AMA Gun Violence Prevention Pushes a False Narrative

Warren Albrecht | @drw_albrecht

Every time a mass murder happens in the United States, the American Medical Association (AMA) raises the accustomed political narrative. They push the usual anti-second amendment, anti-gun rights commentary as a means to prevent gun violence. But for physicians, taking care of assailants as patients, therefore preventing harm to victims, is always the best offense.  The AMA takes every opportunity to politicize their so-called representation of physicians and patients. The AMA misses the chance for dialogue and true gun violence prevention of any kind – small or large.

As the Washington Post recently covered, since a 2018 FBI report only shows 25% of shooters had been diagnosed with a mental illness, this is not the cause. However, not having a diagnosis does not mean that elements of stress, previous trauma or mental illness is not present. The AMA and mainstream media seem to ignore the aspects of these tragedies that do not follow their narrative.

Anti-Gun Before Pro-Patient

The AMA, on its website, released a message of condolences and then politics,

Common-sense steps, broadly supported by the American public, must be advanced by policymakers to prevent avoidable deaths and injuries caused by gun violence. We must also address the pathology of hatred that has too often fueled these mass murders and casualties.” (my emphasis)

The AMA in 2016 declared gun violence a public health crisis. Before and since 2016, the AMA has done nothing to advance the discussion to prevent any single or mass murders, other than raising the same political issues from the left.

These include schools as gun-free zones, a ban on assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines, expanding domestic violence restraining orders, removing firearms from high-risk individuals, supporting increase in legal age of purchasing ammunition and firearms from 18 to 21, opposing federal legislation permitting “concealed carry reciprocity” across state lines, supporting gun buyback programs in order to reduce the number of circulating firearms. There is no mention of the AMA helping to identify patients who may need help with personal issues preventing gun violence. This is all very contradictory to their role as a medical organization.

Acting as a Gun Expert

The AMA is a proponent of a number of non-existent “gag rules” including Title X and Florida’s Firearm Owner’s Privacy Act. This Florida act restricted physicians from recording firearm ownership in patients medical records. It did have exceptions including concerns about the patient’s safety or safety of others.  One could easily abuse or misinterpret this. The AMA feared this would block a physician’s discussion about gun safety and gun presence at home.

The AMA is pushing for physicians to discuss “guns”, which the vast majority have no expertise in. I know from fellow physicians that the majority of AMA members could not put on a gun trigger lock or show a patient what gun safety is. The AMA will not even define “semi-automatic” for the public.

From the AMA,

Many physicians from states that traditionally are highly supportive of gun ownership also expressed the need to get behind any evidence-based policy that would help prevent violence from befalling our patients.

AMA’s Common Sense Does Not Equal Evidence-Based Medicine

Evidence-based medical care relies on the strength of accurate research data to guide physicians to appropriate treatments with good outcomes. The mainstream media loves the term “common sense” without documenting reliable outcomes.

According to the FBI database, since 1998  just over 318 million background checks have been conducted. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, John Lott Jr. of the Crime Research Center (CRC) discussed that while more than 300,000 denied gun sales from background checks, less than 300 were actually found guilty of something. That means there were hundreds of thousands of false-positive denials of second-amendment rights to law-abiding people.

Also, gun owners are the only ones paying the taxes that fund the FBI’s background checks, at the will of the general population. This tax’s purpose is to obstruct gun ownership and it also harms lower-income citizens. Also in the article, concealed weapon carriers are much better stewards of ownership and an overwhelming number of former police officers support concealed weapon sales.

John Lott Jr is one of the most well-read authors in the issue of gun control. He was recently silenced by Twitter. The AMA is silent on evidence-based discussions about the causes of gun violence. They also ignore most mass murderers who obtained guns with a legal background check. In addition, the AMA is also against concealed weapons permits.

Missing Bullying as an Injury to Assailants

Search the AMA website and you will not find any papers tackling bullying in or out of schools. There is nothing pertaining to guidance about “pathology of hatred”. Bullying has been a possible precursor for the Columbine murders and others. Medically, a psychopath may be a term and diagnosis for these murders as described in a Slate article. But this misses the long-standing social elements poking at the personal quirks which would someday open a sore which has to be itched an aggressor.

There are many anti-bullying signs hung around the country with few people understanding of the real effect on victims and future assailants. One of the worst things a physician can do is rush through the clinic visit and not listen to the patient. Listen to the signs and symptoms in Columbine which the AMA ignores. By a fellow acquaintance of the Columbine murderers,

The two often sat by themselves in the Columbine lunchroom, known as “the commons.” They were by no means outcasts. “They were well-liked by a fair amount of people,” Laughlin says. At the same time, he believes the social stratification — and yes, bullying — found at Columbine played a real part in their isolation.

The AMA Ignores Preventable Signs and Symptoms

In June of 2018, Mark Follman of MotherJones wrote about the FBI’s research pertaining to characteristics of mass murderers. Most mass murderers have episodes giving clues of troubling behaviors. These may include,

mental health problems related to anger, paranoia, or depression; troubling levels of interpersonal conflict; or communicated threats of violence.

Grievances can be a harbinger to violence including interpersonal, school, employment, and financial issues.

Spreading the Gun Violence Message

Mr. Follman goes full anti-gun narrative. Because the attacks occur much of the time at places familiar to the murders, He guesses this debunks the fact that gun-free zones are a reason for the attack. Though earlier in the article, the author documents FBI findings that the perpetrators of these violent episodes planned them over the course of weeks to months with specifics down to ammunition and tactical gear.  Mr. Follman then acknowledges the possibility that gun-free zones contribute to the planning of an attack. The AMA supports gun-free zones, keeping the narrative alive.

Supporting Incorrect Narratives

The AMA allows the false narrative to spread by ignoring the assailant as one of their patients. Terms and descriptions including misogynist, homophobic, racist and xenophobic are all thrown at people without truly developing a possible plan to improve an outcome.

Just this past June, Mark Follman of MotherJones returned to qualify the reason for mass murders. The Medical Dictionary defines misogyny as an aversion, mistrust or hatred of women. Mr. Follman throws this term around like a fire hose on a rioting crowd. Any signs of antipathy towards women must be the cause of mass violence, even though men are also a large number of victims. Toxic masculinity must be the etiology of infection and if we get rid of this then misogynist violence will go away. Mr. Follman points to misogyny, though nowhere in the 2018 FBI report, he wrote about, does it mention the term.

The AMA Puts Political Points Before Mental Illness

I recommend everyone read an article in New York Magazine seeking to differentiate misogyny from true mental illness. The 2014 article focuses on Elliot Rogers and the Isle Vista murders. Though there were signs of aversion to women, his first three victims were men. The LA Times detail the events. The New York article leads the logical discussion of why misogynist signs do mean it is the diagnosis.

Yes, by the end of his life he had dabbled in online men’s rights and pickup artist forums online and adapted some of their languages, but it appears that this happened after years of bottomless anger and frustration had already warped him into a dysfunctional person.

A follow-up article actually asks a mental health expert for some recommendations on how to stop the next Elliot Roger.

The screening would be all the things you read about — male gender, socially poorly connected to others (family, friends, co-workers, romantic connection), unsuccessful in school or vocation, isolated and ruminative (hard to talk to, always going on about the same subject), angry, external locus of control (my life would be better if other people would change their behavior) while also being extremely egocentric.

In Summation…

Obviously, neither the AMA nor the left media have any interest in minor research into the true causes of gun violence for prevention. These discussions could save many patients including those who commit the murders.

In the United States, we would rather let 10 guilty people go free than imprison one innocent person. But that is not how the AMA sees things. Looking at all citizens as patients, the burden of an ultrasound or waiting period before an abortion is draconian, but the burden of a waiting period before purchasing a gun or taxes which increase the cost of a self-defense weapon for the poor or minorities is politically correct. The AMA proves once again its business is self-preservation through political partnerships, not patient care. The AMA misses the target in real gun violence prevention.

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