Propaganda Making House Calls
July 30, 2001
Inspecting a handout my wife had brought back
from our nine-year-old's physical, page 3
caught my attention:
"Help Stop Firearm Injuries!"
"The safest thing is NOT to have a gun in
your home, especially a handgun."
This "tip sheet" is produced and
distributed (apparently to at least its California members) by, Kaiser
Permanente, the health maintenance organization, and is titled, "Healthy
Kids, Healthy Futures" (page 1, page
2, and page 3).
release announces the launching of a childhood program called "Bright
Systems" which also describes the handout as being "chock-full of
helpful and at times vital age-specific information." One member is quoted
describing the handout as, "quite effective." (No mention is made of
the "gun safety" tips.)
According to a Kaiser employee (from an exchange
of e-mails which includes a refutation to some of the nonsense/propaganda
contained in the handout), "We are currently in the process of updating
these pieces and appreciate your comments at this time." Also...
Hopefully all Kaiser Permanente members reading
this page will take the time to convey their comments to Kaiser. Also, perhaps
such groups as Doctors for
Responsible Gun Ownership and Doctors for
Sensible Gun Laws will not only contact Kaiser, but contact and urge pro-gun
rights oriented employees of Kaiser to speak-out.
"Please direct all future comments
through the Kaiser Permanente internet site (www.kaiserpermanente.org),
or by written correspondence to:
California Member and Marketing
1800 Harrison St., Ninth floor
Oakland, Ca 94612-3418.
"They will be able to respond and/or
direct any comments to the appropriate groups within Kaiser Permanente."
It was also claimed "information included
in these pieces are based on Clinical Preventive Services guidelines published
by the US Preventive Service Task Force/Dept. of Health and Human
Services." See Chapter
59 for an example of your tax dollars at work. The guide's entire "task
force" members and reviewers, and more, are available here.
Perhaps if enough people contact the
Department of Health, or some of the national gun rights groups get involved, a
third edition of these guidelines can be published (or at least a significant
revision of Chapter 59).
Of course what "gun safety" tip sheet
would be complete without squawking, "Every 2 hours, someone's child is
killed with a loaded gun?" We're all somebody's child, aren't we? Obviously
this is just another twist on the 12 "children" a day theme. It's
almost funny that on page 2 when talking about puberty, children as young as 8
are referred to as "young women" and "young men," but with
gun deaths, "children" include young adults up to 19 years of age.
Now don't go away, because there is more that
requires action. The handout advises:
Prevention Council's day-to-day operations are run by the National
Crime Prevention Council. Yeah, so what? Well, the NCPC has produced a very
anti-gun rights pamphlet. I received one in the mail from my 13 year-old's
junior high-school earlier in the year. You can view the contents of the
courtesy of the Mesa, Arizona Police Department. (Hopefully, somebody in Mesa
can persuade the police to remove this misleading pamphlet from their Web site,
not to mention the fact that it is most likely being distributed by them as
"To receive free information on how you and
your family can work to prevent violence in your community, call the Crime
Prevention Coalition at 1-800-WE PREVENT [1-800-937-7383]. [emphasis original]
I sent a letter
to the NCPC refuting the contents of the pamphlet as well as voicing my
objections, but I have not received a response (it's been 2 weeks).
Casually poking around both the Crime
Prevention Coalition's and NCPC's Web sites, one can easily conclude that the
sites are rather innocuous as they relate to gun rights. Note the CPC's members,
and the NCPC's corporate
partners. (Although, I did find this gun
rights hostile page at the NCPC's site.) The NCPC can produce 99 out of 100
pamphlets that are gun rights neutral, but guess which one is going to receive
the widest distribution?
So what can gun rights activists do?
the bottom of this page
has possible NCPC contact points, it is probably far more fruitful to contact
John Ashcroft's Department of Justice. The CPC is substantially funded and
chaired by the Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S.
Department of Justice (see structure).
(Ideally, the government would stop funding the CPC entirely, but at least the
gun demonizing propaganda should be stopped.)
It's a shame that even something as simple as
gun safety has to be politicized. The "blood" of gun violence victims
is not on the hands or the consciences of gun rights supporters, but on those
who have refused to acknowledge, preserve, and guarantee the rights of
law-abiding gun owners. (It also lies with the ignorant and apathetic who do
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