Killing people with a gun is neither a right nor a freedom

Last year in America it is estimated that about 27,000 men died from prostate cancer. In 2011, the most recent  year for which accurate, preliminary data is available, a total of 32,163 people in America died as a direct consequence of gun-related violence (deliberate or accidental).

Because Prostate Cancer International has a platform, and because we think that the harms done by gun violence each year are at least as significant as the harms done by prostate cancer (which are certainly bad enough), we have completed and sent in to our Congressmen and the Governor of Pennsylvania the “Everytown for Gun Safety” postcard that was stimulated by the words of the father of one of the victims of the senseless and selfish murders carried out last week near Santa Barbara, California.

Regardless of exactly what the Second Amendment to the Constitution was originally intended to accomplish or how you want to interpret what it actually states, the use of guns on the streets of America today is utterly out of control. This has to stop, and “We the People” need to take actions necessary to stop it.

We encourage all American citizens who read this column to at least consider also signing this petition — if for no other reason than to help to make sure that your sons can grow up and reach an age at which prostate cancer becomes something they might even need to worry about, and your daughters can grow up to be there to worry about it with their brothers and their husbands.

27 Responses

  1. Staunch defender of our 2A rights and responsible firearms owner here. Sorry to see you go this way, this should be an apolitical platform. I will sign no such emotionally driven nonsense.

  2. Dear Walt:

    This has nothing to do with the politics of whether responsible people should or shouldn’t be able to own guns. (A point I was very careful to make.) It has to do with what irresponsible people do with guns.

  3. As a pro-gun defender of the Second Amendment, lifetime member of Gun Owners of America, and veteran, I will no longer be visiting this forum. This is supposed to be a forum for prostate cancer news, opinions, and assistance, not a forum for the usual liberal balderdash. Irresponsible people will find a way to kill with or without guns. Sorry you can’t manage to find a place to vent your liberal political views other than on what should be an apolitical venue. I’m out of here for good.

  4. Dear Sitemaster: Glad you clarified your message — I had the same initial reaction as Mr. Green.

  5. It amuses and amazes me that some people seem to be unable to distinguish between the right to bear arms and the right not to get gunned down by people who clearly shouldn’t be bearing arms of any type. It also amuses me that there is an inherent assumption being made that because I don’t like seeing people gunned down in the street (or in schools for that matter) that I must be a liberal.

    It would seem to me that those who support the right to bear arms should be among those most concerned by the inability of people who own them to use them in an appropriate manner. This has nothing whatsoever to do with being a liberal or a conservative. It has everything to do with being a good citizen.

    I am of course saddened by the fact that Walt Shiel seems to think that it is inappropriate for us to comment on this site about a health problem that kills more people than prostate cancer because he assumes (on the basis of no evidence whatsoever) that that comment comes with any political agenda.

  6. You are my hero, for standing up and speaking out.

    Thank you,


  7. You’re fabulous, Michael. Good on you for having the courage and decency to state the obvious.

  8. Reminds me of one of your recent articles entitled “A sad manipulation of data to support a point of view“.

    It is always interesting to me how the liberal point of view is usually heavily flavored with “feelings” and as such are usually well-intentioned, “politically correct,” and blatantly unworkable.

    Why not just go the next step and outlaw all violent actions?

    Would you really have a Tank and a SWAT team approach each (maybe every other) home and insist on the surrender of their firearms? Or why not try another buy-back that made everybody feel like they were at least doing something and gave the media something to talk about.

    Might have been a good idea at some point but with the current count of firearms at 800,000 to a billion in the U.S, that horse has long left the barn.

    I personally appreciate you having and declaring a point of view, and iy does not in the least impinge on the value your extensive work has on my life and understandings. Thank you for your offerings.

    Robert E. Ray

  9. Re-read the article and retract most of my last.

    It still applies to those who hold that the solution to the terrible gun violence in these United States is to restrict and control the average citizen from owning firearms. … I suspect that identifying those unable to act responsibly in this society and limiting their actions might be a more worthwhile effort. Brain imaging technology I read is one of the more fast-developing and were we to focus more intention we might be nearing breakthrough in accurately diagnosing various psychoses.

  10. Unfortunately the postcard does not provide more elaboration of what “Not One More” actually means other than we could agree that we would not want to see even one more killed by a person using a gun to cause a death.

    I cannot sign on to something so vague since I am of the opinion that I absolutely do not want the federal government or state government to confiscate those arms used by good citizens for either legal hunting or to protect themselves and their families. I cannot support an open invite to politicians to do whatever they choose to do regarding the owning of guns. I do not feel it is incorrect for the remark that “guns do not kill people, people with guns (and likely more often illegally obtained guns or those with violent or deranged mindsets) are those that kill people.” It appears we will never be able to control the acts of deranged people or those brought up with violence as a common part of their lives. I can agree with Walt that those bent on killing will find a way to do so even if a gun is not available to carry out such an act. Knives, baseball bats, hatchets, swords, tire irons, you-name-it – the forms of materials for violence and killing are endless, I’ve heard it said (and believe) that during World War II the Japanese military considered it too dangerous to attempt an invasion or our country because it was well known that a vast majority of families maintain guns in their homes and along with the known number of American military would be an additional source of American armament too huge to encounter. I am for keeping it that way.

  11. Your loss Mr. Shiels — life is about compromise!

    And as i always find. Mike — You can take the boy out the country, but you cannot take the country out the boy! Culturalisation is a huge factor, citizen or not!

    PS: Feel free not to publish — and good on ya for stating publicly what many of us think!

  12. I signed it, Sitemaster.

    By the way, I live in Sweden, have only a Swedish address and ditto postal code, yet the machine allowed me to submit it. So any interested person can do that. Let me add that Sweden has quite strict gun control laws. The part I know best concerns the need for hunters (a “sport” here) to have a license and to keep their guns in a locked metal case at home, with the key kept by the hunter only. They can only be used during the hunting seasons. Handguns and any automatic weapons are forbidden. The country has a quite low Gun Irresponsibility Specific Mortality count each year. Thanks for posting this.

  13. @Walt Shiel This site contains interesting posts about the value of proton beam radiation therapy. This is a political topic, as it partly concerns the allocation of funds to potentially valuable prostate cancer treatments.

    The Sitemaster expresses rationally considered opinions about this; they are at least implicitly political. Are these out of place here? I think not. So why not have a post about gun regulation? Or an occasional post about the current worldwide polio outbreaks, with relevant petitions (I just signed one) to help prevent irresponsible people from spreading their vile nonsense about vaccinations. All are public health issues.

  14. Dear Chuck Maack:

    No one is suggesting that there is simple solution to this problem. And no one is suggesting that we give “an open invite to politicians to do whatever they choose to do regarding the owning of guns.” However, as someone whose father was the officer in charge of small arms training for the Royal Marine Commandos during World War II and as someone who was carefully trained to kill myself (as a member of the Parachute Regiment in the UK in the late 1960s), with guns and in many other ways, I can absolutely assure you that it is a lot easier to kill 20 people with an automatic pistol or rifle than with a baseball bat or even a machete.

    And you are 100% correct in stating that “guns do not kill people, people with guns … are those that kill people.” This initiative is entirely focused on us all deciding that it is time to do something about the fact that “people with guns” are now killing other entirely innocent people with appalling frequency. We are never going to be able to stop all violence and all murder. I’m not stupid. But when are we going to decide to stop making such violence and murder easy? What would you be feeling today if one of those young people in Santa Barbara or Newtown or Colorado had been your grandson or your granddaughter?

  15. I hope that Mr. Walt Green does not drop out from reading the information on this site because of this posting. A topic was posted that may hit a hot spot, but this place does and will continue to bring us, in each of our individual worlds, information that the doctors do not pass onto the patients. So, as the saying went when I was growing up says, do not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    I have been quiet for a while, but have been reading the postings. I have gleaned that there is a move to re-name [some very early stage forms of ]cancer, so that it is more palliative, and confusing to the patient, more of a “soft” sell, less scary ….

    I recently read there is a move to add a fourth (mathematical) test after three different blood tests are given before doing a biopsy. In my case one doctor did the three tests and another doctor indicated that he does not see the value of them, but values the biopsy. When inquired as to why the blood drawer violently mixed the tube of blood for a routine PSA and his reasoning behind nullifying the previous tests I had and his report about the biopsy and the differences on PSA drawn over time, at different places, he dropped me.

    Over time, talking to different doctors, I received information. By the way, the next PSA “properly” drawn was the same as my historical value … but the new doctors jumped on the high value until I insisted that they modify the result with a comment and explained what happened. Out of nine doctors, only one would have taken the time to re-evaluate the situation before moving forward. My “insistence” to slow down and look at the results and re-do a biopsy were brushed aside. Over time, sadly for me, the damage was done.

    So … I continue to read this site and glean information, for in my fantasy real world, things may have been different. But the information is of value and shows me what is out there and will be brought up as I travel on this train ride. In discussions with men, I glean what it is really like to undergo the procedures that the doctors only talk about, but have not experienced.

    For my “inner peace”, I have to stay off the soap box with every posting of interest to me, so I hope that Mr. Green is one of the many silent readers and still gleans information that helps. Sure, something may be posted that hits a sore spot, but, hey, if a doctor drops you because you challenge them, it indicates a lot about the doctor.

    This is just a posting.

  16. Over here in England we don’t have your right to bear arms and we don’t have your horrific level of gun related deaths. We do have just as serious a level of PCa as you. I’d much rather the politics of PCa treatment were espoused here than the always controversial stuff (in the US) about firearms, bearing in mind that this is an international forum. Why risk all the good you do on the PCa front by straying into areas that lose you friends?

    Old Codger in England

  17. For the record, the Santa Barbara killer knifed three people to death, then killed three with a gun.

    He was apparently a sociopathic, high-self-esteem, spoiled kid who thought girls should fall into his arms.

    How is “Not one more” relevant? Not one more what?

  18. @David Collins:

    For many of us who are US citizens, albeit British ex-pats, we, like you, cannot help but link firearm atrocities with the right to bear arms and the loose gun laws in our chosen country
    Anyone serious about staying informed about new developments in prostate cancer should allow our Sitemaster the liberty to express himself in deference to the hours and work he contributes to this site.

    Readers do not have to agree — although many do!

    Old Codger in USA

  19. Walt Shiel,

    Mike is not recommending that guns should be banned.

    For your comment on “liberal” politics, I assume that applies to Medicare. How would you like to get health insurance if you are over 65, without Medicare, and with a pre-existing condition?

  20. One more brief comment, Walt Shiel, by not coming to this site where information on prostate cancer is exchanged between people, is only hurting you. There are comments in this thread who disagree with Mike on this, but they are not cutting their nose off to spite their face. I suggest you reconsider your intention not to be part of the forum because knowledge of what we are dealing with in regard to prostate cancer is power.

  21. The Sitemaster also has a protected right to free speech and his own opinions. He is providing a high value service to all of us.

    You have a “delete” key on your computer. If you disagree you could just delete and wait for his next post.

    I am a Colorado-based pediatrician, and every one of us knows a family touched by one of the mass slayings. You simply can’t rationalize this stuff.

    I am currently traveling in Germany. A country with 80 million people. Hunters have firearms, take tests to get licensed, store arms and ammo separately and locked. Last year police fired weapons 44 times, 14 directly at persons and five died. We get five gun deaths on a Friday night in Los Angeles or Chicago.

    Our country is out of control. I see my kids afraid to let my grandkids go to play in a park.

    Let’s at least control who buys weapons!

  22. I believe an organization called the Institute of Medicine came out with a report several years ago which suggested that medical errors had caused a number of deaths greater than the figures cited for prostate cancer or guns. The response was to try to make hospitals safer, not to eliminate doctors.

    I certainly agree that we should do as much as possible to assure the safety of our children and loved ones. I also believe that comprising rights such as those which are in the second amendment is a slippery slope that will lead to loss of other rights (such as the right of a gay couple to defend themselves in their home).

    I do not have the answer. But with due respect, I think I will not send the card unless there is more information about the folks who started this.

  23. First time on this site to look up PSA results skyrocketing in one year (my uncle). So grateful to the sitemaster for weighing in on the gun control debate. No — this subject is not simple. But it is a public health issue now. Yes — we have to come together to find a better policy than we have now.

    I live near santa barbara, one of the nicest places to live in all of America. If that kid couldn’t be happy there, he had serious mental problems (obviously). Can’t have government be the only one allowed guns … but … we need to screen legal gun buyers much better than we are (obviously). And require legal gun owners to store then for their use only, no matter what. Too many stressed and damaged people getting their hands on guns. These people turn into murderers of innocent people. And always remember “if you see/hear something, say something”. Regular criminals rarely commit mass murders.

    I really resent the selfishness of extreme Republicans and gun nuts who won’t even acknowledge that we have a problem that needs to be fixed. These type of people usually have a “don’t tell me what to do” problem much more than a true devotion to our Constitution’s intentions. Regulations and rules are despised; they seem to have no regard for “civilization”. Just a winner takes all/collateral damage mentality. People who want more constraints on gun use should shout louder than the NRA kooks — that’s the only way politicians will work on this issue. Start with sending them the postcard the Santa Barbara dad asked us to send. In honor of all the innocent, regular people who lost their lives for no reason at all. And pray that your family and friends won’t be robbed of their lives because few spoke up for change.

  24. 32,000 die annually from gun violence and the Second Amendment gun enthusiasts can only think of themselves and their precious handguns and assault rifles. Amazing and very depressing.

  25. Good Lord!!! As an alien I can only wonder…….

  26. How about amending the Second Amendment? Or ditching it? What’s so sacred about it?

  27. Sure. Let’s get rid of the Second Amendment. Maybe some others too. We could eliminate those rights that are inconvenient. What’s so inalienable about rights anyway? I would agree with those who believe that advocating for public safety and the responsible ownership of firearms should be a priority of those who support the Second Amendment.

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