24 July 2014
The NRA scenario becomes a reality, or: whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath?
A good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. That seems to be the story in Darby PA as a psychiatrist pulled out a gun and opened fire on a patient who had just mortally wounded his caseworker. Whether the good doctor literally stopped the assailant is still open to question -- this report notes that the suspect was subsequently tackled by two other men, but his reported critical condition suggests that the doctor's aim was fairly true. There may be no substitute for hands-on physical restraint, however, unless your aim is very true. In any event, gun-rights supporters will crow that the doctor's courage and/or coolness under fire vindicates their advocacy of concealed weapons for regular folks. I guess I'm a fanatic, however, since I can't let the NRA have this one entirely. The idea of a doctor shooting a patient can't help seeming slightly wrong, no matter what the circumstances, what with "first do no harm" and all that tradition. But maybe this doctor takes a more holistic or more utilitarian approach to his oath, excising diseased human matter for the good of society as a whole. Of course, if he articulated it that way he might become a patient himself, but such are the contradictions of our complicated world.