Illinois doctors call for assault weapon ban's passage

Illinois doctors call for assault weapon ban's passage
Doctors at the General Assembly

Doctors are an integral part of our society. We absolutely need them. Luckily, we have them and we tend to have enough that we can pick our physician. If we don’t like a doctor, we just find a new one.

Well, that works most of the time. Sometimes, there’s only one or two in a region and you have to take what you can get, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

Physicians are also very smart. They have to be, as a rule, to get into and graduate medical school.

But they don’t know everything, which is why them sticking their nose into politics is often a bad idea. Yet in Illinois, that’s precisely what they’re doing.

Doctors on the front line of emergency and trauma care gathered at Rush University Medical Center on Monday morning with one thing in mind: Advocating for the passage of a statewide assault weapons ban.

“No politician in the country knows what it feels like to tell someone the person they love the most in the world is not coming back because of gun violence,” said Dr. Tanya Zakrison, a critical trauma surgeon with University of Chicago hospitals.

“I think we can all say enough is enough and that should not be a controversial statement,” Dr. Omar Lateef with Rush, said.

One doctor described gun violence in Chicago as a cancer.

“Sometimes I can hear the families sobbing and grieving outside of my office. You can hear the wailing, and the sobbing and the screaming and it tears your heart out,” Dr. Russel Fiorella, Mt. Sinai. “You see people pulling at each other, collapsing on the sidewalk in total grief. This is a weekly and monthly occurrence.”

Now, I’m not going to dismiss their experiences. I’ve been party to telling a family that their loved one was gone, and I’ll never forget how that felt.

But these doctors are only seeing one side of the gun story. They see the result of criminal misuse of guns, but there’s a lot they don’t see, which is why their emotional pleadings should only go so far.

For example, they don’t see the single mother who protected her kids from a carjacker just by presenting her firearm. The bad guy saw the gun and ran without a shot being fired.

They don’t see the battered woman who got out and got a gun, then pulls that gun when her ex showed up for another round.

In fact, how many of the cases they’re talking about are actually the result of someone shooting in self-defense? They’re doctors. Their job is to try and save lives. How much do they actually know about the individual on the table in front of them?

Even if they know something, is it the whole story? Sometimes, that takes days or weeks to determine, after all, so even if they know what the authorities know right there, it may not be everything.

What I’m getting at is that some of these stories they recount may well be self-defense shootings. They’re possibly trying to restrict gun ownership by telling stories that are actually illustrations of why we shouldn’t restrict anything.

The truth is that doctors may be smart, but they’re not all-knowing. Their opinions shouldn’t matter more than anyone else’s, and their insistence on believing they understand this topic simply because of their professional experience gives a glimpse at one side of the coin.