Apr 18 2009

Touchstone for anti-gun, universal healthcare true believers

Category: guns,healthcareharmonicminer @ 8:27 am

With the recent spate of shootings,  false allegations about how the Mexican drug wars are being fought primarily with guns directly obtained in the USA from gun shops, and the Left’s ambition to institute universal health care of some kind, it seemed good to repost this from last September.


A lot of folks believe themselves to be very righteous because they care so much about the children (even though they’re pro-choice on abortion). They want you to believe that they care more about human life than you do. So they’re really big on universal health care, and they’re anti-gun. In the first instance, they want you to be forced by government taxation to pay for it. In the second instance, they want to remove your right to self-defense (only meaningful if you have the tools to do so, correct?).

Is it clear yet that they don’t care about you? I hope so. If you don’t grasp that, reread the first paragraph. Their concern is for other folks, not for you. Not even for your children, because, you see, your children are yours, and the universal health care/anti-gun true believers don’t really care about them, just the children of those other people, more or less in the abstract. Otherwise they would not try to take away from you the tools you need to defend them, and the money you need to take care of them.

A few facts to set the table:

1) Auto accidents are the single biggest cause of death in children (and, for that matter, adults up to age 30 or so). At least 40% of those are alcohol related.

2) Since 2004, the next biggest cause of death is poisoning, according to the CDC.

For at least the 40 years prior to 2004, the two leading causes of injury death were MVT deaths and firearms. Beginning in 2004, poisoning deaths outnumbered firearm deaths and have increased at a greater pace than firearm deaths since then. Unintentional drug poisonings are the largest component of poisoning deaths; they are primarily related to drug overdose and their rates of increase have outpaced those of all poisonings. Physicians who prescribe narcotics (e.g., opioids such as methadone or oxycodone) should be aware of the risks associated with the drugs that are contributing to these deaths. Whether the drugs are not prescribed correctly, are not taken according to the physicians directions, or are diverted from a patient to someone else cannot be ascertained, but all possibilities must be considered (3)

3) Of the firearms deaths, despite anti-gun accident-fear propaganda, the biggest causes are suicide and homicide. Of the homicides, most are below age 30 or so. Estimates of the number of gang related murders run from 10-50%, depending on who is asked, and the methodology of classification. There are far fewer firearms “accidents” than the anti-gun industry wants us to believe, and some of those “accidents” may be murders that cannot be proved. (“Yes, officer, I accidentally shot him while cleaning my gun.” Nearly unbelievable to anyone who knows anything about firearms.) Men are more likely to be murdered by strangers, unless it is gang related. Women are somewhat more likely than men to be murdered by someone they know.

What does all of this mean? Among other things: the causes of death up to early middle age are overwhelmingly not precisely “medical” or “health” related, but are related to accidents, poisonings, suicides and murders. If one was deeply concerned about the health status of children and young adults, the single biggest place to start is those causes of death, NOT whether or not they have “health insurance”. And in the case of poisonings with prescribed medications (the second largest cause of death of younger people after auto accidents), it could reasonably be argued that those deceased would have been better off with LESS medical attention….. Note that drug-overdose with illegal drugs seems to be much less a cause of death than overdose with prescribed drugs.

To the biggest cause of death, auto accidents: the leading cause of death of people under age thirty is traumatic brain injury in a vehicle accident. And outside of fatality, the leading cause of disability and enormous medical expense for young people is the same. Who among us does not know, or know of, a young person with such an injury? It is exceedingly common, sadly. Just in my circle of friends and family, I know of perhaps a half dozen such injuries in young people in just the last couple of years. I personally knew of only two people who were murdered in the last 35 years, one who was the child of a friend (murdered by her new husband), and one who was the brother of a former student (murdered by a jealous rival in a love triangle). People who live in gang-ridden neighborhoods will have a different experience, of course. Over those same years, I have known, or known of, more young people than I can remember who have died or been very seriously injured (often permanently) in auto accidents.

Again, a reminder: 40% of those vehicle deaths are alcohol related.

Regarding medical insurance coverage, according to the CDC, in the year 2007:

…the percentage of persons who were uninsured at the time of the interview was highest among those aged 18-24 years (27.5%) and lowest among those under 18 years (8.9%) (Figure 4). Starting at age 18, younger adults were more likely than older adults to lack health insurance coverage. [emphasis mine]

That 27.5% is about TWICE the national average for uninsured status (around 14.5%), which includes all ages, races and sexes. Why is the rate of uninsured status lowest for children under age 18? Simple enough: they tend to be covered on their parent’s insurance until they are 18. The implication of this is straightforward: about 8.9% of adults with children do not have health insurance themselves, and so do not have it for their children.

Even before age as a consideration, the CDC had this to say about race/ethnicity:

Based on data from the 2007 NHIS, Hispanic persons were considerably more likely than non-Hispanic white persons, non-Hispanic black persons, and non-Hispanic Asian persons to be uninsured at the time of interview, to have been uninsured for at least part of the past 12 months, and to have been uninsured for more than a year (Table 7). Approximately one-third of Hispanic persons were uninsured at the time of interview [emphasis mine] or had been uninsured for at least part of the past year, and about one-fourth of Hispanic persons had been without health insurance coverage for more than a year.

And now, as promised, I present the touchstone to determine whether a true believer in univeral health care actually “cares about the children”, or is simply pursuing a political agenda for which such poses are convenient.

One touchstone is very simple: more children die of head injuries in auto accidents than any other way, certainly HUGELY more than die for lack of health insurance, or by firearm. If a person is not willing to demand and campaign for a law requiring everyone under the age of, say, 18 to wear a protective helmet when riding in a car (cost, maybe $50 per person), they have no moral standing to demand and campaign for universal health insurance (cost, maybe $3000-4000 per person per year). It is clear that the helmets would save FAR more lives and reduce FAR more suffering than any amount of health insurance.

What is more evidence of your compassion and concern for human beings?

1) your willingness to take a cheap step to reduce the NEED for medical care, and the liklihood of severy injury or death? Or,

2) your willingness to spend a very large amount of money to try to fix problems after they have occurred?

I think the answer is obvious.

Another touchstone: since 40% of fatal auto accidents are alcohol related, we should adopt very radical anti-drunk-driving laws, sufficiently toothy that almost no one will take the risk. Curiously, people who are FOR universal health care (again, requiring tax payer money) are often heard to recommend that we should be more like Europe in our health care policy. I wonder if they would resist our adoption of the drunk driving laws of, say, Germany? Or, we could make it really simple. Drive drunk (defined as a minimum percentage, and/or obvious impairment), and you lose your license for five years. Do it again, and you can never again have a license, and driving without a license in this circumstance is punishable by serious prison time. There would surely be less drunk driving, and MANY lives saved.

Either of these approaches, the helmets, or zero-tolerance drunk driving laws, would save far more lives than covering the uninsured, and also avoid many greivous non-fatal injuries. Together, they would dramatically reduce death and injury in the USA, for HUGELY less money than universal health care.

To be blunt: if you’re for the universal health care, and not for both of these policies, you’re a fraud, pretending you care for people’s health, when what you really care about is some kind of political agenda.

It won’t do to say that society wouldn’t put up with requiring helmets in cars, or with more radical drunk driving statutes. People said that about seat belts, and motorcycle helmets, but the laws exist in most states. And people DO modify their behavior when legal penalties are severe and certain. I don’t remember the last time I saw a cigarette lit in a restaurant in California.

By the way: the same argument applies to being for gun control because you think it will save lives. Either, or both, of these other policies will save MORE lives than removing all guns from society (as if that were possible), and without infringing on the Second Amendment and the basic right of self-defense. Again, you’re a fraud if you’re for gun control, and against helmets in cars and far more stringent drunk driving laws than we have now.

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6 Responses to “Touchstone for anti-gun, universal healthcare true believers”

  1. Tom Hunt says:

    Per CDC stats, in 1998, the latest info available, 906 Children (<1 to 12 yrs.) were killed by drowning and 74 by firearms. I think all homes should license their bathtubs and pools. All bodies of water should be drained immediately!

  2. Tom Hunt says:

    Here’s another thought. Most crime is perpitrated by persons under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. So add this to the amount of death and distruction caused by drivers with the same imparment issue, untold millions of dollars are spent on impaired persons. How many poor could get medical insurance with the money wasted on these issues?

  3. Tom Hunt says:

    Here’s another thought. Most crime is perpetrated by persons under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. So add this to the amount of death and destruction caused by drivers with the same impairment issue, untold millions of dollars are spent on impaired persons. How many poor could get medical insurance with the money wasted on these issues?

    Edit: This looks and reads sooo much beter with words spelled correctly 😉

  4. Justin Liston says:

    Universal health care is an important campaign promise by President Obama, that needs to be kept.

  5. harmonicminer says:

    Actually, mandating helmets in cars for all drivers and not forcing drivers to drive crackerbox cars that provide no protection in accidents would save FAR, FAR MORE LIVES than any universal healthcare system yet devised. And the beauty of it is that it wouldn’t cost that much. Helmet for each person: $50, and it will last for years, or until the first time it saves someone’s life. Annual cost of health insurance for the currently uninsured? About $5,000, and paid every year.

    In fact, for people age 18-35, given the choice between having mandated comprehensive health coverage and wearing helmets in cars, the helmets in cars would save more lives.

    This argument isn’t about “saving lives,” it’s about feel-good nanny-statism.

  6. Karen says:

    I really like this blog good job.

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