Monday 13 June 2016


What can I really say.  I mean really, what can I say that hasn't already been said.  Though this tragedy was far from me, the impact is truly global.  Add Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv, innumerable attacks in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, and all the other recent (and not so recent) attacks, and it's enough to make me want to cry.

I've stayed notably silent through these tragedies.  What else can I do?  Offer prayers?  Say that my heart goes out to the victims?  Offer condolences to people I don't know?  Say that my thoughts are with them?  Change my Facebook profile picture?

Anyone can do those things, and none of them actually accomplishes anything.  Would I feel comforted by strangers offering me condolences if I were affected by such an event?  I don't know.  I honestly don't.  I hope I never discover the answer to that question.

All I can do is express my heartfelt gratitude to the trauma teams, each and every one of them.  I do not just mean the trauma surgeons, though we are the ones who tend to get what little thanks there is.  I'm also talking about the nurses, technicians, X-ray techs, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, respiratory therapists, anaesthesiologists, radiologists, OR staff, recovery room staff, ward staff, physical therapists, and janitors whose job it is to clean up the mess that we make.  Every single person has a vital role whether they know it or not, whether they get acknowledged or not, and whether they get appreciated or not.  Ultimately it may be the trauma surgeon's name on the patient's chart, but we all have a role, and all of those roles are vital in some way.

Though my brain knows it will not be useful, my heart hurts, and I grieve.

I grieve.


  1. I was thinking about that when I heard the news. Over 50 wounded on a saturday night... the ERs must have been unbelievable.

  2. I'm so heartsick over this. And so furious, as an American, that this keeps happening here more than anywhere else because we can't and we won't get our shit together to make changes and prevent this.

    It's so sad that no amount of death will stop the political fighting. It's so sad that we cannot trust any place to be safe because it is too easy for the ugly in the world to run rampant.

    I'm so sad for Orlando.

  3. It's sad that people are so closed minded. It's sad that people have to lose their lives because of that closed-mindedness. It's terrible that people are actually applauding the shooter(s) for doing what they did too. And what's worse is that people like myself are now even more afraid to go out and must fear even more for our safety.
    All those people... Just gone. It's almost as if this is just a bad dream that I haven't gotten up from. And I wish it were.

  4. Dear Doc,

    If you are practicing here in the states, You Absolutely Can & Should Speak Out! precisely because you are a Trauma Surgeon & gun violence is a major healthcare crisis in America. Maybe if the public perceived it that way instead of looking as it as a gun rights issue or a personal freedom issue, things would change. Instead of interviewing the local chief of police or some FBI spokesperson or POTUS, they should put the Trauma Surgeons in front of the tv cameras, along with graphic video footage showing what those victims in Orlando looked like when they arrived at the ER. Let the doctors who have to play Humpty Dumpty after all these shootings get on the news & describe what it took to save the victims they were able to bring back from death. Let them detail all the future health problems -- blindness, a colostomy bag, an arm or leg that no longer works, a hand shot off when someone was trying to protect their face -- that those "lucky" survivors will face from the damage that an assault weapon did to their bodies. Maybe THAT would wake people up.

    Doc Bastard, I need YOU & doctors like you to be the frontline spokespersons on this, because I'm just an ordinary colored girl that no one gives a shit about. Fireman, Nurses & Doctors -- those are the only universally-recognized heroes we have left in this country. Everyone listens when a doctor speaks, regardless of that doctor's race or gender. So DB, I need YOU need to speak up for me. I need YOU to be my voice & the voice for all other Regular Janes & Joes that the politicians don't pay attention to except to harvest Black votes with empty promises come election time.

    I've been fighting gun violence & trying to change the gun laws for 31 years, along with lots of other people, but we can't win. Even though 58% of Americans support a federal ban on assault weapons, we can't win. I have even donated my personal funds to politicians in the past who supported gun control laws, but we can't win. Because corporate bribery of politicians in Washington is perfectly legal & the NRA has so many members of Congress in it's pocket.

    DB, if you are living & practicing abroad in a city where you deal with GSW patients, even better -- then no one here can accuse you of being politically motivated by telling Americans to wake the fuck up & ban assault weapons once & for all, NOW. So speak up, loud & clear, in whatever forums are available to you. Go public & put your name & face on the problem if you have to deal with saving gun shot victims.

    (cont'd below)


    1. It's obvious that I am incandescent about the Orlando massacre, but what's not obvious is that this type of gun violence is personal for me. I have serious insomnia, but I happened to be sleeping soundly when my younger brother called me in the middle of last night & told me turn on my tv, "There's been another terrorist attack." My first thought was planes flying into buildings again, but I saw fron the news reports that it was another mass shooting. News reports like that sometimes give my brother flashbacks. Back in 1985, when Michael Jordan was the biggest athlete on the planet, the Air Jordan sneaker first hit the market. Everyone wanted a pair. My brother had acquired a pair & rocked them proudly, but only on the weekends. I was living with him & his friend in Brooklyn at the time. He'd gone into Manhattan to hang with his friends & was about to catch the A train home when someone rolled up on him to jack his Jordans. He's always said that he tried to talk his way out of it but didn't resist. He ended up with no sneakers, a bullet in his chest & another in his abdomen. Thankfully, he was shot with a Glock, not an AR-15 like the Orlando victims. His only saving grace was that he was shot just a few blocks away from Columbia-Presbyterian, the best hospital in NYC at that time. A Trauma Surgeon managed to remove the bullet from his pericardium & another from his intestines, patch him up & eventually return him home to us. I still remember the surgeon's name. He's going to retire later this year, but he has & will continue to get a thank you card from my family every summer.

      And let us not forget that less than 24 hrs. before the shooting at Pusle, Christina Grimmie, the 22-year-old singer who came to fame on the tv show The Voice, was shot at a meet-&-greet after a concert, also in Orlando.

      After years of annual donations from the NRA, Florida's politicians continue to allow assault weapons to be sold in that state. Is Orlando the new Fallujah?

      So at the risk of pissing off all you nice folks & our host DB, I have to use this platform to address the elephant in the room & say that YOU WHITEFOLKS NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS ASSAULT WEAPONS PROBLEM NOW, TODAY. NO MORE EXCUSES! AND YES, THIS IS A WHITETOLKS' PROBLEM BECAUSE EVERY GUN MANUFACTURER ON EARTH IS OWNED & OPERATED BY WHITE MEN.

      Sure, African-Americans buy guns & use them to kill each other far more often than we ever kill any of you -- but WE are not the ones making those guns. All the guns on this planet are are made by companies that are run & owned by Whites - period. Africa, a continent of 54 different countries, has an ugly history of civil wars & genocides that took place in nations under Black leadership. But the guns used in those massacres & wars were not made in any African country. There are no weapons manufacturers in Africa.

      Wanna know who the top 5 gun manufacturers are? Here ya go:
      1. SMITH & WESSON - USA - founded 1852. Annual revenue: $587 million.
      2. BERETTA - Italy - founded 1526. Annual revenue: $450 million.
      3. GLOCK - Austria - founded 1963. Annual revenue: $420 million.
      4. HECKLER & KOCH - Germany - founded 1948. Annual revenue: $240 million.
      5. Colt - USA - founded 1855. Annual revenue: $122 million. Colt was the first company to make the AR-15 assault rifle that was used in the Pulse nightclub shooting.

      Notice that 2 of the top 5 gun makers are American companies. Notice also that there are no 3rd world companies on that list. Because the White people running the world make damn sure than non-White nations aren't manufacturing guns!

      (cont'd below)

    2. And before you write me off as another Angry Black Woman who blames White people for everything, think about this: In the late 1980s-early 1990s when gun violence was rampant in inner-city neighborhoods, when little girls asleep in their bedrooms were getting shot by stray bullets, most Whites didn't give shit about Black deaths from gun violence. I remember Ted Koppel leading a televised Town Hall Meeting during that era that got a lot of press coverage. But nothing changed afterwards because it was Black people shooting other Black people, so why would mainstream America care about that?

      Then in April 1999 the Columbine shooting happened. Two affluent White boys with Hi-Point 9mm carbines with 10-round magazines slaughtered 13 of their fellow h.s. students. And I said "This is an atrocity, but it's also a game-changer. This was affluent white kids killing other affluent Whites h.s. kids & their parents will be incensed. They will let the politicians know that they answer to their constituents, NOT the NRA. They will use their money & influence to change the guns laws & ban assault weapons nationwide."

      [NOTE: The federal assault weapons ban that Pres. Clinton signed in 1994 expired in 2004. Several attempts in Congress to renew the ban failed. But even that was a half-assed measure -- it banned the
      "manufacture, transfer & possession of semi-automatic assault weapons EXCEPT FOR those already in lawful possession at the time of the law's enactment". So the ban didn't stop Dylan Klebold & Eric Harris from buying pre-owned assault weapons online. And to this day, assault rifles are legal in Colorado except in the city of Denver. Which means except for Denver, White people in Colorado feel their right to own a weapon of mass destruction supercedes the right of their neighbor's teenager, or their own, to not be blown to bits by an assault weapon that was made for military use.]

      Time passed after Columbine. Petitions were signed, speeches we made. Nothing changed. Since then, Colorado has managed to legalize marijuana but it won't criminalize assault weapons? That is just bat-shit crazy. (cont'd)

    3. Then in Dec. 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother at their home in Newton, CT, then went to Sandy Hook elementary school & slaughtered 20 children under the age of 8. Babies. Children still young enough that you'd pick them up & carry them if they got tired while you were walking through the mall. And then I said "Okay, THIS Is It! Nothing is worse than the murder of little children. And this is a rich, East coast enclave & these parents have political savvy & plenty of money. The will make sure this never happens again!"

      I was sure it would be like Australia in 1996, when that nut job used a semi-automatic assault rifle to kill 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Two weeks later, the Aussie gov't passed an assault weapons ban. And yes, I know they don't have a Bill of Rights or a centralized gov't there, so the change in the gun laws had to be ratified by each Aussie state. But they ratified the ban in every state within a year of the massacre. And Australia hasn't had a mass-shooting since then.

      White people can come together & create swift, meaningful political change when you want to. Y'all did it with MADD & the drunk driving laws. Y'all did it with gay marriage. You raised the legal age to drink or smoke to 21 (but still let 18-yr-olds enlist in the military?). All of that was done to protect the lives of your precious young people. I know black & brown young people aren't worth much to most of you, which is fine. I don't need you to love me or the folks who look like me. If y'all are mad now & Doc bans me from the site for my remarks, so be it. Happily, as of Friday I will be on holiday in another country for a month with on internet access. If I return & find that I can't hang out here anymore, I will miss this place & what I've learned here.

      But before I go, someone needs to tell you that this entire country needs for Whitefolks to decide to Love Your Own Children More Than You Love Your Guns - Period. Your Children's Right To Grow Up Should Matter More To You Than Your Right To Have An Assault Weapon. I don't care how pro-gun you are, You All KNOW That Assault Weapons Are Made For One Thing -- Committing Mass Murder During Warfare. They Have No Business In People's Homes.

      You are the ones the politicians work for & listen to, not the rest of us. So please White people, get organized & get assault weapons banned. So this nation won't have to keep living through these massacres.

    4. RC, may I recommend you get in touch with Rene Najera at

      He's an epidemiologist working on the violence problem in Baltimore and doing a PhD in epidemiology regarding social pressure; something which I'm intimately knowledgeable in (being autistic, I do have a lot of social pressure to the breaking point). I am among the people who will proofread his thesis.

    5. Alain -- I checked out the sight, but I don't see anything that Rene Najera could possibly do to help me or this effort. Nor can I help him - that's a scientific study website. I majored in English & American Lit & Language. I really don't do science beyond what it takes to smoke bacon, make kimchi or brew beer.

      We don't need more damn studies -- everybody knows what assault weapons do! All of us Blacks & Latinos & Gays & other marginalized folks who've been getting killed on the regular, we've been fighting gun voilence for DECADES & failing. Now, we need the people with the power to create change to deal with this.

      It's time for the privileged class to step up. All the Kennedy grandchildren, the Schriver-Schwarzenegger kids, Chelsea Clinton, the Bush daughters, Arthur Sulzberger's grandchildren, Zuckerberg, Gates, Tim Cook, the Bush girls, Joe Biden's kids, everyone in Hollywood you've ever spent a dime to see -- it's their turn now. Even dumb twits like Kim & Kanye, who turn my stomach, but if THEY got on Twitter & told all their followers to contact their Senators & Congressman & insist they vote for a complete assault weapons ban, it would be a done deal by Labor Day.

      Citizens United & the general consolidation of power & money in politics over the last 30 years has left the rest of us out-classed on the assault weapons issue. It's the 21st century -- power & the money that breeds power, is deeply entrenched & intractable. Now, we have to get the powerful to fight The Powers That Be.

    6. "NOTE: The federal assault weapons ban that Pres. Clinton signed in 1994 expired in 2004. Several attempts in Congress to renew the ban failed. But even that was a half-assed measure -- it banned the
      "manufacture, transfer & possession of semi-automatic assault weapons EXCEPT FOR those already in lawful possession at the time of the law's enactment".

      Due to ex post facto law in the United States, you can't retroactively punish people for things that used to be legal. This is why rich people stocked up on alcohol before the prohibition, it only banned the selling and purchasing of alcohol, not the actual consumption. At this point in the US, it's impossible to ban the ownership of assaut weapons, just the sale and purchase. This goes for all items that are made illegal; if the items are in the lawful possession of someone before the ban those items are not illegal to own.

    7. It is wonderful to see how rampant misinformation, ignorance (and outright lies) about gun violence and the gun industry is in the US today...

  5. my department will be doing part II of our annual round of active shooter exercises. this is the first year we've focused on patient recovery. normally, the focus is on finding and neutralizing the shooter. now expeditious patient recovery is becoming an awareness item.

  6. since you missed the opportunity to comment on the blogger on the apnea topic, here is the blog on the Orlando topic. post quick, because I'm sure the comment section will be closed once she figures out people are calling out her hypocrisy.


    2. Here is my favourite line from that blog (in regards to the "gayification" of Orlando): "How did we normal people ever let this happen?"

      I'm assuming by "we" she means "we people who hate others who are unlike us".

    3. Apparently it is all Walt Disney's fault.

    4. Wow, my initial thoughts included "why did I just start my day reading that garbage?" But we're immediately replaced with "I needed that, we all need to see the hate that truly exists behind keyboards and all-to-often emerges beyond, to take action. We the people of Newtown know this all too well; there's even a name for the people who plague our town physically and electronically, with death threats and physical attacks on grieving family members, they are self-proclaimed "truthers," but in reality are the furthest thing from it.

    5. I find the accusation that Newtown was a false flag act to be a grave insult and I'm across the country from Newtown.

      (typo correction)

  7. I originally come from a state where practically everyone hunts, and my family was one of the few I knew that didn't have a gun or guns. If people want to hunt, hey, I'm fine with that.

    All I can say is that one Disney movie with cute deer in it has made legions of deer-and-tick overrun suburbanites raise all holy hell about "killing Bambi." Meanwhile, any proposal to ban these assault weapons, the only use for which is to hunt PEOPLE, causes all holy hell to break out about the "right" to...what, hunt people??

    RC may be onto something. Maybe you trauma surgeons (and first responders!) can somehow help make the seemingly endless victims like Bambi. Then perhaps people will get it.

  8. Anne, does anyone you know hunt deer with an AR-15? Of course not! BAMBI has nothing to do with what happened in Orlando. My cure for deer ticks? Stay the hell out of the woods & forests. Granted, I'm a beach bum, so that's no sacrifice for me. But shooting deer doesn't kill the ticks. They drop off the carcass & find a new host -- mice carry them as much as deer do.

    I have no problem with people shooting animals they intend to eat. I have no problem with cash-business-owners or diamond merchants or women with abusive exes carrying licensed, registered handguns, as long as they go through a background check & proper gun training. My beef is that even card-carrying, NRA-member, Sarah Palin types Have To Admit That NOBODY Should Have An Assault Weapon in their personal gun collection. Nobody. The only purpose for those guns is to commit mass murder.

    I am already sick of the current dog-&-pony show. For all the speechifying & the op-ed pieces, for all the the moments of silence in the House & the Senate, all the shallow tributes by every celebrity with a microphone & a camera that we'll all suffer through until and the last of the funeral services is over & the media moves on, the most powerful commentary on the shootings came from Dr. Joshua Corsa, a surgeon who was on duty at the Orlando Regional Medical Center on Sun. morning. He posted a photo of his blood-soaked sneakers & added a few very poignant words. Oddly enough, they took down his Facebook page (thanks Zuck!), but you can read his post here:

    What more proof does anyone need that assault weapons are a public health issue?

    What greater leadership can we have -- not from politicians, not from grieving parents -- than for Trauma Surgeons to use television & social media to stand front & center before the public & tell the country that this bloodlust has to stop?

    1. DocB posted the photo of the shoes on his Twitter page with a link to what the surgeon had to say:

      “These are my work shoes from Saturday night,” Corsa wrote, according to KTRK TV in Houston.

      “I had forgotten about them until now. On these shoes, soaked between its fibers, is the blood of 54 innocent human beings. I don't know which were straight, which were gay, which were black, or which were Hispanic. What I do know is that they came to us in wave upon wave of suffering, screaming, and death. And somehow, in that chaos, doctors, nurses, technicians, police, paramedics, and others, performed super human feats of compassion and care.

      “This blood, which poured out of those patients and soaked through my scrubs and shoes, will stain me forever. In these Rorschach patterns of red I will forever see their faces and the faces of those that gave everything they had in those dark hours.”

      He wrote that he will continue to wear those shoes at work until the last shooting victim has left the hospital.

      Then, “I will take them off, and I will keep them in my office. I want to see them in front of me every time I go to work. For on June 12, after the worst of humanity reared its evil head, I saw the best of humanity of come fighting right back. I never want to forget that night.”

    2. Slow your roll, RC. Anne did NOT state that there was any purpose for an AR-15 other than to hunt people.

  9. There are a number of narratives about who is to blame here. We have homophobes, Islam, the FBI, guns, inadequate treatment for mental illness, and probably a few more. I see we've opted for guns here.

    I think this was a very complex event, and I do not think we can completely prevent such events no matter what we do.

    I heard on the radio yesterday that there will probably be more deaths, since some of the people in the hospital are hanging on by a thread.

    1. That is because guns are the factor most routinely ignored by conservatives. partly because guns are an inherent part of their ideology - I.E. "If we lose an election we can always seek a second amendment solution because democracy means we should always win"
      and partly because the NRA is a very friendly contributor to their efforts.

      the fact of the matter is that all the factors are factors, and we need to address all of the factors.

    2. WTF Anon? Don't get it twisted -- there is only 1 narrative about who's to blame for this massacre: the bastard that walked into that club & mowed those people down. I will never say or type his name again because all he deserves is to circle the bowl & be forgotten like the turd he was. But claiming that we can't "completely prevent such events no matter what we do" is a BULLSHIT COP-OUT! And a nasty insult to all the grieving families in Orlando.

      Do you tell people it's okay to smoke because we can't "completely prevent cancer"? That they should skip using condoms because we can't "completely prevent" unwanted pregnancies & AIDS?

      After 9-11, our gov't didn't say "Sorry, we can't address this because won't be able to stop all such attacks in the future -- terrorism is too complicated an issue". G.W. Bush & both houses of Congress pulled together & sprung into action to protect the American people. Republicans who'd rather castrate themselves than increase gov't jobs created a brand new gov't dept -- Homeland Security -- & passed a bunch of new laws, many of which we question now. But they sure as hell didn't sit around contemplating their navels & doing nothing because they couldn't do something that would eliminate all future terrorist attacks.

      What needs to be done now that Congress needs to pass a federal ban on assault weapons -- period. The mental health issues, the hate crimes aspect -- all the rest is just window dressing. We can't control the crazy inside someone's head. But banning assault weapons will prevent the worst nutjobs from getting hold of one & acting out their crazy against innocent people.

    3. Doc, I know this blog isn't meant to be a partisan political forum, so please feel free to delete if you wish...I just thought this insightful observation from a member of Congress who *is* still trying to fight the battle was worth sharing.

  10. I just don't understand. You have more than 200 people in there and 1 shooter. Sure he was armed' but if they had rushed him you would not have 50 people dead.

    1. but every person who had the ability to rush him had the knowledge that they were most likely going to be one of the dead. that is a hard sensation to overcome.

    2. In psychology, it just take 1 person to react and the others will follow. Your odds of surviving are better than playing dead.

    3. Anon - Have YOU ever "rushed" someone who was firing a gun at you? Prolly not, or you wouldn't be here now. To say that those terrified people in the middle of that chaos should have "rushed him" so "you would not have 50 people dead" is dangerously close to victim blaming, which I'm sure you don't mean to do.

      If you're not a cop or ex-military, when you hear gunfire, your adrenaline kicks in & you RUN, the other way. Trying to rush a guy who was firing an assault rifle would only have gotten that person shot sooner.

      And I need to make a correction to my rant: My brother read it & told me I'd forgotten about Norinco, the Chinese weapons manufacturer, founded in 1980. They used to sell us AK-47 assault rifles. But then there was a kerfuffle over them selling weapons to Iran & in 2003 the Bush administration banned the import of all weapons & ammo from China.

      That being said, when I googled Norinco, the 3rd site that came up had the header Buy Norinco Firearms Online -- inc. an AK47 that 5 people were bidding on.

      In any case, Norinco is clearly a 3rd world gun maker, so I was wrong on that.

    4. If you include all the variables including the X-reaction time to pull the trigger on an AR-15 divided by the number of people in the room (200) it would be mathematically impossible for the shooter to kill that many people. Public awareness may help.

    5. Anon, are you actually saying it's "mathematically impossible" for 49 people to have been killed at Pulse? Because it happened. It's not speculation, it's fact.

      I'm not as gun savvy as my brother, but the Senate has been running a fillibuster today to block the passage of any other legislation until they force a vote on new gun laws. One of the Senators spoke on the fact that the AR-15 assault rifle used at Pulse can be tricked out with add-ons (basically changed from semi-automatic to automatic) so that it will fire 13 ROUNDS PER SECOND.

      The Orlando shooter not only killed 49 people, he wounded 53 others who are still alive, so far. So your math is wrong. Public awareness has nothing to do with that -- unless you refuse to believe the fatality figures from all the news reports.

    6. Anon, you realise what an insensitive twat you sound like right now, yeah? 13 rounds per second. He didn't need x-reaction time to pull the gorram trigger. He pulled it and mowed down his victims. One man with a fully automatic weapon can and DID kill 49 people and wounded 53 more. I don't know what math you're using, but it's wrong.

    7. It would be mathematically impossible if they had rushed him. That's my whole point. People will die of course. But I would rather go that route and die fighting instead of being a helpless victim.

    8. you say that without being on the dangerous end of a firearm. if they rushed him, he may have frozen up or he may have realized aiming was now entirely optional because it was mathematically impossible to miss.

      also keep in mind the off duty cop who tried to take him down failed.

    9. And, we also need to keep in mind that this didn't happen on a battlefield, where most of those on the scene are trained soldiers, or even in an identifiable "police response" situation, where trained personnel are dispatched to the scene with at least *some* information available as to what is happening.

      This was a Saturday night at a club, where people were listening to music, drinking, dancing, and conversing with friends. Some who survived have reported that they weren't even sure that sounds they first heard *were* indeed gunshots, because of the music and typical noise level at a club. Dim lighting may have made it initially difficult for most of those present to even see *where* the shots were coming from, or *who* was doing the shooting. And, fact is, even among relatively healthy and intelligent people, our thought processes and physical reflexes aren't quite at 100% in the wee hours of the morning after we've had a few (or more)cocktails. Honestly, I don't see how it would have been possible to quickly orchestrate an organized response under these circumstances.

    10. Also keep in mind that anytime you have a shooter in an enclosed area with multiple victims and hostages, the primary responders (patrol officers), will not enter the building. Their job is to set up a perimeter and then wait for SWAT to enter. That's how it is in most departments. It's a stupid policy and it should be changed because it takes the SWAT officers 1-2 hours to muster, gather their equipments, and then respond to the scene. Just look at the timeline. The people in that room were pretty much left on their own and you need to be prepared in any given scenario like this one. They had plenty of weapons to fight back. Metal chairs, bottles, tables, sound equipments, knives. Rush him from behind and from his blind spot. You just need to be more aware.

    11. actually most departments now have the policy of doing all they can to neutralize an active shooter without unnecessarily placing officers at risk. you need to stop watching movies and think about this in the real world. he's not going to be standing there with his back to a roomful of people taking his time to get a perfect headshot on each victim. he's going to be standing with his back to a wall, blasting into the thickest part of the crowd.

    12. Look at the timeline.

  11. So you're saying that the odds of surviving are better if you rush toward a guy spraying the room with an automatic weapon outfitted with a high capacity magazine rather than hitting the deck and playing dead?

    1. I believe so. You might end up with 5-10 people dead but not 50. If you include all the variables, it would be impossible for the shooter to take the time to kill all 49 people. X-reaction time to pull the trigger on an AR-15 divide that with more than 200 people in the room, it would be mathematically impossible for him to kill 50.

  12. FINALLY! A thin thread of light in the midst of all this darkness.

    But first, some context, so you everybody knows how we got to this point:

    "Infuriated by CDC-funded research suggesting that having firearms in the home sharply increased the risks of homicide, the NRA goaded Congress in 1996 into stripping the injury center’s funding for gun violence research – $2.6 million. Congress then passed a measure drafted by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ga.) forbidding the CDC to spend funds “to advocate or promote gun control.” (The NRA initially hoped to eradicate the injury center entirely.)

    The Dickey Amendment didn’t technically ban any federally funded gun violence research. The real blow was delivered by a succession of pusillanimous CDC directors, who decided that the safest course bureaucratically was simply to zero out the whole field.

    Remarkably, that approach has continued to the present day: After the Newtown massacre of schoolchildren in 2012, President Obama issued an executive order instructing the CDC to “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.” But the agency has refused unless it receives a specific appropriation to cover the research. Congress played its obligatory role in acting as the NRA’s cat’s-paw by repeatedly rejecting bills to provide $10 million for the work.

    Now, the good news, from the AMA website. I can only fit an excerpt here, but there's a link.

    June 14, 2016


    For immediate release:
    CHICAGO – In the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history and with more than 6,000 deaths already in 2016 from gun violence, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy calling gun violence in the United States "a public health crisis" requiring a comprehensive public health response and solution. Additionally, at the Annual Meeting of its House of Delegates, the AMA resolved to actively lobby Congress to overturn legislation that for 20 years has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence.

    "With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence," said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. "Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms."


    Because thousands of doctors are behind this, Congress will have to pay attention. Frankly, I don't think we need more "research" on this -- it's clear that we have too many guns in the hands of private citizens. But if everyone here asked their GP to send a letter to their Senator & Congressman asking for an assault weapons ban, that would certainly help.

    And if your GP is an NRA member, find a new doctor.

    My sincerest thanks to DB (if you're an AMA member) & all the other docs here for getting the AMA to finally step up. You guys are far more powerful than you know.

  13. From the outside, looking in to the US at these events, it's amazing to me how difficult it is for Americans to see that they have a problem. It's almost like an addiction, where every incident is blamed on some other factor and a person rationalises to themselves that changing the one factor which they have become dependent upon would not have helped anyway.

    There was an interview including the trauma surgeons from the hospital, a small part of which was broadcast on UK TV. I don't know how much was shown in the US. I only caught a part of the item but it appeared that a small panel of surgeons (6 to 8 at a guess) estimated that they collectively treated around 10,000 gunshot wounds in their careers to date. Maybe I got the wrong impression there but that's just absurd if it's true.

    With the usual caveat regarding Wikipedia, have a look at this table:

    If it's true, gun related deaths (per 100,0000 population) in the US are 20 x higher than in the UK. What could justify that? The US is higher than South Africa, higher than Nicaragua and way higher than Serbia.

    I have no doubt that there are important other factors in very many of these gun deaths, but the US stands head-and-shoulders above all other major industrialised countries (and indeed most others too) in gun deaths and easy access must be a factor in this. To address this, there are clearly social, cultural and religious factors that could help. But those take time and the easiest and fastest thing to address is surely gun access. OK, there are already a load of weapons in circulation but banning the most deadly and restricting the ownership of others cannot fail to help bring that number down.

    I was interested to see the medics being interviewed in relation to this atrocity and to some extent I would agree with RC - they are a powerful voice which might usefully be used to advocate for gun control.

    I share your grief for the 49 people killed in this incident and also for the estimated 90 people a day who die in gun violence in the US. Surely it's time US politicians took some notice of the stat's and changed something!

  14. Whitefolk??!! Who says that? (Even autocorrect fought me trying to type that). But let me clear up a few things, @RC, respectfully. You are not willing to say the Orlando shooter's name, will say Sandy Hook's, but cannot say the town he devastated' name correctly? I do agree with you on not wanting to glorify the terrorists, each of them are added to a growing list of "He Who Shall Not Be Named".

    We may be middle class, but the community of Newtown, CT certainly does not possess above-average money or political savvy, and we are certainly not all white. Check out CT senator Chris Murphy's filibuster Wednesday, I am very proud. I borrow the words of a 9yo who died of terminal brain cancer and generalize her words to this debate, "Talk is bullshit, we need action."

    An attack on any American is an attack on all of us. (POTUS)

  15. for those not keeping score: the shooter was, according to the media, a gay radicalized islamaphobic muslim.

    1. It's irrelevant.

    2. very little is ever fully irrelevant.

      in this case the relevance is the amount of contradiction involved.

    3. I... What the literal fuck?

    4. @Scottie - look at this small slice of discussion on the topic; it is all about assignment of blame and deflection of guilt for so many, anyone can talk the talk, but few will walk the walk. I walk it every day, whether it's greeting the LEO and armed security guard by first name at school pickup or increasingly frequent lockdowns at the hospital.

      Apparently even DocB is tired of moderating the bullshit(or maybe it's people like me whose comments come through at 04:00 and he's tired...) because it appears as though he has suspended his moderating of comments.

    5. No one is putting blame on anyone.

    6. apparently cornboy has settled down enough thet Doc no longer feels the need to have comments on auto-moderation.

  16. That is because guns are the factor most routinely ignored by conservatives. partly because guns are an inherent part of their ideology - I.E. "If we lose an election we can always seek a second amendment solution because democracy means we should always win"

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I'll start this post by answering a few questions that may or may not be burning in your mind: No, I'm not dead.  No, I didn't g...