Skip to main content

In America today, suicide is the most common cause of fatal gunshot injuries, responsible for over 60% of all fatal shootings.  It turns out that the greater part of fatal gun violence does not come from armed strangers intent on criminal wrong-doings, but from gun owners who turn their guns on themselves.

This diary is part of the Firearm Law and Policy group's ongoing series Guns and Suicide.  For interested readers, the previous installments of the series can be found here:
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Gun Suicides Rise and Fall with Gun Sales
Part 3: The Whos, Whats, and Whys of Guns and Suicide
Part 4: Suicide Among Active-Duty Military and Veterans
Part 5: Racial Disparities in Gun Homicides and Gun Suicides
Part 6: Gun Violence and Mental Illness

This series has focused on the broad topic of guns and suicidal behavior in America today.  Suicide is a topic that makes most people uncomfortable, and receives little attention in public discussions and in the media.  Consequently, it is easy for assumptions, popular myths, and public misconceptions to obscure factual knowledge.  The overall goal of this series on guns and suicide is to dispel some of the prevalent  misunderstandings on this topic, and to encourage conversations about the facts of guns and suicide.  

Along the way to that goal, we have raised these important points.

In America today, suicide is the most common cause of fatal gunshot injuries, responsible for over 60% of all fatal shootings.  It turns out that the greater part of fatal gun violence does not come from armed strangers intent on criminal wrong-doings, but from gun owners who turn their guns on themselves.  Since 2000, the number of suicides completed with a gun has been steadily increasing among America’s general population.  A sharp rise in the number of suicides has also been observed among America’s active duty military and among service veterans - prompting Pres. Obama to ask the Veteran’s Administration hire more mental health care workers and to expand treatment services for service personnel and veterans.    

Guns are the most popular way of committing suicide in America today, accounting for more suicides that all other suicide methods combined.  This is because guns are plentiful and easily available, highly lethal, and easy to use.

A gun in the home is a risk factor for a shooting death.  While guns may be bought for reasons of personal protection and safety, owning a gun puts one at greater risk for a shooting injury – including accidental shootings, suicidal shootings, and even criminal shootings.  Homes where there is a gun have a 2-10 fold increase in the likelihood of a suicidal shooting compared to homes where there are no guns.  This increased risk for a suicidal shooting remains even when the guns are stored locked and unloaded.  A gun in the home is 20-30 times more likely to be used in a suicidal shooting than to defend against a criminal attack.  There are many things home owners and families can do to protect their homes and loved ones: removing the guns from the home is an important step to take.  For those whose jobs require them to keep a gun in the home, storing the guns locked and unloaded helps to reduce the risk for a gunshot injury, but does not eliminate it entirely.

Where there are more guns, there are more gunshot injuries.  And where there are more guns, there are more gun suicides.  Indeed, the FBIs' NCIS data - the best measure of gun sales in America - correlates very highly with suicidal shootings, the total number of US shooting deaths, and the number of non-fatal gunshot injuries.  Since the ‘aughties, there has been a large increase in guns sold, and this has been accompanied by a significant increase in suicidal shootings over the same period of time - as predicted by the correlation of guns sold and gun suicides completed.  As grim as this finding is, it also suggests a way to reduce the occurrence of gun suicides: reduce the number of guns sold and/or reduce the number of available guns.  

While suicide is the most common cause of fatal gunshot injuries for the US population as a whole, differences emerge when one studies racial groups separately.  The majority of whites killed by guns die from an act of suicide; however, the majority of blacks killed by guns die from an act of homicide.  No one knows exactly how or why these differences occur.  Current trends in housing and social segregation may play a role; the vast majority of gun homicides occur in urban areas while the majority of gun suicides occur in rural areas.   What is abundantly clear is that blacks and whites in America today experience gun violence in very different ways.

It is tempting to imagine that suicide is a rational and free choice made by those who attempt it.  However, there is a large and growing body of research that provides evidence that those who contemplate suicide are not thinking well and clearly, and are not making a rational choice.  Most who are contemplating suicide are coping with feelings of depression or anxiety, may be affected by alcohol or drug abuse, or may be experiencing the stress of divorce, job loss, or recent bereavement.  All of these things hinder clear thinking and impair sound judgment.  Deciding on suicide is not like deciding on what to have for dinner.  Indeed, gun owners themselves admit that when faced with the possibility of an imminent suicide of a family member, the first thing they seek to do is to remove all the guns from the suicidal family member.  Removing guns from suicidal people is an effective way to reduce suicides: this is exactly why psychiatrists recommend in-patient hospitalization for suicidal patients – the hospital is a safe environment where patients cannot get their hands on guns or other lethal tools.  Once again, the message is that reducing gun availability reduces suicides.

While suicidal shootings are the most common form of fatal gun violence, suicidal shootings rarely get any mention in the news.  Fatal shootings that arise during a criminal attack will almost always be “front-page news” in newspapers and on TV.  This disparity between the number one cause of fatal gun violence and what gets reported in the news gives Americans an unrealistic idea of the true nature of gun violence in America today.  This erroneous understanding of fatal shootings is compounded by the advertising and political rhetoric of the gun industry – who advertise guns as a personal safety tool, and who blame the increasing amounts of gun violence in America solely on the problems of the mentally ill.  Both the advertising message and the political message are in fact erroneous.

We owe it to ourselves, our families, and our communities to address the stigma and silence surrounding suicide in general, and to correct the myths and falsehoods told specifically about guns and suicide.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who read this series and commented on it, and to thank the Firearm Law and Policy group for hosting the series.

The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. We also cover the many positive aspects of gun ownership, including hunting, shooting sports, and self-defense.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

We have adopted Wee Mama's and akadjian's guidance on communicating.  But most important, be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Originally posted to Firearms Law and Policy on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

Poll

I found this series to be:

9%5 votes
3%2 votes
39%21 votes
1%1 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
3%2 votes
3%2 votes
7%4 votes
5%3 votes
18%10 votes
1%1 votes
1%1 votes

| 53 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  This diary puts together two volatile and ... (12+ / 0-)

    ... misunderstood topics - guns and taking one's own life. The series does it patiently, with reason and thorough documentation. It sheds light into corners that are typically filled with heat.

    This style of conversation and informed analysis should be a model for more DK diaries on more subjects.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:20:46 AM PDT

  •  ?? Why would a group want to be (5+ / 0-)
    consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment.
    It was interpreted by Scalia, hardly a reasonable judge. Its interpretation should be repealed or removed or whatever one does to get rid of an unreasonable interpretation.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:43:23 AM PDT

    •  I think it is because... (9+ / 0-)

      I think the founders of the group felt that the US Supreme Court is the final arbitrator of the laws of the land.  And while the founders of the group seek ways to reduce firearm injuries and deaths, those reductions should occur within the framework of the law, and not through  breaking the law.

      Yes, Justice Scalia has interpreted the 2nd Amendment, and his interpretation was supported by a majority of the other justices.

      I too look forward to the day the Supreme Court interprets the 2nd Amendment in a way that respects the rights of gun owners to keep and bear arms, while protecting the rights of all citizens to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  But such an interpretation must come within the framework of the law - through the Supreme Court.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:57:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It takes the threshold question off the table, (5+ / 0-)

      ... is why we accept the Heller decision.

      (Without, speaking at least for myself, agreeing with J. Scalia's originalism. The other justices do not share that as a general principle. Or his bombastic style, particularly in dissing strong dissents by Justices Stevens and Breyer (supported by all four minority justices). Or his skewed view of history, which he admits was influenced heavily by late-coming and very advocative "scholarship.") However ...

      ... all that said, SCOTUS has not advanced its Heller precedent in almost six years, despite many opportunities. (McDonald extended Heller to the states, but did not go beyond a right to have a handgun in one's own home for self-defense.)

      To change Heller would take a member of the Heller majority (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts and Kennedy) thinking better of it, a shift in the majority (i.e. a resignation and replacement with a less conservative judge), a case so egregious that it overrules Heller ... or a constitutional amendment that reverts RKBA to members of a state militia and not an individual right, as Justice Stevens proposes in a book coming out next month. I give those four possibilities these chances, respectively: 20%, 5%, 0% and below a 0%, in the next several years.

      Realpolitik suggests to me that we should be worried first and foremost about the varieties of gun violence. And shed as much light as possible on why we should not have more Federal Constitutional requirements to keep and bear arms.

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:04:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for asking, many agree (7+ / 0-)

      I wanted to explain my recs.

      Discussion is vital, discussion of gun violence, as TRP says, as well as policy. Stalemate is where we have been (as you can easily see), the willingness to move on is mature and in good faith.

      As a society we owe the victims this much, especially the children.

  •  Suicide is not a crime but part of the right to (13+ / 0-)

    our own bodies.  The right to abortion is another example of this right to our own bodies, and our changing views of drug laws is another example of this most fundamental of right to our own body.

    Sometimes suicide is an avoidable tragedy, sometime it is a rational and humane act.  Suicide should not be associated with homicide as an act of violence.  

    It makes no sense to include suicide in the policy discussion of crimes of gun violence.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:48:41 AM PDT

    •  The right to our bodies (7+ / 0-)

      I agree that free citizens should have a right to decide matters of life, health, and death for themselves.

      I fully recognize that for some people have painful incurable illnesses where there is no hope of effective treatment.  In such situation, I fully agree that a compassionate response to a hopeless medical problem is an open discussion with family and care-givers about ending life.  Those who face a hopeless medical circumstance deserve to end their lives with peace and dignity.

      However, putting a bullet through your heart or head is neither peaceful nor dignified.  It is very violent.  It also bequeaths a lifetime of pain and sadness on surviving loved ones.  

      Myself, I cannot argue there is anything noble or dignifying in the anger and violence of a suicidal shooting.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:15:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To be violent it needs to be involuntary (8+ / 0-)

        A forced abortion in China is an act of violence.  A woman in the US choosing to have an abortion is not an act of violence, even if some family members or the father object to the abortion.  

        A significant number of people in the US consider a voluntary abortion to be, using your words describing suicide, "neither peaceful nor dignified.  It is very violent."  and again using your words for suicide, voluntary abortions many will not see " anything noble or dignifying" as well.

        You may be confusing extremely messy and disturbing to see the aftermath with violence.

        Mixing suicides with homicides in analysis for public policy purposes makes as much sense as mixing abortions with violent sexual assaults.  The two are so different that it invalidates any analysis doing this.

        I am not arguing that people should choose suicide or not. Just that mixing suicide with homicide is analytically wrong for public policy purposes.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:50:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fatal Gunshot Injuries (5+ / 0-)

          A homicide using a gun is not counted as a suicide using a gun.

          But the fact remains that over 30,000 fatal gunshot injuries occur in the USA every year.  The fact remains that over 60% of those fatal gunshot injuries are the result of suicide, not homicide.  

          I am in no way confusing suicides as homicides.  This series has focused specifically on suicides, and more specifically still on suicides done with a gun.  

          Notice the title: "Suicide and Guns" - not "Homicide and Guns".

          Regarding policy, my position as stated in this series is that with fewer guns in the country we would see fewer suicides using a gun.  This position again does not confuse suicides with homicides.

          You are the only person here mixing suicides and homicides.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:36:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  In reply to (3+ / 0-)
        However, putting a bullet through your heart or head is neither peaceful nor dignified.  It is very violent.  It also bequeaths a lifetime of pain and sadness on surviving loved ones.
        Part of the problem is that even in the face of situations like, " painful incurable illnesses where there is no hope of effective treatment", this country does NOT allow a non violent, humane, option.  

        "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

        by blackhand on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:09:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not in theory, but in practice (5+ / 0-)

          As you point out, the laws of the country do not provide for the legal taking of life, not one's own or anyone else's.

          However, for those people with incurable illnesses, many  physicians will help when asked.   Such help often comes in the form of narcotic medications for patients in pain.

          Of course, if you do not have a life-threatening terminal condition, and you tell your doctor you want to end your life, the doctor will rightly refer you to a psychiatrist.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:24:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess this is where (6+ / 0-)

            We're going to have to disagree.  I don't believe it is anyone's right to tell me that I have to exist in this world and especially under what conditions.  I most definitely and wholly object when the reasoning is based upon religious convictions.  I see the suicide question as being very related to abortion, where a parent is making the decision to terminate life, or potential life.  

            I don't have a problem with suicide prevention in terms of help being available for those who want it, but I disagree with it being forced upon someone.  This is especially true when "help" is made into a criminal situation.  One could argue that one who wishes to commit suicide is not in a frame of mind to make a reasoned decision on this matter.  Perhaps, perhaps not.

            "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

            by blackhand on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:48:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not true. See Oregon. Nt (5+ / 0-)

          "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

          by LilithGardener on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:33:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As an Oregonian, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theatre goon, FrankRose

            I can tell you the hoops that must be jumped through to get that small bottle of pills is rather staggering.

            The potential availability to an extremely small slice of a small demographic does not mean that humane suicide choices are readily available- even where nominally legal.

      •  I'd be more worred about not suffering (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Crookshanks, Tom Seaview, FrankRose

        There is as you pointed out a big difference between suicide because of a terminal illness and suicide for other reasons (like being LGBTQ and ostracized for it).  Until we break down the why, it will be hard to craft evidence based policy.  

        While self inflicted gunshot wounds to brain are messy, at least its pretty close to painless.  

        I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

        by DavidMS on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 04:28:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is your supposition (0+ / 0-)
          "While self inflicted gunshot wounds to brain are messy, at least its pretty close to painless."  
          That is your supposition; it is equally likely that shooting yourself in the head is very painful.

          This also ignores the painful period before shooting oneself in the head, when one is contemplating such an act.

          I once met a gentleman who shot himself in the head with a shotgun.  He blew off half his face, but survived.  Far from ending his problems, he now faced many more severe problems, and was in a great deal of physical and psychic pain.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:26:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't your entire premise that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theatre goon

            suicide attempts with a firearm is more likely to be lethal?

            Now you are arguing it is not.

            Is there anything more that you could do to prove that you have a preconceived conclusion & you are willing to use anything--including making statements that completely contradict each other-- in order to justify your personal biases?

            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

            by FrankRose on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:33:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  We criminalize suicide to deal with attempts,... (7+ / 0-)

      ... abiders-and-abetters and the general public apprehension about it, as a matter of public policy. And, of course, to reflect long-enduring mores. Are those good enough reasons? Maybe not, but a great tragedy of suicide, as HJB says, extends to people other than the successful suicide. There are many other victims.

      And in any event, why make it easier (except arguably for those with terminal conditions in unremediable pain)? Guns DO make suicide easier, that much is clear as a fact.

      It is, undeniably, a form of gun violence.

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:13:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Suicide is not violence because it is voluntary. (5+ / 0-)

        Forced abortion by the Chinese government is violence.  Voluntary abortion in the US is not violence.

        Being bloody and messy does not imply being violent, otherwise any significant surgery should be called violent.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:21:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Help me understand your reasoning. (8+ / 0-)

          Suicide by gun is not a violence because ...

          ... shooting a gun at a human being is not a violent act? Or because shooting a gun at yourself is voluntary, whereas shooting a gun at someone else is not voluntary?

          I'm not trying to twist your words, but I'm not going to fall for some stuff about abortion or surgery.

          2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:36:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, we are discussing the role of guns in suicide (5+ / 0-)

            Not overdoses or other means, not even suicide in and of itself.

            The derailment prevents so much else from being discussed, even something as simple as helplines, and specific advice for the person about to kill themself with a gun.

            And then there is murder-suicide...

          •  A person choosing to kill themselves is by (4+ / 0-)

            definition a voluntary act and is not a crime.

            In general, shooting some other person is not voluntary for the person being shot and therefore violence against the person on the receiving end and is a crime (except for very special circumstances).

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:57:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're saying it's voluntary for the VICTIM ... (3+ / 0-)

              ... of the shooter, rather than for the shooter, where those are the same person. The issue, then, isn't violence at all, but state of mind.

              "Voluntary" must mean acting of one's own free will. Free will, by definition, means no constraint from physical, social or mental factors. So, the volunteer is reasonable, sentient, not under duress imposed others or him/herself.

              I'll leave it to psychologists and psychiatrists to describe how voluntary and open to the exercise of free will a suicidal person is.

              2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

              by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:16:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Per the definition of violence (0+ / 0-)

            Link to Webster's provided here, I have to agree that the term violent does apply.  In fact, I would have to say that the act of suicide is violence, as is abortion.  By the definition.

            I have to wonder, if preventing violence is the correct term, or more fundamentally if it is even a proper goal.

            "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

            by blackhand on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:15:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Webster definition of violence works for me (0+ / 0-)

              so that suicide is not violent.  In particular the first definition for violence:

              1
              a :  exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house)
              The person choosing suicide is not being injured, as he is seeking the outcome of death and the person is not being abused for similar reasons.

              Apply the same interpretation for a voluntary leg amputation for medical reasons.  Few would call this violence.  The removal of the leg is being done because it provides a better outcome (although it is the better of two bad choices) for the person than not having the amputation.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:21:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Do you refer to suicide by hanging as (7+ / 0-)

            "rope violence"?
            Suicide by poisoning as "aspirin violence"?
            By jumping as "gravity violence"?

            If not, then the wording "gun violence" in reference to suicide is bullshit based upon bias.

            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

            by FrankRose on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 02:15:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  CDC , White House , Boston Globe (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TRPChicago

              http://www.cdc.gov/...

              Potential strategies for reducing firearm-related violence among such persons include initiatives promoting safe storage of guns (6), waiting periods to reduce the consequences of impulsive suicidal behavior
              http://www.whitehouse.gov/...
               
              End The Freeze On Gun Violence Research
              There are approximately 30,000 firearm-related homicides and suicides a year, a number large enough to make clear this is a public health crisis. But for years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other scientific agencies have been barred by Congress from using funds to “advocate
              or promote gun control,” and some members of Congress have claimed this prohibition also bans the CDC from conducting any research on the causes of gun violence. However, research on gun violence is not advocacy; it is critical public health research that gives all Americans information they need
              http://www.bostonglobe.com/...
              But murder is not the kind of gun violence that kills the most Americans.

              "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

              by indycam on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 06:44:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  NY Times , (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TRPChicago

                http://www.nytimes.com/...

                Broader Approach Urged to Reduce Gun Violence
                By BENEDICT CAREY
                Published: December 12, 2013

                The most effective way to reduce gun violence without significantly curtailing Second Amendment rights is to treat the problem as a public health issue, like smoking or drunken driving, rather trying to profile potential shooters, according to a report released Thursday by a panel of experts who were commissioned by the American Psychological Association to study the issue in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.

                The panel reviewed evidence on a wide variety of interventions intended to reduce violence, including suicides

                "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                by indycam on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 07:03:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Are guns the cause? (11+ / 0-)

    Japan's suicide rate is twice ours, yet guns are for all practical purposes unavailable.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    There are many ways to end one's life that do not involve firearms.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:49:24 AM PDT

    •  I have often wondered... (11+ / 0-)

      if all guns mysteriously vanished away, would all these anti-gun partisans suddenly demand bans or restrictions on the next most common means of suicide? Because guns are not the most common suicide method for women, and I see a real lack of diaries at the moment calling for bans or restrictions on their most preferred method.

      A cynic might see this as merely using suicide as an anti-gun talking point rather than having any genuine concern for the subject as a whole.

      Oh wait, I am a cynic...

      •  Let's remove those guns and we'll see (4+ / 0-)

        Let us remove those guns, and then we will see how doctors, public health officials, and health advocates set their sights on that future #1 cause of suicides (grin).

        I admit I am a gun critic and favor greater regulation of gun sales and use.  The fact remains that over 19,000 Americans kill themselves with a gun every year, and that suicides are the #1 cause of fatal gun violence, not homicides.

        And I am happy to have gun enthusiasts take the lead in advocating for suicide prevention and ways to reduce the large number of gun fatalities in America in general, and the large number of suicides using a gun in particular.  

        The cynic in me thinks gun advocates seek to discount the large number of gun fatalities and gun suicides because they value their guns more than human life itself.

        Maybe you can be the person to advocate for suicide prevention and fewer gun suicides, and thereby show me that my cynicism is unfounded.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:58:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The name for what you want (2+ / 0-)

        might be Law and Policy for Women.

        What's stopping you?

        Go ahead, and start a group and invite people to write about topics that interest your readers. Kos is really generous that way.

        "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

        by LilithGardener on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:59:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks but no thanks (12+ / 0-)

          I just can't see starting a group that ostensibly cares about women, but makes a centerpiece of saying women in general should have much less legal access to booze, over-the-counter medicine and sharp objects. For their own good, you know.

          Because that sort of blanket attitude calling for restrictions on a group of whom the vast, vast majority are neither suicidal nor have violent intent towards themselves or others would be shamelessly biased, ethically unsupportable and reek of tiny-minded authoritarianism, and to me, a group advocating views that morally bankrupt has no place at a liberal site like Kos.

        •  Don't look now, but I think he just inferred that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i saw an old tree today

          you are "shamelessly biased, ethically unsupportable, reek of tiny-minded authoritarianism, advocat[e] views that [are] morally bankrupt [and have] no place at a liberal site like Kos." This, in a well-reasoned piece in a F.L.A.P. diary series.

          12 people, rather than giving him an HR for insults (as I would have if I'd seen this in time), rec'd his comment. 9 of them are RKBA members, the other four (FrankRose, Kasoru, and 43north), are well-known for their pro-RKBA comments.

    •  The causes of suicide (7+ / 0-)

      Suicide is a pretty complex human behavior.  It is accurate to say that the cause of suicide is multi-factorial.

      As you point out, guns cannot be the sole cause of suicide.

      But guns are plentiful (here in the USA), easy to use, and highly lethal.  This is why more completed suicides in the USA are accomplished using a gun than all other suicide methods combined.

      Everyone knows that when you remove a lethal means from a suicidal person, that person is more likely to live than to die.  This is why psychiatrists recommend inpatient hospitalization for people at high risk for suicide.

      If we were to remove ALL the guns from the country, we would still have suicides.  BUT, we would have fewer suicides.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:43:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For those contemplating suicide, or having (6+ / 0-)

    suffered suicides and attempted suicides in families and friends, many of these comments are not from people with suitable professional backgrounds, and are subsequently callous.

    I almost want to ask HJB to put up a warning, though I can't imagine what it would say.

  •  Edit? (3+ / 0-)

    You write:  "Guns are the most popular way of committing suicide in America today, accounting for more suicides that all other suicide methods combined."

    The few clinical psychologists that I know who study suicide and suicidality would write something more like:

    'Most people who die by suicide use a firearm... etc.'

    because they view many (though not all) of them as victims of the mental illnesses  you note.  

    Proud member of the surreality-based community.

    by syntaxin on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 01:23:33 PM PDT

    •  Both are true (3+ / 0-)

      Both statements are true:

      "Guns are the most popular way of committing suicide in America today, accounting for more suicides that all other suicide methods combined."

      and

      "'Most people who die by suicide use a firearm"

      I confess I do not understand the distinction you are making.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 01:42:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The term "commit" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy of Fishes

        I'm not that sensitive about it really, but to some folks, "commit suicide" is a morally loaded phrase that's mildly insensitive or at least outdated, because as you note, people who die by suicide frequently suffer mental illness and are victims of transient misguided/irrational/catastrophic thinking about their life's worth.  We "commit" homicide and a host of other crimes.  We no longer prosecute people legally for attempted suicide.  They're recognized as ill.  They (hopefully) get care from a trained clinician (psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.)  

        All I was trying to point out.      

        Proud member of the surreality-based community.

        by syntaxin on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 04:54:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Series misses on this point: (11+ / 0-)

    Suicide, not always a matter of mental illness, and one which US society refuses to actually admit is an option in certain cases.

    Suicide: momentary lapse, temporary setback, seen as all-encompassing.  "No way out."
    Suicide: anger towards others, manifested against self.
    "I'll show her/him."
    Suicide: chronic mental illness.  "Twenty-eighth doctor, 57th drug, and I'm still depressed, still incapable of getting on with life."

    Suicide: chronic/acute physical illness.
    She, reliving 1927, in 1997.  Sixth year of serious dementia.
    He, sole at-home care-giver, diagnosed in NYC with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. "A week, maybe a month to live."
    Family as it is, defined as cousins, nieces, Metro-DC, California/Oregon.
    Result: Homicide/Suicide.  Firearm used: $4000 .410 bore shotgun.

    Chance to appear before a Magistrate, make your case for physician-assisted suicide, avoiding the gun?
    The Coroner's Inquest?  The quite frankly, splatter?
    NONE.

    I've seen firearms used in all four instances.
    Even in "tough to get a legal handgun" NYS.
    Never stopped a cop, or former cop.

    Never prevented anyone from leaping in-front-of a subway train, or catching the express to the suburbs.
    With their face.
    Seriously a chicken/egg issue.  What killed you?
    Blunt force trauma, or 700v x unlimited amps coursing through your body?

    Have you wiped-up the spatter Jimbo?
    Have you collected the body parts over 1/4 mile of track, only to find out the 3rd rail you were told was "off" wasn't?
    Can't have ridership sweating in the heat, that will result in phone calls to Albany, and a battle for Metro North funding, necessary for reduced fares.

    Big F-ing deal if one of us badge-toting pond scum dies from touching an arm, welded/dried/baked onto the 700v conductor.  It's not like we're real people with a responsible Brokerage job.

    I think it's time to self-medicate, with a Manhattan of my own making.  I've seen suicide.  Guns aren't the problem.
    A system that doesn't give-a-shit is.
    We don't care about quality of life.  We don't see the elderly as anything other than a cash-crop to be farmed to the last penny.  We don't see the mentally ill as anything but a distraction.  Used chewing gum, on the bottom of your favorite shoes.

    Get it off!  Get it off!  Get it away from me!
    I'm going to sniff Canadian Club for a while and remove the stench of seared human flesh from my nostrils.
    You continue to obsess about guns.  
    My body count is way higher than yours.
    Traffic accident?  No.  Suicide.
    Fall from the fire escape? No. Suicide.
    Drowned on the thin ice?  No.  Suicide.
    Fell, while likely cleaning the window? No. Suicide.
    Many of which are written as other-than actually occurred as you haven't irrefutable proof - and any chance for a life insurance payout to the survivors goes away with your report.

    Welcome to the real world.  It sucks.

    •  This, one million times this: (9+ / 0-)
      Guns aren't the problem.
      A system that doesn't give-a-shit is.

      There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap box, ballot box, jury box and ammo box. Use in that order.

      by Crookshanks on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 04:25:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        carolanne, 43north, Joy of Fishes

        I agree: the world (or the USA) does not give a shit.  

        So, should we then make it easier for people feel that their lives are not appreciated to kill themselves by making guns widely available?

        Indeed, I've have spoken to very ardent gun enthusiasts who have told me that on learning a family member is feeling suicidal, the gun enthusiast immediately goes to the family member's house and removes all the guns - no worries about 2A rights, no worries about independent choice, etc.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:20:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (8+ / 0-)
          So, should we then make it easier for people feel that their lives are not appreciated to kill themselves by making guns widely available?
          Frankly I don't know what you should do.  I know what you should not do: Take away my freedoms because of those poor tortured souls.  My freedom of choice, my freedom to own an effective means of self-defense, my favorite recreational activity, and you're going to impose prior restraint on me because of the mentally ill?

          Thanks, but no thanks.  Suicide is a tragedy, as is gun violence, but neither warrants the imposition of prior restraint on hundreds of millions of people that have nothing to do with either of those tragedies.

          Indeed, I've have spoken to very ardent gun enthusiasts who have told me that on learning a family member is feeling suicidal, the gun enthusiast immediately goes to the family member's house and removes all the guns
          Imagine that, family looking out for family without the Government compelling them to do so?  Who'd of thunk it?

          There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap box, ballot box, jury box and ammo box. Use in that order.

          by Crookshanks on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:11:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I am NOT going to impose restraint on you (0+ / 0-)

            I have no wish to take away your freedoms.  I have no wish to take away your guns.

            Here is what I wish:
            1) I want you to fully understand that your guns can kill you, and your family members and those who visit your home.  You are free to smoke cigarettes, but you should understand that cigarettes can kill you and are harmful to those around you.  You are free to play with your guns, but you should be aware that guns can kill you and are harmful to those around you.

            2) I want you to fully understand that your gun is 20-30 times more likely to shoot you, a family member, or a friendly visitor, than it is to shoot a criminal intruder (and this is a conservative estimate!!).

            3) As a matter of national policy, I wish that ALL gun owners be licensed, be required to take a licensed training class, register all their guns with local authorities, and carry insurance to cover the cost of injuries caused by your gun.  I also wish that law enforcement be required to take blood samples to look for drug and alcohol use anytime law enforcement is called to investigate any shooting.  I also propose that states ally an additional tax on guns and ammo sales to help defray the medical costs of gun injuries currently borne by the state.

            None of these things will prevent you from keeping and bearing arms (unless you fail to adhere to the laws).  These ideas may require you to make some extra effort in order to play with your guns, but do not prevent you from enjoying your constitutional rights.

            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 07:14:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (7+ / 0-)
              As a matter of national policy, I wish that ALL gun owners be licensed, be required to take a licensed training class, register all their guns with local authorities,
              Unacceptable, for reasons discussed ad nauseum in other diaries.
              and carry insurance to cover the cost of injuries caused by your gun
              Unacceptable and pointless.  The former because it serves to put a financial roadblock in the way of a fundamental right, just like poll taxes did.  The latter because most everyone already has liability insurance, that covers negligent acts.  It's part of your homeowners/renters policy.
              I also wish that law enforcement be required to take blood samples to look for drug and alcohol use anytime law enforcement is called to investigate any shooting.
              A handful of States (Louisiana) already have implied consent laws for concealed carry.  I don't like such laws, for carry or driving, as I believe they run afoul of the 5th Amendment.  Here in New York they can draw blood after an accident resulting in bodily injury, but only with a court order or the defendant's consent.  That's a reasonable tradeoff, IMHO.
              I also propose that states ally an additional tax on guns and ammo sales to help defray the medical costs of gun injuries currently borne by the state.
              Another financial roadblock, thanks but no thanks.
              None of these things will prevent you from keeping and bearing arms
              Neither does New York City's $340 bi-annual pistol license fee, but I think we both know the intent of such legislation is to price poor people out of a fundamental right.

              There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap box, ballot box, jury box and ammo box. Use in that order.

              by Crookshanks on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 07:51:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Rights and Regulations (0+ / 0-)

                The constitution says you have the right to keep and bear arms.  This has been affirmed by the SCOTUS, which at the same time, affirmed that laws that regulate gun sales and use are perfectly legal and fully constitutional.

                This is the law of the land.  States may legally regulate gun sales and use.

                Of course, these regulations are unacceptable TO YOU, the avid gun enthusiast.  But such regulations are entirely constitutional, and do not prevent you from enjoying your right to keep and bear arms.

                "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:07:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I see what you did there.... (6+ / 0-)
                  But such regulations are entirely constitutional, and do not prevent you from enjoying your right to keep and bear arms.
                  Nice attempt at setting up the straw man, for I never commented on the constitutionality or lack thereof of your desired legislation.

                  Frankly I'm not too worried about it, because you don't have the votes to pass a single one of your proposals.  I don't need to win at the Judiciary when you can't even win at the Legislature.

                  There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap box, ballot box, jury box and ammo box. Use in that order.

                  by Crookshanks on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:14:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  a minor tweak (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  theatre goon, Kasoru, ER Doc, gerrilea
                  Of course, these regulations are unacceptable TO YOU, the avid abortionist.  But such regulations are entirely constitutional, and do not prevent you from enjoying your right to abortion.
                  Head on down to Texas or any other state that's destroying womens' reproductive rights. You'll fit right in.

                  Things are more like they are now than they've ever been before...

                  by Tom Seaview on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:43:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  crookshanks replied in detail, kindly. (5+ / 0-)

              I'll be less kind, more real-world.

              Here is what I wish:
              1) I want you to fully understand that your guns can kill you, and your family members and those who visit your home.  
              Treat every gun as-if loaded.  Those of us born before the video game era, know there's no "extra life" when a gun discharges.  
              bang most often = fatal.  That's fatal fatal, not "Play Again / Quit".
              2) I want you to fully understand that your gun is 20-30 times more likely to shoot you, a family member, or a friendly visitor.
              Of the thousands of people I know who carry and/or possess a firearm at home, none have qualified for a GunFAIL diary.
              Often, when we read GunFAIL, it includes police-involved shootings.
              Get back to me when we're going to demilitarize the police, never mind get to a point where we remove sidearms from our newly-reformed Metropolitans.
              3) As a matter of national policy, I wish that ALL:
              i. gun owners be licensed,
              ii. be required to take a licensed training class,
              iii. register all their guns with local authorities,
              iv. carry insurance to cover the cost of injuries caused by your gun.  
              No.
              Yes, adamantly.
              No.
              Pick one.  Gun insurance or the tax cited below.  Otherwise?  You're redlining firearms ownership.  Wealthy, whites, hip-hop moguls, and gangsters can afford firearms.  
              Poor, black, working two jobs, and being lawful - can't.  Got it.
              I also wish that law enforcement be required to take blood samples to look for drug and alcohol use anytime law enforcement is called to investigate any shooting.  I also propose that states ally an additional tax on guns and ammo sales to help defray the medical costs of gun injuries currently borne by the state.
              Let's start with the police.  Get this past the Unions, get this past the legislators who would also be financially liable for a self-medicating/intoxicated/prescription-addled cop shooting a civilian - and then talk to me.

              Personally?  I've never met a cop who felt somehow restricted in making a firearms-related arrest.
              SYG and/or Castle Law is mostly viewed as "lawyer stuff".
              Use or display a firearm, and you're going to be arrested.
              At least where there are sidewalks and street lights.
              You, the cops and the prosecutor can claim whatever before the court.

              City:
              Right now?  You're going to be locked-down for 72 hours per the USA PATRIOT Act before we have to bring you before a magistrate for a custody hearing. Meanwhile, we're going to execute a warrant and turn your life upside down.  Anything in your house you want to tell me about right now?  
              Guns?  Drugs? Kiddie porn?
              Write your computer and cell phone passwords down right now.  DO IT.
              Do NOT fuck with me.  
              I will make your life a living hell if you do.  What's your social security number?  Do you have bank accounts?  Where?  Investment accounts?  
              Write it all down.  NOW.

              When we get to the station, you can call an Attorney.  If you don't have one, you will be provided a Public Defender.
              You can stop answering questions at any time.  
              Do you understand this?  YES or NO.  
              Do you need an interpreter?
              YES or NO.

              If you stop answering questions, I'm going to tell the judge, and you will stay in jail until your trial, where I do everything possible to put you away for the maximum sentence.
              Are you going to cooperate, or do you want a lawyer?
              Hey, one of you guys get the leg irons, and waist chain.
              When is the TV crew getting here?
              I want a real good look at his face, as we put him in the car.

              A view of the wife and kids is probably too good to pass-up too.
              They're going to have a real good time of it, while you spend most of a year in jail, before trial.
              STILL want that lawyer?  
              STILL want to keep FUCKING with me?

              Out in the gollyhumps, a/k/a "flyover country":
              Where the cops take 45 minutes to drive to your residence or business?  Perhaps not so much.
              Least intervention:
              "We'll take the gun Hugh... you probably want to talk to a lawyer first thing in the morning.  The Detectives will be by, and you may be taken into custody.  Don't make us come looking for you."

              Likely intervention:
              "You're under arrest for assault with a firearm.  You have the right to speak with an attorney, if you can not afford an attorney one can be provided to you at no cost.  You have the right to refuse to answer all questions.  Do you understand this?"

              "You also will be viewed as more suspect, if you say nothing, and demand a lawyer before answering the Detectives questions.  Just so you know the rules of the game.  So you want to call a lawyer, or do you want to help solve this investigation and be home quicker?"

              Welcome to the real world.  The one where the dash cams and lapel cams "malfunctioned".  Shit technology.  Happens ALL the time.  More so every time some cops get jammed-up with said technology.

              Like an antibiotic-resistent bacteria, you learn to defeat the safeguards.

        •  I currently hold the keys (4+ / 0-)

          for someone who's having a serious rough patch.

          Job, family health issues, job, relationships, an accident.

          More to the point:
          Just put your nose to the grindstone and it works.  Look at your father, at your grandfather.
          Advice that may have worked in the early '70s, ceased working in and after the '80s.
          There's no 25 year retirement, no gold watch, no corner office, no position on the Board of Directors befitting your years of work.

          So right now?  He's feeling failure, crisis, failure.
          The difference?
          He offered the keys.
          "Would you hold these, until I sort some things out?"

          Choice.
          Where your argument jumps the rails Jimbo, is that you believe you have the right to tell someone: no, suicide is not right for you.
          I'm fine with getting people help, with assisting in making the circumstances better.

          I'm not fine with let's take the guns, and then we'll see how it goes.  

          Maybe we should end mechanized transportation too.
          Sell pre-packaged food, and there's no need for cutlery.
          Seal all the windows, suicide screen all the stairwells, or eliminate multistory buildings.  I already have to sign my life away for an OTC sinus pill.  I'm guessing a daily visit to the pharmacy for potentially lethal prescription drugs should be mandated.  Here's your one pill... see you at ten tomorrow morning.

          After all, if you're suicidal, it's all an option.

          Better mental health care, and physician assisted suicide?
          Now, that's just crazy.

  •  Amazing, isn't it, how data are anti-gun? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFern, Joy of Fishes

    I'm thinking that's why the professional gun interests cannot abide collecting stats.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 03:42:48 PM PDT

    •  The Facts Have an Anti-Gun Bias (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TRPChicago

      Yes, if you examine the actual data, the free availability of guns is a very bad idea for the country.

      The free availability does have benefits to people who own a gun-related business (interestingly about 1% of the population), but bad for the other 99% of the population.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:32:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, since your math has always been off, (4+ / 0-)

        removing all guns from US society is the obvious solution. The increased rate of gun suicide, as reflected in your previous diary, is much more closely related to the growth in population than the growth in gun sales, which appears to have been much greater.

        -7.25, -6.26

        We are men of action; lies do not become us.

        by ER Doc on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 06:08:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good Point - Allow Me to Explain (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i saw an old tree today

          The ER Doc makes a good point: population growth over time could explain increases in gun suicides and gun fatalities.

          1)  Please review the article linked above titled "Gun Suicides Rise and Fall With Gun Sales".  This article tracks over-time changes in gun sales, gun suicides, and bicycle accident fatalities.  A "by-eye" review of the data shows clear increases in gun sales, total gun fatalities, and gun suicides.  Yet, there is no increase or decrease in fatal bicycle injuries.  So if we are to assume that an increasing population explains the over-time increases in gun sales, gun fatalities, and gun suicides, we have to wonder why the same population changes have not resulted in a similar increase in fatal bicycle injuries.  I chose bicycles as a comparator because bicycles are as ubiquitous in the USA as guns and used as frequently as guns.

          2) Now turn your attention to the article linked above titled "Racial Disparities in Gun Homicides and Gun Suicides".  This article is based on data collected at one point in time, and it shows that states that have greater numbers of gun owners have greater numbers of gun suicides.   In this study, when the data is collected at one point in time, there can be no influence of population growth over-time.

          So these two studies support my thesis that it is the availability of guns that influences the number of gun suicides, not the size of the population - i.e. where there are more guns, there are more people using guns to kill themselves.

          I would be interested to see the data that supports your thesis that population growth is the cause of increasing gun suicides.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:58:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Data (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theatre goon, OMwordTHRUdaFOG

            from your CDC source calculator:

            Year  Population    Non-Gun   Death rate     Gun    Drowning
                                           Suicide    (per 1000)   Suicide   Death
                                           deaths                        Death     Rate
                                                                               Rate
            1999  279,040,181  12,000       4.57           5.95     1.49
            2000  281,421,906  12,764       4.54           5.89     1.45
            2001  284,968,955  13,753       4.83           5.92     1.38
            2002  287,624,193  14,547       5.06           5.95     1.44
            2003  290,107,933  14,577       5.02           5.83     1.35
            2004  292,805,298  15,689       5.36           5.72     1.35
            2005  295,516,599  15,635       5.29           5.75     1.44
            2006  298,379,912  16,417       5.50           5.66     1.43
            2007  301,231,207  17,246       5.73           5.76     1.36
            2008  304,093,966  17,812       5.86           5.99     1.40
            2009  306,771,529  18,174       5.92           6.11     1.37
            2010  308,945,538  18,972       6.12           6.28     1.46

                 This is data actually using population rather than bicycle deaths for the actual comparison of death rates. Additionally, I chose to use drowning for a comparison, rather than bicycle deaths, because it is a larger number annually, seems to have a nice steady rate, and without the potential confounding of increased use of safety equipment. The death rate calculations are the ones provided by the site. (You could have included them in your original post; they come up directly with the raw numbers.)
                  I did not do a statistical analysis; you are welcome to do so. By eye, however, the non-gun suicide rate has climbed by about a third during the 12 years of data availability. The climb has been fairly steady, with slight blips downward in three of the years. Gun suicide has been essentially steady, with up & down motion, except for an upward tail of about 5% over the last three years.
                 During that same time, NICS checks almost doubled, from 8.543 million to 16,454 million. That is not a particularly strong correlation, and if anything, non-gun suicides are more closely correlated to gun purchases than gun suicides are.
                 I think you need to look for another environmental factor to explain the increase in American suicide deaths over this period.

            -7.25, -6.26

            We are men of action; lies do not become us.

            by ER Doc on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 02:53:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, no increase in drowning or bike deaths (0+ / 0-)

              According to the data you showed above, there is no increase in drowning deaths over time, despite the increase in population over time.

              So how do you explain that population growth results in increases in gun deaths, but not any increase in drowning deaths or (from my data) not any increase in bicycle deaths?

              You may try to say that the reason there is no corresponding increases in drowning or bicycle deaths with increasing population is because of increases in use of safety devices.  But I point out that there are safety devices used with guns, but gun deaths have increased any ways.  Why is that?  

              You have not answered my challenge: explain why increases in population over time result in increasing gun deaths but not increasing bicycle or drowning deaths.  Therefore your theory that population increases are the cause of increasing number of deaths is not supported.

              And of course you have ignored the study that compares gun deaths in different states - a study which clearly shows that where there are more guns there are more fatal gun injuries (and where the data was collected at one point in time so there can be no influence of population growth).

              The empirical data clearly shows that where there are more guns, there are more gunshot injuries.  This finding has been replicated many times using a variety of methods.

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:10:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, if you check the numbers, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                theatre goon

                the rate of drowning deaths stayed roughly the same. The total number has increased,  roughly proportionately with the population.
                    The rate of gun suicides has increased about 5.5% over the period from 1999 to 2010. During that same time, the rate of non-gun suicide has increased by about 33%. And by your numbers, the number of NICS checks has increased by 93% over the same twelve year period.
                     There certainly is a weak correlation between the apparent increase in gun numbers and the number of gun suicides. But the correlation is even stronger between the rise in gun numbers and non-gun suicides. Is there any chance of causation there? It appears far more apparent that there has been a notable rise in overall suicide in the US during this period, and gun suicides have been a decreasing proportion of that rise. There is no reason to believe that increased gun purchases in the US are associated with an overall increase in suicides, particularly when the proportion of suicides committed with guns is decreasing relative to the overall number.
                     With respect to your other point, have you looked at overall suicide rates in the various states, compared to gun suicides? Obviously, if no guns are available, gun suicide is impractical. If a person is serious about suicide, and a gun is available, suicide by gun is an option. If the total suicide rate is roughly the same in all locations, but the difference is in the choice of method, then eliminating guns will not decrease the overall rate.

                -7.25, -6.26

                We are men of action; lies do not become us.

                by ER Doc on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:42:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How do you explain.... (0+ / 0-)

                  My bad; your data on gun suicides and drowning deaths is clearly labelled as a rate - I should have picked up on that.

                  If we think that population growth results in an increase in the rate of gun suicides, we would expect that population growth would have a similar effect on the rate of drowning deaths (or fatal bicycle injuries).  Yet from your data shows an increasing rate of gun suicides only, without any increase in drowning deaths.

                  How do you explain that population growth effects gun suicides, but not drowning deaths (or fatal bicycle injuries)?

                  The correlation of gun sales with fatal gunshot injuries is very strong (r = 0.849 as I have measured it) as is the correlation of gun sales with gun suicides (r = 0.917 as I have measured it).

                  "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                  by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 09:45:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The old cliche, correlation is not the same as (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    theatre goon

                    causation. As I said above, the rate of gun suicides has gone up only about 5.5% during the study time, while the rate of non-gun suicides has gone up by about 33% during the same period. Is the increase in non-gun suicides causally related to gun sales?
                          I believe we are looking at an overall increase in suicide, of unclear etiology, during which the proportion of gun suicides has actually dropped from 56.6% to 50.6% of the total. The increase in gun sales might be conjectured to be related to the same sociological phenomena that have lead to the increase in all suicides, or not. But there is no reasonable basis to believe that there are more gun suicides now because there are more guns. There are simply more suicides, and for unclear reasons, a smaller proportion are being committed with guns.
                          The massive increase in gun purchases in recent years is not being driven by suicidal people. As other surveys have suggested, the proportion of American household with guns has fallen somewhat, despite the increase in overall purchases. The households that already own guns have been buying more. If you already own a gun, you don't need another gun to commit suicide.
                         It is intuitively true that if you have a gun in the house, and you become suicidal, it is easier to choose to kill yourself with a gun than if you don't have a gun easily available. And if it is impossible for you to get a gun, than you can't kill yourself with a gun. Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate gun suicides is to eliminate guns. All guns. Target pistols, hunting shotguns, and deer rifles are all as lethal for a suicidal individual as semiautomatic handguns and AR-15s. Background checks won't do it; they only identify people who have been formally identified as suicidal in the past. Waiting periods might prevent the impulse purchases, but they would have to apply to all gun purchases, & I've seen no data to indicate that a substantial proportion of gun suicides are committed with guns purchased on impulse.
                          Most gun suicides appear to be committed by people who already own guns. You are going to have to get the American public to give up all their guns, if you mean to eliminate gun suicides. I don't believe a sufficient number of people in this country are willing to do that.

                    -7.25, -6.26

                    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

                    by ER Doc on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:14:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  X2 (0+ / 0-)

                nosotros no somos estúpidos

                by a2nite on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:39:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately 100% of the population gets to vote. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kasoru, theatre goon

        Do tell, how excited do you think they are for you to decide "what's best for them"?

        Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

        by FrankRose on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:39:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great conversation. (0+ / 0-)

    I have nothing to add :) Except thanks very much for the diary.

  •  Are there any breakouts of homicides which have (0+ / 0-)

    occurred before the murder did a suicide?  It seems in the GunFAIL and GunCrazy diaries gun suicides like to take family members out.

    Homicides by a suicide.

    How would you even search for that number.

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 12:55:30 PM PDT

  •  Thanks too bad your poll was hijacked (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:40:44 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site