Thoughts About Guns

I think there a lot better places to read about viewpoints on mass shootings than my blog. I recommend you check out Dr. George Dawson’s post “Gun Extremism Not Mental Illness,” posted on May 31, 2022, then read the editorial in Scientific American, “The Science is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives,” posted on May 26, 2022.

I’m going to chime in mainly to show a few graphics I found which I think send a clear and simple message. Before I get to that, I just want to mention a few anecdotes to show how little hands-on experience I have with guns.

My earliest memory of any contact with firearms is in early childhood. My dad and a friend came home from a hunting trip with some rabbits for dinner for the family, which included my younger brother and my mother. I don’t know who cleaned or cooked them. I’m pretty sure my mom would not have had anything to do with them. I got my first taste and didn’t like it and said so to my dad. He introduced me to the word “gamey.” I didn’t know meat could taste gamey. The other thing I got from that meal was a mouthful of buckshot. I silently vowed I would never eat anything like it again while I lived.

My next encounter with guns was a YMCA program for kids to learn how to shoot. I might have been in my early teens, maybe even younger. We were given BB guns and instructed to do some target shooting. The paper bullseye targets were set up several yards away. I took many shots and collected my target to show the instructor.

I thought I hit it once and pointed to the hole. The instructor looked at it critically for a few seconds and then told me kindly that the hole was where the pin was stuck to fix the target to the wall. I never touched another gun.

Fast forward to when I was a third-year medical student getting through my clinical rotations at the University of Iowa. In 1991, a physics graduate student named Gang Lu shot and killed 6 people on campus including himself, wounded another rendering her paralyzed from the neck down, all apparently because he was not chosen to get an award for his dissertation. I remember feeling shocked when I read about it in the newspaper.

Now let’s move to some graphics I found at a website maintained by The University of Sydney, GunPolicydotorg, International firearm injury prevention and policy https://www.gunpolicy.org/. It makes it easy to put together comparison statistical graphics on things like gun violence. I compared the United States to New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Click the next few links in order to get the message. In my opinion, I think the last one is a consequence of the first few.

First

Second

Third

Last

I guess now it’s up to Congress. God help us all.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

One thought on “Thoughts About Guns”

  1. Thanks for the mention! That is also an interesting site. I tried to come up with a more gun permissive country at the first link and gave up after trying 5 countries that I thought had comparable firearm deaths. There was also an interesting comparison to Japan on 60 Minutes this week. It took one of the participants a year to qualify for a permit to use a restricted choice of firearms. As part of the approval process, the police can interview people you know to ask about any signs of erratic behavior or threatening behavior. Each time you run out of ammunition – you have to get police approval to buy more. A gun store owner thought that level of regulation was just about right. Japan has a vanishingly low rate of firearm homicide compared to the US (0.02/100K vs 4.12/100K

    Liked by 1 person

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