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my observation

Errington Thompson errington at erringtonthompson.com
Mon Dec 24 18:08:04 GMT 2012


I have watched this conversation unfold thru many discussion groups. I have read thoughtful and less than thoughtful suggestions and observations.

I'm guessing that Norman isn't familiar with the very popular video game series Need for Speed. You race super fast cars and avoid the police. As a matter of fact, you are supposed to cause the police car to spin out and crash in order to win the game. 

I think that we are missing a goal. What is our goal? If our goal is to stop all gun violence the US then I don't think that we can do that. In the 1990's my goal was to see less inner city kids coming in the ER shot up like they were on the battlefield. Now, my goal is to decrease innocent victims coming into the ER dead or dying from multiple gunshot wounds. 

I want killing to be harder. It shouldn't be easy to kill or injurer 5 or 10 people. 

Finally, I think as we about this issue we are not going to get rid of all of these types of killings. Let's remember CJ Whitman. He was the gunman who thought about killing tons of people. He was odd. He was stressed. His parents divorced 3 months earlier. He had "bad thoughts." He planned his attack. He bought his guns and ammo over a several day period. (he had a variety guns - handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic rifle and over 700 rounds of ammo) He went into the University of Texas tower.  He barricaded the door to make it hard for authorities to stop him once he started shooting. He had already killed his mother, wife and several others before he started shooting from the UT tower. He killed a 11 and wounded over 30. This was 1966. It was before video games. It was before most of the "reasons" for gun violence are given. 

My goal is to help make Newtown, Aurora (the second one not the first one) and UT shooting rare, very rare, very, very rare. 

Errington C. Thompson, MD
Trauma/Critical Care
Sent from my iPad

On Dec 22, 2012, at 12:22 PM, "Gross, Ronald" <Ronald.Gross at baystatehealth.org> wrote:

> Bravo, Norman - once again you have hit the nail on the head without having to fit your hammer with glasses!!
> 
> Ron
> 
> ________________________________________
> From: trauma-list-bounces at trauma.org [trauma-list-bounces at trauma.org] On Behalf Of McSwain, Norman E [nmcswai at tulane.edu]
> Sent: Saturday, December 22, 2012 11:47 AM
> To: Trauma-List [TRAUMA.ORG]
> Subject: my observation
> 
> I have an observation:
> 
> There are two components to address the problems of penetrating trauma and gunshot wounds:
> 
> 1) Access by a user to a product,
>        a) free access to the product, or
>        b) centralist (big brother) control of access
> 
> 2) Free will of the user to use the product
>        a) Responsible use of the product is OK
>        b) Irresponsible use of the product is bad
> 
> 
> The first is centralist control of access to any product; the second is free access but centralist control of misuse.
> 
> The automobile analogy does apply:
> 
> Most of us have autos and there is not centralist control of their purchase. These vehicles are used for work and play, but they can kill. Many people practice the use of their cars on a daily basis for enjoyment. The parents control the use of the vehicles of the children. There are rules about their use: Age, training, driving rules of the road, etc. In general automobiles are used responsibly. When there are violations of these rules, there is punishment even to the point of imprisonment of the auto driver. In most uses this is not needed because of the prior education. Education of the young user: as the children are learning about responsible use, there are no video games or model cars to teach how to kill with the auto. Rather the video games promote skilled use and consequences of irresponsible use
> 
> Compare this to the use of guns. Guns are bought and used for enjoyment and for food acquisition. Children are sometimes properly trained and sometimes not. There is some but not universal prevention of use of guns by those underage. Most guns are not key controlled as are cars. Education of the young user: Toy guns are available in most stores that shoot water, paint balls, pop corks or just look like guns so children taught to shoot at each other. There is no consequence of shooting others with the toy guns. Video games are very popular that also teach that there is no consequence of shooting others. Therefore children grow up and are taught that guns are fun and shooting others is OK. Then they use the same guns but different ammunition with a different outcome. And when they shoot someone with a real gun, there is frequently no consequence either. A major problem of gun use in the United States is the lack of consequence of irresponsible use. The result is that many peopl
> e use guns to kill or to attempt to kill  with reduced punishment.
> 
> Since the beginning of this discussion on this website, there has been concentration on the first part of the problem, which is centralist control of access. When I introduced the second part to the group yesterday it has been almost totally ignored. The centralist control of access has been the theme.
> In the United States we have proven that centralist control of access works poorly. Alcohol probation in the 1930's was a disaster and resulted in the development of an industry to  import and sell alcohol illegally, to those who wanted it. This centralist control of alcohol, was repealed as a failure but the crime industry remained. We called this the 'Mafia'. Other citizens not in those groups made lots of money as well.  Currently, the same approach is being used in the recreational drug industry and with the same result. There is no reason to believe the same outcome will not be associated with centralist gun control.
> 
> My observation:
> 
> Since in the United States there are more than 200 million guns available, it is impossible or next to impossible to remove all of these guns therefore the education and punishment for irresponsible use must be addressed.
> 
> However on this website, as in the governance of the United States, in the media and even in the movie industry, there is refusal to address the issue of a failed justice system and inappropriate education
> 
> Norman
> 
> Norman McSwain MD, FACS
> Professor of Surgery, Tulane University
> Trauma Director, Spirit of Charity Trauma Center, ILH
> Medical Director PreHosptial Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)
> 504 988 5111
> 
> 
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