Yesterday, in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, about 15 or 20 of the military brass sat in front of our senators and tried to justify their current system of military justice and the ongoing sexual assault of women in the military. I wish I had something brilliant to say. I really don’t. I find the whole situation sad. No, that’s not right. Outrageous. Pitiful. Intolerable. For almost 20 years women have been fighting in the front lines of our military, yet we have thousands if not tens of thousands of military assaults and rapes against our own by our own. This has to be fixed. We can accept no more excuses.
I was thinking that I needed to write something about how our women in the military need to feel as safe as they do in the normal civilian population. I was gonna say something like the military should be as safe, if not safer. But, as I mentioned a couple months ago, women are not all that safe in the general population. Somehow, the crimes of rape and sexual assault do not seem to be prosecuted with the same vigor as “regular” assault or other violent crimes. We simply need to fix this.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, over 1000 people, 1000 Americans, have died since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a trauma surgeon. We trauma surgeons have this annoying habit of always trying to do better. We look at our outcomes, both our good cases and our bad cases, and try to see what we could have done better. Should that patient have gone to the operating room sooner? Did that patient need antibiotics? It is because of these kinds of questions that centers around the country are enjoying phenomenal outcomes.
As a country, the United States needs to examine itself. What can we, the United States of America, do better? One of the areas that we must improve has to be the area of gun violence. We are losing too many young men and women to gun violence. This cannot be about gun manufacturers making money. It has to be about Americans trying to live out their lives without being shot! If the Constitution, by some interpretation, states that we cannot have common sense gun reform, then we need to change the Constitution. Life in the United States is a lot different than it was in the late 1700s. For the most part, in the late 1700s people more worried about dying from cholera, scarlet fever, smallpox or other communicable diseases and were not worried about being shot and killed. That is no longer the case in our United States. Things have changed and, if necessary, our Constitution should change also.
I’m not going to listen to the naysayers who claim that we simply can’t get this done. As I read the polls, the majority of Americans want some sort of legislation. We have to pressure senators and congressmen who simply want to hold on to the status quo. The status quo is not good enough anymore.
Let’s not focus on those on the fringes of this debate. There are those on the left who want to remove all guns from our society. I simply don’t think that is realistic and I don’t personally know any serious liberals who are actually saying this. I have no desire to remove guns from those who are using their guns lawfully. On the other hand, I will not listen to ranting of the other side of the spectrum. Those who believe that everyone should have a gun. or better yet, that everyone MUST have a gun, do not offer credible argument. There is no slippery slope. No one will be going through your house and taking your guns. That’s not going to happen. Don’t buy into crazy scare tactics. Australia went after guns. They have a love affair with guns just as we do and they were able to pass meaningful legislation. We can pass thoughtful, meaningful legislation also. Guns aren’t a conservative or a liberal idea. Controlling guns should cut across party lines. Let’s get this done.
Sadly, Blake Butler has left Local Edge Radio. Vonciel is holding down the fort. She asked me to co-host. I invited a couple of my friends to call in. I’m ecstatic that Greg Dworkin, pediatrician and Newtown, Connecticut resident, called in. We talked about gun violence. We talked about how gun violence is different in rural communities, where the violence is mainly suicides, versus urban communities, which suffer from homicide gun violence. One of the things that Greg stressed was that we need to begin to seriously address the problems with registration of guns. He mentioned that even cars are registered. Even if you buy a car from a private person, that car is registered by the state. Why can’t we do the same for guns? This is the question of gun control. We need to have a thoughtful, intelligent conversation that respects the rights of hunters and gun owners, yet recognizes that we have a problem. We need to write our senators. We need to keep the pressure on.
I would like to thank Greg Dworkin, MD for coming on Local Edge Radio on such short notice.