The monthly Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia has
been at it again, debunking the simplistic anti-gun propaganda that
is so widespread in other medical periodicals.
The June issue was especially critical of those who expound on
guns and violence as though these are matters of public health
(e.g., bullets as "pathogens," guns as "viruses," gun control as
"immunization") rather than topics best treated by specialists in
law, criminology and related disciplines.
Let's turn directly to Dr. Edgar A. Suter et al., whose article
"Violence in America - Effective Solutions" (complete with 98
footnotes) is the issue's centerpiece. A few highlights:
Some 40 percent of Americans report having guns in their homes.
If possessing a gun were the direct or indirect cause of criminal
violence, these 100 million or so Americans would be killing off
their relatives, friends and neighbors. In fact, of course, they
There are an estimated 1 million instances (from murder to
robbery) of the criminal misuse of guns every year; they involve
less than one-half of 1 percent of the 200 million guns owned by
A small fraction of those who possess guns - most of them
illegally, by the way - commit the overwhelming proportion of gun
violence. That problem will not be solved by the misguided efforts
of those whose ultimate goal is to try to bar everyone - including
the vast majority of law-abiding citizens - from legally owning
In considering the costs of gun violence, anti-gun medical
researchers start with the medical treatment of those killed or
wounded. But they don't - and can't - stop there. These direct
medical costs add up to about $1.5 billion a year, which is less
than 1 percent of the nation's annual bill for health care.
So the anti-gun researchers inflate the figures through
numerous computational gymnastics - including, in one case, a
nonsensical estimate of the "cost" of workers wasting time on the
job while they gossip about gun violence!
A more common add-on consists of the wages lost over the
victims' lifetimes. This approach could be legitimate, but not the
way the researchers do it. They assume that all the victims are
basically ordinary citizens who would be busy working at productive
jobs if they hadn't been gunned down. That certainly describes some
victims, whose tragic deaths are among the reasons we need to get
much tougher about criminals and the violence they inflict on
law-abiding people. …