Introduction --- "A Gun in the Home"
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.
The role of gun violence and street crime in the United States and the world is currently a subject of great debate among national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Because the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the individual right of American citizens to own private firearms, availability of firearms is greater in the U.S. than the rest of the world, except perhaps in Israel and Switzerland.
If the intent is to prevent mass shootings and other deadly acts, then gun control laws need to be eased not strengthened.
During the early 1970s, the PLO waged a nefarious war of terrorism against Israel that included attacking schoolchildren on playgrounds. A rampage of terrorist attacks culminated in the Maalot massacre, in which Arab terrorists, who had taken about 100 schoolchildren hostage, responded to an assault by Israeli rescue forces by blowing up explosives and firing upon their hapless victims, killing 25 people and wounding 66 others.
Recently, the media, including medical journalists in organized medicine (i.e., American Medical Association and affiliates) have focused their attention on the associations of violence in television, music, video games and movies to violent behavior in children and adolescents.
In Part I of this article, Politics or Science, we made some preliminary observations regarding the Harvard School of Public Health study published in the February 2002 issue of the Journal of Trauma.(1)
"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.