On November 7, the National Rifle Association excoriated doctors concerned over the public health issue of gun violence for not consulting gun owners for solutions on how to curb the uniquely American epidemic.
"Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane," the NRA tweeted last Wednesday. "Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves."
The NRA posted their hostility toward doctors hours after a gunman stormed into a Los Angeles nightclub and murdered 13 people, including one sheriff's deputy.
In the days following the NRA's tweet, medical professionals have fought back in their own way against NRA badmouthing - by posting photos of bloody clothing and chronicling the devastating consequences they and victims face after having bullets tear through their defenseless bodies, and explaining that, actually, gun violence is very much "their lane."
Dr. Marianne Haughey, an emergency physician and the director of St. Barnabas Hospital’s emergency medicine residency program, told the New York Times in a report published on Tuesday that "it’s impossible not to bring home" the visceral images she encounters treating victims of gun violence, many of whom are children.
“I never get used to it," Haughey said. "It’s tiresome.”
Haughey had decided to target the NRA, from which no representative ever sees the carnage, in a tweet of her own on Friday.
"I see no one from the
@nra next to me in the trauma bay as I have cared for victims of gun violence for the past 25 years," Haughey wrote.
“We have a front-seat window view that the N.R.A. is trying to close and say, ‘Ignore it,'" Haughey added.
In another wrenching tweet to the NRA, Dr. Vancbromicin shared a picture of an operating room filled with debris after a teen was brought in with a gunshot wound to the head.
"Surprisingly little blood, but plenty of blood-curdling screams from this middle schoolers mother when we told her that her baby was dead."
University of Texas Southwest general surgery resident Dr. Kristin Gee showed her bloody scrubs after treating a gunshot victim.
Dr. Mahua Dey shared a picture of a bloody bullet she pulled out of a 6-month-old baby's brain.
A New Jersey trauma surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Bonne, featured a blue chair she uses to inform parents that their child's life has been extinguished from gunfire.
Dr. Jason Smith, a University of Louisville trauma surgeon, shared an image of a bloody operating room floor, though that victim had made it.
Dr. Nicholas Namias, Chief, Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, University of Miami and Trauma Medical Director, Ryder Trauma Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital, shared a photo of himself standing in a pool of blood in an operating room, treating a victim of gun violence.
The debate between public officials, medical professionals, and representatives of the gun lobby, specifically the NRA, does not appear to be ending anytime soon.
On Tuesday, the New York Post cited a recent article published by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, which criticized a study from the American College of Physicians concluding that gun violence is a public health crisis.
“The problem is that the ACP cites ‘studies’ that wouldn’t qualify as ‘evidence’ in any other debate,” the NRA's piece insists.
Bob Doherty, Senior Vice President of ACP, fired back at the NRA last Friday in a series of tweets defending the ACP's research.
Though substantially greater research is needed on gun violence and its relationship to public health, the Centers for Disease Control is legally limited on the types of studies it can conduct.
The CDC was given permission by Congress earlier this year to study the causes of gun violence, but as NPR notes: “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control."
Until those in charge of public policy start treating gun violence as a public health crisis, innocent Americans will continue to be slaughtered, so long as the gun lobby is permitted to continue calling the shots.