Sunday, July 26, 2015

What You Don't Measure, Doesn't Matter?

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Congress has drafted Bills and have attempted to pass them into law that bars the use of Federal money to conduct Gun Safety Research. They already have stopped the CDC from research and using the classification of gun violence as a Public Health issue. Some Republican state Legislatures have prohibited Primary Care Doctors from inquiring about guns in the home.

Of course in order to do research on any subject one must state a hypothesis then set up a methodology to gather data and evaluate it. At the end, the hypothesis is either proven or is not proven. The results may also prove some other outcome that was not originally considered and more research needs to be conducted, data collected and a new report written.

A lot of times lay persons will make an assertion that flies in the face of logic and reason. Such claims about guns, their numbers, who has them and what they do with them are bandied about without and substantiation. Those claims typically come at the behest of a benefactor who either directly paid for the endorsement or enlisted a volunteer mouthpiece to carry the baton in the relay race. Case in point is the National Rifle Association. The NRA receives the lion's share of it funding from the gun manufacturers to be its "civilian" mouthpiece even though it claims 4.5 million $25 memberships.

Mark Wilson - GETTY IMAGES
Wayne LaPierre
National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre, is the mouthpiece for the gun manufacturers. If his and the NRAs motives were to support and represent its alleged human membership, they would be actively promoting gun safety, sensible laws that limit the spread of guns throughout all levels of society, and other activities to lessen the impact of the alleged right of every American to possess and carry guns anywhere, anytime they choose. Instead he and the NRA work tirelessly to maximize the sales of new guns into society.

The NRA lobbying against gun safety research merely entrenches the political notion that "what you don't measure, doesn't matter."
By keeping the research from being conducted they can maintain that "nobody really knows what the truth is or what the solutions are." The tobacco Industry used that approach to obfuscate the realities of the death toll of tobacco use on smokers and and the people around them. 

The leaded fuel lobby used that same approach in trying to stop the prohibition of the sale of lead gasoline additives. The Hydraulic Fracturing Industry is using that approach to continue to drill deep holes in the ground and pumping a toxic cocktail of chemicals while claiming that there is no proof that they are poisoning groundwater, and if they are it is not all that bad. The list of offenders goes on and on.

The gun lobby is really concerned that we will uncover the evidence and prove the hypothesis that unfettered gun sales is the cause of tens of thousands of deaths each year and millions of serious injuries. Otherwise they would welcome the research and the results.

While correlation doesn't prove cause and effect, there are some striking statistics that demonstrate that only some people should have access to a gun.

25% of adult in the USA will suffer at lease one bout of serious depression.
20% take one or more anti-depressant prescriptions drugs.
There are over 40 different prescriptions drugs to take for depression.
Gun violence rates haven't changed in a decade, but a new study by UC Davis reveals that as firearm homicide rates have dropped, suicide rates have increased by a like amount.  Suicides outnumber homicides by 2 to 1.

The prohibited research would further identify the inconvenient truth that people want guns to kill themselves. Right now, the cause and effect relationship is backwards. It is not people who buy guns end up killing themselves, but people with suicidal tendencies buy guns for that purpose. Likewise people who are abusive to partners don't buy guns to defend themselves, they buy guns to intimidate people. Just look at the number of times a murders claims he or she was just trying to scare the victim. That is typically the set of event on road rage killings. No road rage killer has ever thought to himself, "I'm going to kill someone to day on my way to work." Well, maybe they have, but the research has not been done.

Here is another one. Women are far more likely to be killed by a domestic partner than by anyone else. Was it the woman who bought the gun that killed them or was it their partner? Gun sales statistics suggest that it was the men.

Gun sales manufacturers and sales outlets DO NOT CARE what their products are used for or by whom as long as they made the sale. Guns are for buying and selling without regard to the consequences. THAT is the very definition of TUNA! in the parlance of this blog. It is all Tuna! is the economic philosophy that is used by everyone who wants to make a dollar at the expense of everyone else.

"I thought you understood that guns are for buying and selling not shooting people."

Rep. Kay Granger is another of those people who doesn't want the evidence to see the light of day. Her proposed legislation would block federal funding of gun violence research like it was not important to the health and safety of tens of thousands of already shot people and the hundereds of thousands who will be shot in the next few years.

This is a lot like the Governors who banished the use of the phrase "climate change" in order to keep it from happening. The US Congress has also banned government funded scientists from advising the congress and bill writers about their specialties and the findings they have made. The GOP majority legislatures have been trying to draw parallels among climate researchers and among gun safety researchers to the idea that the science is a theory much as they have with Creationism and Evolution. All three arenas are critical to the long term sustainability of mankind on this planet.
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