Ecologic studies are notorious for inherent errors of methodology, confounding variables, and magnifying other sample biases intrinsic to fault-prone, population-based epidemiological studies.
According to data from both USA Today and the FBI Supplementary Homicide Report, there are approximately 400 "felons" killed by police officers or "justifiable homicides" yearly in the US. In 2012, for example, there were 426 such homicides. These figures represent cases in which officers killing a suspect claim there was "an urgent safety need" for the shooting.
Charleston, SC, is dear to my heart, where in more peaceful and nostalgic times I attended medical school.
Reprinted with permission from Imprimis | January 2015 | Volume 44, Number 1
Jason L. Riley
Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal
Today we awakened to the dramatic headlines: "Ferguson Businesses Torched in Overnight Protests," "Ferguson Explodes Following Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict," "Ferguson Businesses Burned, Looted." A caption to one of the graphic photos of the burning inferno read: "Protesters take their pictures in front of the burning Juanita's Fashion R Boutique on West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis, Mo. early Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.
In his September 12 column, former mayor C. Jack Ellis remarks, "One might say Ferguson [MO] is a microcosm of Macon [GA] pre-2014, approximately 65 percent of the population is black with a poverty rate of approximately 25 percent. The unemployment rate of young black men hovers around 20 percent. And far too many of its citizens reside in public or subsidized housing." True, but whose fault is it? Opportunity is there for individual achievers; Asians, without “Asian-American” leaders, largely succeed.
In his three-part series on psychosurgery in America entitled "Violence, Mental Illness and the Brain," my friend, Dr. Miguel Faria, has written one of the best published summaries on the history of neurosurgical treatment of psychiatric disorders by selective sectioning or abolition of specific parts of the behavioral brain.
Abstract — In the final installment to this three-part, essay-editorial on psychosurgery, we relate the history of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in humans and glimpse the phenomenal body of work conducted by Dr. Jose Delgado at Yale University from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Abstract — Knowledge of neuroscience flourished during and in the wake of the era of frontal lobotomy, as a byproduct of psychosurgery in the late 1930s and 1940s, revealing fascinating neural pathways and neurophysiologic mechanisms of the limbic system for the formulation of emotions, memory, and human behavior. The creation of the Klüver‑Bucy syndrome in monkeys opened new horizons in the pursuit of knowledge in human behavior and neuropathology.
Abstract — Psychosurgery was developed early in human prehistory (trephination) as a need perhaps to alter aberrant behavior and treat mental illness. The “American Crowbar Case" provided an impetus to study the brain and human behavior. The frontal lobe syndrome was avidly studied. Frontal lobotomy was developed in the 1930s for the treatment of mental illness and to solve the pressing problem of overcrowding in mental institutions in an era when no other forms of effective treatment were available. Lobotomy popularized by Dr.
January 18, 2013
Research Europe Reporter: Hi Dr. Faria, I am a reporter for Research Europe, and I cover US research and science policy news. I am hoping to speak with you today because I am writing an article about the fact that President Obama has issued a memorandum directing the CDC and other scientific agencies to research the causes and prevention of gun violence, loosening the current restrictions on federal funding in that field.
Surgical Neurology International publishes a two-part series entitled "America, Guns, and Freedom: A Recapitulation of Liberty" and "Shooting Rampages, Mental Health, and the Sensationalization of Violence."
Open-access journal weighs in on the gun control debate from a neurological perspective
Abstract — Gun violence and, most recently, senseless shooting rampages continue to be sensitive and emotional points of debate in the American media and the political establishment. The United Nations is already set to commence discussing and approving its Small Arms Treaty in March 2013. And following the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy in the United States this past December, American legislators are working frantically to pass more stringent gun control laws in the U.S. Congress.
In the commentary "Guns, violence, and mental health," psychiatrist Dr. Richard Elliot agrees with President Obama that it is OK for physicians to intrusively ask patients about guns in the home, which, as a medical ethicist, he should know constitutes an unethical boundary violation,(1) not to mention makes physicians potentially effective snitches for the State against their own patients who have not necessarily expressed a threat to anyone.(2)
In Part I of this three-part series I laid out the background and general intentions of public health gun control activists in the early years of their campaign. In this part we relate the events that led to exposure of the Centers for Disease Control in its crucial roles.
That [public health researchers] prefer the term “gun violence” is revealing
of their mind set in approaching the problem, because it puts the emphasis
on guns and not on the humans who misuse them.
Dr. Timothy Wheeler, Director,
Doctors for Responsibie Gun Ownership (DRGO)
AJC Reporter (Questions): Hello — This is Craig Schneider with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution [AJC]. I am writing a story on the controversy surrounding gun-related research, and I would greatly appreciate if you would give me a call.
Dr. Miguel Faria (Answers): Hi Craig, I received your questions and have arranged them in a question and answer format for convenience.
"Violence in America — Effective Soutions" by Suter EA, Waters WC, Murray GB, et al. was originally published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, Volume 85, June 1995, pp 253-263 while Dr. Miguel A. Faria served as Editor-in-Chief of that medical journal. The following link is provided for readers who wish to read the entire article: http://rkba.org/research/suter/violence.html.
This outstanding book by a black American journalist for The Washington Post recounts the emotional and spiritual awakening of the author upon his fateful visit to his ancestral home, Africa. He vividly recounts his adventurers and journalistic travails on the Dark Continent, and finds he belongs happily and unregretfully in America. He thanks Providence for the fact his ancestors were brought to America, even as slaves, so that he could be born a free man in America. One of the most poignant scenes in the book sums it up.
The 1991 American Medical Association (AMA) campaign against domestic violence (and towards gun control) launched for public relations and media consumption went hand in hand with a previously articulated (1979) U.S. Public Health Service objective of complete eradication of handguns in America, beginning with a 25% reduction in the national inventory by the year 2000!(1)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published their annual death statistics. And, a funny thing happened on the way to the coroner's office: Gunshot business is down yet again.
"Overall, 30,708 people died of firearms in 1998, a 5 percent drop from 1997 and a 22 percent drop from the high of 39,595 in 1993. The age-adjusted death rate from firearms was 11.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 1998, a 7.4 percent drop from 12.2 in 1997 and down sharply from the high of 15.6 in 1993."
By now it is an all too familiar nightmare. Violent armed robbers take over a restaurant, terrorizing employees and customers. The predators herd the hapless victims into a refrigerator with the intention of killing them. Shots are fired, and the gruesome disaster ends.
Is America the most violent nation on earth? Those who blame this country for most of the ills of the world would have us believe so. They frequently refer to high rates of homicide and suicide, though they rarely cite actual data. But before fear impels us to shred the Bill of Rights, we should determine whether our fear has a factual basis.
I just finished reading Dr. David Stolinsky's article, "America: The Most Violent Nation?" in the November/December 2000 issue of the Medical Sentinel. It was breath-taking. I believe it to be the most concise, even-handed, erudite article I have ever read on the subject, and it should be reprinted in every newspaper in the country for the masses to assimilate and enjoy.
It's "a keeper" for all time, as so many articles in the Medical Sentinel are. Thank you.
Alan Berger, MD
The thought of violent death both fascinates and terrifies us, so it is understandable that homicide and suicide are the subjects of voluminous commentary. Regrettably, much of this commentary is based on emotion rather than reason, and it is propped up by incorrect "facts" that have been repeated so often that they have become widely accepted.
Gun Violence and Street Crime
It has been said that every epidemic begins with a single case report. A single case report, however, could just be an anecdote, and most "clusters" turn out to be statistical artifacts.
One can make two types of errors: Type A --- overreacting to a false alarm like Chicken Little; and Type B --- ignoring a sentinel event and behaving like an ostrich.
To limit the mortality and morbidity if there really is an epidemic, we must investigate case reports dispassionately, following the evidence wherever it leads --- even if we must dare to question some sacred cows.
Our country is rotting. It is sick with a disease so shocking
that we turn our faces from it in dread.
Increasingly, it is home to a class of citizens for whom
the most basic rules of social
organization have come unraveled.
Paved With Good Intentions
"There is a worrying trend in academic medicine which equates
statistics with science, and sophistication in quantitative procedure
with research excellence.
The corollary of this trend is a tendency to look for answers
to medical problems from people with expertise in mathematical manipulation
and information technology, rather than from people
with an understanding of disease and its causes.