Gun statistics — Should they be tortured or gently cross-examined? by Miguel A. Faria, MD

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In a recent letter to the editor in The Telegraph (Macon), Mr. Colin Frayne began his letter by pointing out the need for “factual information” about guns. He cites the statistics that for 2016, “36,861 total annual deaths [were] from guns, of which 58 deaths were from terrorism.” And compares it to Japan, which allegedly had only one firearm death that same year. Statistics are not like pictures that tell a thousand words. They must be carefully analyzed. Unfortunately, in the hands of the mainstream liberal media, statistics are frequently tortured and made to confess to almost anything favoring the gun control agenda. That is why gun statistics must be carefully cross-examined in search for the truth.

Mr. Frayne cited the Financial Times for his data, but he could have cited CBS, NBC, ABC or CNN. They are parroting similar disinformation. For example, the purely propagandistic article, “How the US gun culture compares with the world in 5 charts — CNN (October 4, 2017) had previously propounded more or less the same data cited by Mr. Frayne.

However, unlike, Mr. Frayne — who did not tell the readers that of the 36,861 total annual deaths, two-thirds were suicides — CNN did. Most fellow gun prohibitionists have been following the lead of the mainstream liberal media, which have been claiming that the possession of so many guns in civilian hands in the U.S., is responsible for the high gun suicide rate. For the Democrats and their allies in the liberal press, the gun control arsenal must be replenished with suicide statistics because suicides outpace homicides every year by a 2:1 ratio.

The CNN article therefore further stated, “Gun-related suicides are eight times higher in the US than in other high-income nations.” But why select gun suicides? Why not compare the U.S. with other nations as to international suicide rates by all means? Fortunately, Mr. Frayne also mentioned Japan, which makes this lesson even more instructive. The latest figures (2015) show that Japan ranks 26th in International Suicide Rates; the Japanese commit suicide via hanging, suffocation, jumping in front of trains, and Hara-kiri at a rate of 19.7 per 100,000, much higher than the United States. Americans rank 48th and the rate is 14.3 per 100,000. Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, and many other European countries have higher rates of suicide than the U.S., and all of them have stricter gun laws. So obviously, worldwide, people use different cultural methods, guns, or whatever means they have available, to commit suicide, and they do so frequently at a higher rate than the U.S. But the liberal media chooses to cherry pick and compare the U.S. homicide and suicide “gun” rates with other countries to make America look bad. But one is just as dead from a gunshot as by a machete chop!

International Suicide Rates by CountryParroting CNN, the letter writer also stated, “Forty-two percent of civilian-owned guns around the world are in the U.S., which accounts for 4 percent of the global population.” This is a statistic difficult to come by. But assuming, it is true, it was American arms that also liberated Western Europe, beat the Nazis, and then protected the pusillanimous Europeans from the Soviet Bear during the cold war. American civilians even sent guns to Britain to arm the Home Guard (HG), the first line of defense against the Nazis. The HG was using pikes to prevent the Nazis from landing in England! The guns incidentally were never returned. The Europeans, in short, should be thanking God for the Americans on a daily basis, instead of decrying our “gun culture.”

As for the assertion, “Half of the 265 million guns in the U.S. are owned by 3 percent of U.S. adults.That’s an average of 17 guns each for individuals in this group.”  If the statement is correct, all it means is that 3% of Americans are serious gun collectors. If they were criminals we would not know about their possession. And as to gun ownership, even good citizens, with good reason, lie about their guns. They are afraid of common thieves as well as confiscation by legal predators. Researchers have found that gun surveys underestimate gun possession and gun usage by approximately 36%, which means, for example, that one-third of gun owners will deny gun ownership and even beneficial gun usage in surveys and polls.

International Homicide RatesLastly, echoing CNN, Mr. Frayne asserts, “The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 25.2 times higher than other high-income countries.” Notice the caveats, “gun homicides” and “high-income countries.” With gun homicides, the liberal media eliminate the competition from other countries where murders are committed, as with suicides, by whatever means available, from beating to death barehanded to swinging machetes, knifing, and whatever the murderous mind may conceive. “High income countries” means that most of the world doesn’t count. I must suppose that only the lives of wealthy (“high-income”) Europeans count and are worth comparing to the U.S. Why? Most of Africa, including North Africa; Latin America, including our next-door neighbor, Mexico and most of the Caribbean and Central America; and the Eurasian landmass, including Russia and Kazakhstan — have higher rates of homicides than the U.S. In Rwanda, the genocide of Tutsis by Hutus was mostly done with machetes. Liberals can get away with anything, but as a Hispanic I have for years resented this neglect of most of the world by the progressive gun-grabbers, and it is time that ethnic and geopolitical discrimination stops. All lives count, particularly when it comes to homicides — with or without guns — and the U.S. is nowhere near the top.

The CNN article claimed erroneously, “When it comes to gun massacres, the US is an anomaly. There are more public mass shootings in America than in any other country in the world.” Well, I have debunked those assertions elsewhere. As Gun Owners of America (GOA) has reported, France had more mass shootings in 2015 than there were mass shootings in America in all of Obama’s two terms. Besides, mass shootings account for less than 1 percent of murders in the U.S.

Are there any other gun statistics that need cross-examining?

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is an Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is  http://www.haciendapub.com.

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Gun statistics — Should they be tortured or gently cross-examined? HaciendaPublishing.com, October 17, 2017. Available from: http://www.haciendapublishing.com/articles/gun-statistics-%E2%80%94-shou...

Shorter versions of this article also appeared in GOPUSA.com & The Telegraph (Macon), October 17, 2017.

Copyright ©2017 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Dr. Wheeler & DRGO on MedPage!

MedPage Today: Interview of Dr. Timothy Wheeler — Firearms and Public Health: A Gun Owner's Perspective

Retired ENT Timothy Wheeler, MD, says much of organized medicine is on the wrong side of the issue of preventing hearing loss, supporting the public health initiative of opposing firearm suppressors.

2Adoc.com connects patients with MDs

2Adoc.com Will Connect Patients with Gun-Friendly Providers

Patients want to trust their provider to not make mistakes and to not lie to them. Unfortunately, when it comes to guns, medical organizations have not been living up to that expectation. Medical associations have been insinuating an anti-gun political agenda into the patient-doctor relationship for decades. Patients are routinely being asked about gun ownership. Worse, many physicians commit boundary violations by pressing anti-gun messages on patients.

Frankly, medicine has an institutional bias against guns. To counter this, DRGO has launched 2Adoc.com, a referral service that will connect patients with healthcare providers who respect their second amendment rights and who won’t engage in anti-gun activism in the patient exam room...

What will 2Adoc.com do?e

Free of charge to provider and patient, the service will provide, upon request, contact information for providers (in a requested specialty and location) who have signed up for the directory.

Who can/should sign up with 2Adoc.com?

All healthcare providers – allopathic physicians, osteopathic physicians, dentists, chiropractors, psychotherapists, psychologists, counselors, optometrists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, etc – who respect their patients’s right to privacy and to keep and bear arms are encouraged to sign up.

What benefit does 2Adoc.com bring?

The service will allow patients to find healthcare providers who won’t badger them or penalize them for owning firearms.
The service will allow providers to add patients to their practice.

What will 2Adoc.com not do?

The directory will not be published online or anywhere else.
The service will not verify provider credentials and licensing.
The service will not screen potential patients in any manner.
A full disclaimer is available at 2Adoc.com

DRGO invites all healthcare providers who respect Second Amendment rights to join 2Adoc.com . We hope soon to start connecting patients and providers. —Arthur Z Przebinda, MD is an imaging specialist in Southern California. He advocates for the Second Amendment in his state and nationally and since 2017 serves as DRGO’s Project Director.

Death by Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis? JAMA

Using the recent tragedy of the Las Vegas mass shooting, the public health establishment and the medical politicians of the AMA have gone on the warpath. Their goal is to have taxpayers fund biased politicized studies on gun violence and use science and medicine to implement the gun prohibitionist agenda. A November 14, 2017 Editorial “Death by Gun Violence—A Public Health Crisis” by Howard Bauchner, Frederick P. Rivara, et al makes, among many others, the following claims:

“Guns do not make individuals, their families, or homes safer and they result in far more deaths to loved ones than to an intruder intending to cause harm.” (“Protection or peril? an analysis of firearm-related deaths in the home” by Kellermann AL, Reay DT, published in the NEJM, 1986.)

“Means used to attempt suicide matter; guns will result in suicidal deaths well over 90% of the time, whereas ingestion of pills or wrist cutting will be unsuccessful more than 90% of the time.”

“Research on gun violence is important, although Congress over the last 2 decades has placed limits on that science from being conducted. This attempt to suppress research into gun violence resulted in a 64% decline in the number of firearm studies per million citations in SCOPUS between 1998 and 2012.”

It took 12 authors to write the editorial, including the lead author, JAMA’s editor in chief Howard Bauchner, MD, and yet there are so many inaccuracies and misleading points. There is sometimes false security in numbers. I’m only one but let’s take a crack at these three major points.

The first point has been thoroughly disproved directly in the criminology and sociologic literature by a number of investigators, including Dr. Edgar Suter, Prof. Gary Kleck, Prof. John R. Lott, as well substantiated by the seminal work of Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi.(1-5). Kellermann, the lead author cited, was defunded by the CDC because of these types of biased studies

In the second point the army of authors also disingenuously implied that the U.S. has a high suicide rate because of easy gun availability. Much of what they write here is superficially correct. It is true that a gun is a very effective method of suicide, but people in other countries kill themselves very effectively and at higher rates than the US using other methods. Obviously people determined to kill themselves try it again until many of them succeed. Otherwise, we would be the suicide capital of the world. We are not. As to corroborate this, the latest figures (2016) show that Japan ranks 26th in International Suicide Rates; the Japanese commit suicide via hanging, suffocation, jumping in front of trains, and Hara-kiri at a rate of 19.7 per 100,000, much higher than the United States.
Americans rank 48th and the rate is 14.3 per 100,000. Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, and many other European countries have higher rates of suicide than the U.S., and again all of them have stricter gun laws.(6,7) As long as there are ropes, knives, pesticides, trains, there will be suicides. Will we have to return to the stone age to stop suicides? Like it or not, guns are a constitutional right of Americans, supported by two Supreme Court decisions.

An here is the problem with the third point: Most of the investigations linking gun availability to violence by the public health establishment and propounded by the medical politicians of JAMA and the AMA, have been found, and shown to be biased, politicized studies conducted with pre-determined conclusions— which is why the CDC was restricted from conducting such gun studies that after close inspection could only be characterized as junk science. I was one of the four experts, who testified(9) to the Congressional Committee that led to the ban in 1996. It was and remains the correct step, as public policy should be based on sound scholarship with consideration of constitutional issues, not emotionalism and pseudoscience.(9-11)

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). Board Certified Neurological Surgeon (American Association of Neurological Surgeons); Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He was appointed and served at the behest of  President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-2005.

References available