NRA Tells Anti-Gun Doctors to Mind Their Own Business

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Anti-gun doctors across the country have embroiled themselves in a social media feud with the National Rifle Association after the gun-rights group suggested they might be more comfortable minding their own business and staying out of the gun debate.

The provocative suggestion came on the heels of a paper produced by the American College of Physicians, which was published at the end of October. In it, the ACP officially recommended “a public health approach to firearms-related violence and the prevention of firearm injuries and deaths.” They insisted that those in the medical profession have a “special responsibility” to speak out against gun violence and support “appropriate regulation of the purchase of legal firearms.”

The NRA responded to the paper’s publication with an editorial accusing the ACP of producing a list of recommendations that “reflects every anti-gunner’s public policy wish list, save for the outsized role given to doctors.”

This led to the Tweet That Started It All on November 7.

“Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” wrote the NRA. “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.”

Probably this tweet was designed to get a reaction, and get a reaction it did. Now Twitter is exploding with gruesome emergency-room pictures and sordid tales of gunshot-wound triage as doctors make viral the hashtag #ThisIsOurLane.

The Washington Post illuminated some of the highlights:

“Do you have any idea how many bullets I pull out of corpses weekly? This isn’t just my lane,” she tweeted Friday. “It’s my [expletive] highway.”

“I have Two Words for you Hell No! #Hell No for #ThousandOaks #Hell No for all black men that die & no one hears about it. #Hell No for all those that we still may be able to save,” Sakran wrote.

“Let me mention lifetimes in wheelchairs with SCI [spinal cord injury],” Bell wrote, “useless arms from brachial plexus destruction, colostomies from belly destruction and years of dependence with TBI [traumatic brain injury].”

And so on.

The doctors make a point, we suppose, and it’s probably as good a time as any to remind every American that the ugly truth of violence is often much more disturbing and pervasive than you would know from watching the news.

But a firsthand look at the results of violence – gun-related or otherwise – does not give you any special insight into what should be done, legislatively, about the problem. Indeed, one could make the argument that these doctors are too close to the issue to think rationally about its solutions. There’s a reason that juries are not filled with people who were victimized by the same crime.

No one in politics is “pro-gun-violence.” We all want to see these shootings end, or at least see them curtailed. Jockeying desperately for the ethical high ground is not going to get us any closer to that future.