We all die. Most of us will die from illness and/or old age. Our departures likely won’t make the headlines unless we are famous or die in an act of violence ~ the fury of Ma Nature or another person.
The Everett [WA] Herald’s “Need to Know” column in my local Sunday paper highlighted statistics on the county’s 18 homicides in 2012. About half were murdered with a firearm. In another section of the newspaper, I noticed that more people died on January 1 and 2, 2013 than were murdered in all of 2012 ~ more people died on January 1, 2013 than were murdered in all of 2011.
In 2011, most of the gun deaths were linked to drugs and domestic violence.
So, why do all those law-abiding NRA members think they need so many damned guns? They are far more likely to stroke out from their delusional, paranoid angst that their right to own arsenals of guns will be infringed than they are to actually need one to protect themselves from a stranger.
Guns & Suicides
Harvard’s School of Public Health reported that 52% of suicides involve a firearm. The Boston Globe published an in-depth analysis today: “The gun toll we’re ignoring: suicide” which focuses on Cathy Barber’s research at Harvard. I was shocked to discover that 60% of the people who die from gun violence kill themselves. Further:
Those figures are not an anomaly: With just a few exceptions, the majority of gun deaths in the United States have been self-inflicted every year since at least 1920. This is a startling fact, and one that forces us to realize that, no matter what we may believe about the Second Amendment, the debate over how to reduce the death toll from guns is, to a great extent, a debate about suicide prevention.
Frequently, shooting rampages end either in suicide or suicide-by-cop.
These two charts should give any gun owner pause about the wisdom of having a gun in their homes ~ especially if they are parents of adolescent children. One study in Pittsburgh revealed that 72% of adolescents who committed suicide lived in a home with guns.
If someone is intent on suicide, a handgun is a sure-fire <pun intended> way to make it happen. People who choose this route are totally devoid of hope that their lives will emerge from the hell of their existence. A person who still has hope will ask for help from someone they believe can or should help them.
This is why in the gun control debate I come down in favor of substantially increased funding for mental health services. Anyone intent on using a gun to kill themselves and/or go on a shooting rampage to deliver a message can find a way to get around a background check and/or get their hands on guns.
As the debate moves forward, my hope is that my readers who have guns in their homes for self-protection will look hard at these statistics. Your guns are far more likely going to kill you or someone you love than an intruding stranger. Yes, the Second Amendment gives you the right to bear arms, but is this a wise choice in your own home?