What is this?
(Click to really, really embiggenate – do not say I did not warn you.)
This is me accepting a damned good suggestion, and running with it.
As you all are probably aware by now, I am a firm proponent that graphics and pictures can take otherwise complicated concepts and numbers and make them easy to understand for the average reader. Bob S. approached me with an idea, and this was the end result… so time for the explanation.
As you may or may not be aware, Florida is one signature away from passing a law that would “ban doctors from asking about the presence of guns or ammunition in the home”. I confess to not having read the entirety of that particular document, but I can honestly tell you one thing – I oppose it. Predictably, the anti-rights cultists of America also oppose it, but something tells me we are approaching the matter from somewhat disjoint perspectives.
Personally, I believe the law unjustly abridges the First-Amendment-protected rights of the doctors in Florida, and I likewise believe that it will unnecessary cut off what could have been an otherwise interesting social conversation between doctor and patient.
That said, I likewise believe that doctors have absolutely no business discussing firearms from a medical standpoint, that doing so opens those doctors up to a world of hurt when it comes to medical malpractice (*.pdf warning), and that their reasons for doing so are largely debunked and seriously flawed “studies”. However, should a doctor feel the need to discuss those kinds of topics with their patients, I see no reason why they should not be legally permitted to do so… just like I see no reason why the patients should not be legally permitted to tell the doctor to shove his self-righteous idiocy up his nether regions and go find a less intrusive practitioner to use.
However, most of all, I know doctors have more-important, and more-pressing, things to be discussing with their patients.
Which brings us back to the graphic – one very large blue square (to be specific, 5492×5492 pixels), with a series of multi-colored squares contained within it. What are those? Well, I will give you a hint – one pixel in the above image represents 10 American citizens in 2007.
Still give up? Well, here is the answer:
From right to left, we have the leading causes of American deaths:
Heart disease: 616,067
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
Actually, I added that last one – firearms do not even make the Center for Disease Control’s top ten list of causes for American fatalities (there were somewhere around 620 firearm-related accidental fatalities in 2007, which will be counted twice under that category and “accidents”). Bear in mind that, as with the last few graphics like these, that “firearm-related” number includes all firearm-related fatalities – accidents, law-enforcement, suicides, murders, etc. Something tells me doctors will not be terribly helpful in discussing how to avoid “death by cop” or being shot by a mugger, but, as usual, I want to give the anti-rights cultists every single advantage we can – their positions seem to need it.
So, with the proportions of what kills Americans now firmly established by the above graphic, might you think that the good Florida doctors’ time might be a little better spent on actually relevant topics?
“But wait,” I can hear you exclaiming, “Most of the objections are coming from pediatricians! What about that specific demographic?!”
Sure. Let us take a look at that sub-18-year-old range, and just for the sake of making things easy, let us toss out the newborns – their birth-related fatalities will skew the numbers even worse. A rough approximation of the 2009 Census approximation (w00t for nested approximations!) gives us somewhere around 74,602,591.65 folks under the age of 18 in America… I think we can round up. That gives us a box 2731×2731 pixels. Off we go!
… Actually, no, we do not. The largest leading cause of death amongst the ages of 1 through 18 is “Unintentional Injury”, and its box would only be a scant 91×91 pixels – hardly even noticeable against a field of blue that large. So, instead, we will simply break down the numbers below:
Unintentional injury (non-firearm-related): 8309
All firearm-related fatalities (homicide, suicide, and unintentional): 2167
Malignant neoplasms: 1834
Congenital anomalies: 1077
Heart disease: 650
Influenza and pneumonia: 251
Chronic lower respiratory disease: 228
Well, there you have it – the anti-rights cultists finally have a demographic where firearm-related fatalities rank high enough to be worthy of note. Can you not hear their blood-covered shoes jumping in glee?
Except… wait… what good does a doctor talking to a parent about firearms in their home do a child who is murdered by another child, or adult, with a firearm? Not a damned bit. Which takes out 1553 of those fatalities, suddenly bumping “firearm-related” to fourth on the list, which still leaves us in the “doctors have significantly more-pressing things to be discussing with their patients” category.
For example, do you know what kills more than twice as many children as firearms? Motor vehicle traffic. So how many doctors talk to their 16-and-older patients about looking both ways at stop signs and keeping a safe following distance? Do you know what the most-chosen means of suicide is for that demographic? Not firearms – suffocation. How many doctors talk to the parents of teenagers about not keeping plastic shopping or trash bags in their home? And you and I both know what would happen if I had some way of excluding “gang member” from our numbers, and you and I both know that no amount of talking-to from a doctor is going to convince a “child” like that to give up his “extracurricular activities”…
The number of firearm-related fatalities unquestionably needs to go down, but the way to accomplish this is not to inappropriately invade people’s privacy, or demand they “find another doctor” (as the doctor who precipitated this entire incident did) if they do not see the need to discuss the topic with you.
Likewise, this proposed law in Florida is stupid – there is simply no way around it – but the anti-rights cultists’ reaction to it demonstrates the same remarkable lack of scale as their continuing drive for “gun control”. There are simply more-important, more-pressing, and more-effective things for doctors to be discussing with their patients than something they just have no business prying into, especially during the time when their patients are paying them to address whatever medical issue brought them in in the first place. Unfortunately, it would seem as though the hoplophobes will pass up no opportunity to wet their pants over firearm-related legislation, even if they come off as complete and utter fools in the process.
(This post suggested by Bob S. who was, in turn, inspired by Brady Board Member, Million Mom March something-or-another, and all-around anti-rights nut Joan Peterson, who seems to believe that homicides are a “major health issue”. Really, Joan? Really?)