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Grassroots Commentary

A Footnote in EMS History Discredits Gun Control Today

John Longenecker · May 22, 2012

I finished re-reading an article over at on the positive financial impact of defensive gun use. There is a lot of discussion on the economics of repealing gun control.

Often, the cost of violence is embellished with considerable error and an extra helping of spitefulness, while the benefits of dgu’s in resisting violence are more richly multi-dimensional and encyclopedic. The thing I have always liked about articles on defensive gun use is their relevance to the home and family instead of expressing ‘violence’ as a never-ending abstract. Never any real benefits, just an emotional abstract.

Cardinal among these commentaries on repealing gun control is common decency. You won’t find decency on the left as long as gun control exists. Gun control interferes with the morality of self-defense on so many levels, including economics. Let’s look at an analogy on the topic.

90 million gun owners know gun control’s point: the same as expanding the money supply, growing food shortages and a refusal to free up energy in this country. Gun control plays its part in undermining the United States.

I’m going to add to the economics analyses by detailing a new dimension to the concept of the armed citizen as an expression of decency, namely family and home, and thereby other expenses and costs.

You know that I’ve said that the armed citizen is the moral and public interest equivalent of millions trained in bystander CPR. But here is another facet from the background of EMS which I’ll add to the financial parameter.

When the Paramedics were first trialed with high technology radio telemetry, thirty-six powerful emergency drugs, new communications bands just for them and tons of equipment, some administrators balked at the idea. The Paramedics had to prove the concept over a ten year period, and balking officials was part of the challenge ahead. When the first trials were piloted around the country, both private ambulance companies and public fire departments rolled out as Paramedic Providers. Many fire departments refused. Many city fathers criticized the concept as being outside the mission, and one of the criticisms was expense.

In Los Angeles, County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn – a Democrat – brought the Paramedic Program of definitive pre-hospital care to the people. Thanks, Kenny. A new informercial was conceived for NBC in a partnership between well-known television producer Jack Webb and the County of Los Angeles. It was to promote the concept nationwide, and it worked.

In 1969, one Congressperson rode along with a Los Angeles County Engine Company and Squad to observe how emergency patients were stabilized by the new Paramedics. In those days, the only things any responding force had were extrication equipment, First-aid stuff, and an Oxygen inhalator, or resuscitator. Now, they had a whole new mission backed with specific training, high-technology medicines and equipment to be a clone of a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

The tag-along Representative saw mission after mission’s patients and saw the response of a force of an Engine Company, Rescue Squad and a Sheriff’s radio car, and asked, “How much does all of this cost?” The Battalion Chief answered, “About $500 for every such response as this, sir.” In 1969, that was a bushel of money.

But the Chief added this: The mission was to effect rescue whether the patient is injured, or a medical emergency, or psychiatric emergency, ‘rescue’ now defined as more definitive care. We can now bring the hospital to the patient. And where time is crucial, it is believed that a life saved by the new technology, the new enabling legislation, and the new senses and skills can make a difference of more than ten years of productivity in the life of the patient.

With definitive care now mobile, the new mission was to prevent premature death from illness or injury. This meant productivity of the patient as a taxpayer.

This was a critical concept an administrator can understand. In terms of earning power and revenues, ten years was a great thing to regain. In the sixties, heart attack claimed hundreds of thousands every year.

In terms of quality of life, where delay can make the difference between lasting injury versus healthy facility, then there is a new dimension not only of economics, but of humanity and compassion. These contribute immensely to American liberty and liberty contributes immensely to humanity and compassion.

Loss of life due to heart attack was the primary motivator for the paramedic program worldwide. In primary training, heavy emphasis was given to emergency cardiac care. The Paramedics became the SWAT of emergency medical care. To aid EMS, there has been a worldwide drive to train millions in CPR to keep the patient alive until the arrival of Advanced Life Support.

The armed citizen is identical to this concept of humanity and compassion. In terms of human decency to one another in time of emergency, the armed citizen is its only equivalent. The idea of the Good Samaritan is much deeper than kindness and specific care, it is involvement as an expression of devotion to the nation by an unmistakable restatement of our values. When we care about medical emergency patients, why can’t we also care in time of criminal violence?

We can. In 49 states, we do.

The armed citizen not only protects life, but protects liberty by way of smaller government. That is to say, law and the force backing law work together within the armed citizenry. Within the armed citizen, the law is present. Gun control sees to it that, in time of violence, the law is not present. Gun control is the equivalent of punishing citizens for knowing – and administering – First-aid and CPR.

Oh, and there is one more thing ‘administrators’ need to comprehend. The Paramedics don’t object to lay intervention before their arrival. Often, the patient’s life and facility depend on it. Like citizen CPR, the armed citizen is not to be discouraged, but encouraged, received and accepted as the norm.

Cost? Like EMS, the armed citizen doesn’t cost, it pays.

How does the armed citizen mean smaller government for all in the 2012 election, non-violently and thru due process? See the author’s monograph, The CPR Corollary.

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