(October 12, 2014)
I'm getting tired of liberals whining, "if only the Rethuglicans didn't block the funding the Centers for Disease Control could study gun violence and help put an end to it."I'm so grateful for this opening. I've been wanting to talk about the CDC and their campaign against private firearms ownership.
Several years ago (1993+), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) .. a federal agency ... experienced a Rite of Passage wherein their researchers were spending an inordinate amount of their time and efforts, not to mention (public) funding, railing against Gun Violence. They had tons (figuratively speaking) of comments about the injuries incurred upon the American Citizenry due to firearms injuries.
Well .. they're doctors, They can't help but be outraged (even though they are not Emergency Room First Responders, or whatever the terminology is) by the number of people who appear in hospitals all across America with Gunshot Wounds. You can't blame them for their societal concerns. Only for the way in which they misused their office to effect their personal goals.
You would have to be a callous person .. perhaps even an NRA member .. not to be appalled by the injuries which gun violence performs on Americans every single day. Of course .. firearms violence is no more driven by guns and inexpert firearm owners than crappy music is by guitars and singers with nasal blockages.
Gun Violence is to Violence as as Country Music is to Music ...Horrible. A bad influence, perhaps, but not the single driving cause of Badness.
And for those who really LIKE Country Music, I offer my apology; I think it sucks, but I'm not blogging against Buck Owens singing "I've Got A Tiger Tail It's Plain To See .. although I think somebody should. But that's just me.
Perhaps that's a better model than it seems. Just because you don't like Country Music, that doesn't necessarily mean that all music is bad.
And just because Gun Violence is horrible, that doesn't necessarily mean that Guns .. and the people who own them .. are also bad.
Somewhere, CDC got all confused about the cause, and the effects. They assumed that Guns were the progenitor of Violence.
Just as I think Country Music is the progenitor of Discord.
Maybe we were both wrong?
Well, I've learned to enjoy listening to Patsy Cline. And just because I cannot abide Buck Owens is no reason to tar all Country Music with the same brush.
But the CDC's attitude toward firearms is another story.
For one thing ... perhaps The Most Important Thing ... they are a Public Trust. That is, we pay them to protect us from Disease. You know? Like .. Ebola? We don't pay them to decide that a social situation that is also a Civil Right should be treated as if it were a disease.
The word "Disease" has a clear, well established definition: and that no more includes the free exercise of a Civil Right (eg: ownership of a firearm) than it does to exercise of a Privilege (eg: ownership of an automobile). .. both of which lead to thousands of deaths, annually. These deaths occur because of abuse, not because of the inherent utility of the right or the privilege, but because of the inherent lethality of both mechanisms.
[Liberals like to say that a firearm has only one purpose: to kill people. Based on the statistics, one would be inclined to say the same about automobiles. People say that automobiles have "a useful purpose": transportation. Realists might counter by saying that firearms have an even more 'useful purpose': Freedom. But that's a subject for another discussion.]
Getting back to the CDC:
These fine, well-educated, well intentioned folks took it upon themselves a few years (a couple of decades) ago to provide cherry-picked statistical 'facts' which proved (to their own satisfaction) that firearms were a blight upon society.
The provided reams of statistics which proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that firearms murdered thousands of people every year.
And their statics were correct ... thousands of people ARE murdered every year by firearms!
However, in their zeal, they neglected to document (as a famous New Reporter once considered important) :"The Rest Of The Story".
They forgot to consider the number of lives which were SAVED by firearms.
Not in the hands of the police, but in the hands of individual civilians.
So .. what about " ... if The Rethuglicans didn't block the funding the Centers for Disease Control"?
Set the WayBack machine to 2011: from the New York Times:
The reality is that even these ... basic questions cannot be fully answered, because not enough research has been done. And there is a reason for that. Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.From 2013:
“We’ve been stopped from answering the basic questions,” said Mark Rosenberg, former director of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was for about a decade the leading source of financing for firearms research.
Research on the prevention of firearm-related injury, supported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and coordinated within CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), has come under attack from Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) and the National Rifle Association (NRA). The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee initially rejected Rep. Dickey's attempt to eliminate the $2.6 million dedicated to CDC firearm-injury research. However, Mr. Dickey prevailed in the full Appropriations Committee. The Dickey amendment would transfer the $2.6 million to regional health education centers. This research has attracted a powerful and wealthy opponent — the NRA. The NRA has taken the position that firearm-related injury research at the CDC amounts to 'antigun' political advocacy and has also attacked the quality of this research. However, research proposals submitted to CDC are subject to a peer review process that follows standard practices. APA's Public Policy Office (PPO) has distributed accurate information to Congress on the nature of CDC-supported firearm-injury research and is advocating against the Dickey amendment.Also from 2013: CDC Ban on Gun Research Caused Lasting Damage
From 2012: "The ugly campaign by the NRA to shut down studies at the CDC."
In the 1990s, politicians backed by the NRA attacked researchers for publishing data on firearm research. For good measure, they also went after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for funding the research. According to the NRA, such science is not “legitimate.” To make sure federal agencies got the message, Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) sponsored an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget, the exact amount it had spent on firearms research the previous year.
(BTW, nobody stopped the CDC from researching "Gun Control" issues .. we just stopped giving them our hard-earned tax dollars to pay them to undermine the Second Amendment. Whoo-- EEE! You can't believe how quickly they shifted their attention to issues which did NOT undermine the constitution!)
(You may wish to search information on "kellerman", who famously announced that if you had a gun in your home, you were "43 times more likely" to be a victim. Here is one analysis of that decision.)
Other Research, Other Results:
.. don't much matter to Liberals, or to the CDC.
Kellerman was very popular for a while, with Liberals and with the CDC, because he was saying what they wanted to hear.
But Kellerman liked drug dealers who lived in 'bad neighborhoods', because they had guns and they got shot. A lot. So his 'research' results were biased, and have ultimately been rejected by reputable researchers. Also, most of his results (people shot) had nothing at ALL to do with whether or not a gun was kept in the home .. it usually was not involved in any subsequent shooting; only the criminal participation of the residents of the home seemed to be a factor.
All this happened about the time that the NRA got tired of mealy mouthed "studies" by other "researchers" ... some of them very reputable, on the surface, which surprisingly included the CDC.
Let's look at an article by the American Psychological Association (same link as above, and incidentally another anti-gun organization) from 2013: (Feel free to skip to the next headline, but here's the detail:)
In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an article by Arthur Kellerman and colleagues, “Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home,” which presented the results of research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide. The article concluded that rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance. Kellerman was affiliated at the time with the department of internal medicine at the University of Tennessee. He went on to positions at Emory University, and he currently holds the Paul O’Neill Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis at the RAND Corporation.
The 1993 NEJM article received considerable media attention, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) responded by campaigning for the elimination of the center that had funded the study, the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention. The center itself survived, but Congress included language in the 1996 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill (PDF, 2.4MB) for Fiscal Year 1997 that Referred to as the Dickey amendment after its author, former U.S. House Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), this language did not explicitly ban research on gun violence. However, Congress also took $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget — the amount the CDC had invested in firearm injury research the previous year — and earmarked the funds for prevention of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Kellerman stated in a December 2012 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Precisely what was or was not permitted under the clause was unclear. But no federal employee was willing to risk his or her career or the agency's funding to find out. Extramural support for firearm injury prevention research quickly dried up.IT'S ALL BS: STFU!
Okay, you don't want to read all that. Neither did I. Essentially ... Kellerman published in 1993, about the same time CDC started saying the same mealy mouthed BS. NRA got tired of reading unsubstantiated tripe from phony surveys, and asked the authors to put up or shut up.
Oh, and the term "Intimate Acquaintance"? That means that the 'victim', or a member of the household, was acquainted with the "doer". That doesn't mean they were friends, folks; it sometimes meant that they were rivals in the 'drug trade'. But who am I to criticize the output of scholarly research? Except: "Gun in the Home?" It may have never been a factor in violence or deaths in the home. It was just ... 'there'. A statistic, but not necessarily a significance. Perhaps still in the closet, gathering dust, when the 'owner' was gathering dust in the doorstep. Stupid Scientist Shithead, skewing statistics to suit his personal bias. We get a lot of that here. You can look it up.
Congress took a close look at the 'studies', and agreed.
The punch line? “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Wow. Even Congress had had enough of the bullshit! That's a first!
That's why the CDC has been prohibited, for 20+ years, from 'researching gun violence'.
In a nutshell: CDC had an agenda, had been promoting it for years. They were validating outside-source research that they didn't control, and accepting the published results without criticism .. because the results met their pre-conceived notions.
NRA called them on their unprofessional misconduct, Congress slapped them down, and they retreated back into the protected non-political motif where they excelled .. and which incidentally met their mandate: Center for DISEASE CONTROL!
And that, Children, is why the Center for Disease Control is no longer permitted to waste their time and our money searching for political solutions to what they consider a 'problem' which has absolutely nothing to do with "Disease" or "Control".
"People" say this is "A Bad Thing!"
Well .. those "people" are Liberals, who have never found anything wrong with governmental agencies spending OUR money while working to support THEIR Political Agenda.
(See this article from SALON [snicker] for a 'counter-argument' to the efforts by the NRA to prevent bias from governmental agencies to enter into the "Gun Control" movement.)