The Healing Power of Guns
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By Dr. LateBloomer

We’ve all heard the adage “Physician Heal Thyself”. This ancient proverb was originally intended as an admonition to mind one’s own problems rather than advising others on theirs. Physicians (even ancient world ones) have always been notoriously bad at taking care of others’ “business” before their own. Physicians’ own needs often come last in the hierarchy of demands.

But this concept has broader implications in today’s world, and physicians really do need to work on “healing” themselves. The concept of “self-care” has become an important one because physician suicide is on the rise.

It might seem odd then to say that for this particular physician/writer, firearms, rather than being a “suicide risk” during times of stress, actually provide a much-needed outlet and social support.

At my residency graduation dinner, a wise physician mentor reminded my graduating class of the importance of having friends outside of the medical community. He emphasized that as we launched into our careers, having experiences outside of medicine would provide much-needed perspective and change of mental gears. He reminded us that as busy physicians we would need to come up for air occasionally and get a look around at the real world.

I have found that the shooting sports and associated camaraderie provide me with such friends and social support.

Time spent at shooting matches with friends has never been a wasted effort. Though my scores have often left room for improvement, the experience of mutual support, mutual ribbing and joking, and “shop talk” about calibers and features has never left me wanting for laughs and common interests. I have had more fun standing in the pouring rain with friends on the range than one could ever imagine. As the saying goes, “A crummy day at the range beats a good day at the office”.

In the same way, time spent afield with trusted hunting friends or alone in the woods in a ground blind can be wonderful therapy.

The scent of freshly spent shotgun shells combined with the smell of damp earth in the Autumn is a tonic to the spirit – especially while watching a good bird dog work a field.

The smell of pine trees and dead leaves, with a half moon shaded by misty clouds as a guide to the ground blind can be a positively spiritual experience for an exhausted soul.

Greeting the sunrise, breath steaming in air that crinkles the nostrils, while the birds slowly awaken in the trees, is a slice of heaven.

Even when the only “quarry” is Autumn Olive berries, my time outdoors in nature provides much-needed recharging, while the S&W .357 on my hip provides some personal security when alone in the woods.

The real world perspective that my firearms experience has given me also reminds me that not every predator lives in the woods and walks on four legs. The self-defense end of firearms training has given me some different perspectives from that of my pediatric colleagues.

While most pediatricians tend to be the sensitive and kind-hearted type, I’ve learned that my own nature in that direction has limits. If it comes down to my life or that of a predator, I will do my best to make sure that the predator doesn’t win. This is because I have been taught that my OWN life has value too. This has been the biggest blessing that my association with the firearms community has bestowed upon me – the lesson of valuing my OWN life and providing me with the means to defend it.

From my perspective, firearms have not been the evil death-dealing public health “disease” that Organized Medicine would have the public believe. Rather for me, firearms have provided life-affirming opportunities and friendships. Firearms have provided the means of saving my own life – both literally and figuratively.


‘Dr. LateBloomer’ is the pen name of a female general pediatrician (MD, MPH, FAAP) who enjoys competitive shooting sports, including IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun.  Evil semi-automatic firearms are her favorites. 

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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    • Just a word spin on, ” A bad day fishing is better then a good day at work”

      • That saying has been applied to every concievable pastime/hobby in existence, which leads me to conclude that a bad day doing ANYTHING ELSE is still better than a good day at work! Lol!

        As a side note, I for one certainly feel better after punching a ton of holes in something or litterally blowing it into oblivion.

      • A “good” day fishing is a boring as watching corn grow/paint dry/waiting for a progtard to have an intelligent thought.

  1. As a Late Uncle of mine used to say as he sat by the fire pit outside our old hunting cabin on chilly winter evenings, “there’s a lot of therapy in a fire”.

    • No kidding. I was just contemplating this the other evening. How a when campfire( most any open flame) is burning and how people gather around and gaze into the fire, the way conversations change and a feeling of contentment permeates throughout those involved. I’m guessing it has something to do with our ancient ancestors

    • I really need that 586 exactly how it is. Are we positive that’s what it is? I’m not a revolver guy, so my knowledge on the subject is small.

        • It’s a S&W Classic Model 19, Reproduction currently in production. The smaller is also a repro, run through the S&W performance center, trigger, shorter barrel, ported, and dull finish. I was going to buy the Model 19, 2 in fact, until I discovered it is not actually a copy but an imitation, with below standard finish and internal safety (Hillary hole), cancelled the order. They retail around $850, google S&W Classic and you’ll get the poop. There are several others. Not a bad value.

    • No, it isn’t. AOBC can CALL it a ‘Model 19.’ They can call it a ‘Webley-Vickers .50-80,’ too. It’s not either of those things.

      Instead, it is a blue-anodized version of the new ‘Model 666,’ advertised as a ‘Model 66,’ complete with Daisy BB-gun-style ‘tube’ instead of a real barrel housed inside a hollow shell mimicking a real one-piece forged barrel. It also has MIM internal parts (you know, those bits made of by cramming metal powder into molds to avoid real machining), and a huge, glaring, unsightly Hillary Hole in the side complete with on/off switch and a tiny little key to make it work. “AOBC, I knew Smith & Wesson; YOU are no ‘Smith & Wesson.'”

      Sure, SOME guns have healing powers; THESE travesties, cheapened versions of the high-quality originals, coming from a once-mighty gun company turned into a conglomerate, hold no pleasure for me.

      TTAG, for me, you might as well have put up a huge color picture of Hillary in a Bathing Suit to illustrate your point. I am not amused.

      • Do you have any pictures of Hilorally in a bathing suit? The flood that swamped my boat that had my guns in it also had my Hilorally Swimsuit Limited Edition® calendar, a sad rainy day it was. I would trade you my collection of Vote for Sanders buttons and throw in a box of Creedmoor’s to sweeten the deal.

        • A Vote for Sanders button and a box of 6.5 Creedmoor… Wouldn’t those mutually annihilate each other on contact? That’s kind of like matter vs. antimatter.

  2. This reminds me of habit 7 “sharpen the saw” from “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. For me it’s trigger time at the range at least once a month.

  3. I keep trying to quit you, TTAG comments section. But…

    I need to add my voice to those who view shooting sports as a form of therapy and meditation. Getting *in* to shooting more deeply was a part of the solution that got me out of a mental and physical situation that could— I realize today— be accurately described as a “death spiral”.

    My wife doesn’t love my gun hobby, but she acknowledges the results: nothing normalizes my settings like a range day. She also is aware of the role a gun could potentially play in *literally* protecting her— or my— life, and trains to a level of competency, I not enthusiastically.

    I’m not saying guns saved my life, but they were certainly a strong player on the team that did.

    • A Ruger Super Blackhawk saved me from my coke addiction. I’d get to juking , take the gun out and “blow my blues away”. No money for drugs, it’s all going on ammo

  4. I call it “recoil therapy”.
    And if it’s on a Sunday, “church of the speeding bullet”

    • Services conducted at the

      “The Temple of Terminal Downrange Performance”…

      *snicker* 😉

    • If you go to the drgo website, you’ll see that this author has written several very good pieces explaining guns and gun owners to other doctors. One great one is even called, “A Pediatrician Explains the AR-15″…nice!

  5. Gee I just made love to my still gorgeous wife…are you guy’s tryin’ to claim shooting is just as good?!? I used to work out constantly so I can relate. Mebbe someday I’ll get high from guns😏

    • “…are you guy’s tryin’ to claim shooting is just as good?!?”

      Can you shoot that particular one over 10 hours straight? (Depending on ammo supply)

      Or does she want to take a break? 😉

      • Well, I’ve found that there’s a definite limit to barrel life. After a high round count, it begins to soften and droop, and you have to let it cool down for a while.

  6. Dr. LateBloomer,

    Kudos for a fantastic job conveying the healing aspects of getting out into the woods to hunt!

    I struggle to find the words to describe how it works. It is simply VERY good for the soul.

    I used to camp with friends and hunt every Fall. Unfortunately, none of those friends have been available for Fall camping in 10 years and I haven’t hunted in the Fall since 2015. I think I need to find new friends.

    • I’m retired now. My hunting buddies are all still working. So I solo hunt more these days. Did so today. Had a talk with a coyote just before sunrise. He was smarter than 99% of the folks I used to work with.

      Time out in the boonies is all good time.

      • Well I won’t go hunting with you Jake but I’ll go chasing weman.So put them hounds back in that pen and quit that silly grinnin

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