Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

It's appalling that this was even necessary

Some police-affiliated docs discuss what to do if a wackjob with a gun attacks your hospital.

Defining [active shooter] incidents as situations in which “an individual [is] actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified 160 discrete incidents that occurred between 2000 and 2013, in which 486 people were killed and an additional 557 were wounded.6 In the first half of that period, there were an average of 6.4 active-shooter incidents per year; the number more than doubled, to 16.4, in the latter half of the period. The most recently released FBI data reveal that the rate increased to 20 incidents per year in 2014 and 2015.
It turns out that hospitals are a fairly popular place for this to happen. And people can't just run and hide. At any given time, some people are in surgery, others are unable to get out of bed and are even tethered to machines. And their caregivers can't flee and abandon them.

These authors suggest that hospitals should at least consider restricting access, making visitors pass through metal detectors and X-ray screening, and limiting them to specific areas with color-coded wrist bands. Few hospitals do that now, I'm happy to say, and I think it would be an overreaction. These incidents aren't exactly rare -- 154 in ten years according to one cited study -- but there are about 5,500 hospitals in the U.S. so your individual risk is low. Somebody who wants to shoot one up isn't going to worry about the metal detector, it seems to me.

But their other recommendations are almost as disconcerting. They want areas within the hospital where there are patients who cannot flee to be secured with automatic barriers. "Most shooters will not be equipped with the breaching equipment, such as a battering ram or explosives, that can overcome secured entryways, and they will most likely simply move on from barricaded areas." That's comforting.

Kits containing essential supplies for hemorrhage control, including tourniquets, gauze, and gloves, should be located inside all these areas. Arguably, these kits would also be installed in all public-access areas, just as automated external defibrillators have been. Efforts should be made to train all hospital workers, whatever their area of expertise, in basic bleeding-control techniques.
And, "Facilities also need a notification system that will allow personnel at the point of initial contact to trigger an alert that is immediately disseminated to the entire facility." There's more -- pre-planning with the police, psychological first aid, on and on.

This is just incredibly sad. Do we really have to turn hospitals into fortresses because there are so many lunatics running around with guns? Yes, they have to do that in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan -- war zones. But otherwise, only in America. Maybe the leaders of the NRA will slither back under the rocks they came from.


Anonymous said...

Federal buildings, courthouses, airports all have limited access with security screening an it's pretty much worked. And now there's a lot of interest in doing the same thing with schools. Why are hospitals different?

Also, the NRA is the nation's oldest civil rights organization. They didn't write or pass the Bill of Rights nor did they decide the recent SC rulings reaffirming that individual right.

Cervantes said...

Funny thing -- the NRA didn't start opposing gun control until the late 1970s. In fact they were all for it:

"The NRA formed its Legislative Affairs Division to update members with facts and analysis of upcoming bills,[31] after the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 became the first federal gun-control law passed in the US.[32] Karl Frederick, NRA President in 1934, during congressional NFA hearings testified "I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. ... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses."[33] Four years later, the NRA backed the Federal Firearms Act of 1938.[34]

The NRA supported the NFA along with the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), which together created a system to federally license gun dealers and established restrictions on particular categories and classes of firearms.[35]"

Tell me, to what well-regulated militia do you belong?

Anonymous said...

The primary reason why "original intent" is important when discussing any legal document more than 226 years old is language changes over time.

The phrase "well-regulated" was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for about a century. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order.

Patrick Henry: “The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” 3 Elliot, Debates at 386.

Patrick Henry: “Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” 3 Elliot Debates 168-169.

It's pretty clear that government control of the militia was not the intent if the goale was to have a militia to protect us from a tyrannical government. We still have militias to this day and you can train yourself in the use of firearms and be a member.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing -- the NRA didn't start opposing gun control until the late 1970s. In fact they were all for it:

I think everybody was on the same page with the sanctity of the second amendment until about then.

That's the point in time when guns started pulling their own triggers.

mojrim said...

That's when negros started carrying guns.

mojrim said...

Wait, no. Until then the issue had been negros with guns. After Nixon safely confined all the negros to prison it became important to prevent those laws from affecting real americans. Amirite?

Mark P said...

It might come as a surprise, but there are people who spend their entire lives studying language. They're called linguists. They sometimes gather large quantities of writing to analyze so they can understand what people who use certain words intended them to mean. Even though I have an advanced degree in a different field, I tend to leave that sort of analysis to the professional linguists. I suggest anyone else who does not want to appear ignorant do the same.

As to our current gun laws and the attitudes of gun nuts about them, there are three things that can explain them: ignorance, paranoia, and money. Any time you find someone opposing a reasonable attempt to control guns and gun violence, you should ask yourself which of those three applies to that person. It will be one or more of them.

Anonymous said...

"As to our current gun laws and the attitudes of gun nuts about them, there are three things that can explain them:ignorance, paranoia, and money.

Says who? You? Opinions: Everybody's got one! And that's all that is.

I'd suggest that you actually ASK people what they think instead of just making shit up.

Bottom line is you don't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will help in your understanding of the term "well regulated" and how it was used when the Bill of Rights was written.

Examples from the Oxford English Dictionary

1709: "If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations."

1714: "The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world."

1812: "The equation of time ... is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial."

1848: "A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor."

1862: "It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding."

1894: "The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city."

Mark P said...

As I said, leave linguistics to the linguists, or risk appearing like an idiot (a stupid person, fool, ass, halfwit, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, moron, imbecile, simpleton).

As to your previous comment (about my "opinion"), that reminds me of when the late Lester Maddox, a well known governor of Georgia and racist, called Jimmy Carter a liar. Jimmy Carter's press secretary, Jody Powell, was asked about that, and said, "Being called a liar by Lester Maddox is like being called ugly by a frog." Take from that what you will.

Anonymous said...

Your suspicion of the Oxford English Dictionary is entertaining, Sir.

However, your take on the 2nd is irrelevant because it's already been decided by the only people whose opinions count.

Mark P said...

I do not have any suspicions of the OED, but, as most linguists know, it's not the final word on usage. That's why I suggested leaving linguistics to the linguists. But go ahead. It's a free country so far, for some people, and I really don't have any problems with how a person wishes to appear.

Supreme Court decisions change. That's why segregated schools used to be constitutional. Of course, given the current course of events, who knows?

Don Quixote said...

Arguing with "Anonymous" and many other so-called American conservatives is like--to use Stephen Colbert's simile--"boxing a glacier." That is, trying to "fight" something that is unmoving, unmoved, thick, cold, lifeless, and ineffably unresponsive, with a thoughtless course that it must run until the day that it melts.

Anonymous said...


It's true that the court decisions change and that's part of the problem.

Big changes in our society should be made through a democratic process (legislation). You don't have 9 guys with little accountability making these big decisions. That's why a large majority of the SC conservative opinions are more limited in scope. Those written by liberal justices tend to be more broad which leads any reasonable person to conclude that the liberal philosophy honors promoting the agenda to all than honoring democracy.

Don Quixote said...

I wish we had numbers after handles named "Anonymous" so that we could tell if a new anonymous contributor is different from a previous anonymous contributor.

Mark P said...

Yes, Anonymous (if that is, indeed, your true name), ruling that school segregation is unconstitutional was pretty broad. Shame on the Supremes for promoting an agenda and dishonoring democracy. I'm sure a majority of people in states with segregated schools would have voted democratically to keep their schools segregated. After all, they voted to leave the Union in order to preserve slavery.

Anonymous said...


You may be right. They may have voted that way. It's called democracy.

You seem to be using the school segregation issue to "highroad" others and say that democracy is just alright as long as it's not an issue that's important to you.

And it's ridiculous to say that you can't get tough issues through some legislative process. Beer was outlawed nationally by constitutional amendment, for God's sake...a difficult process to say the least.

I think the left is so anxious to promote its agenda that it takes the most expeditious method to promote their agenda and doesn't give a lot of thought to future courts and administrations.

Just imagine if the slavery issue was decided by the courts or women suffrage instead of legislation. These issues would always be at risk when the next court is not so sympathetic.

mojrim said...

It's funny how so-called conservatives in the US can point to two 14A rulings, McDonald v Chicago (2010) and Brown v Board (1954), and declare one to be the just exercise of judicial power and the other to be tyranny. There are indeed places where SCOTUS has gone off the reservation but that's usually when they seek to protect an individual from an unjust outcome rather than properly defining the law, i.e. acting like a trial court rather than an appellate court. Occasionally we just get straight-up oligarchical bullshit like Bush v Gore, but american "conservatives" never seem bothered by that in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

Here's something interesting while we're on the subject...

A coalition seeking just the balanced budget amendment currently has 28 out of the required 34 state legislatures on board, with active bills calling for a convention.

Don Quixote said...

Always good to get the last word?