Another Shot by the NIH

Because spending money on actual disease control and prevention would be so . . . plebian:

More than a decade after Congress cut funding for firearms research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), another federal health agency has been spending millions of dollars to study such topics as whether teenagers who carry firearms run a different risk of getting shot compared with suffering other sorts of injuries.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) also has been financing research to investigate whether having many liquor stores in a neighborhood puts people at greater risk of getting shot.

Right. A couple of congressmen wanted a few answers about some of the funding:

“And yet we have trouble understanding the administration’s desire to spend, for example, $642,561 in taxpayer funds to learn how inner-city teenagers whose friends, acquaintances and peers carry firearms and drink alcohol on street corners could show up in emergency rooms with gunshot wounds.

“The day-follows-night quality of this question and its potential answer simply do not seem to justify the expense that would be borne by people who work and pay their taxes,” the lawmakers wrote.

But day does not follow night for some people. Here, for me, is the core concern:

The NIH, which administers more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds for medical research, defended the grants.

“Gun related violence is a public health problem – it diverts considerable health care resources away from other problems and, therefore, is of interest to NIH,” Don Ralbovsky, NIH spokesman, wrote in an e-mail responding to questions about the grants.

“These particular grants do not address gun control; rather they deal with the surrounding web of circumstances involved in many violent crimes, especially how alcohol policy may reduce the public health burden from gun-related injury and death,” he said.

Under the criteria mentioned here, how may behaviors could be brought under the blanket of “public health problem”? In the name of safety, all is blessed by the government which cares for us.