Saturday December 23, 2017
If a plague should suddenly menace our population, a collective cry of alarm would prompt politicians to mobilize government to fight it. At present, an epidemic of gun-related injuries and deaths is creating such a public health crisis. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, as of November, almost 100 Americans die each day from gun violence. In 2015, the American College of Emergency Physicians joined seven other health organizations and the American Bar Association in issuing a call to action to reduce the incidence of firearm trauma and deaths.
After each new atrocity, whether in Orlando, Fla.; Las Vegas; or Texas, a brief period of political silence is soon punctuated by a steady beat of legislative support to further weaken gun controls, demonstrating cowardice in the face of the National Rifle Association. A case in point is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that recently passed in the U.S. House. It has the effect of weakening the efforts of state governments to reasonably control concealed weapons.
I am a retired surgeon and have treated cases of gunshot wounds to the head. Imagine the sudden loss of both eyes in a failed attempt at suicide by handgun. Every politician should be required to spend a night in a big-city emergency room observing gun-related trauma. They would likely emerge in the morning chastened and nauseated. Yet the beat goes on. It accompanies our society as, with pistols concealed and assault rifles loaded, we continue our inexorable descent into madness.
Thomas B. Souders
Gun violence amounts to an American plague