The Isla Vista Shootings: Reactions from Gun Control Advocates, an ER Doctor and the NRA
June 5, 2014
The Brady Campaign & The New York Times & Timothy Johnson / MediaMatters
Real solutions exist that are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans -- solutions that would prevent many of the 90 gun deaths that happen in our nation every day. And yet, the corporate gun lobby relentlessly blocks progress toward every commonsense solution. The NRA's defense? "The blame needs to be placed on the politicians in California who time and time again their answer to these issues are more and more gun control laws."
Brady Campaign Reacts to Statement by
Father of Young Man Slain in Santa Barbara Shooting
Statement from Dan Gross, President, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
"Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris's right to live?" "Stop this Madness! We don't have to live like this. Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, 'Not one more!'" Richard Martinez said at a news conference about his son.
"We at the Brady Campaign stand with Mr. Martinez. He got it exactly right. Americans are dying every day because of the corporate gun lobby and the politicians it has in its pocket.
Real solutions exist that are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans -- solutions that would prevent many of the 90 gun deaths that happen in our nation every day. And yet, the corporate gun lobby relentlessly blocks progress toward every commonsense solution.
It gives substantial sums of money to buy politicians to ignore the will and well being of the American people -- by opposing expanded background checks; and calling research into gun violence ‘unethical.' These politicians do not care who is buying guns -- convicted felons, domestic abusers, rapists -- just as long as the corporate gun lobby is happily making the biggest possible profit.
It is time for the American public to know the truth about why people are dying every day and, thanks to Americans like Mr. Martinez, that truth is starting to be heard.
Tragically, it becomes more essential every day that we Americans rise up and show the courage and rage that Mr. Martinez has, and call out the corporate gun lobby and the ‘craven' politicians who do their bidding." We at Brady are committed to making the voice of the American public heard, and preventing every act of gun violence until we make this the safer nation we all want.
At the E.R., Bearing Witness to Gun Violence
David H. Newman, M.D. / New York Times Op-ed
There is an unspoken rule in medicine: we do not tell tales out of school.
As an emergency room physician, an Army veteran who was deployed to a combat support hospital in Baghdad in 2005, and a biomedical researcher in the field of cardiac-arrest resuscitation, I have been and am, on a daily basis, a witness to grave misfortune. Ordinarily, though, except for medical purposes, I will not discuss what I have seen.
Last week a colleague asked me to make an exception. The father of two young children, he was moved by the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to ask his professional circle to reconsider our silence. I am an expectant father, and his words resonated with me.
They reminded me that we doctors are at the front lines of the scourge of gun violence, and that to remain silent as this threat to public health continues unabated would be no different than for an oncologist or a cardiologist to stay mum on the dangers of smoking.
The doctor's balance between discretion and education is complex. But the news from Newtown, and my colleague's request, convinced me that we have reached the threshold. I can no longer stay silent.
Here is just some of what I have seen over the years. In Baghdad, I saw a 5-year-old girl who was shot in the head while in her car seat. Her father, who knew she was dying before I said it, wept in my arms, as bits of her body clung to his shirt.
Much of the gun violence I have seen, though, I have seen on home soil, here in the United States. There was a 9-year-old girl, shot in the chest by an assault rifle during a "drive-by" gang shooting, in a botched retaliation for a shooting earlier that day. She was baffled, and in pain, with a gaping hole under her collarbone.
I have also seen an 8-year-old who found a shotgun in the closet while playing with a friend. The two boys pointed the weapon at each other a number of times before the gun accidentally discharged. The 8-year-old arrived in my emergency department with most of his face blown off. Miraculously, he survived.
Another child I will never forget was a 13-year-old who was shot twice in the abdomen by an older boy who mistook him for one of a group that had bullied and berated him a week earlier. Slick with sweat and barely conscious, he groaned and turned to look at me. Soon after, he died in the operating room. His mother arrived minutes later, wide-eyed and breathless.
I do not know exactly what measures should be taken to reduce gun violence like this. But I know that most homicides and suicides in America are carried out with guns. Research suggests that homes with a gun are two to three times more likely to experience a firearm death than homes without guns, and that members of the household are 18 times more likely to be the victim than intruders.
I know that in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, nearly 400 American children (age 14 and under) were killed with a firearm and nearly 1,000 were injured. That means that this week we can expect 26 more children to be injured or killed with a firearm.
Emergency rooms are themselves volatile environments, not immune to violence. Over the last decade, a quarter of gun crimes in American E.R.'s were committed with guns wrested from armed guards.
I have sworn an oath to heal and to protect humans. Guns, invented to maim and destroy, are my natural enemy.
Sally Cox, a school nurse in Newtown, told Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" that when state troopers led her out of the school after the mass shooting they instructed her to cover her eyes. This was humane, and right. But some of us see every day what no one should, ever. If the carnage remains undiscussed, we risk complacency about an American epidemic — one that is profoundly difficult, but necessary, to watch, and to confront. That is why I bear witness.
David H. Newman is the director of clinical research in the department of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
NRA Finally Responds To UCSB Murders: 'Blame Gun Control'
Timothy Johnson / MediaMatters
(June 4, 2014) -- Eleven days after a 22-year-old California man killed six in a shooting and stabbing spree near the University of California, Santa Barbara, the National Rifle Association responded, placing "the blame" for the tragedy on gun safety efforts.
On May 23, Elliot Rodger, apparently motivated by hatred of women, went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California, stabbing three victims to death before shooting 11 people; three fatally. Several other people were injured by Rodger's car.
The NRA typically goes silent in the wake of mass shooting incidents, and the Isla Vista killings were no different. As The New York Times noted after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, "Over the years the N.R.A. has perfected its strategy for responding to mass shootings: Lie low at first, then slow-roll any legislative push for a response." (Slate's Dave Weigel has noted that when the NRA finally does weigh in, its response is nearly identical to past incidents.)
During a June 3 appearance on the NRA's radio program Cam & Company, NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox addressed the Isla Vista killings, stating, "The blame needs to be placed on the politicians in California who time and time again their answer to these issues are more and more gun control laws."
Cox also claimed that not enough attention had been paid by the media to the victims who were stabbed to death, adopting a similar argument used in a May 30 NRA commentary video that attacked media for using the word "shooting" when describing murders committed with guns.
From the June 3 edition of Cam & Company:
COX: Unfortunately this is another tragedy that was not prevented by gun control and there's not one more.... Cam you and I know it and your viewers and listeners know it, there is not another gun control law that could have been passed that would have prevented this awful situation from happening.
We can't forget that the first three victims were stabbed to death. Now that's not something that the national news media wants to talk about.
A number of victims were hit by a car, gun control obviously wouldn't have prevented that behavior either. They have very strict mental health rules with regards to firearm ownership in California. There are things that can and should be done, the National Rifle Association is interested in addressing these underlying problems.
We have underlying problems with a lack of school security, a lack of armed security in our schools. We have a problem with a lack of prosecution coming out of [Attorney General] Eric Holder and Barack Obama's administration, and we have a problem, no question, with regards to these gun control laws that leave people defenseless, and we have a problem with a mental health system that's completely bankrupt.
This is -- this is -- you know people are looking to place blame on wherever they can place blame and it's an understandable reaction to such a horrific tragedy.
But the blame needs to be placed on the politicians in California who time and time again their answer to these issues are more and more gun control laws. They have passed every gun control law imaginable and it hasn't done a damn thing, and that's a tragedy in and of itself.
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