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Still The Gun Thing…

January 3, 2013 by and tagged ,

A few publications (here and here, for instance) decided to do some raw data collection (which would need to be refined and correlated with other variables to be truly useful). Slate, especially, has produced a simple interactive graphic regarding gun deaths since Newtown, which has received much visibility:

Less spectacular but as important is this article on the NRA’s (successful) lobbying efforts to suppress research on this topic:

“One aspect of the political effort to turn the US into a gun culture was laid bare just before Christmas inan editorial published in JAMA by Arthur Kellerman and Fred Rivara, two public health physicians. They present a shocking and well-described perspective not available elsewhere — a story of how politics, funding, and sociopathic profiteering have combined to thwart public health research, ultimately creating a smoother path for corporate interests that exploit citizens and their lives just as cigarette manufacturers did a few decades ago — minimizing risks and dismissing deaths in order to make their money. By tying their business to freedom, gun manufacturers and their shills have been able to make incredible inroads into our political system. How much so? They’ve been able to stifle research into gun violence for more than 15 years.

Kellerman and Rivara write that in 1996, pro-gun members of Congress succeeded in eliminating the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As if defunding this center weren’t enough, the following language was added to the appropriations bill:

. . . none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.

So, the CDC lost a center devoted to injury prevention, and lost the ability to shift funds to study gun violence. Later, when other agencies tried to fund high-quality research on injury prevention, which naturally touches on firearms, Congress extended the restrictive language, ultimately applying it to all the Department of Health and Human Services agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

Go read the whole thing. But this tells you everything you need to know about an organization that refuses discussion of an issue, will have swarms of trolls derailing discussion threads all over the Internet, and using its lobbying power to get rid of research (which means, they know what the research might show, because the data otherwise available points to a clear direction). This is bully behavior, unsurprisingly.

Posted in Dataviz, Mass Violence | No Comments »



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