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Gun Violence A Public Health Emergency

November 19, 2018

After the American College of Physicians recently adopted a policy position calling gun violence what it is, “a public health crisis” that “requires the nation’s immediate attention,” the National Rifle Association doubled down on the arrogance that helped to create the crisis. In a tweet, the organization declared: “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves.” Well, themselves and the thousands of people, including a high percentage of children, from whom they extract bullets. In her own tweet, Bronx trauma surgeon Dr. Marianne Haughey wrote; “I see no one from the @nra next to me in the trauma bay as I have cared for victims of gun violence for the past 25 years. THAT must be MY lane. COME INTO MY LANE. Tell one mother her child is dead with me, then we can talk.” Dr. Christine Laine, editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine, told The New York Times that the journal “is not anti-gun; we are anti-bullet holes in people. And if we are biased, the bias is toward counseling our patients to reduce their risk of firearm injury and toward evidence-based solutions to the public health crisis that firearm injury has become.” The 154,000 members of the American College of Physicians who are not intimidated by the gun lobby should be an example for weak-kneed politicians who continue to offer “thoughts and prayers” to victims while doing nothing about the crisis that the doctors have identified. They should begin by not just authorizing but mandating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine rampant gun violence as a public health emergency.

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