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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:56 AM

Number of people who died by shooting themselves was almost 4 times greater in the high-gun states

Something that someone else is going to do to them
By Kay February 3rd, 2013

This was raised in the comments on the gun posts several times, and I didn’t know it, so I looked into it:
“A lot of people, when they think about guns and violence—suicide is just kind of off the radar screen,” said Daniel Webster, the director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University. Webster added: “People think about the gun problem as something that someone else is going to do to them.”

At the heart of this argument is the idea that the vast majority of people who have committed suicide by shooting themselves would have stayed alive if they had not been easily able to pick up a gun. This can be a difficult premise to process. First, it goes against a common intuition about suicide: that someone who wants to end his or her life will find a way to do it by any means necessary. Second, it presents a destabilizing challenge to both sides of the gun control debate, which have traditionally drawn their emotional power from people’s fear of murder.

The figures are stark. One study found that in a group of adolescents in Pittsburgh who died by committing suicide, 72 percent lived in households with guns; among adolescents who attempted suicide but survived, that number was 37 percent. Another found that across the United States, people who committed suicide in a given year were 17 times as likely to have lived in homes with guns as people who did not


At a summit on gun violence held at Johns Hopkins this past week, Harvard professor Matthew Miller presented a comparison of people living in “high-gun states,” where there are firearms in approximately 50 percent of homes, with those living in “low-gun states,” where that number is around 15 percent. Looking at these two groups of people side by side, Miller showed that they had similar rates of depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as similar rates of suicide that did not involve firearms, like hanging and poisoning. But the number of people who died by shooting themselves was almost four times greater in the high-gun states. In total, there were almost twice as many suicides among people living in high-gun states as there were in low-gun states


more plus links:
http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/02/03/something-that-someone-else-is-going-to-do-to-them/

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Reply Number of people who died by shooting themselves was almost 4 times greater in the high-gun states (Original post)
kpete Feb 2013 OP
treestar Feb 2013 #1
geckosfeet Feb 2013 #2
SheilaT Feb 2013 #3
HooptieWagon Feb 2013 #4
Duckhunter935 Feb 2013 #5
Recursion Feb 2013 #6
Recursion Feb 2013 #8
kudzu22 Feb 2013 #7

Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:58 AM

1. This is an important consideration too

They may "find another way" but those take more time and might be harder to carry out - impulsiveness could be less of a factor. The Australian suicide rate lowered dramatically when gun control started.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:31 PM

2. Suicide prevention is simply not on health care radar in this country.

For the most part suicide prevention falls under the category of mental health. And providing mental health care is simply not a money making proposition for insurance companies.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:40 PM

3. But, but, I thought guns made us all safer!

At least that's what the NRA tells me, and how could they possibly be wrong?

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:41 PM

4. Interesting point you bring up.

It is true that something like 60% of gun deaths are suicides. Certainly everybody would like to see that figure lowered. It has been argued that limiting access to guns would result in suicide attempts being less lethal, perhaps survivable, methods. I have first hand knowledge of this-I knew 5 suicide victims. None had immediate access to a gun. 2 jumped, 2 OD'd, 1 hung himself. Lack of a gun prevented none of these suicides. An assault weapon ban would be meaningless. Better mental health care possibly would have helped.

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Response to HooptieWagon (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:11 PM

5. agreed

Mental health treatment would help lower gun deaths

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:25 PM

6. What's the "successful" suicide rate in low gun vs high gun states?

I will dig around for that if nobody knows

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:20 PM

8. And, a handy chart I made

This is the regression.



The signal is clearly there, but the variance band is wider than the signal's amplitude.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:30 PM

7. That's the real question

It's not like suicidal people in non-gun states can't off themselves. They don't put their hand to their head and pull a phantom trigger and say, "Darn, no gun. Guess I have to go on living."

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