What bullets do to bodies
April 26, 2017 7:47 PM   Subscribe

The gun debate would change in an instant if Americans witnessed the horrors that trauma surgeons confront every day.
24 hours with Dr. Amy Goldberg, Chair of Surgery at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.
posted by Rumple (71 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
 
I thought this was a fantastic article.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:25 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I wish the pull-quote were true.
posted by jferg at 8:30 PM on April 26, 2017 [74 favorites]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do ... and yet they're usually staunch supporters of the firearms right of law abiding Americans.
posted by MattD at 8:32 PM on April 26, 2017 [16 favorites]


Local NPR station has been looking at gun violence along with community researchers.
This is a call to action. We've literally counted the number of people that have died prematurely in Miami-Dade County. And it's going up.

"Really there’s nothing normal about a 14-year-old or an 18-year-old - or anyone- getting shot actually."

And nothing's changed over at least 10 years. So it's a call to arms to say the structure of systemic discrimination that's been affecting mainly our African-American and Haitian populations, but additionally our Latin American populations in Miami-Dade County must change immediately.

http://wlrn.org/post/study-gun-violence-miami-dade-disproportionately-affects-young-black-men
posted by tilde at 8:49 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Sign of a sick system:

latimes: You know CPR. Now firefighters want you to treat shooting and bombing victims
...

For the last year, Rancho Cucamonga’s fire and law enforcement officials have teamed up to teach civilians how to triage and tie tourniquets on shooting victims, in the same way CPR is taught in case of emergencies.

They believe that people armed with these skills can save lives because they’re often the first ones at a crime scene. Many of those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing survived in part because bystanders started creating makeshift dressings and tourniquets before paramedics showed up, experts say.

“Who’s going to make the biggest difference? You guys,” Lewis told the group gathered on a recent Thursday evening.

Teaching civilians these battlefield techniques acknowledges what Lewis described as a sad reality: the near inevitability of shootings and terrorism.

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:35 PM on April 26, 2017 [16 favorites]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do ... and yet they're usually staunch supporters of the firearms right of law abiding Americans.

Not to argue with you about the merits of widespread gun ownership, but have you read the article? It's really not about what it's like to shoot a person or animal. It's about what it's like to try to put them together afterward and keep them alive. That's not the usual goal in hunting, and butchering a dead animal is not the same at all.
posted by asperity at 9:47 PM on April 26, 2017 [33 favorites]


sebastianbailard - the Amy Goldberg piece mentions they do something similar in Philadelphia:

Charles also runs the Fighting Chance program, a series of training sessions for community members, where doctors show people in neighborhoods how to give first aid to gunshot victims, to apply tourniquets and stop blood loss in the seconds immediately following a shooting, before the EMTs or police arrive. Recently, Charles has also become a sort of Johnny Appleseed of gun locks, handing them out to parents who want to keep their children from getting hurt in accidents. He keeps boxes of them at the hospital and distributes the locks with no questions asked. Sometimes he lugs them to subway stations and offers them to commuters.

I agree it's a sign of the times such programs are needed but if they save lives, they save lives.
posted by Rumple at 9:50 PM on April 26, 2017 [8 favorites]


Re the Sandy Hook victims - until I read the article above and read an old editorial posted in response on Twitter, I had not realized that one of the mothers, Veronique Pozner, had insisted on an open casket for her son, Noah. I know I have no right to even say this, but I wish the entire country had seen photos of the victims. Maybe we would have finally had the political courage to tell the NRA to go fuck themselves.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:50 PM on April 26, 2017 [31 favorites]


I'm a little surprised the "staunch supporters of the firearms right of law abiding Americans" don't take over the NRA from the inside. I keep hearing about these responsible gun owners and yet they don't seem to take any actual responsibility for their own lobbyists.
posted by Rumple at 9:55 PM on April 26, 2017 [67 favorites]


the near inevitability of shootings and terrorism
One of these things is not like the other.
posted by fullerine at 10:32 PM on April 26, 2017 [10 favorites]


From Sebastien Bailard's and tilde's excerpts;

So it's a call to arms to say the structure of systemic discrimination...

They believe that people armed with these skills can save lives

Is this the sign of a sick system?. Are these journalists using that framing deliberately? Or is it just part of the language now.

I live in Australia, I would never 'arm' myself with a first aid kit. Arms are weapons.
posted by adept256 at 11:39 PM on April 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do ... and yet they're usually staunch supporters of the firearms right of law abiding Americans.
posted by MattD at 8:32 PM on April 26 [3 favorites +] [!]


That's grade-A shitposting there, friend.

The real reason that stories like this have no effect is because gun nuts, "law-abiding" or otherwise, consider the carnage to be feature rather than a bug. They don't care about the victims in Philly or Chicago or South Central because, hey, that's a problem that's sorting itself out, right? Never mind that all these guns were made for and bought or stolen from people like you -- they wouldn't exist without you. I keep wondering, when is the Second Amendment finally going to live up to its promise? When will this increasingly heavily-armed society become the polite society they foretell? When will America finally solve the problem that every other developed nation in the world has at least managed to control?

Never.
posted by klanawa at 11:45 PM on April 26, 2017 [35 favorites]


I would not expect exposure to gun carnage to have much effect on the deeply-held views of gun owners, just as the graphic images disseminated by the pro-life movement have had little effect on the deeply-held views of supporters of a woman's right to choose. [I do not mean to draw any deeper equivalence between these cases]
posted by Svejk at 11:55 PM on April 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


take over the NRA from the inside.

Not impossible, although the NRA has internecine politics that would make a Medici blush. It's a parliamentary sort of clusterfuck, with Single-Member District Plurality (aka FPTP Bloc Voting) elections for a 76-member governing board, with an eligible-to-vote electorate numbering only around 500k and <10% voter turnout, leading to fandom-level drama at the low end of the ticket, and enough painstaking explanations of tactical voting to give you flashbacks to the Iowa Caucus.

Like national politics, it has an intra-/"domestic" side in addition to the extra-/"international" side, and the "domestic" side drives most of the votes. Major electoral issues in the recent cycle included bylaw changes, a special-rules special election, Ted Nugent's crazy-old-man antisemitism, and a very public Sean Hannity / Glenn Beck vs. Grover Norquist (no joke) grudge match. Not a lot of overlap with extra-organizational politics.

It would seem like the sort of system that would be relatively straightforward to get seats in, and it's a type of electoral system that's generally understood to be vulnerable to landslide elections. And in fact that happened once -- but it took the organization in the direction of much more assertive political activism, not less. It does indicate that it is possible, though, and gives an idea of the number of coordinated people required. (I'm honestly surprised that they haven't been overrun by 4chan or SA already, for just straight griefing. But maybe the 5-year wait to be eligible to vote is a suitably high barrier.) Or it may be that they have constructed an internal political system that is actually more frustrating to participate in than Congress.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:31 AM on April 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


The gun debate would change in an instant if...

This statement feels like a distraction. It implies a lot and suggests different things to different people, and I don't really know what to make of it. This article made me sad, and worried, and a little sick to my stomach--but knowing how easily guns can ruin or end lives doesn't make me feel any more equipped to handle the political reality of gun violence. It was a great article anyway.
posted by mammal at 12:43 AM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


These quotes about teaching civilians to tie tourniquets on victims Boy Scout style is pretty surprising to me, because I had thought tourniquets were pretty much abandoned as a first aid technique. If somebody gets shot in a limb and you tie a tourniquet around it you're basically guaranteeing they're gonna lose the limb when they finally get to an ER. In all the first aid training I got in the Navy relatively recently it was all about applying direct pressure to the wound itself, or barring that applying pressure to the artery supplying the limb. The only time tourniquets were advised were instances where the limb was already mashed up enough it was obviously not going to be saved.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:47 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


"These quotes about teaching civilians to tie tourniquets on victims Boy Scout style is pretty surprising to me, because I had thought tourniquets were pretty much abandoned as a first aid technique."

On the contrary; the current guidelines for, for example, Army Combat Lifesavers**, is to use a tourniquet any time the bleeding can't be adequately controlled by other methods, regardless of the limb's viability -- the focus on only using it on limbs that are sure-losses is gone. Additionally, the medical community (military and not) has gotten extremely good at saving limbs that are far more mangled than was previously possible, as well as saving limbs even several hours after a tourniquet is applied.

** Combat Lifesaver, or "CLS," is the Army equivalent of training a civilian on advanced first-aid. It goes as far as tourniquets, pressure-dressings, and placing IV lines, but is intended only as emergency stabilization until a formal medic can get there.
posted by mystyk at 4:56 AM on April 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


somebody gets shot in a limb and you tie a tourniquet around it you're basically guaranteeing they're gonna lose the limb when they finally get to an ER.

That definitely used to be the case, but as a direct result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, battlefield medicine has gotten a lot better, and they've actually learned how to deal with tourniquet damage. As long as you can be seen by a medic or hospital pretty quickly, a tourniquet will absolutely save your life ANd limb.
posted by corb at 4:58 AM on April 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


"Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do ... and yet they're usually staunch supporters of the firearms right of law abiding Americans."

Hunters and combat veterans are also much more certain that everybody handling a firearm is going to be one of those 'responsible' and law-abiding firearm owners, like they consider themselves. There's a certain hubris about assuming everyone will handle a firearm properly because the person making said assumption can.

Want to find a combat veteran who worries about this? Look for the ones who have spent significant time running rifle/pistol ranges, especially at basic training. There's nothing that disillusions you faster about firearm responsibility than watching cycle after cycle of people where a full 2-3 in every 10 make the stereotypical Stormtrooper look like a professional sniper in comparison, and where with at least one more on every firing line it's a miracle that they haven't shot somebody else on the range by the end of the day.
posted by mystyk at 5:10 AM on April 27, 2017 [13 favorites]


The gun debate would change in an instant if Americans witnessed the horrors that trauma surgeons confront every day.

No it wouldn't, and I'm surprised anyone still believes this. Eventually, some psycho is going to use a go pro, and the entire world will get to see a mass shooting in intimate detail. The left will immediately call for reasonable gun restrictions. The right will immediately call for expanding concealed carry, while every gun store is flooded with extra business.
posted by Beholder at 5:55 AM on April 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


I will try to avoid a massive derail here, but the graphic pics antichoicers use are largely of miscarriages and stillbirths, and are deliberately misleading. So that analogy doesn't work.
posted by emjaybee at 6:11 AM on April 27, 2017 [12 favorites]


Eventually, some psycho is going to use a go pro

I've heard two stories of people posting murder videos on Facebook in the last month....it's a matter of time, agreed.
posted by thelonius at 6:15 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


And abortions are necessary medical procedures that have a tremendous impact on the abortion-haver's quality of life, even if it doesn't literally save her life, which it often does. The same cannot be said of gunshot wounds.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:22 AM on April 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


somebody gets shot in a limb and you tie a tourniquet around it you're basically guaranteeing they're gonna lose the limb when they finally get to an ER.

To second mystyk and corb on this, I just finished up my county's CERT course last year and they were heavily pushing tourniquets as part of the initial response to a shooting or explosion, as most victims are within a few hours of facilities that can treat severe trauma injuries of this kind and the risk of limb damage is apparently not that great if the tourniquet can be removed in that time frame. The greater danger is bleeding out before you can get to the ER, not losing the limb.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:44 AM on April 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


FTA: She dropped back into a softer register. “Nobody gives two shits about the black people in North Philadelphia if nobody gives two craps about the white kids in Sandy Hook. … I thought white little kids getting shot would make people care. Nope. They didn’t care. Anderson Cooper was up there. They set up shop. And then the public outrage fades.”

This is right on point. It isn't news, but we've completely stopped caring. We give students and teachers and co-workers active shooter strategies now, rather than taking the gun away from the active shooter.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:47 AM on April 27, 2017 [29 favorites]


Great article.
Temple is a terrific hospital. That's were I go for all my life sustaining needs, and it's a huge comfort.
posted by james33 at 6:48 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do ... and yet they're usually staunch supporters of the firearms right of law abiding Americans.

Hunters and military veterans also aren't the people committing most acts of gun violence (at least deliberate; accidents/errors of judgement are pretty universal). I doubt there is any causative link really, but it isn't hunters and vets causing Temple to see more gunshot wounds than any other hospital in the country and it seems like a weird comparison.

It's a great article and I can't imagine doing her job. And I agree that most people have wildly incorrect ideas about guns and gunshots derived entirely from movies and video games, but I doubt that showing, say, graphic autopsy photos would change the national political debate.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


What an incredible article. I thought the Chilean miners and the God/Devil being with you at the same time anecdote was awesome.

And this quote re: the Sandy Hook shootings, which I heartbreakingly agree with: “As a country,” Goldberg said, “we lost our teachable moment.”
posted by knownassociate at 7:02 AM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do

For hunters this is just not a good comparison. Hunters have some idea of what the immediate aftermath of immediately-fatal gunshot wounds look like, not what survivable gunshots do. Hunters don't shoot animals, then perform surgery to save them, then nurse them through a long and painful recovery process, then follow them through the rest of their lives as they poop through a stoma or whatever.

I will let veterans disagree, but I would wager that the experience of combat veterans with gunshot wounds is similar -- you see the immediate aftermath but victims of serious gunshot wounds just disappear from the unit, either to the grave or to Landstuhl and then stateside.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:17 AM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


Relevant to the healthcare aspect of things: The True Cost of Gun Violence in America
In collaboration with Miller, Mother Jones crunched data from 2012 and found that the annual cost of gun violence in America exceeds $229 billion. Direct costs account for $8.6 billion—including long-term prison costs for people who commit assault and homicide using guns, which at $5.2 billion a year is the largest direct expense. Even before accounting for the more intangible costs of the violence, in other words, the average cost to taxpayers for a single gun homicide in America is nearly $400,000. And we pay for 32 of them every single day.

Indirect costs amount to at least $221 billion, about $169 billion of which comes from what researchers consider to be the impact on victims' quality of life. Victims' lost wages, which account for $49 billion annually, are the other major factor. Miller's calculation for indirect costs, based on jury awards, values the average "statistical life" harmed by gun violence at about $6.2 million. That's toward the lower end of the range for this analytical method, which is used widely by industry and government. (The EPA, for example, currently values a statistical life at $7.9 million, and the DOT uses $9.2 million.)

Our investigation also begins to illuminate the economic toll for individual states. Louisiana has the highest gun homicide rate in the nation, with costs per capita of more than $1,300. Wyoming has a small population but the highest overall rate of gun deaths—including the nation's highest suicide rate—with costs working out to about $1,400 per resident. Among the four most populous states, the costs per capita in the gun rights strongholds of Florida and Texas outpace those in more strictly regulated California and New York. Hawaii and Massachusetts, with their relatively low gun ownership rates and tight gun laws, have the lowest gun death rates, and costs per capita roughly a fifth as much as those of the states that pay the most.
The article notes that even their numbers (already well into the hundreds of billions) is probably a significant undercounting, as it doesn't take into account any healthcare costs after 7 years, or mental health costs for survivors and witnesses. It should also probably come as no big surprise that the states with the least restrictive gun laws are both the usual source of illegal weapons in places with more restrictive gun laws (Chicago, that favorite punching bag/dog-whistle of gun enthusiasts, is a prime example), and that their proportions of healthcare costs from gun violence are higher, costs which are largely paid by taxpayers.

Also, I'm going to repost some links from the NH Redpiller thread because it's becoming clear that a good portion of mass shootings in the US are extensions or actual instances of domestic violence, mainly aimed at women and children: posted by zombieflanders at 7:18 AM on April 27, 2017 [29 favorites]


This article doesn't mention it, but I'm reminded also of the scene in Bowling for Columbine where Michael Moore and the young survivors try to return the bullets that were shot into their bodies to the Walmart or whatever store it was. FTA: But the reality is that people get shot and then they are going to survive, because trauma surgeons are going to save them, and that’s when the real suffering begins.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:21 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


The San Bernardino Gunman Had a History of Domestic Abuse, Like Most U.S. Mass Shooters

I observe how essentially fucked-up these times are by the simple fact that this headline is sadly ambiguous.
posted by mikelieman at 7:24 AM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do

I think one of the big issues with discussions on gun laws is there's a difference between people who hunt for sport, hunt to provide for their families, vets, antique collectors, and the random person that owns a gun because Americans have been conditioned that a gun makes them safe.

Because that last group is really big and is partially filled with the mentally ill, domestic abusers, gang members, scared kids, and people living in depressed areas that fill with all sorts of related violence, and every time we try to address it and deal with that, the people in the first groups stand up and holler. I understand, guns are important to them and their lifestyles. At this point in time however, we're forcing a huge population to suffer for a much smaller group.

We are at a point in the gun debates where we see on television children being carted out of schools in body bags and are okay with this collateral damage because the sacrifice of a few hundred innocent people per year is okay if we can keep our guns. And that is sociopathic.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 7:31 AM on April 27, 2017 [17 favorites]


I think one of the big issues with discussions on gun laws is there's a difference between people who hunt for sport, hunt to provide for their families, vets, antique collectors, and the random person that owns a gun because Americans have been conditioned that a gun makes them safe.

I don't actually think there is a difference. A lot of kids that die from gunshot wounds are victims of accidents, with guns owned by their parents who hunt for sport, to provide for their families, etc.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:49 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


Hunters and combat veterans know what bullets do

I think that there's a big difference between having a theoretical understand of what a bullet will do or seeing what it does to a deer, and seeing the actual damage caused to a human being.
posted by HighLife at 8:05 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Nobody gives two shits about the black people in North Philadelphia if nobody gives two craps about the white kids in Sandy Hook. … I thought white little kids getting shot would make people care. Nope. They didn’t care.

That is a big part of the problem. We are a mean-spirited country, lacking in compassion.

As for hunters and veterans (especially veterans) I don't know how they are represented in gun violence toward others, but they certainly commit suicide a form of gun violence people often don't consider when discussing the subject.
posted by TedW at 8:06 AM on April 27, 2017 [15 favorites]


that is sociopathic

Look at the Republican budget agenda. That's who we are.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:31 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I will let veterans disagree, but I would wager that the experience of combat veterans with gunshot wounds is similar -- you see the immediate aftermath but victims of serious gunshot wounds just disappear from the unit, either to the grave or to Landstuhl and then stateside.

This is very much not the case, but it's the case for what I would argue are three specific reasons.

First, gunshot wounds to soldiers generally wind up being far less severe by the time of getting to the hospital. Some of this is because the bullets are different - fewer people are shooting at soldiers with handguns, for example - and some of this is because literally every person you are standing with knows you may get shot at any moment and is expecting it and prepared for it. There's generally multiple combat lifesavers, and even your average run of the mill soldier can effectively apply a pressure dressing or a tourniquet, both of which they have relatively handy even without improvised supplies. This is very much not the case in civilian life.

Secondly, and this cannot be stated enough, military healthcare is world class. You don't see as many people with the devastating effects of gunshot wounds because the military works very, very hard at ensuring that if a surgery or assistive device or therapy exists that can make your life better, you get it. The prosthetics, if necessary, that the military receives are the best that money can buy. A friend of mine has lost an eye, for example, and they replaced it with some weird techno eye that looks exactly like his other eye and is attached with actual tissue. You don't see guys walking around with severe limps and colostomy bags, because that's just not what happens at the level of healthcare the military provides - something that I'd wager is not the case for many gunshot victims in poorer areas, who are relying on Medicaid or who come in without insurance. The doctor notes that they discharged a gunshot victim the same day in one case - that's definitely about the insurance.

Thirdly, though this is less relevant, military members, especially ones who went through combat together, tend to stay in touch. So I actually can and frequently do see the effects of wounds ten years later - but when I do, as a result of #1 and #2, the effects are lesser. My friends who have been shot are largely backpacking the Appalachian trail, or climbing Denali, or running marathons, because they were provided the assistance to get to that level of recovery and the expectations of what recovery looks like are radically, radically different. The largest problems they have are less physical and more mental - PTSD and the after effects of being wounded in war.
posted by corb at 8:35 AM on April 27, 2017 [41 favorites]


We are at a point in the gun debates where we see on television children being carted out of schools in body bags and are okay with this collateral damage because the sacrifice of a few hundred innocent people per year is okay if we can keep our guns.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed, from time to time, with the blood of first graders, coworkers, and women who said no.

And - as a gun owning hunter, and a former marine - American Gun Culture sucks. You join the NRA and change it from the inside. I want nothing to do with them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:41 AM on April 27, 2017 [17 favorites]


We are a mean-spirited country, lacking in compassion.

And yet, we lead the world in charitable giving of time and money, second only to Myanmar. Indeed, the "United States is the only country to be ranked in the Top 10 for all three of the charitable giving behaviours covered by the World Giving Index: helping a stranger (1st), volunteering time (joint 5th) and donating money (9th)." (PDF) Interestingly, among individual states, those in red rank highest.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:41 AM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


(thanks, corb)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Americans give so much to charity because there are so many people left behind by our society. And then rather than create a society in which people can thrive, we just pat ourselves on the back for "giving back" to those in need. It's a really clever cycle.
posted by mpbx at 9:07 AM on April 27, 2017 [16 favorites]


Americans give so much to charity because there are so many people left behind by our society. And then rather than create a society in which people can thrive, we just pat ourselves on the back for "giving back" to those in need. It's a really clever cycle.

Insidiously so. This is the same country where "lunch shaming" is prevalent enough to be named and to be legislated against.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:10 AM on April 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


When will this increasingly heavily-armed society become the polite society they foretell?
posted by klanawa at 2:45 AM


Well, you're certainly not helping by saying that those who disagree with you are "shitposting" and are "gun nuts". By being a responsible, educated gun owner who owns firearms for recreational purposes (nothing like going to the range) and home defense, I must be okay with the fact that people die in senseless, horrible firearms violence? Suuuure, right. I agree with you that we must do something about firearms violence but your automatic dismissal of people like me as a "gun nut" pisses me off and more importantly distracts from your otherwise well-intentioned message.

Please try engaging without name-calling.
posted by orangewired at 9:14 AM on April 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


Secondly, and this cannot be stated enough, military healthcare is world class.

Almost all of my acquaintances/friends who are military would strongly disagree with this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:34 AM on April 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


Almost all of my acquaintances/friends who are military would strongly disagree with this.

I'm sorry, I spoke simply to address the concern mentioned above. Military healthcare (as opposed to VA healthcare, which is far, far worse) is a study in complexity, bearing all of the cultural baggage of its formative organization, and military health providers often choose how to treat patients on the basis of moral judgment, which occasionally produces some very bad outcomes. But specifically in the business of rehabilitating people who have been shot, they are exceptional, and are regularly coming up with groundbreaking new practices.
posted by corb at 9:50 AM on April 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


And yet, we lead the world in charitable giving of time and money

Those numbers usually include giving to churches, which is quite questionable. Yes, many churches run some kind of charitable programs. But those donations also go to buy pastors' Cadillacs and those monstrous glorified conference centers that megachurches believe resemble the throne of God.
posted by praemunire at 9:58 AM on April 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


I must be okay with the fact that people die in senseless, horrible firearms violence?


The standard we walk past is the standard we accept.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:37 AM on April 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


"Well, you're certainly not helping by saying that those who disagree with you are "shitposting" and are "gun nuts". [...] I agree with you that we must do something about firearms violence but your automatic dismissal of people like me as a "gun nut" pisses me off..."

This is an excellent encapsulation of a common point (albeit far from the only) where things tend to go off the rails on this topic.

I agree with you about the merits of labeling something shitposting, but you're completely missing that klanawa didn't actually call each and every hunter, combat veteran, and law-abiding gun owner a "gun nut"; rather, the post in question said the problem was that we can't get sane policy *because* of the gun nuts considering the carnage a feature, and because the supply of illicit guns flows from the hands of all gun owners (including often law-abiding ones), both of which are largely true. And I am a current military member with combat deployments who is also a law-abiding firearm owner.

I suppose It's possible that klanawa actually meant that every law-abiding gun owner is also a nut, but that's not actually what was posted, and ultimately you're the one who read that "gun nut" must be a reference to you and proceeded to get offended. If we can't accurately talk about the gun violence problem because of having to gingerly step around your and so many other people's delicate sensibilities, then that's a serious impediment to properly dealing with the gun violence problem.
posted by mystyk at 10:44 AM on April 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


Teaching civilians these battlefield techniques acknowledges what Lewis described as a sad reality: the near inevitability of shootings and terrorism.

Whether the doomsday-ing is from Trump or someone more ideologically simpatico, it's still false. We're safer than we've ever been, and there's less crime than there's ever been. Most people don't have to step over bodies to get to work and do not need to know any "battlefield techniques."
posted by jpe at 11:05 AM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


the post in question said the problem was that we can't get sane policy *because* of the gun nuts considering the carnage a feature...I suppose It's possible that klanawa actually meant that every law-abiding gun owner is also a nut, but that's not actually what was posted, and ultimately you're the one who read that "gun nut" must be a reference to you and proceeded to get offended

Look, I don't want to get in a fight with you - from what I've seen, I'd rather grab a beer instead. But I just want to push back a little on this, because I think this is a dynamic that ultimately causes a lot of these things to go off the rails, and more to the point, it doesn't have to. We could all be hanging out here, sharing our experiences, talking about how we'd like to fix the problems of the world, which is really the best we can be.

Do you think any conversation, pretty much anywhere, is improved by calling some of the people in it 'nuts'? What does that bring to the table other than showing a sense of frustration and sneering at the people involved? It's essentially smearing a group of people and saying they are crazy, based solely on their politics or ownership of guns. It doesn't matter which part of the group of 'law abiding gun owners' he was meaning to point to - it splashes on all of us and doesn't bring anything to the table.
posted by corb at 12:08 PM on April 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


Do you think any conversation, pretty much anywhere, is improved by calling some of the people in it 'nuts'?

Nut meaning enthusiast is pretty common, I think? Also, can you imagine the outcry if we used "gun freaks" instead? Actually, that's got a ring to it.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:08 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


And if you find yourself in the DC area, corb, the beer sounds like a fine option.

For what it's worth, I think you make a reasonable point at its core: It's very hard to bring people to the table when names have been thrown around.

That said, what I think is missing is that there is a vocal minority among gun owners -- with an influence far outsized to their number -- for whom *nothing* will bring them (or ever would have brought them in the past) to the table, period. Now, every group has it's extremes that will act that way, but the problem is that this extreme has significant backing in congress and in many of the state legislatures. And as long as the extremist ideologues of one side have near-total capture of the process by which society is supposed to govern itself, there is effectively no table to meet at. And those same extremist ideologues from one side actively want to prevent the table from ever being an option.

And remember, these names aren't coming out of a vacuum; like you said, there's significant frustration and exasperation at the inability to get anything meaningful done, despite example after example showing what policies actually help and despite the body count continuing to pile up. It's not sneering -- it's venting! So saying "don't use bad names because some don't like it" essentially boils down to tone policing, which is especially ironic as the crowd who goes apoplectic over the phrase "gun nut" are usually among the first to call anyone who doesn't agree a traitor, a sissy, a snowflake, or tons of other disparaging things.

As I mentioned, I'm a military member with combat deployments, and I'm a firearm owner and enthusiast. That's not a random mention: I say it because, at a certain point, the community of gun owners has to take seriously the task of policing their own, and I personally take that responsibility to heart, but -- and this is the critical thing -- that puts me in an extreme minority among gun owners currently. The community is simply failing at this. That needs to change, and quite frankly, if being told that there are "nuts" in far too many positions of power on someone's side is enough to get that someone to refuse to go to the table, I'd venture that someone isn't mature enough to handle a firearm in the first place.

There's a serious problem; a corruption, a rot, rooted strongly in the right-wing of gun culture. We need to deal with it as a society, and accurately pointing it out is a part of that process.
posted by mystyk at 1:13 PM on April 27, 2017 [16 favorites]


I really appreciate that. Honestly, I don't think every problem can ever be fixed, but I do think it's possible to leach out some of the poison currently infecting both the discourse and the nation. It's worth noting that those two things you see as problems - the vocal minority among gun owners who will never be brought to the table, and the corruption and rot rooted in the right wing of gun culture - aren't always the same people, or problem. I will grant you both definitely exist, and there's sometimes overlap, but I think it's really important to separate them out. Firstly, because someone who may not feel both are problems may be willing to work on the one they agree on, and secondly, just for accuracy's sake.

A friend of mine, a first sergeant, got out of the military and started working on open carry stuff. For him, it's important on Constitutional grounds, and he started leading others. He's definitely one of those people who can't be brought to the table, but watching him and his 'followers' really has let me see kind of the stark differences between those two groups - the people who simply won't negotiate about what they see as a fundamental right, and the people who bleed hatred out of their very pores.

Because you're completely right about there being a corruption and rot deep in the right-wing of gun culture. I'm not entirely sure how it started - possibly when the partisan divide started around gun rights, possibly it traces back to other things. But it's a subtle and pernicious poison - it may pose as "I'll do it if I have to" but it always seems to come down to "I wish a motherfucker would." It's the difference between people who practice shooting on silhouettes and people who only use those targets that look like the people they disagree with. Or the difference between someone who carries and someone who brandishes with his every move. It's really hard to explain that line, but I think it's pretty easy to see once you've encountered both.

But I'm not really sure how to cut out that poison, because what makes someone one of those people doesn't seem to really fall along any easy lines. It's not by proliferation - the guy I know with the most guns I've ever seen is another veteran, who's a left-wing anarchist. It's not by political stance. It's just this sort of obscenity-like thing - I know it when I see it. And so I don't really know how to uproot it, much as I'd really, really like to.
posted by corb at 1:40 PM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


You make some fair points, corb. I consider myself an enthusiast, something that began because of my service but has expanded independently of it, but I'm otherwise pretty left-wing, which often puts me in odd company. From that vantage, however, I guess I was ill-suited to see the distinction you drew without it being clearly pointed out. But it does make sense, and looking back over the history of gun debates, I can see evidence for its validity.

I'll have to come back to the question of how to address it after more thought, because what you suggest about two groups therefore implies that we need two different approaches - separate and distinct strategies that may only tangentially overlap - to deal with the problem.
posted by mystyk at 2:10 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's ample evidence that it started when the National Rifle Association transformed itself from an organization primarily concerned with gun safety and training in the 1960s into a lobbying machine that put the interests of the firearms industry ahead of all else. The "partisan divide" is not a cause of this, but a symptom resulting from the NRA's decision to align itself with the party that has historically aligned itself with corporations over common people, and from their relentless propaganda campaign that weaponizes fear of others (including the government itself) to sell more of their products. Gun enthusiasts who support the NRA and other industry lobbying groups do not get a pass just because they lock their gun(s) in a safe and might support stricter background checks in theory.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:15 PM on April 27, 2017 [13 favorites]


Thanks for posting this article. I'll be passing it around.
posted by Splunge at 2:25 PM on April 27, 2017


I feel like the entertainment media is partly responsible for people not understanding how much gruesome damage guns cause.

I'm not talking about news or big, violent movies (although neither of them are doing a good job), but just regular TV series. It's one of my pet peeves when TV shows (I'm thinking of, like The West Wing or Grey's Anatomy) have a character get shot—usually in a season finale, and then it, like, never ever comes up again. They don't even end up with a limp, much less a colostomy bag. By next season they're recovered and go on about their lives.

I am not being flip; I think consequence-free depictions of gun violence, even in fiction, help people mentally minimize the destruction guns do.
posted by purpleclover at 2:36 PM on April 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


When Sandy Hook happened, I said to myself: if this doesn't change things, nothing will. And I believe that now. Twenty little children in New England shot to death? What more could it possibly take?
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


I feel like the entertainment media is partly responsible for people not understanding how much gruesome damage guns cause.

As someone who puts food on the table making violent first person shooters, and as a left-wing supporter of gun rights I have deeply conflicted thoughts on this.

There's only one game that ever really turned my stomach with depictions of violence to the point where I had to shut it down and just go do something else - the original Postal 1 demo. Why? Because half the time when you shot somebody they didn't just fall over and die - they screamed and thrashed, or dragged themselves into a corner while sobbing and leaving a bloody trail behind them. It was completely horrifying in a way that nothing before or since has managed, despite being a rather shitty mid-90s top-down shooter. The outcome of gun violence was protracted suffering in a way that really took the glamour and power fantasy out of the experience. This being the Postal series it was almost certainly meant to cater to the worst sadistic impulses of the audience, but if you're not naturally a sadistic person the result was something quite different.

I'm currently in a self-imposed challenge to see how long I can make it without working on a game where you play a white guy with a gun (just hit three years), but I recognize the inevitability of getting dragged back into that, eventually. Handling character death the way Postal 1 did is not something I plan on ever doing because it's not something I want to experience, let alone cause others to experience. It would definitely help message the consequences of gun violence, but I think it would be a pretty massive net negative for society as a whole.
posted by Ryvar at 4:44 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I think you make a reasonable point at its core: It's very hard to bring people to the table when names have been thrown around.

That was the same point I was trying to make. Not sure how that became "let's not offend people like you and your delicate sensibilities".

If you dismiss a huge chunk of people who care about a problem, you won't be able to talk about that problem in the way it needs to be discussed.

We're in pretty much violent agreement about the problem, but it's a matter of method.
posted by orangewired at 5:42 PM on April 27, 2017


When Sandy Hook happened, I said to myself: if this doesn't change things, nothing will. And I believe that now. Twenty little children in New England shot to death? What more could it possibly take?

Maybe lessons could be drawn from what Eisenhower did when confronted with concentration camps at the end of World War II.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:46 PM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


When Sandy Hook happened, I said to myself: if this doesn't change things, nothing will. And I believe that now. Twenty little children in New England shot to death? What more could it possibly take?

Political will.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:52 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


The gun debate would change in an instant if Americans witnessed the horrors that trauma surgeons confront every day.

A producer suddenly starts into wakefulness, "I smell something..."

"Is it blood?" his partner asks groggily.

"No... it's ratings! Ratings stronger than anyone has ever seen"
posted by ethansr at 7:54 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Or the difference between someone who carries and someone who brandishes with his every move.

So much this. I know people who carry all the time. Even knowing that, it's really hard to tell. Then there are the people I've run into who are all "Lookatme lookatme lookatme!!! I HAVE A GUN!!!"
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:38 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Do you think any conversation, pretty much anywhere, is improved by calling some of the people in it 'nuts'?

I think there are conversations that are constantly derailed by people who have no interest in the conversation or who actively oppose the conversation taking place, and that some conversations can't take place until those people are identified and somehow prevented from derailing everything. Whether you call those people "nuts" or something else is probably not the deciding factor in whether you can successfully prevent them from derailing your conversation.
posted by straight at 9:10 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


More gun violence in the name of men's entitlement to women:
The campus was placed on lockdown just before noon after a man shot and killed a woman before turning the gun on himself. Police now say that man was Adrian Victor Torres and that he had been stalking the victim, Janeera Nickol Gonzalez.
[...]
Gonzalez died at the scene. According to North Lake College records, the 20-year-old was a current student. The young woman’s parents, Juan and Lucia Gonzalez, said there had been warning signs.

Lucia Gonzalez said, “He had been stalking her for a quite a while, but she didn’t make anything of it. She thought he was harmless but he had left the campus at North Lake to go to UNT or something like that. About three weeks ago he came back. We’re not aware if he was actually back enrolled in North Lake or if he was just coming there just to keep an eye on her or whatever.”
posted by zombieflanders at 8:04 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


A Mefite who I won't name unless she wants had me really, really tempted with a "carry rights for all, but men have to get 60% of their exes to sign off on it being a good idea." Because most of this violence is committed by men, and most of that seems to be rage over entitlement- to women, to success, to not ever having to see anything they don't want to even for a minute.
posted by corb at 8:12 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Derek Hawkins: Islamic State magazine steers followers to U.S. gun shows for ‘easy’ access to weapons
In the most recent issue of Rumiyah, its glossy multilingual propaganda magazine, the Islamic State encouraged recruits in the United States to take advantage of laws that allow people to buy firearms without having to present identification or submit to background checks.

Recruits should seek out gun shows and online sales in particular, said the write-up in the magazine, which was released Thursday.

“The acquisition of firearms can be very simple depending on one’s geographical location,” the piece read. “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license.”

“With approximately 5,000 gun shows taking place annually within the United States,” it added, “the acquisition of firearms becomes a very easy matter.”
[...]
At least twice in the past year, alleged Islamic State adherents have confessed to federal crimes after turning to gun shows to arm themselves.

Earlier this week, a Detroit man accused of collecting weapons for the Islamic State pleaded guilty to using a “straw buyer” to purchase a gun at a Virginia gun show in 2015. And in November, a North Carolina man pleaded guilty to plotting a mass shooting in the Islamic State’s name, after discussing his plans to buy a rifle at a gun show and kill as many as 1,000 in a public place.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:16 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


To the NRA, a gun sold to an ISIS member is probably more desirable than one sold to a domestic gun collector, because it increases Islamophobia, which leads to more gun sales as existing gun owners feel less safe.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


The Columbia Journalism Review has posted a Behind the Story feature in which Jason Fagone explains how it was conceived, reported, written, and edited.
The biggest challenge was the four paragraphs about what surgeons actually do to gun victims in the trauma bay. That’s the heart of the piece. Greg and I worked really hard to make sure those grafs were medically accurate and easy to understand. People really don’t know what it’s like to be shot and what is required to save you. This is the misconception doctors deal with. They’ll ask kids, What do you think it’s like to be shot? What do you think surgeons do? And the kids always say the point of surgery is remove the bullet. Well, it’s not. The point of surgery is to repair the damage done to the body by the bullet. So in those four paragraphs, we described what a thoracotomy is, what it looks like, what it sounds like, what tools are used. This is crucial because if more people understood what a thoracotomy was, they’d be a lot more afraid of guns. There’s just no question. Part of Goldberg’s job is to open up the chest cavity and massage the beating heart, you know?

posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on May 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


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