When Public Health Officials Lie in the Service of Gun Control

By MarkPA

While waiting in my doctor’s office I chanced to pick up the November 2017 edition of Smithsonian magazine.  As a quasi-governmental entity, this journal speaks with more than a modicum of authority. John M. Barry, the author of “Journal of the Plague Year” writes of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 50 – 100 million people in 15 months. The history of that incident is well worth the read, but it’s not the part that struck me that day. 

Barry writes: “[I]n my view, the most important lesson from 1918 is to tell the truth.” [emphasis added] He concludes his article by reciting an example from a pandemic “war game” involving Los Angeles public health officials. After “. . . emphasi[zing] that to retain the public’s trust, authorities had to be candid. ‘You don’t manage the truth. You tell the truth.’  Everyone shook their heads in agreement.

As the exercises began, ‘a top-ranking public health official . . . [did] not actually . . . lie, but he had deliberately minimized the danger . . . he had, in short, shirked his duty to the public, risking countless lives. And, that was only a game.’”

By definition, public health officials are in thrall to governments. And the lessons of history emphasize that our governments will lie to us to promote their objectives, as they see them. In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information was inspired by an advisor who wrote: “Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms.  . . . The force of an idea lies in its inspirational value. It matters very little if it is true or false.”

And so, we are not surprised when Dr. Gary Kleck of Florida State University published, in February 2018, his discovery of three comprehensive Centers for Disease Control surveys in 1996 – 1998 including questions on Defensive Gun Uses. Kleck praised both the size of CDC’s samples and the wording of the DGU questions as “excellent”.

Nevertheless, “CDC never reported the results of those surveys, does not report on their website any estimates of DGU frequency, and does not even acknowledge that they ever asked about the topic in any of their surveys.” Why the cover-up?

Why, indeed? Because the CDC is institutionally committed to promoting gun control. To acknowledge that it has epidemiologically significant data on the benefits of civilian gun ownership would lead to public demand that it analyze such data and publish findings on the implications thereof. But, of course, to do so would undermine CDC’s institutional objectives—whatever might motivate those objectives.

Are gunshot wounds the source of a serious epidemic in mortality or morbidity in America or the world?  Seemingly, it must be so because public health officials spare no opportunity to say so. Are gunshot wounds a potential pandemic? If so, from what source? How might such a pandemic unfold? These are questions of tremendous importance from a public health perspective.

A surgeon necessarily concentrates on the patient lying on his operating table. An epidemiologist, by contrast, must look beyond individual trees to understand the forest of hospitals overflowing with victims of a pandemic.

Do guns in civilian hands threaten epidemic violence? Such guns are used to ill effect primarily in suicides, homicides and other armed violence, and, to a relatively trivial extent, accidents.

Michael D. Anestis explains in his book Guns and Suicide: An American Epidemic how difficult it is for a human being to bring himself to commit suicide. Dave Grossman, in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society details how difficult it is for militaries to train soldiers to shoot to kill the enemy.

Suffice it to say, individual human beings’ propensity to suicide and homicide are typically throttled psychologically. So much so that it is exceedingly unlikely that a gunshot epidemic could arise from civilians using guns, at least not in nations we regard as relatively civilized. (See Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined).

By no means can we discount the risk of shooting epidemics—even pandemics. This risk is thoroughly documented, thanks to a lifetime of work by R.J. Rummel, professor emeritus of the University of Hawaii. He authored two dozen nonfiction books and 100 peer reviewed professional articles. He coined the word “democide” for murder by government.

He counts the number of people killed by governments during the 20th century at 212 million. That is two to four times the toll of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, and five times as many as the mere 41 million who died in combat over the same century. Perhaps his most famous work was Death by Government. He summed-up his research in Power Kills.

We should ask: Why would the CDC ignore Rummel’s research on the pandemic of democide while devoting its efforts instead to civilian gun control? Why would the CDC suppress its findings of defensive gun uses by civilians?

The answer has been obvious since the 1990’s, much as since the founding of our nation. Public health officials are creatures of their governments, and governments do not ensure what is best for individuals.  So, people must think for themselves about how to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

A well-regulated militia may be necessary for the security of a free state. But the individual’s right to independent judgment and choice is necessary for the freedom of a secure state.


’MarkPA’ is trained in economics, a life-long gun owner, NRA Instructor and Massad Ayoob graduate. He is inspired by our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and holds that having the means to defend oneself and one’s community is vital to securing them.

This article was originally published at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission. 


  1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    Kudos, Dan!

    Well written article with valid references that we (POTG) can look up for our own edification.

    The CDC has a use and function…being shills to an un-Constitutional ideology is NOT one of them.

    My thanks to DRGO for their efforts on behalf of all of us.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      The Comintern also had a purpose (a similar purpose).

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        Are you saying that there is no need for an Agency to monitor and research existing and emerging disease threats in the U.S.?

        Exactly how do you relate the stated mission of a health agency to that of a political org promoting world revolution and Communism?

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          ” Agency to monitor and research existing and emerging disease threats in the U.S.” and free from a radical political agenda.

          Perhaps we should start such an agency?

        2. avatar Pg2 says:

          The CDC is literally an extension of the pharmaceutical industry. You’re dangerously naive if you believe the CDC has you or the public’s best interest at heart. Evidence shows very much the opposite.

        3. avatar Toni says:

          it is also rather eye opening to see how many of the higher ranks of the pharmaceutical industry end up with jobs in the CDC and visa versa as well. If that is not telling in and of itself given that many of these companies have limited liability if any of their drugs turns out to be killing people and they have regularly been prosecuted and fined because of dangerous drugs then i dont know what is. The CDC and Big Pharma dont give a GD about any of the public. They only care about profit, power and control.

        4. avatar pg2 says:

          Yep, revolving door between the CDC and high level pharma positions. Vaccines are the ONLY product sold in the USA that the government shields the manufacturer 100% from product liability. You cannot sue the vaccine companies if and when their products cause injury or death. That should make any reasonable person pause when they consider the motivation, or lack of motivation for the pharmaceutical companies to produce a safe product when they cannot be held liable.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Rather a contrast to the ongoing progtard/RINOs fetish with “messaging”

  2. avatar pg2 says:

    The CDC is a terminally corrupt agency.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      The Feral Government is terminally corrupt. (two letters deliberately left out to enhance accuracy)


  3. avatar former water walker says:

    Hmmm…I have 2 uncles who went to France and both contracted the Spanish Flu in 1918. Neither fought but were counted as veterans(one nearly died). Government exists to be self-perpetuated. They lie a lot. Deep state indeed…just saw Senator Orrin Hatch jabbering at the Kavanaugh hearing. He mentioned FOURTYTWO years he’s been there…I doubt he’s EVER brought up term limits!!!(it ain’t Dan-MarkPa).

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      my old man was on the dakota in 1918- maybe that’s why he never got the flu.

    2. avatar Gladius et Scutum says:

      Sen. Orrin Hatch’s first campaign for the Senate was run on a platform of term limits and often stated that long-serving Congressmen lose touch with their constituents. He is a Senator for Utah but has spent more time in Pittsburgh (where he was born and went to school) and DC (where he has ‘worked’ for 42 years) than he has ever spent in Utah. I’ve met him and he is probably the most vacuous person I have ever encountered in my life.

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    Pinker is wrong. It isn’t the better Angels that have caused organized violence to decline in developed countries it was nuclear weapons. Since the end of WWII more people have died as a result of war than died in WWII. Pinker and others who make the case for reduced violence simply ignore the effect of nuclear deterrence and discount the value of life in third world countries.

    Nassim Taleb makes the opposite case but he also wrong. War, especially before the advent of air delivered ordinance, did not directly affect many people. That is also more or less true in the modern age. A resident of Paris would not have noticed that the world was at war except the large number of uniformed German tourists.

  5. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms. . . . The force of an idea lies in its inspirational value. It matters very little if it is true or false.”

    This ^. A thousand times, this ^.

    Read it, learn it, understand it. The statement above is clear description of what POTG are up against, and why there is no profit in debating with the anti-gun crowd (or even the in betweens). Rather than teach/coach/ mentor those in the fallow fields, we need to inspire the “100 million” to pay attention, become active, and vote away the gun controllers

    Inspire the high potential market, not twiddle with the “never” crowd.

  6. avatar Mad Max says:

    “Do guns in civilian hands threaten epidemic violence?”

    If the government tries to take them, Absolutely!

    Molon Labe!

  7. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

    “he had, in short, shirked his duty to the public, risking countless lives. And, that was only a game.’”

    I know people who play this game. They work for the DHS. They travel from DC to Austin often. They have to be babysat like toddlers.

    Not kidding.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Homeland Security or Human Services?

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        Homeland Security

  8. avatar Tim says:

    Why is that man in the red shirt eating a baby? Not that there’s anything wrong with that – just curious.

  9. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    The pandemic can be laid at the feet of Americas first regressive President, Woodrow Wilson. His action to sent troops across America only aided in is spread and death toll.

  10. avatar Just Sayin says:

    “…thoroughly documented, thanks to a lifetime of work by R.J. Rummel, professor emeritus of the University of Hawaii. He authored two dozen nonfiction books and 100 peer reviewed professional articles. He coined the word “democide” for murder by government.”
    Precise, concise, to the point.
    And THAT is the reason why we have a 2A in the first place. Written by our Founding Fathers and now backed up by current research.

    I would like to expand on this literary conjecture and add another term…
    Democidehole. For those of you that deserve this moniker… “If the shoe fits…”

    Molon labe !!

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Great read.

  12. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    “And the lessons of history emphasize that our governments will lie to us to promote their objectives . . .”

    And the new term for this is “behavioral economics”. Progressives are convinced that, as individuals, people should not be allowed to make critical decisions for themselves. They should, instead, be “nudged” and then coerced into making “good” decisions by having their incentives manipulated. The social media giants are doing this right now. China, not surprisingly, is doing it on a giant scale. Google is a subcontractor for the Chinese effort at mass control.

    1. avatar Pg2 says:

      You have multiple posters/readers here who preach full government control over an individuals health care choices. The communism isn’t isolated to China, North Korea et al, it’s alive and well here also.

  13. avatar Southern Cross says:

    If firearms death is a pandemic, the infected areas need to be put on strict quarantine.

    However the Chicago political machine may object.

  14. avatar Pg2 says:

    When you hear an authoritative body preaching public health, it’s very likely they’re in the process of attacking your rights.

  15. avatar Ark says:

    The “public health” framing is, and has always been, an end run around the Constitution and our rights. In the name of “public health”, you can violate the individual’s rights to your heart’s content.

  16. avatar Rock56 says:

    Start leaving your old American Rifleman mags in Dr. office. Public service.

  17. avatar joefoam says:

    When the suicide death toll by gun is twice the amount of all shootings it surely would point to a crises in mental health, not gun violence.

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