Not one little bit.

“So do something fast,” said the fish.
“Do you hear?
I saw her. Your mother!
Your mother is near!
As fast as you can, think of something to do!
You will have to get rid of Thing One and Thing Two!”

Dr Seuss

This guy, the Fish in the Pot, is the buzzkill of one my favorite children’s book. He knows that Cat In The Hat should not be in the house while the kids’ mother is out. He knows Thing One and Thing Two are nothing but trouble. He knows Mother’s new dress should not be flown like a kite down the hallways.

Although risk-averse, he is the voice of reason in the story. Limited by his biology, he can do nothing more than try to get the people to understand the gravity of the situation. To get them to act.

——–

If you define “mass shooting” as an incident in which at least 4 people are wounded or killed, there have been 353 mass shootings in the United States this year. To put that in perspective:

 

ndgt

 

I reject the notion that this is an acceptable price of freedom.

I reject the notion that the Second Amendment trumps all else.

I reject the perversion of some gun advocates. More guns are not the answer because this isn’t a Hollywood movie. Mass shootings begin and end in a few minutes. There is no evidence that shooters target “gun free zones.” And as an Oregon good guy with a gun expressed, knowing the police were involved, there was no way he was going to pull out his gun because it might make him a target for police. No white hats vs. black hats in the fog of reality.

I reject this created dichotomy between mental health access and gun control. This is not an either/or scenario. However, I would like to know what our leaders who espouse one or the other have done to further solutions.

I reject the notion that we’ve gone too far down the road to make changes.  Jon Stewart, in his final monologue on The Daily Show, categorized the impediments to progress and described this one perfectly.

And finally, finally, it’s the bullshit of infinite possibility.These bullshitters cover their unwillingness to act under the guise of unending inquiry. We can’t do anything because we don’t yet know everything. (emphasis mine)

Interestingly, we don’t know more about gun violence because of Congress. Dr. David Livingston describes the problem in an interview with Robert Siegal on NPR. He has studied gun violence in Newark, NJ and notes that over a 12 year period, gun shots have gotten more lethal. Siegel asked why.

Well, that’s a little unclear, and we really don’t understand that. In fact, trauma center care has resulted in a decrease in death and morbidity around the country with all forms of injury except for firearm violence. It’s a little hard to understand whether it’s higher magazines within a gun. Is it more shooters per event? Is there some other factors we don’t know? This is a great problem in data and a lack of data sharing between, for example, health and law enforcement.

The next question from Siegel was prefaced with this statement: “Yesterday, a doctor’s group, Doctors for America, coincidentally petitioned Congress to lift the ban on gun research.”

Wait, what? Congress has BANNED GUN RESEARCH?

I did a little digging and this concerns research by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease control and the classifying of gun violence as a public health crisis. This week, more than 2,000 doctors signed a petition to address this issue. From their press release:

In 1996, under intense pressure from the gun lobby, Congress added an amendment to an appropriations bill that effectively blocked the CDC from carrying out the necessary research to better understand how to prevent gun violence. In addition to the ban, Congress also cut funding for gun violence research and, in 2011, extended the research restriction to the NIH. The result of these actions has had a chilling effect on gun violence research.

Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), the author, has stated repeatedly that he regrets offering the amendment and thinks it should be repealed. Despite Rep. Dickey’s comments and President Obama’s executive action in 2013 directing the CDC to resume gun violence research, Congress has provided no funding, and the restrictive language remains in place.

It’s a good game being run by our lawmakers. We don’t know enough to take action. We won’t learn anymore because we won’t fund research. End of discussion.

This is America. We haven’t gotten to the top of our game by being the Fish in the Pot. We innovate, we care for each other, collaborate.

We don’t give up.

In my next post, I’ll highlight some great ideas I’ve read this year to begin to address this abomination.