Support VSSA Advertisers

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New York Times Shills for Brady Campaign on Suicide and Guns

The New York Times has this editorial promoting a new "report" released by the Brady Campaign that claims states with higher rates of gun ownership also have a higher rate of suicide:
If it takes a sensational statistic to spur national concern about such self-destruction, consider the latest research showing that 82 percent of teenage suicides by firearms involve guns left poorly secured or foolishly unprotected by members of their families. These young lives are impulsively lost in supposedly safe home environments, where just the presence of a gun has been found to increase the risk of suicide three times, according to a new report by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun safety organization.
Violent crime has been falling now for some twenty years and at the same time six in ten Americans believe that a gun in the home makes them safer.  It seems the Times, and Brady, hope that focusing on suicide numbers will change that statistic in their favor.  But, as fellow blogger Sebastian noted yesterday in his coverage of the Brady report, saying that a gun in the home makes suicide three times more likely is like saying having alcohol in the home makes you three times more likely to die from liver disease:
There are some areas where statistical analysis is useful, but this is not one of those cases. This would be like arguing that having a gun in the home makes it three times more likely you’ll rob a bank. Or perhaps having a bottle of liquor in the home makes it three times more likely that you’ll die from cirrhosis of the liver. Could be high-speed internet links make it 3x more likely you’ll download kiddie porn. All these things may statistically be true, but they are meaningless when applied to individuals.

I am not and have never been suicidal. If you’re not a bank robber, you’re not going to suddenly decide to rob a bank just because there’s a gun around. If you’re not an alcoholic, that statistic is meaningless to you, regardless of the presence of alcohol in your home. You get the picture.

I would say if you have a tendency to be suicidal, you have a loved one with a tendency toward suicidal behavior, or is just generally troubled, you’ll want to take precautions if you own guns. Perhaps gun ownership itself isn’t a wise thing for you in some circumstances. I have no disagreement with that notion.
The Times also takes its customary swipe at the "gun lobby" and the "firearms industry" for being "engaged in a reckless campaign to have more Americans own and carry guns" without out noting that the firearms community is doing more to make sure unintended fatalities involving firearms don't occur than any other group.
Suicide is tragic, but the vast majority of gun owners and Americans do not have suicidal tendencies, so having a gun in the home will not change that fact. 

One last note, according to the World Health Organization, both Japan and France have a higher rate of suicide than the U.S. while also having much more restrictive gun laws (in fact just about every country above the U.S. has stricter gun laws).
2011 Rankings by the World Health Organization

Hat tip to Sebastian for noting Japan's higher rate of suicide.

No comments: