Wintermute is back

With an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. On the one hand, it’s better written than his full-of-holes article about gun shows, but that’s about all the good that I can say about it.

His article rambles in subject from concerns about the health care cost associated with shootings in the US, to talking about the dangers of gun related suicides, and finally getting around to ill-informed commentary on DC vs. Heller.

He spends a lot of time talking about how the gun-suicide rate in DC is really low, and completely glosses over the extremely high crime rate in that city, as well as in Chicago – which he uses as another example of an area with “good” gun laws.

He closes his article with the following statement:

A Supreme Court decision broadening gun rights and overturning the D.C. statutes would be widely viewed as upholding such [pro-gun] policies. By promoting our sense of entitlement to gun use against one another, it could weaken the framework of ordered liberty that makes civil society possible.

You really have to view this through a lens of ignorance for it to make sense, and yet the more and more I work on the pro-gun issue, the more I understand how anti-gunners think. They actually believe that any kind of gun use is bad, even if it’s justified for defense of human life; any situation where the individual is empowered is undermining their view of a “civil society”. To people like Garen, a “civil society” isn’t enforced by individuals who will not allow their right to life to be infringed upon by criminals; but rather by the police and the “authorities.”

Garen still wants to be protected by people with guns, he just doesn’t want you or I to be one of those people. There are many, many other holes in Garen’s most recent article, his focus on the medical costs of firearms doesn’t address the fact that the medical costs related to alcohol far outstrip firearms – but you don’t see him calling for a new prohibition. That’s the great thing about being in the real grassroots, I know that every point I don’t address will get nailed by someone else.

Update: Thirdpower does exactly that.  Uncle notes that this whole anti-gun thing is kind of a big circle-jerk (my words), and Sebastian notes that our adversary is often a lot more politically connected than we are.


  1. There’s a profound philosophical difference between public-health researchers and the rest of us. “They” don’t care who lives or dies, as long as the total number of deaths comes down. “We” care very much who lives or dies; we want the innocent to live and the wicked to die and we don’t care about the total death count.

    For example, let’s say that there are 10,000 firearms homicides annually in the U.S. Criminologists tell us that about 70% of homicide victims have criminal records, so let’s call those 7,000 slayings the “Bad Guys”. And the other 3,000 victims would be the “Good Guys”, i.e. innocent victims of murder.

    If we could pass some kind of gun-control legislation that would reduce the “Bad Guy” death toll from 7,000 to 5,000, while at the same time the “Good Guy” deaths rose from 3,000 to 4,000 the public-health community would be thrilled! “Wonderful news!” they would say. “We’ve reduced the gun homicide toll by ten percent! From 10,000 annually to 9,000. What a victory for public health!”

    “We” would consider such an outcome to be a disaster, a perversion, an outrage, an atrocity. But the NEJM would consider it a triumph of “common-sense gun laws”.

    I would like to put this question to the NEJM editors: “Would you advise women to stop shooting rapists because it adds to the annual “death toll” from guns?”

    Even hypothetically conceding the point that many people who own guns get murdered, raped or robbed in spite of that, I would still say that if even one woman is able to shoot a rapist, then it’s worth it.

  2. Not all physicians agree with the anti-gun position, there is Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

    One of the ER doctors I used to work for in my last job in the insurance industry was a Texas CHL holder and a really cool dude, as was one of our Staff Paramedics.

    Stuff like this is why I also love Xavier’s “Nurse with a Gun” blog.

  3. Public health means worrying about all of the public. Not just the parts you approve of.

  4. Possibly, but it’s not their job to pass moral judgment on large swaths of the public.

    That’s what clergy are for.

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