Right after I got off the phone, I saw a tweet from the National Rifle Association telling doctors to “stay in their lane” — their response to the American College of Physicians’ updated gun safety guidelines.
That was just hours before a man with a handgun and a high-capacity magazine shot dead 12 people in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, and less than two weeks after a man with an assault rifle shot dead 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Angered, I fired back a response, shut off my phone, and began my day.
By the time I performed three autopsies and got out of the morgue, my tweet had gone viral, and I wasn’t alone.
Doctors across specialties and across the nation were speaking up.
After all, it’s our job to take bullets out of bodies every day — if anyone’s an expert on gunshot wound injury in this country, it’s us doctors.
In the course of another autopsy, of a man who was shot by the police after pointing his gun at them, I examined and documented 43 gunshot trajectories. In my workplace, the county morgue, I seek to be professionally removed and scientifically dispassionate.
I peel off the decedent’s clothing, document the bullet paths in the body, and collect projectiles and fragments.
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