Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Intellectual Dishonesty of Heather Sher, MD

Heather Sher, gun prohibitionist MD
Heather Sher is a Florida radiologist who helped treat the victims of the Parkland school massacre, and who recently decided to write an intellectually dishonest and misinformed article for the Atlantic about her experience, advocating for the prohibition of the AR-15 rifle, and proving to be yet another person who has received so much education that her ability to process reality has become diseased.

A medical professor taught me about the dangers of drawing incorrect conclusions from data, using the example of gum chewing, smokers, and lung cancer. He said smokers may be more likely to chew gum to cover bad breath, but one cannot look at the data and decide that gum chewing causes lung cancer,” said Sher, who then proceded to exhaust her entire 15 minutes of fame (built on a pile of dead children) blaming lung cancer on bubble gum.

Simultaneously acknowledging that mass shootings have been perpetrated using handguns while declaring that a prohibition of the AR-15 rifle would have prevented those mass shootings from occurring, Sher's assertion initially appears to be that the AR-15 is far deadlier than any other weapon available to the public: “The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different: They travel at a higher velocity and are far more lethal than routine bullets fired from a handgun . . .The high-velocity bullet causes a swath of tissue damage that extends several inches from its path. It does not have to actually hit an artery to damage it and cause catastrophic bleeding. Exit wounds can be the size of an orange.” That rifle cartridges impart different wound patterns from handgun cartridges, primarily as a factor of their velocity, is a revelation only to a person who has just recently taken an interest in this topic (it is equally relevant to point out that vehicles used in truck ramming attacks impart different wound patterns from firearms). The entire world, outside of liberal politics, has known this for decades. The 5.56 mm cartridge native to the AR-15, and other rifle cartridges, may yaw and spall in tissue, and the cavitation caused by rifle projectiles damages surrounding tissues by stretching them beyond their limit.

But rifles vs. pistols is a red herring, and unfortunately Sher's apparent unfamiliarity with firearms has lead her to conflate the terminal ballistics of a cartridge with the weapon itself. Many rifle cartridges are capable of this level of damage, including many rifle cartridges which are not chambered in the AR-15 platform. The 5.56 and its .223 Rem counterpart are not synonymous with the AR-15. Many other firearms are chambered in 5.56 or .223, and the AR-15 platform can be chambered for many other cartridges. And at this, Sher's argument becomes something else: “It’s clear to me that AR-15 and other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet." Emphasis added.

Perpetuating the lie that lawfully purchased semi-auto firearms with so-called high capacity magazines are required for mass murder, Sher cloaks her argument in the mainstream, “common sense” idea of prohibiting sales of the AR-15 (and - by her description of taking “AR-15 style weapons out of the hands of civilians,” - Sher additionally advocates for confiscation). This quickly degrades into an extremist argument by Sher against all rifle ownership by any but a select few chosen agents of the inner party.

Rather than focusing on identifying and helping the mentally ill, or permitting armed people their ability to put down monsters when they fall through the gaping cracks in the system and begin murdering people en masse (a clear, historical illustration that it is an unreasonable expectation of government to protect us from the evil acts of a deranged, sociopathic few), Sher would have malum prohibitum victim disarmament laws created to strip good people of their most effective means of defense, with no mention of how many good people she would prefer to see turned into felons in the process. It is not clear how Sher proposes to remove the countless millions of rifles from the hands of private citizens; who will be charged with the risky business of their removal; or how many compliant gun owners she expects will simply hand them over without argument.

Sher is effectively arguing the side of the British, when Major Pitcairn lead hundreds of troops to seize weapons from colonists on April 19, 1775. Weapons in the hands of the colonists is a frightening prospect for tyrants. You cannot subjugate an armed population determined to breathe free. Sher should be intellectually honest and call her gun confiscation utopia dream by its better description: Revolutionary War II.

In the words of gun blogger Joe Huffman, don’t ever let anyone tell you no one wants to take your guns.

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