Bigotry in the San Bernardino County Medical Society



Nearly a month ago I was asked to complete a member satisfaction survey from my county medical society.  As part of my response I sent a letter to San Bernardino County Medical Society president Michael Sequeira, MD, published November 1 in this blog.  I expressed my personal opposition to Proposition 63, a California gun control ballot initiative (the initiative passed on November 8 by a large margin).

In addition to Dr. Sequeira, I sent my letter to five doctors on the society’s Legislative Commission. They had been my partners before I retired from my medical practice partnership—urologist Dr. Michael Strub, family practitioners Dr. Robert Theal and Dr. Javier Sanchez, anesthesiologist Dr. Thelma Korpman, and endocrinologist Dr. Ed Hess.

Not one of these doctors bothered to respond to my letter, not even the four I know personally.

Even before the survey the society had solicited written content from members in its email newsletter. I am a 35-year member and former representative of the society to our state organization, the California Medical Association, located in San Francisco.  I reasoned that my offer of a short article outlining the reasons not to support Proposition 63 would be welcome. But the society refused to publish any opinion that differed from its official position.

This experience brought back memories of my activism in the California Medical Association (CMA) in the mid-1990s, when the CMA and most of its component county medical societies kicked off a jihad against California gun owners.  The San Bernardino County Medical Society had appointed me as a representative to the CMA’s House of Delegates, which met every year to form official policy.  Support from the state’s medical association is coveted by bill and ballot initiative sponsors.

The CMA had long ago been taken over by San Francisco and Los Angeles liberal political activists who view it as their own bully pulpit for preaching against everything from international human rights violations to land mines. (I’m not kidding!) So naturally the House of Delegates was a gun grabber’s playground.  At the 1994 and 1995 meetings, one delegate after another introduced resolutions calling for a state tax on firearm and ammo purchases, “the control of gun proliferation”, and handgun licensing and registration.

In 1995 I actually got passed Resolution 109-95 (Children’s Firearm Safety Education).  It called for the CMA to endorse the safety instruction to children, “If you see a gun, Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult.”  But the House of Delegates would pass my resolution only if I deleted the wording in the original draft crediting the National Rifle Association’s widely praised Eddie Eagle program (now called the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program) as the source of the instruction.  To credit the NRA as child-friendly was incompatible with the CMA’s institutional hatred of the NRA and gun owners.

When another gun control resolution was introduced I submitted testimony to the CMA reference committee in charge of passing or rejecting it.  My testimony consisted of generous citations from noted criminologists Gary Kleck and John Lott, whose research showed the societal benefits of firearms used in self-defense.  I faxed the supporting documents to the committee—three times—but each time they said they didn’t receive them.

In another open committee meeting, San Francisco bay-area physician Dr. Patricia Salber rejected any research done by Dr. Lott and Dr. Kleck, stating as her reason that they were not medical doctors.

I was told last month by a San Bernardino County Medical Society representative that the society routinely endorses the major policy positions of the San Francisco-based CMA.  In other words, the San Bernardino County Medical Society has become the San BernaFrisco Medical Society.  And its leadership stands as united as ever in the persecution of California’s 8 to 12 million gun owners.

Drs. Sequeira, Strub, Theal, Korpman, Hess, and Sanchez did not explain why they want to violate the civil right of good California citizens to own firearms.  I would like to think that they are too ashamed to admit their bigotry.  But the more likely explanation is that they are of the same mindset that organized medicine is throughout America—they are not only civil rights bigots, but they brook no opposition.  In the manner of campus tyrants and all the other politically correct enforcers that now infest American life, they actively snuff out opposing views.

Suppressing dissenting opinions is most undemocratic and therefore un-American.  It carries the stink of totalitarianism.  But it has a tactical downside, too—the disadvantage of not knowing the nature or extent of the muzzled opposition’s dissatisfaction.  From exactly that blissful ignorance sprang the nasty (for overreaching liberals) surprise of an upset election last week that wasn’t supposed to happen.

As a result, the Coalition for Civil Liberties is even now sketching out its long-term plan to overturn Proposition 63 in the courts.  The Coalition and its allies in other states will also challenge a huge backlog of similarly unjust and unconstitutional laws in other civil rights backwaters like New York and Illinois.  Their prospects are excellent, since President-elect Trump himself has condemned gun and magazine bans as the burdens on good Americans that they are.

One of President Trump’s first agenda items after his January 20 inauguration will be to replace the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia with another true constitutionalist who will uphold D.C. vs. Heller and McDonald vs. Chicago, rather than destroy them as Hillary Clinton promised to do.

Despite the attacks of the San Bernardino Medical Society and similar enemies of our civil right to own firearms, Proposition 63 and many other civil rights violations are on a course to extinction.  We might even make California great again.


Dr. Tim Wheeler

—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.

All DRGO articles by Timothy Wheeler, MD.