The American Psychological Association (APA) wants to take your guns
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the cliche headline
In an APA press release yesterday APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD apparently said “Research has shown that, absent rigorous military or law enforcement training, the presence of a gun does not make people safer.” This comes on the heels of APA obviously supporting gun control efforts as documented in this blog post from me. Personally, I take no position on schools buying guns but they certainly have that choice- I do prefer them funding the presence of police officers or other school safety officers though, of course. There are pros and cons on both sides and legitimate differences of opinion on how to keep schools safe.
However, this blanket statement by APA about what “research shows” is lame and unsupported by anything but the cherry-picking of data and a biased reading of news articles that support your own beliefs. Certainly we can cite lots of statistics pro and con and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence on either side about guns. However, the statement implying that “absent rigorous military or law enforcement training” the presence of a gun does not make people safer is a bit like fictitious B.S. grounded more in rhetoric than science- particularly the part about “absent rigorous military or law enforcement training.”
Given this quote and what we’ve seen from APA previously on the topic of gun control (dubiously related to psychology at best), I feel almost certain that if the second amendment were up for debate APA might even come out against the private ownership of firearms in general.
Certainly it is possible that the APA president might not have even conducted a literature review other than a google search before issuing her quote noted above. However, regardless of what the “experts” on either side of the debate think, I will give you some real world anecdotes to consider. Multiple psychologists/mental health professionals have been attacked (some even killed) since I wrote my blog post about them being attacked and killed. In that blog post you’ll remember that one professional, a psychiatrist, broke his hospital’s policy and secretly had a gun on him; because of this he lived and quite possibly saved the lives of others around him. While certainly we could argue that he wasn’t “safe” in the sense that he was being attacked by a patient. However, we could argue that he was “safer” because he was able to defend himself with a firearm (and he did in fact save himself with it instead of dying). Here is the link: http://psychology.news/news/2016/06/17/the-safety-of-mental-health-professionals/s
Here in another Google-search to try. If you do you’ll find other juicy anecdotes. Google “concealed carry saves police officer ” and you’ll find plenty of instances where a police officer is still here today quite possibly due to the assistance of a concealed carry permit holder.
The statements coming from APA such as the one in this APA Press Release as well as the one in the documents APA has signed (see my last blog post about this for details), make it seem like APA thinks getting rid of firearms except from law enforcement and the military is a realistic proposal. It isn’t. It also adds very little of anything useful to the national discussion and gets people like me distracted by focusing on what are frankly extreme positions. Yes, APA, you’ve now become one of the non-moderate voices in the culture war screaming from a non-moderate, extreme position (look in the mirror).
While APA thinks it can wear big boy pants and be a player in politics, this quote from the APA president seems to announce that APA wants to attack the second amendment and come for your guns. It adds nothing of any real use from a psychological perspective. It does annoy lots of people though for reasons that weren’t even central to APA’s purpose. APA either doesn’t know what it is doing when it comes to gun control and has gotten in way over it’s own head deep in the water or APA really does want to come for your guns. Either way, I’ll reiterate my call now for APA to focus more on psychology and less on the culture wars. There’s nothing wrong with trying to keep kids safe, but extreme quotes like this one from the APA president are not going to lead to finding common ground.