Thursday, January 06, 2005

Guns vs. Doctors

One of the first appearances/speeches of my past campaign was to the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine.
There I spoke about the high cost of medicine, tort reform, indigent healthcare and the like. You know, most of that stuff that affects doctors and whatnot. I was happy to pipe up when they wanted my opinion on how the cost of healthcare can be reduced (by getting government out of the way), on how the cost of drugs can be reduced (by getting government out of the way), on how doctors can realize a larger profit (by getting government out of the way), and how patients will better be able to afford insurance (by getting government out of the way). The evening was going pretty smoothly, and I was confident I'd win a few of these rich doctors' votes. After all, I was the only candidate in my race telling them that taxes were far too high and that they should be able to keep much much more of the large paychecks they earn as physicians.

But then things took a turn for the worse. First they started urging the elected officials present, as well as the would-be politicians like myself, to use the government's gun to raise the cost of cigarettes through taxation. This is in the best interests of the patients, of course. Cigarettes are evil, and the doctors know what's best, therefore by whatever means necessary tobacco use must be curbed. Naturally I vehemently disagree; I feel that every individual has a God-given volition to choose what to do with their lives, be it a good or poor decision. That includes choosing whether or not to pollute your lungs with cigarettes. But, I knew I was talking to a bunch of doctors, so I bit my tongue and said nothing, hoping that I could still manage to get a few votes from my economic stances.

Then came the doctors crying about the people coming in to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Why, the government MUST enact more gun control legislation to prevent this. Because, after all, everyone knows that some thug who would shoot someone in the chest really CARES about the gun laws. Surely said thug would follow those laws to a T and less gun crime would ensue.

Well, today a fellow on the Libertarian Party of NC Yahoo listserv sent this statistial comparison of doctors and guns. Reminded me of that evening back on the trail. Oh, I don't think I got any of those doctor votes after all. Oh well.

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. Statistics courtesy of
U.S. Dept. of Health Human Services.

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. Yes, that is
80 million.
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.0000188.

Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous
than gun owners.

Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do."



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