4 Firefighters Shot Responding To A Fire; AMA on Gun Research Silence

Will Wayne LaPierre take to the Sunday chat shows calling for every fire truck in America to have an armed guard to protect our firfighters from being shot when responding to a fire?

On Christmas Eve. In Webster, NY:

A 62-year-old Webster man suspected of setting a trap that killed two firefighters and injured two others was previously in prison for beating his grandmother to death, according to law enforcement sources.

The dead are Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and Tomasz Kaczowka. Chiapperini led the fire department’s explorer program for high schoolers. Both men died at the scene. Kaczowka, in his early 20s, is also a 911 dispatcher.

William H. Spengler Jr., the man believed to be the shooter, was found dead outside the home where the shootings occurred, killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

@GunDeaths, partnering in a crowdsourced tally of the toll firearms have taken since Dec. 14, shows a dozen other gun deaths in America today.

Crowdsourced?

Slate says that the most recent years for which statistics are available for gun injuries and deaths from the CDC is 2008 and 2009.

Really?

Angry Bear highlights a report from The Journal of the American Medical Association, Silencing the Science on Gun Research, finding:

…in 1996, pro-gun members of Congress mounted an all-out effort to eliminate the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although they failed to defund the center, the House of Representatives removed $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget—precisely the amount the agency had spent on firearm injury research the previous year. Funding was restored in joint conference committee, but the money was earmarked for traumatic brain injury. The effect was sharply reduced support for firearm injury research.

To ensure that the CDC and its grantees got the message, the following language was added to the final appropriation: “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

If the conversation shifts to mental health, I’m all for it. LaPiere on MTP:

We have a mental health system in this country that has completely and totally collapsed. We have no national database of these lunatics, the records are not even in the system.

I talked to a police officer the other day. He said, “Wayne,” he said, “let me tell you this. Every police officer walking the street knows s lunatic that’s out there, some mentally disturbed person that ought to be in an institution, is out walking the street because they dealt with the institutional side. They didn’t want mentally ill in institutions. So they put them all back on the streets. And then nobody thought what happens when you put all these mentally ill people back on the streets, and what happens when they start taking their medicine.”

We have a completely cracked mentally ill system that’s got these monsters walking the streets.

Law enforcement frustration around the lack of an effective mental health system is absolutely understandable. Today our prisons are our de facto mental health treatment facilities.

Institutions as they existed in the past — wherein we locked up and warehoused our fellow citizens with mental disabilities — were not the answer then and they are not the answer now. We must learn from the past and move forward.

The reality is that addressing our mental health problems will cost real money and require a real commitment. I wish we were as ready to make that commitment as we are to have gun-toting guards in every grade school.