Best Friend Forever

Or until tomorrow. Whichever comes first.

gun-suiciderate

Earlier I posted one of a series I title Your Friend The Handgun. The title is a bit of sarcasm, because every post illustrates a case where somebody would have been better off without a handgun (sometimes without a long gun). I always figured I would sooner or later get some push back, and here is some from my Facebook feed, where I posted a link:

Steven Breed The claim made in the graphic is not supported by the data.
Stirling Dodd · Friends with Steven Breed

I think a fair argument is that the risk of attempted suicide isn’t increased, but the risk of a successful suicide is.
John Blanton I have the survey results. Want to see?
Steven Breed I don’t see how it’s veracity could be established with a survey, but please feel free to post. I believe the claim dates to the first Kellerman paper (I haven’t looked up the link, but it’s easy to find) which has serious flaws.
  • Steve has asserted the graphic (see above) is not supported by the data.
  • Stirling has pitched in and mentioned some things I am about to cover in my response.
  • I have promised to show the results of a survey.
  • Steve has asserted the claims (>50% suicides are with a gun) derives ultimately from the so-called Kellerman paper. He further doubts the validity of conclusions based on a survey.

Here I go.

Let me start with an item from that reputable journal of scientific research, The New York Times:

Not all of those suicides are by gun, but a majority are. And while some people feeling suicidal impulses will choose another method if a gun is not at hand, public health researchers cite two reasons guns are particularly dangerous: 1) Guns are more lethal than most other methods people try, so someone who attempts suicide another way is more likely to survive; 2) Studies suggest that suicide attempts often occur shortly after people decide to kill themselves, so people with deadly means at hand when the impulse strikes are more likely to use them than those who have to wait or plan.

gun-nytgunsuicide

The source is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the United States Government.

Regarding Steve’s mistrust of a survey, by a survey I mean looking at the data. I hope that clears up that point.

Final analysis, in case the point has been missed, I am advocating that on average guns are not life-saving devices. I have elsewhere advocated that having a gun for self-protection poses a greater risk than the risk it is meant to provide protection against. I repeat my observation from personal experience.

  • I have personally known four people killed by firearms. None of these involved criminal activity.
  • Two of these cases were self-inflicted.
  • I have personally witnessed a homicide by firearm. The killer was not a criminal prior to the act.
  • A family member (I was named after him) was a gunshot victim. Not killed and no criminal activity involved.
  • I have never personally encountered criminal activity involving firearms, nor do I know anybody who has been assaulted by a criminal with a firearm.

Readers can keep abreast of my comments on the friendliness of handguns by following my blog. A new post comes out every Thursday, and there is an abundant supply of material.

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