Paging Dr. Smith, Dr. Wesson
Date Added: Mar. 5, 2003
This one appears to be a joke, but proving that no joke is too obvious, it's been used to support a variety of positions. I propose that, perhaps, the most dangerous weapon in the hands of the public is information without a source.
Think about this:
a. The number of physicians in the US is 700,000.
Then think about this:
a. The number of gun owners in the US is 80,000,000.
Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.
FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.
Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets out of hand. As a public health measure I have withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear that the shock could cause people to seek medical attention.
Since no source is provided for these statistics, I turned to a series of Internet searches to see if I could find their origins - and wound up founding lots of copies of this chain. In the rare cases where an attribution was given, it ranged from a Seattle newspaper, to a St. Louis TV News program, to a New York sportsmen's club. None of these checked out.
The most frequent (and most likely) attribution I found was to the November 17, 1999 issue of the Benton County News Tribune. Unfortunately, the News Tribune does not have a Web site and the paper has not responded to my inquiries.
The most recent independent statistics I can find to validate the claims in the above chain date back to 1996.
While the anonymous author's conclusions seem obvious, this information proves nothing. People who have gathered in chat rooms to discuss this message have proposed many arguments against the claims made in this note, including:
Interestingly, this information is posted on literally hundreds of sites for a broad range of purposes. Some used it to point out the futility of gun control legislation, others use it as an argument for stronger malpractice laws and regulation of the medical community or to promote alternative medicine. A few identified it as humor. One site even disclaimed that the information was provided to demonstrate that both physicians and gun owners do more good than harm!
I once heard a a politician say "Give me the statistics and I'll tell you what to think of them." I guess he was right. Break this chain!