Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cherokee activist Albert Bender believes that guns are the root of America’s problems

Albert Bender is a journalist and Cherokee activist taking the position that you can blame guns for most problems that face Americans today.  From slavery to Native Americans, it is a gun culture in the U.S. fostered by white Americans that has created the dilemma that we are in.  Bender, as many others are beginning to do, is bringing the crisis with gun violence closer and closer to the health care system, particularly mental health.  Mr. Bender takes aim at what he calls a “monolithic” weapons industry that is “opting for profit over humanity.” 


Gun control pieces missing in health care
And now public health experts are saying a gun is like a virus, a car, tobacco or alcohol.  It is a social disease that needs to be treated, and they liken it to reducing car crashes and deaths years ago with safety measures, product changes and driving laws that improved automobile safety dramatically.  When you compare this with the firearms industry, they have resisted safety changes due to cost and the NRA has prevented any research on gun deaths as well as stopped all gun control legislation in its tracks.  All accomplished through buying off Congress and spreading fear among its membership.


Although mass shootings don’t account for most of the gun deaths, they are the most visible in the media, and even more so when the victims are 20 little children ages 6 and 7.  Unfortunately, police reporting of these incidents often lags by more than a year, so we don’t really have the true picture.  This follows suit to the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) efforts that have prevented any reliable research on gun violence for years.  Even the automobile industry was solidly behind the research that brought down car deaths.  In comparison, the gun lobby fights gun violence research with millions of dollars.


Here’s another shocker on how the gun lobby has prevented firearms violence research:


One source reports, “The Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates over 15,000 products in all, but federal law prohibits them from controlling the safety of firearms.  In fact, there is next to no regulation of firearm manufacture, and only the gun manufacturers themselves can issue recalls.  What's more, gun makers, dealers and trade groups are immune from negligence and product liability lawsuits.” 


In this public health approach, “One recent study found firearm owners were more likely than those with no firearms at home to binge drink or to drink and drive, and other research has tied alcohol and gun violence. That suggests that people with driving under the influence convictions should be barred from buying a gun,” said  Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine professor who directs the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis.  This group once again quoted the study that says 40% of guns are purchased without a background check.


Daniel Webster, a health policy expert and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore says "There's sort of a contagion phenomenon" following a shooting.  I liken this to when the gun bubbas come out of the woodwork screaming 2nd Amendment rights and rushing out to buy several more guns for a household that already closely resembles a military arsenal.  It is all so ludicrous that one might wonder about the mentality level of a group of fanatics who have to repeatedly re-live the Revolutionary War to justify their worship of guns.


Dr. Mark Rosenberg, president and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, an Atlanta-based nonprofit public health organization along with Jay W. Dickey Jr., a former Arkansas congressman, says, “The same evidence-based approach that is saving millions of lives from motor-vehicle crashes, as well as from smoking, cancer and HIV/AIDS, can help reduce the toll of deaths and injuries from gun violence.”  Dickey was once the point-person in Congress for the NRA.  Rosenberg at the time was director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which had conducted firearms research.

The CDC has all the data necessary to analyze gun violence and draw several conclusions on how it could be prevented.  But, “The CDC doesn’t analyze gun violence because it can’t use federal money to advocate or promote gun control.”  And that comes to your regular mass shootings and every day gun murders compliments of Wayne LaPierre and his National Rifle Assn. (NRA).  There is no excuse for this negligence but it will continue as long as the American public refuses to react and allow the NRA-controlled Republicans and Democrats to stay in Congress.  Amen!

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