At first glance, you wouldn’t expect there to be much similarity between guns and modern medicine. Still, both serve vital purposes in our society, yet have the potential to cause great harm. Unfortunately, many citizens are forgetting or ignoring the benefits of guns. They aren’t able to separate emotion from logic when confronting this issue due to the emotional attachment of seeing senseless acts of violence in the news. As a nurse and gun enthusiast, I believe it’s high time we acknowledge the abandonment of logic in the discussion of gun violence . . .
In healthcare, we have to evaluate whether any medicine or treatment poses more of a benefit than a risk to the patient. This risk/benefit analysis is vital to ensuring that we honor our first principle to do no harm. Sadly, even with all our modern medical technologies, sometimes harm is done. As reported by the CDC, there were 98,987 deaths in 2002 due to hospital-acquired infections. That’s an alarming number, and if one were to focus on this statistic alone, they might urge those around them to avoid hospital admissions at all costs. What the statistic doesn’t show, however, is that tens of millions of people are admitted to hospitals and successfully treated every year without suffering a life ending infection.
That same year, the CDC reported 30,242 deaths at the end of a gun barrel. Again, what the statistic doesn’t show is the countless number of Americans who benefit from guns. Many citizens are able to protect themselves from becoming a crime victim without ever firing a round. Firearms allow a 100 lb. woman to defend herself against a much stronger attacker or an elderly person from a home invader. Guns provide much more of a benefit than a risk when you separate emotion from logic.
There were over three times more deaths in 2002 related to hospital-acquired infections than guns but you don’t see the politicians, mass media, or concerned moms of America pushing to close hospitals. There’s no Mom’s Demand Action for Cleaner Hospitals group out there jumping in front of TV cameras. Why is that?
It’s because we all understand that the benefits of modern medicine vastly outweigh the low statistical risk. Why is it that so many Americans focus on the positive in regards to modern medicine but only see the negative when it comes to guns? Another thing to consider is that the statistics don’t account for other diseases each patient may have when they were admitted which put them at higher risk of dying from their infection. In the same way, gun death statistics don’t account for broken families, criminal behavior, mental illness, etc.
Loss of life due to any reason is tragic, but we need to remain rooted in logic when discussing solutions, even (or especially) when it comes to guns. It’s done every day in healthcare, as evidenced by chart audits, staff education, and visits from regulatory agencies, just to name a few. Some would argue that government regulation of healthcare and guns is one and the same, but they’d be wrong. They believe that the wording “well regulated” in the 2nd Amendment means our government can impose law after law to limit our right to bear arms.
Supreme Court Justice Scalia touched on this in D.C. vs. Heller when he stated, “the adjective ‘well-regulated’ implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training”. Our government should be providing resources for education and proper training in safe firearms use, not enacting laws that limit the ability of individuals to defend themselves. The government doesn’t put up “cancer free zone” signs in hospitals even though millions die of cancer, because they use logic rather than emotion to dictate how they respond. It’s high time we, the people, demand they do the same with guns.
Jon Templeman is a nurse and runs the Dads Demand Action for Gun Rights in America Facebook page.