Reconciling Second Amendment, 10 Commandments

File Emergency room personnel find themselves on the front lines of the nation’s ongoing gun-violence debate. To the mother whose son I couldn’t save: I wish that I possessed some combination of words that could heal the wound in your heart, some turn of phrase that could end your sorrow. But I have no such words. You will live the rest of your life with an unfillable void and the simple question “why?” forever unanswered. We read all too frequently about mass shootings. But your son’s story was never in the news. There were no news conferences, cameras or reporters. The day your son was shot, he was one of five gunshot victims brought to our trauma center – all unrelated. Nowadays, five individuals gunned down separately is not newsworthy. Some, in fact, might consider it socially acceptable – the price of doing business in a country where gun violence is the norm. The National Rifle Association recently told doctors who stray into the gun debate to “stay in their lane.” But we trauma surgeons are the direct witnesses and final chroniclers of gun violence. As I was with your son, I am too frequently the last person who speaks to loved ones. A stranger in mask and gown, their newest friend and their final companion. I want to tell you that their final words are something heartfelt, something special. In truth, the words are often sterile. Answers to questions such as “Do you have any allergies?” or “Have […]

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