is ban all garden utensils and voila–no more genocide. If only we banned Zyklon B, then so many Jews would have been spared. Not to mention the daily massacre being perpetuated by water, food, cars, the sun, and by our own frail genetic structure.

    Well I’m a med student and a PhD, and the human condition is the disease. We can’t eliminate human nature so we’ll just have to live with it–including allowing good, honest people to acquire the tools to protect themselves from threat of harm. Eliminating guns isn’t going to somehow brighten human nature, but it will unleash the evil forces in human nature that should be repressed–sometimes with violence

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      lol…You are probably one of the people who also believed that if they had a gun in that dark theatre. They could aimed and killed the shooter while avoiding any innocent casualties.

      You are right on human nature. But the cheap machetes came from somewhere, were allowed into the country through someplace. I believe you cannot stop human nature but you can make it harder for it do evil. That is what we have done since 911 and while many innocent people have to be searched, it has made flying safer.

      • Ambulance_Driver

        I challenge that statement.

        Find me one, ONE instance where TSA has actually been able to prevent another terrorist attack.

        All you will find publicized are their failures. Do you honestly think that if they had managed to thwart another attack, they wouldn’t be trumpeting it to the media?

        But they aren’t, because they haven’t.

        And no one can say that an armed citizen could have thwarted the Aurora shooter. But NOT having one there sure didn’t slow him down, did it?

        • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

          I believe that ALL the TSA security measures put in place after 9/11 have made it safer to fly. It has been over 10 years without a terror incident on a domestic US plane. I think that qualifies as success.

          “And no one can say that an armed citizen could have thwarted the Aurora shooter. But NOT having one there sure didn’t slow him down, did it?”
          I disagree with you. I know everyone thinks it would have been a good idea to have had armed civilians in the theater but in a gun battle it can be very hard to tell who is the good guy and bad guy.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            “You believe.”

            And that us the essence of your argument. Fear and feelings, zero facts.

          • Molly_Rn

            I was sure you meant the gun crazy folks were the ones with zero facts and only fear and feelings, because that is the truth. These zealots are whipped into a frenzy by the gun folks who make a ton of money selling guns and amo. I have always wondered what the NRA folks would say if something like Aurora happened in their national meeting where a well prepared gun nut with tear gas and automatic weapons gunned them down in their meeting.

          • NormRx

            Have you ever been to an NRA national meeting? The question is rhetorical because I know you haven’t. I have been to 4 and let me tell you the criminal would have to have balls the size of watermelons to try such a stunt.

          • A Kazen

            This isn’t true. The underwear bomber, Dec 2009. The TSA let him onto the plane, and ordinary people stopped him from accomplishing his goal. So, at least in this case, the TSA security measures did nothing to stop a threat. This qualifies as a success for travelers aware of their surroundings, but not a success for the TSA.

        • Molly_Rn

          All they needed was another shooter in the dark smoke filled theater so there would be even more slaughter. Did you see how the guy was suited up? He had protective gear and another shooter wouldn’t have killed him just more innocent people.

  • http://twitter.com/LymphomaJourney Andrew

    Good post. Drawing the analogy makes the point, some of the vitriol below demonstrates the validity.

  • MissMeg

    Meanwhile, medical error causes 44,000–98,000 unnecessary deaths each year and 1,000,000 excess injuries, according to the Harvard Study.

    So where is the greater problem?

    • http://www.facebook.com/obinna.akunna Obinna Akunna

      And no one cries “my rights” when they try to enact laws to prevent them from happening.

  • cerissa

    Please, stick to being a doctor, it’s quite evident you know very little about guns….Guns are not the culprit-it’s the breakdown in family values and civility in general. Everyone wants to punish each individual social crime; that is the responsibility of parenting. As a nation, we must end this glorification of “Im a single mom” – and don’t even think of starting with the “generalization” baloney. It is created culture that creates these unspeakable horrors. Do you also want to outlaw auto’s? Look how many people die in crashes on the road? You want to ban airplanes, knifes, snakes, spiders, ladders, swimming pools…..and maybe add irresponsible doctors who want to be social preachers. I grew up in a home with guns, have family,friends and associates, none have ever used a gun irresponsibly, we all grew up in homes that TAUGHT RESPONSIBILITY, life values, the importance of caring for others’ safety and wellbeing. If you want to protest, insist on stopping this insane child pregnancy and all unwed glorification that only leads to crime and misery; along with it, the deviant praise of all “social rights”. HepC, HIV, and social diseases are out of control but you won’t open your voice to these ills, it’s a right??? What happened to being blood tested before marriage? Not that today it would matter as we are more of a do whatever feels good, it’s your right – until the misery factor sets in….Guns? Forget it, irresponsibility will bring us all down before the gun issue…

    • Molly_Rn

      What a silly response. The rest of the civilized world thinks we are nuts and they are right.

    • brad

      Pants on fire wrong! Switzerland has one of the highest firearm homicide rates in Western Europe – by statistics voluntarily submitted by each national government to the UNODC, the latest rates of firearm related homicides for which the complete data are so far available (2002) from all the Western European countries that report are: Switzerland 0.93, Germany 0.33, Austria 0.31, Sweden 0.65, Finland 0.52, England 0.16 (2001 no 2002 data), Iceland 0.35 (2001), Northern Ireland 0.83, Portugal 0.88, entire UK 0.02. Note that the figure reported is “intentional homicides committed with a firearm” as homicide rates are not broken down by method. See UNODC eighth survey on crime trends. You can also find similar data on “successful” homicides by firearms from a detailed study by Krug et al on 36 middle/high income countries from 90 to 95 published in 98 in International Journal of Epidemiology; again, Switzerland has one of the higher rates of gun related homicide in Western Europe but more notably almost the highest rate of gun related suicide of all countries for which data were available.
      To pursue the logic of attributing the complex multifactorial causes of the genocides you describe above to strict gun laws we should then credit every country that has tough gun laws for every year that there is not a genocide in that country, as a successful direct result of those strict gun laws in preventing genocide. That’s a couple of hundred countries every year against your several examples, or billions of people saved from genocide each year by tough gun laws. I am not really suggesting this direct consequence but only illustrating the logical (or illogical) corollary of your simplistic argument. Of course, causes of genocides are far more numerous and nuanced than you imply.
      In the end, I would submit that it is the many other positives of our civil society in the US, such as education, work ethic, resources, freedoms, diversity and fortunate history, rather than our more recently permissive gun laws, that have prevented genocide of the kind you describe above in the US!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.sayre.35 Jeff Sayre

    Perhaps Dr. Salwitz you should move your practice to a country with Marxist views such as yours. Maybe if you directed your energy to cleaning up our court system from the corrupt judges and lawyers, things would change and criminals who commit crimes with guns would lessen if they are held accountable.

    • Molly_Rn

      And just how are his views Marxist? You seem to have little knowledge of Communisum. Spending too much time with your guns.

  • Molly_Rn

    Guns have only one purpose and that is to kill. I agree that this is very much the concern of physicians whose only purpose is to keep their patients healthy.

  • k. long

    I was okay with this at first, but the comparison of legal/constitutional arguments between gun ownership and cancer research (cancer ownership??) threw me off (unless I missed something): buying and owning a gun is a choice, getting cancer is not. I don’t see how the analogy between the constitutional or legal right-ness of anything between the two can be compared.

  • http://euonymous.wordpress.com euonymous

    Jim, I agree with you completely. I think some other readers have read you perhaps a little too literally. In college I had a professor who told us that there was no such thing as germs. His point was that society defines disease. There was a big dust-up kerfuffle about the statement, but I don’t think anyone in the class that day ever forgot the statement or the discussion. Guns are a huge problem and I don’t see a solution since they are now tightly woven into American politics.

  • cerissa

    Molly, guess you were referring to my post as being silly because the rest of the “civilized” world thnks we, the U. S. are nuts…..hummm…as a student of history, and having lived in most countries in Europe, some in Asia and a few in S.A. I can promise you I know exactly where the nuts are, and it isn’t the U.S. Who has the lowest gun related crime rate of any civilized country? Switzerland….Yet, Switzerland issues every household a gun and trains every adult issued a rifle how to shoot. During WW2, Japan ended it’s forward march toward the U.S. because they were aware the majority of households in America were armed. Now, for your history lesson: in 1929, the Soviet Union established Gun Control, from 1929 -1953, 20 million citizens, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated. In 1915 – 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. In 1935 Germany established gun control, from 1929 – 1945, over 13 plus million jews and others, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated. In China in 1935 gun control was established and from 1945 – 1952, 20 million plus chinese citizens, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated. I could go on and on, but to sum up, just in the 20th century, due to gun control, over 56 million people have been exterminated due to the inability to defend themselves, their families and their territory…..So, you think these scattered psychopaths that shoot innocent victims in the U.S. anyway compares to the atrocities in history, my dear, you are sadly and grieviously mistaken. No way I want to see my 2nd amendment right infringed and put my family, home, propery or my life in jeopardy, if you do, maybe you should go visit one of these countries that has gun control and you can take your chances there……

    • Molly_Rn

      Sorry but your WWII history is incorrect, but so is the rest of your diatribe/history lesson. I have been in countries with very restrictive gun laws and felt incredibly safe and secure. You are just plain wrong.

  • cerissa

    Oh, I’m wrong? Exactly where? Try doing some real research, start with reading “The Deadly Embrace” Hitler/Stalin and the NAzi Soviet Pact 1939-1941/AnthonyRead & David Fisher – “Harvest of Sorrows” Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine by Robert Conquest “The Nightmare Years 1930-1940 by William L. Shirer, any college history of the wars in Europe and Asia will easily vindicate all I have posted…do your homework, get your nose out of the socialist handbook. I’ll put my Master’s Degree up against yours, I got mine in 1965 when you actually had to do the research and work to get a degree, not like today, just attend class, pay the tuition and we’ll give you your degree on a silver platter…i’ve seen enough of today’s college grads to know they have little more than highschool knowledge by the time they manage to get a simple BA….the average man on the street can’t name his own congressman, doesn’t have any concept of what kind of country they live in, we are not a democracy, we are a republic….i’ve had responses as “What’s a Republic”. geez, great teaching! The issue is guns and the topic objective is to get them out of the hands of American citizens, you can get lost in your blindsided ideaology; as for Switzerland, it has the lowest kill rate of any first world country and that cannot be disputed. Don’t give me your lamebrain tricks of they had 100 we had 1,000 – Switzerland is a tiny country of approximately 8million people – comparatively, Atlanta, GA has 4.7 million in population, the entire state of Georgia has over 9 million people….AND, AGAIN….look it up, Switzerland has virtually NO crime, murder unheard of and the crime that has appeared these last years is commited by immigrants entering the country. Go to Switzerland Crime Rates…but then, who knows, maybe it’s Switzerland and these other certified stat sites are lying, surely not you. I stand by my earlier post. Of course you feel safe in European countries, so do I, but I can take you some places in France, UK, where you might not feel so safe. I’ve been some places in Austria that scared me more than being in Romania, but it’s all where you are, nothing to do with guns, many areas have a high stab rate, choke/suffocation rate. Let’s stick to facts and the issue – Guns do not kill, people do. As simplel as it sounds, it is true,

  • cerissa

    I just ck’d and no, my pants are not on fire. You can get your stats from the UN if you like, but I have seen anything of truth from that organization since prior to the death (murder) of Dag Hammarskjold….or does that not count since he wasn’t shot??? Civilized people behind that episode….the jetliner blown up with Dag on board in retribution for his part in releasing the names of the freedom fighters during the Hungarian Revolution which led to the murders of those freedom fighters by soviet agents. Thank goodness those freedom fighters had guns, later the support of air drops. We can sit here all day and argue history, who was right, who was wrong. I believe in the dictates of our founding fathers, each man is free to make his own decision. That includes the decision to own a gun, use it responsibly, or use it irresponsibly. It is not the right of this government to take the right from the law abiding just to stop the few non law abiding. If someone wants to do evil, they will find a way. If someone is mentally derranged, they will find a way. We can banter facts, or “assumed” facts (please google: what America can learn from Switzerland”). You can never take evil intentions out of every person, evi, as goodness, l has been on the planet since time began and evil, as goodness, will have it’s last gasp when time ends.

  • Gordon Terry

    What is the purpose of guns? Simply put, the purpose of guns is to defend against bad people who have guns. These come in two classes: common criminals and government. Taking guns away from good people is the absolute worst thing to do (unless you’re preparing the way for a genocide). To take a man’s gun is to take all his freedoms, even his very life (for what other than a gun can defend them?).

    Perhaps OATH KEEPERS should extend it’s ranks to physicians, who by a simple medical record could later subject an innocent gun owner to confiscation or internment.

  • Manolo (Manny) Gonzalez

    How about Machete Disease? In 1994 over 880,000 Rwuwandans were killed in in few weeks time. The great majority killed with 581,000 machetes purchased by one of the factions because guns were few and bullets were expensive. Only Tutsis who could pay for bullets could had the “option” of being killed by firearms. I wonder if a Tutsi father head of household would had considered having an AK-47 in his hand a “Gun Disease” while his home was being approached by a machete-wielding gang of Hutus.

  • Jane Infidel

    I remember the Columbine shootings…and everyone blamed South Park, Marilyn Manson, violent video games, etc….

    So South Park made fun of it by coming out with that song “Blame Canada.” Where the parents of South Park blame Canada because their kids are cursing. Their kids snuck into a bad movie, with lots of cursing, and the stars were Canadian. So naturally they blame Canada before somebody can think of blaming them for letting their kids be exposed to all that R rated material. That song almost won an Oscar. Honestly, when someone flips out like James Holmes, maybe we need to ask why no one noticed he was flipping out? Family didn’t notice? Nobody? I don’t think we can blame guns and tv, etc. He didn’t deteriorate overnight. It took months for him to get to that point.

    When Manson was asked what he would say to the Columbine shooters if they were here today he said, “Nothing. I would listen to what they had to say, and that’s what no one ever did.” I thought that was a really good answer. I wonder if anyone ever really listened to James Holmes and got to know him when he was going downhill like that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnckeymd John Key

    I think this maudlin post has been recycled more than enough. Let it go down for the last time.

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