In Scientific Debates, I Have to Play by the Rules. And It Is Frustrating “AF,” as the Kids Say.

I would be laughed out of my profession if I used any of the rhetorical and logical fallacies people use on the internet.

René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH
3 min readJul 18, 2022


A friend of mine posted a screen capture of the “stop the bleed” training they are doing as part of the intake process for their new job as a high school teacher. The training explains how to stop bleeding from injuries due to stabbings and gun shots. My friend expressed frustration that they must take this training, because the safety of the children in their care is not guaranteed. They then argued that the children in the school would be safer if there were less guns around.

Two people, a man and a woman, are arguing, pointing fingers in the air and at each other.
Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

Almost immediately, someone jumped into the comments to her social media post and began to argue that firearms are “just a tool,” and that anyone who really wants to kill someone would use something different. “Should we outlaw cars? People die when struck by cars,” the commenter said. They also pointed at stabbing attacks in Japan (a country with strict gun control) as examples of what happens when there are no guns readily available at department stores and without background checks. “The bad guy would just stab you to death.”

But would the bad guy be able to stab 23 people to death at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas?

When I dared comment the comparison was flawed, and that the science and evidence showed that more readily available firearms translates to more injuries (and homicides) by firearm, the commenter decided to immediately send me an instant message. The message threatened me with bodily injury for daring to oppose his point of view. He wanted me to “jump in the ring” and fight him, but only if I was “man enough” to do so.

Can you imagine if I did that to him? “Johns Hopkins-trained doctor of public health, who is one of the senior epidemiologists at a large county health department, threatens random people on the internet over comments about gun violence.”

I mean, come on!

Then there are the anti-vaccine types. They lie and lie, and then they lie some more. When anyone tries to correct them, they slander people with accusations of…



René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH

DrPH in Epidemiology. Associate/JHBSPH. Adjunct/GMU. Epidemiologist. Father. Husband. (He/Him/His/El)