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From: Jon Templeman
Received: Sept. 27
Guns and modern medicine, how are they the same? Both serve a vital purpose in our society yet have the potential to cause great harm. Unfortunately, many citizens are forgetting or ignoring the benefits of guns. They are not able to separate emotion from logic when confronting this issue due to the emotional attachment of seeing senseless acts of violence in the news.
As a nurse and gun enthusiast, I believe it’s high time we acknowledge the abandonment of logic in the discussion of gun violence.
In health care, we must evaluate whether any medicine or treatment poses more of a benefit than a risk to the patient. This risk-benefit analysis is vital to ensuring that we honor our creed to do no harm. Sadly, even with all our modern medical technologies, sometimes harm is done. As evidenced by the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there were 98,987 deaths in 2002 due to hospital-acquired infections.
This number is alarming, and if one were to focus on this statistic alone, they might urge those around them to avoid hospital admissions. What this statistic doesn’t show, however, is that tens of millions of people are admitted to hospitals every year without suffering a life-ending infection.
That same year, the CDC reported 30,242 deaths at the end of a gun barrel. Again, what this statistic doesn’t show is the countless number of Americans who benefit from guns. Many citizens are able to prevent themselves from becoming a victim without ever firing a round. Guns allow a 100-pound woman to defend herself against an attacker or an elderly person from a home invader. Guns provide much more of a benefit than a risk when you separate emotion from logic.
There were over three times more deaths in 2002 related to hospital-acquired infections than guns, but you don’t see the politicians, mass media or concerned moms of America pushing to close hospitals. Why is that? It is because we all understand that the benefit of modern medicine vastly outweighs the low statistical risk. Why is it that so many Americans focus on the positive in regard to modern medicine but can’t help but focus on the negative when it comes to guns? Another thing to consider is that the statistics don’t account for other diseases each patient may have had that put them at higher risk of dying from their infection. In the same way, gun death statistics don’t account for broken families, criminal behavior, mental illness, etc.
Loss of life for any reason is tragic, but we must remain rooted in logic when discussing solutions, even with guns. This is done every day in health care, as evidenced by chart audits, staff education and visits from regulatory agencies, to name a few. Some would argue that government regulation of health care and guns is one and the same, but they would be wrong. They believe that the wording “well regulated” in the Second Amendment means our government can impose law after law to limit our right to bear arms.
Supreme Court Justice Scalia touched on this in the case of D.C. vs. Heller when he stated, “The adjective ‘well-regulated’ implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training.” Our government should be providing resources for education and proper training in the field of firearms, not making laws that limit the ability for one to defend themselves.
The government doesn’t put up “cancer free zone” signs in hospitals even though millions die of cancer, because they use logic rather than emotion to dictate how they respond. It’s high time we the people demand they do the same with guns.
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