The SDFP Science Corner because science is now a liberal conspiracy
By Anna Daniels
“As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.” Samuel Wurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber)
Let’s get right down to it. How many dead kids are we talking about? Doesn’t the public have the right to know how many dead kids are watering the tree of liberty with their blood?
The short answer is that we don’t know and if Congress continues to have its way, we will never know. ProPublica reports that “Since 1996, when a small CDC-funded study [Center for Disease Control] on the risks of owning a firearm ignited opposition from Republicans, the CDC’s budget for research on firearms injuries has shrunk to zero.”
Gun violence data, firearm safety and gun violence prevention are removed from the realm of public health discussions and research because Congress is cowed by the NRA leadership, gun manufacturers and the lobbyists they employ. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who is cosponsoring a bill to give the CDC ten million dollars a year for conducting or supporting research on gun violence prevention states that “gun violence kills twice as many children as cancer, and yet political grandstanding has halted funding for public health research to understand this crisis.”
What kind of research would this entail?
Among the questions that need answers, according to the report: How often do Americans successfully use guns to protect themselves each year? Could improved “smart gun” technologies reduce gun deaths and injuries, and will consumers be willing to adopt them? And would universal background checks — the most popular and prominent gun control policy proposal — actually reduce gun violence?
The NRA’s unsurprising response is that this kind of research is unethical, anti-gun propaganda. Over the past seven years the CDC has spent less than $100,000 a year on fire-arm focused work that is only able to provide a rough annual estimate of the number of fire-arm injuries.
The NRA blackmail against the Surgeon General nominee The Senate confirmation proceedings to confirm Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General have ground to a stop. Murthy, a Boston doctor and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, signed on to a letter promulgated by health professionals saying that “strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately.” This letter advocates for the following measures:
1. Remove military-style guns and ammunition that are designed to be able to kill large numbers of people quickly. There may be a place in war for such weapons, but they represent a threat to public safety in our neighborhoods.
2. Strengthen safety measures and regulations for guns used for hunting, sport, and self-protection.
3. Remove prohibitions and barriers that keep health professionals from protecting our patients from harm.
4. Remove prohibitions that impede valuable research and data-tracking related to gun violence and firearm safety.
5. Create a Presidential advisory committee of various stakeholders, including health care providers, to make recommendations to the President and Congress and monitor progress on cutting gun deaths in half by 2020.
The NRA’s blackmail appears to be working– Senators are scored by the NRA for their votes on all things gun related. The NRA has determined that the Surgeon General nomination is clearly a gun issue. A low NRA score on any Congressional vote is perceived as a political kiss of death for Democrats as well as Republicans.
The good Dr. Murthy has testified that he would focus on the nation’s obesity epidemic, not gun violence, during his tenure as surgeon general.
So what about “smart guns?” The short answer is that they are also DOA.
“As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.” Samuel Wurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber) This is what the “good guy with a gun” wants us to believe.
As Charlie Pierce is wont to say: “This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.”