How dare a potential Surgeon General defend public health?

Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General is, strange to relate, not a fan of injuries and death caused by guns. What an eccentric view, especially for a Surgeon General. Surely a right-minded SG should think of guns as healthy toys.

MSNBC reports on this surprising medical anomaly.

Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is now facing a difficult confirmation for defending public health by pushing for measures that would reduce gun violence in America.

Last week on a vote of 13-9, Murthy’s nomination passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. But his path forward to full confirmation is now under assault from the National Rifle Association, which penned a letter strongly opposing Murthy as Surgeon General. Sen. Rand Paul has threatened to put a hold on the nomination and Sen. John Barrasso has come out against confirmation.

At issue is a letter sent to members of Congress by Murthy, a co-founder of the national grassroots health care advocacy group Doctors for America. “As health care professionals who are confronted with the human cost of gun violence every day, we are unwavering in our belief that strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately. We strongly urge Congress and the Obama administration to put legislation in place now and develop a comprehensive plan to reduce gun-related injuries and deaths,” Murthy wrote.

Oh good lord no, that’s crazy talk. How could it possibly be a good idea to reduce gun-related injuries and deaths? We want more of those! They keep us alert and energized.

Murthy’s view is not controversial within the public health community. The American Medical Association officially opposes any laws that would block doctors from having open conversations about firearm safety in the home and the Academy of Pediatrics has recommended specific gun violence prevention measures to Congress.

Murthy wouldn’t even be alone among Surgeons General connecting gun violence to public health. Dr. C. Everett Koop, who served as Surgeon General during the Reagan administration, spoke out about gun violence in an essay for the American Medical Association titled: “Time to Bite the Bullet Back.”

Flakes, all of them. Hippy-dippy flower-eating sentimental bunny-sniffing flakes.


  1. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Maybe the doctors should start supporting abortion rights. The gun nuts would start blatting about the sanctity of human life, then.

  2. Francisco Bacopa says

    I remember reading about Koop as a teen when he was first nominated and thinking he was a total nutjob at the time. A few years later I was impressed as hell by his AIDS survey mass mailing. That was the first thing that ever happened to educate the public about AIDS during the Reagan years and to try to figure out what was going on. Koop also spoke out about the spurious abortion-breast cancer link. I didn’t agree with a lot of where he was coming from, but he demonstrated a level of responsibility that earned my highest respect.

    And seriously, there’s no reason to object to a medical professional who views gun deaths and injuries as an issue of public health. But some states have passed laws forbidding doctors from asking parents about gun ownership or discussing gun safety. Totally crazy.

  3. A Masked Avenger says

    Did he have in mind measures like, “stop slaughtering brownish foreigners,” or, “stop sending SWAT teams to execute search warrants,” or, “end the war on drugs”? Or is he concerned only with civilian-caused gun deaths? Oh, right–he’s the appointee of the man who claims unilateral authority to declare anyone an enemy combatant, and then send death robots to kill him from the sky. Question answered.

    I’d like to see measures taken to reduce all violent deaths, including civilian-caused gun deaths. But I’m reluctant to put a mass murderer on the job, like, oh, any of the last half-dozen presidents.

  4. freemage says

    Francisco @2: Koop also impressed me with his massive anti-tobacco campaign. At the time, Big Tobacco was one of the GOP’s stalwarts; going up against them head-to-head with the push to put the warning labels on tobacco products was, at the time, revolutionary (especially given the Reagan administration’s general attitude towards regulating any business, let alone one that was so aggressively supportive of the conservative platform).

    I’m a bit too young to remember everything about his tenure, but yeah, Koop generally seemed to understand what his job was.


    A Masked Avenger @3: Your choices, at this particular point in time, are to let the mass-murderer appoint someone to work on the civilian death-by-guns issue, or to stick your thumbs up your ass and whistle Dixie. I’d rather have someone in the White House who actually gives a shit about human rights and due process, yes. If an opportunity to support such an individual comes up in the Democratic Primaries, I’ll vote for them. Until then, though? I’ll try to extract the best possible result out of the dross we’ve been given.

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