14 October 2007

Guns, Kids, and "Safety"

A regular reader sent me a link to a post on Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller about pediatricians, based on this article from the Boston Herald.

Disclaimer 1: I don't have kids.

Disclaimer 2: I am not sure I endorse the suggestions of shooting a nosy pediatrician. On the other hand, if I had some creep on my property photographing my (hypothetical) kids, I would take a pistol out when I went to get the film out of his camera and inform him that I was calling the police, and that the next time I saw him on my property, I would shoot him.

Disclaimer 3: I live in Texas, where it is perfectly legal to shoot folks on your property provided you have a warning sign up. Thank God for states with common-sense laws.

There's at least three major issues. One is the burning hysteria about "abuse." Child abuse, domestic violence, blahblahblah. It happens, don't get me wrong. But I doubt that a kid showing up for a routinely scheduled well child visit with no indications of child abuse is really a high risk for being an abuse victim. Most child abuse cases in America are really child neglect, and if a kid is healthy and being taken in for routine medical care, that's pretty much a solid indicator that he or she is NOT being neglected. Of course I got asked if there was any potential abuse in my house when I want in for my appointment for a kidney infection. Never mind that a kidney infection isn't really indicative of abuse.

I was good. I did not answer, "I'm not as abused as I want to be." That would just confuse the poor girl.

Someone is checking blocks on a form, if you want my opinion. Maybe I've been in the Army too long, but block-checking neither surprises me nor terribly offends me. It's annoying and stupid, and sets the doctor in question up for failure when done that way. But there are arguments for and against the idea of having the parents not be in the room for a limited amount of time. I don't know for sure there.

The other is the Gun Thing. Now, don't get me wrong. There are some things that a pediatrician might want to ask about guns. In the same sense that you would ask a parent if a kid had water safety courses, or whatever. That makes sense to me. Of course, firearm safety can't be taught without some hands-on time with firearms and more than driver's training could consists of nothing but a power-point presentation.

What really drives me up the wall is the idea of grilling about firearm ownership. Are they going to grill parents about power tools or swimming pools? Or how about the number 1 accidental death killer of kids?

"Timmy, does your Daddy ever drive too fast in his car?"
"Does your Daddy ever use bad words and flip other drivers the bird?"
"Does your Daddy talk on his cell phone while you are in the car?"
"How many cars does your Daddy own, and what kind are they?"

This trend in grilling kids about guns is apparently part of the American Association of Pediatricians' official policy, which is to the eliminate all guns. All of them. That's what happens when a professional organization is taken over by the Left, which wishes to reduce all those not in the "elite" to the status of serfs. And don't be confused: Those without the legal right to own and use effective means of self-defense are serfs no matter what other legal "rights" their masters choose to confer on them at the time. Laws can be revoked--guns are harder to take away. But that's a rant for a different day, no?

There are some smart docs out there, with some good advice on what to do when this sort of thing happens.

But I think the final word should come from a comment to the AIR post.

"Back when I was in medical admin, releasing any private information without signed consent was an offense handled by civil and/or criminal sanctions. Times have changed and much for the worse."

"I cannot but wonder how we are any better than the old Soviet Union. Far too remeniscnet of Pavlik Morozov, the Young Pioneer brat who snitched on his father for hiding grain (during the Ukrainian famine). After he was killed by his relatives, the Commies turned him into a Soviet saint - but the Russians at least subsequently repealed this travesty after 1990. We’re still encouraging and glorifying ours."

"Maybe since that doctor is a quack, she-he-it should be boiled in orange sauce."

It's funny how much totalitarianism is defended by the allegations that things are for the "safety" of children. I for one would like to know when protecting kids from all hypothetical dangers became the sole function of society. Children buffered from adversity and danger grow up to be not terribly worthwhile citizens. Jen wrote about this from another angle, the obsession with antibacterial everything. One of her comments contained one of the best things I've heard on the topic.

"One of the things my mother said that stuck with me is that if a little dirt was going to kill a kid, it was better to know before you had a college education invested in that kid."

Just something to think on.


Blogger Chris said...

While I agree with most of what you mention, allow me to offer another viewpoint.

You have, according to your wife, enough Common Sense to pour piss out of a boot without reading the instructions on the heel. Your firearms will be properly secured in your house, with appropriate trigger locks and the ammo stored somewhere other than in the firing chamber. Too many news stories indeicate that other children's parents need reminding of this critical home-safety precaution.

Common sense is not as common as advertised. Too many American parents were taking a dump when God handed out Common Sense. It is logical to remind parents about firearm safety though I doubt a pediatrician visit is going to be the most effective way of doing it. I'm not sure that even the public education system is the best place to do this either. But I don't mind the government making SOME effort at this. This perhaps is the least-bad way.

There is a line between education/follow-up and invasion of privacy. Where that line remains is actually above my paygrade. But it is certainly a blogworthy topic.

3:08 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Your firearms will be properly secured in your house, with appropriate trigger locks and the ammo stored somewhere other than in the firing chamber.

Actually, no they won't have trigger locks, and while they will not have a round under the hammer, they will be stored with ammunition.

What in God's name do you do if you need that firearm and can't unlock the stupid thing? I don't have the vision to struggle with putting a tiny key into a tiny lock at 0300.

Also, do you ask the intruder to wait while you go get the ammunition for the weapon?

We'll probably, if we have kids, get a biometric bedside safe (requires a fingerprint recognition to open) as well as a wall safe, but there is no way I'm going to create a false mystery around the guns, just like I refuse to create some mystery around alcohol. If/when we have kids, they'll be exposed to the guns, taught that they're not toys, and will be offered tastes of really horrible alcohol until they're convinced it's too nasty to deal with.

The two won't be mixed. :-D

It is logical to remind parents about firearm safety though I doubt a pediatrician visit is going to be the most effective way of doing it.

The incident referenced in the article wasn't a case of reminding the parents or the children about gun safety. It was grilling the kid and then reporting the parents to the police for their entirely legal gun collection. That's meddling and that pediatrician should have his/her/it's right to practice revoked.

Too many people seem to expect others to completely raise their kids, and giving outside providers more and more right to poke their noses into parents' business just reinforces that. A routine checkup shouldn't be a place to sic social services on a family.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Katana said...

A Pediatrician should know that if the child is suffering from child abuse... then parents are unlikely to bring the kid in for a routine check up.

They're definitely targetting the wrong people.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

replying to chris:
Gun owners should certainly know something about gun safety, but "getting the gun license" might be a better occasion than a doctor's visit, don't you think?


4:48 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Jen: a bedside safe with biometric capabilities qualifies as 'properly secured'--for so long as they out of the reach of children and the thief by night who might otherwise abscond with the firearms. Keeping the ammo WITH the gun is not the same as keeping it IN the gun. If you own more than one weapon, why would you NOT keep a trigger lock on all but one? Expecting a firefight? We Texans are tough, but actual firefights are quite rare--they're too tough on the paintwork.

I can see no reason for failure to put trigger locks on long-guns even if in a glass cabinet. A gun safe is another matter....especially if firmly anchored to the building frame. I did own a .22 and a .410 shotgun, and both had trigger locks even though the ammo was far away from the actual weapons.

There are too many yahoos who keep ammo in the weapon and the weapon where it may easily be be found if needed, but also where the children get get it and play 'cowboy'. I intend to never need one.

AFAIC: one such incident is too many.

I'm not crying 'ITS FOR THE CHILDREN'....I AM saying "some common sense world, please, pretty please?"

And to anonymous...firearms are still not licensed. Concealed handguns require permits and training, but the guns themselves are without license. There is no reason that a normal, non-felon adult can purchase a firearm. If purchased from a private party, even the sale is unrecorded. There are no mandatory safety classes required.

I am not claiming that pediatricians are the appropriate party for this sort of education. But it oughta be SOMEBODY.

The last time I got into a situation where some people might wish for a handgun, I offered to buy the perpetrator a cup of coffee. I have found that prayer really helps such situations. Of course, YMMV but I am prepared to go down and let whoever wants to rip off my possesions so badly that s/he/it carries a gun.....they can have it. I am either a pacifist or a coward: you choose the term; I'll accept either.

5:50 AM  

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