Actual physician from Yale slaps the shit out of Senator John Kennedy (DUMBASS, LA)

The Senate Judiciary Committee met today to discuss “The Gun Violence Epidemic: A Public Health Crisis.” One of the witnesses was Dr. Megan Ranney of the Yale School of Public Health. One of her interrogators was Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA).

No one who follows these things foresaw a substantive discussion aimed at lowering America’s stratospheric gun death rate. Kennedy did not buck the prediction. As sure as the sunrise, he brought up Chicago.

Kennedy laid the groundwork for his distraction with vivid but inflammatory language designed to appeal to emotion over reason — “largest outdoor shooting range.” He also added dog whistle racism. Hunters vs. inner-city gangbangers? Guess who MAGA identifies as the white group.

“Let me ask you this. Why do you think that Chicago has become America’s largest outdoor shooting range? Do you think it’s because of Chicago citizens, who have no criminal record, but who lawfully have a gun in their homes for protection, or perhaps for hunting? Or do you think it’s because of a finite group of criminals who have rap sheets as long as King Kong’s arm?”

His most egregious misdirection was statistical. Chicago is the conservative poster child for democratically-run cities with lots of murders. In terms of absolute numbers, this is fair. With 692, Chicago had more homicides than any other US city in 2022 — higher than NY with 433 and Los Angeles with 382.

However, meaningful comparisons require per capita statistics. And by that metric, Chicago is behind 13 other US cities in homicide rate. Two of these killing fields (I take my cues from Kennedy) are from Kennedy’s home state. New Orleans is #4. Baton Rouge is #5. Both of these outdoor shooting ranges have murder rates twice that of Chicago.

Dr. Ranney made the same statistical point at the state level:

“So Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri actually have higher firearm death rates, obviously there’s certain … ”

Kennedy interrupted her. He was not going to let facts distract from his polemic. For the record, Louisiana is the second most murderous state. It is also the third lowest in life expectancy — one of the nine red states on the top ten list of places where citizens die young.  

Ranney replied it was not her area of expertise. Nevertheless, Kennedy was determined to keep the focus away from the violence in his own backyard.

Kennedy: “What about Chicago?”

Ranney: “So I don’t live in Chicago. It’s not my primary area of research.”

Kennedy: “You don’t have an opinion on that?”

Ranney then made the point that gun deaths are caused by guns. She also, being an academic and not a politician, tried to answer the question she was asked.

“I think there is easy access to firearms, combined with environmental conditions and lack of great education. There have actually been studies showing that when you green vacant lots and repair abandoned buildings in urban neighborhoods, you see decreases in gunshots and violence as well as decreases in stress and depression in the neighborhoods around them.”

Kennedy, well aware that his intended audience wanted smackdowns, not discussion, dissed Ranney while piously insisting he was not dissing her:

“No disrespect Doc, but that sounds a lot like word salad to me.”

What word salad? Ranney’s answer was grammatical, well-structured, responsive, and easily understandable. Kennedy knew it. So he slimed it. Not just with his words. He offered his dismissive scorn while ignoring her and riffling a sheaf of papers for no purpose beyond theatrics.