Nov 13, 2018 - Technology

Doctors push back against the NRA on Twitter in fight for gun control

A photo of a doctor's legs with blood from a patient on them

Image: Twitter

Doctors are the latest group to use Twitter to make the case for gun control, going viral with pictures graphically showing the impact of gun violence on U.S. society.

Driving the news: The mass response comes after the NRA tweeted that doctors should "stay in their lane" as a response to a paper released by the American College of Physicians. Doctors seized on the NRA tweet, responding with bloody photos and a variety of hashtags, including #ThisIsMyLane, #ThisIsOurLane and #ThisisEveryonesLane.

What they're saying:

  • Among the early rebuttals to the NRA was this tweet from forensic pathologist Judy Melinek: "Do you have any idea how many bullets I pull out of corpses weekly? This isn’t just my lane. It’s my f---ing highway." She expanded in an essay for Vox.
  • General surgery resident Lauren Nosanov: "Hey @NRA, they say if you want to understand someone’s perspective, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Just be prepared, because ours are covered in blood."
  • Surgery resident Danielle Kay: "Dear @NRA , Until you’re covered in blood and pronounce someone dead in the trauma bay, or told a mother that her child is dead, or sewed someone’s scalp together so their family doesn’t have to see their brain matter, please don’t tell me what my lane is."

Why it matters: The doctors are following a well-trodden path in trying to use social media to try to break through the perennial legislative logjam on gun control. The Parkland students and parents who have lost children to shootings have also achieved powerful viral messages. However, none of these efforts has yet succeeded in getting Congress to act.

Our thought bubble: Beyond the substantive arguments about how to end gun violence, the hashtag campaign also raises questions about how Twitter and other platforms will handle disturbing content.

  • If outraged health care professionals up the ante and show increasingly gruesome images, the platforms may feel they have to step in and draw lines.
  • But displaying the outcome of gun incidents in all their bloody horror is the whole point of the campaign.

Go deeper: Doctors are sharing gruesome photos of what it's like to treat gun violence victims (BuzzFeed)

Go deeper