Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease. I, like many of you, have seen it with my own eyes. It’s not just the patient who suffers, either. The entire family has to suffer through it with them.
All around the world, researchers are trying to find a way to cure this disease. I think we can all agree that it’s a worthy cause, though we may disagree on any number of other factors surrounding the effort.
However, there are also those who are looking to use Alzheimer’s as an excuse to push an anti-gun narrative.
Many people with dementia may have access to a gun in their home, yet few families have gotten advice from a doctor on how to handle the situation, a small new study finds.
In the United States, somewhere between 39% and 49% of older adults live in a home with firearms, the researchers said. Meanwhile, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Exactly how often those two realities intersect is not clear. It’s difficult to get good data on how many people with dementia have access to a firearm, said study author Dr. Emmy Betz.
And yet, Betz published a study on this anyway.
The problem, as presented, is that doctors aren’t giving patients advice about how to deal with guns. This somehow represents a huge problem, of course, because people are too stupid to figure out that if you have a family member in your home that has something like this, you should probably secure your firearms.
More importantly, though, the study is kind of a joke.
The study, published July 16 in JAMA Network Open, included 124 people who were caregivers to someone with dementia. All were participants in a larger, national study of Americans living in homes with a firearm.
In cases where caregivers lived with a dementia patient, one-third said there was access to firearms in the home. Of all caregivers, most thought doctors should talk about firearm safety — but only 5% said that had ever happened.
One-third is 40 people.
See, in studies, there’s a concept called “sample size” that matters a great deal. You want as large a sample size as possible because then you’re less likely to find aberrations pop up as findings. For example, in a study of 124 people, just 20 folks can have an outsized impact on what gets found, even if they’re not really representative of society as a whole.
What’s more, though, is that people like Betz know this. They learn about this kind of thing, about how statistical noise can skew results. They learn that 124 people isn’t a sample size to give meaningful data about a nation of over 300 million people.
Yet, what’s anti-gun about this? After all, it’s a bad study that takes more of an aim at doctors, not gun owners, right?
Well, not really.
“We generally recommend firearms be removed from the home,” [Alzheimer’s Association’s Beth] Kallmyer said.
Locking the firearm and ammunition away in hidden locations, or having the gun disabled, are other options. But, Kallmyer noted, that does not guarantee the firearm won’t be found. And even if the gun cannot be fired, she added, simply the appearance of the person with dementia holding a gun can be trouble — especially if it’s directed at someone from outside the household, or if law enforcement is involved, for example.
In other words, get rid of your guns if you have anyone living with you who has Alzheimer’s.
Sorry, but Kallmyer doesn’t get to make that call, nor does she get to use Betz’s tiny sample size as a soapbox to pontificate from. Frankly, many of us gun owners are good and fed up with these groups which have nothing to do with firearms trying to tell us what we should do with our guns. Sure, it may be different if we’re talking about an Alzheimer patient’s guns, but many people have their loved one living with them so they can provide care. Recommending they be disarmed and vulnerable because they want to be compassionate family members is beyond ridiculous.
Frankly, all of this is yet another example of the medical industry pushing an anti-gun narrative. They know that sample size is too small to be indicative of anything, they just don’t care because it’ll advance the narrative and they know most people don’t know anything about sample size in the first place.
Well, too bad for them that we do.