What the National Rifle Association has in common with homebirth midwifery


Another day, another senseless gun tragedy:

She had just put her 9-month-old down for a nap, turned on cartoons for the older kids and was headed for the dishwasher when she heard a strange “pop” come from the bedroom of the Missouri home.

Alexis Wiederholt, 26, said that as she rushed to investigate the noise, her 5-year-old son appeared and said something that didn’t make any sense to her in the moment.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I shot Corbin.”

Weiderholt ran past to the pack-and-play where Corbin, her always-smiling youngest, should have been resting peacefully.

“I walked in and there was my baby, lying there, bleeding,” the young mother told NBC News, her voice cracking as she described the Monday morning scene.

“I had just hugged him in my arms five minutes before that.”

What had happened?

In what police have said was a tragic accident, the 5-year-old had gotten hold of his grandfather’s .22 caliber Magnum revolver and fired a shot that struck Corbin in the head, mortally wounding him.

As she grieves for her baby and worries about the future of her eldest son, whose name is being withheld by NBC News, Wiederholt said her loss should be a warning to others to protect children from firearms.

How many babies have to die before we stand up to the National Rifle Association, the organization that thinks gun “rights” are more important than whether people, even babies, live or die? The NRA, the premier American lobbying organization, opposes any and all safety standards for guns.

Sound familiar?

It should. It’s a lot like the homebirth midwifery organizations that I write about. What do they have in common:

1. It’s always somebody else fault.

It doesn’t matter who dies, how many die, at whose hands they die, and as a result of which guns they die, the NRA and gun advocates insist that the guns weren’t at fault; the people were. Just like homebirth advocates, who can rationalize death at homebirth by insisting that it wasn’t the fact that the baby was born at home that led to the death, it was a “rare” complication that no one could have foreseen, gun advocates are forever insisting that it wasn’t the guns that killed those innocent people, it was one of those “rare” irresponsible gun owners.

2. Lies about the risks and benefits.

Just as homebirth advocates are forever jabbering that hospital interventions kill as many (or more!) babies as homebirth, gun advocates are forever jabbering that guns save as many (or more!)people from bad guys as innocents who are killed accidentally or on purpose by gun violence. Both groups are lying. While guns may rarely protect someone from the putative bad guy breaking into a home, that those rare instances are is dwarfed by the number of innocents killed is the supreme understatement.

And when was the last time citizen ownership of guns prevented a totalitarian government takeover (ostensibly the purpose of the right to bear arms)? Never.

3. The world’s slipperiest slopes.

Mention safety standards to homebirth advocates, and they reflexively howl that the next step will be banning all homebirths. Mention safety restrictions to gun advocates, and they reflexively howl that the next step will be banning all guns.

4. But, but, but … my rights!!!!!!

Homebirth advocates insist that women have an unrestricted “right” to homebirth. Gun advocates insist they have an unrestricted right to guns. It’s in the Constitution, doncha know? Well the right to free speech is in the Constitution, too, and we put restrictions on that (you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire) SPECIFICALLY to protect innocent people. Political rights aren’t absolute, not for free speech and not for guns.

Curiously, this rights talk never extends to the right of homebirth mothers to receive medical care that isn’t deadly, or the right of innocent children to avoid death from gun violence.

But, but, but … I want it!!!!

Homebirth midwives like practicing without safety restrictions. It’s more fun that way! Gun rights advocates like amassing mini armories. It’s fun!

Guess what? It’s not all about you and what you think is fun. Society owes its protection to the weakest and most vulnerable among us, our children. That means we owe them homebirth safety regulations, and we owe them gun restrictions so that we prevent not only homebirth deaths, but gun tragedies like we have witnessed in the last few weeks (the 5 year old killing his 9 month old brother; the 2 year old shooting his mother to death in the store) and tragedies like we have witnessed in the last few years, including the never ending parade of school slaughters.

How many babies have to die before we stand up to special interest groups like homebirth midwives and the National Rifle Association, which put their “rights” to entertain themselves above the right of children to grow up?