Thoughts and prayers. Our hearts go out to the victims. Don’t politicize this. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And now… stay in your lane.
That, it seems, is the NRA’s latest talking point. Or, at least, it’s what they tweeted on November 7, one day before a shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA left 12 people dead. The tweet reads: “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves.”
As anyone who tracks the gun control convos knows, NRA talking points are an ever-moving target, bobbing and weaving to avoid cries for help and demands for change as Americans deal with yet another mass shooting. Whether the pro-gun lobby claims that gun control doesn’t help stymie gun violence or politicians such as Ted Cruz demand that we not politicize such a universally upsetting tragedy, it can be frustrating for gun control proponents to try to find an in — a way to start the long road to recovery and safety. Especially when you the NRA rails against even the simplest gun control measures.
So when the NRA sent that tweet, after the American College of Physicians re-published a paper stating that gun control is a public health issue, doctors were ready to answer the call. They responded quickly and with force: Gun violence is my lane.
Taking to Twitter, doctors all over the U.S. have tweeted how they deal with the effects of gun violence. And using the power of visuals, they’ve posted photos of what gun violence and its aftereffects actually look like, beyond the yellow tape of a crime scene and the optics of parents begging that their children’s deaths not be in vain.
Content warning: the following tweets include graphic photos and descriptions of gun violence. Please proceed with caution.
Doctors aren’t the only ones sharing photos and stories of the gruesome nature of gun violence. Kate Ranta, a survivor of domestic violence, tweeted a photo of the crime scene where her partner shot her when she tried to leave him. Her story is a sobering reminder that gun rights (and gun control) don’t exist in a vacuum, and easy access to firearms goes beyond the abstract idea of the Second Amendment.
So when the Americans College of Physicians recommends that we, as a nation, treat gun violence like a public health crisis—and that we do something to address that crisis—now we have a bold and disturbing understanding of how very much gun violence is their lane. Our lanes, too. Everyone’s lanes.