As a fellow emergency physician, I have often appreciated Dr. Edwin Leap's humorous and insightful views of our profession. I commend him for his ability to speak his mind on many different subjects that are often considered taboo or politically incorrect. Ninety-nine percent of the time I am in total agreement with his thoughts, laughing and shaking my head all at once.
I found Dr. Leap's musings and EMN's decision to publish them to be highly irresponsible and contrary to the role of a medical publication. (“The Last of the Cowboys, Riding to the Rescue,” 2012;34:20; http://bit.ly/TXpFGl.) If Dr. Leap attains some form of relaxation and confidence by owning and shooting his gun, so be it. Our job is stressful, and we all need our releases. I'm sure he's a responsible and safe gun owner.
In a country plagued by gun violence, however, do we really need an article extolling the virtues of gun ownership in a nationally distributed medical journal? Smoking is legal, and I'm sure some of my colleagues engage in that practice as a form of stress relief. Yet, tobacco-related deaths are many, and EMN correctly would not publish an article extolling the virtues of cigarettes. Why, in a country that sees a victim of gun-related violence every 20 minutes, do you choose to publish an article glorifying the gun? Dr. Leap may feel more confident with a gun at his side, but I and many other Americans do not.
I think it's about time we as a profession addressed the catastrophic toll guns have taken on our country. As physicians, we should lead the way.
Antonio Muto-Isolani, MD Kensington, CA