Saturday, March 22, 2014

Suicide is Painless...

...was, of course, the title of the theme song to the famously successful television series M.A.S.H. And, of course, suicide isn't least, not for the ones left behind. A long time ago a friend of mine committed suicide and it left me totally fuddled. He was smart, funny and seemed to have everything to live for, and I asked myself what everyone does after such an event, "Why?"

And since I was (and still am) a relentless researcher, I started looking into suicides because I wanted answers for myself. I discovered a strange fact. Despite decades and literally billions of dollars in suicide therapies, suicide hotlines, suicide, etc., the net effect on the overall suicide rate of the U.S. was plus-or-minus zero. You can see it on the graphs at this site. The rate per 100,000 various within a relatively narrow range, call it an average of about 10 people per 100,000.

This leads to a very cold-blooded conclusion — within a population a certain number of people are, for lack of a better word, "broken," and one way or another they will take their own lives. The percentage seems to be tied to cultural factors...different countries have different suicide rates, from a high in Greenland of 83/100K to a low of zero in Nepal. The U.S. ranks at 33 among 110 countries.

I bring this up because suicides by firearms is the newest battlefield for our blood enemies. I'm seeing signs all over the place that this will be part of our new battle-space, largely because of the collapse of Obama's antigun shill for Surgeon General. Did I mention I had a doctor who asked me about gun ownership? I was surprised how quickly she wilted under the barrage questions about her sexual proclivities, her tax returns, her body image, whether she was an appropriate guardian for her children...I said, hey, everything's on the table, right? Never went back, but that's another story.

The "guns are a legitimate public health concern" meme is centered around suicides. Ironically, you know what does correlate with suicide rates? Economic conditions...there's a surprise. America's highest suicide rate was during the Great Depression. When the economy goes down, suicide rates go up. Here's an LA Times article, but there's a TON of studies out there...look it up yourself! Hmmmmmmmmm...who was it that wrecked the economy, drove the costs of health care through the ceiling (my policy, which was one of 3 policies actually grandfathered in, TRIPLED in premium costs) and in general injected a level of uncertainty into our lives unseen since said Great Depression????


Anonymous said...

Excellent article!

Obiwan said...

Well said!

KevinC said...

My one (and God willing, only) experience with a GSW was a failed suicide attempt we almost ran over up in Calgary.

Dude put a Ruger 10/22 upside his nose and pulled the trigger, blowing his nose off and lodging the round in his eye.

This at a time when you needed a license to buy guns or ammo in Canada. To borrow from Jurassic Park, life (or in this case, the desire to end a life) finds a way.

Anonymous said...

Suicide frightens people, anti gunners always try to prey on public ignorance. Anyone seriously interested in this subject needs to read the book Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison. The only answer to fear is knowledge not ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how suicide can be considered the government's problem unless one believes the government owns our very existence. True freedom would seem to include the ability to leave the Hotel California, should one desire to do so.

I also fail to see how one could object to suicide if he supports abortion (A hires B to kill C) and/or euthanasia (A hires B to kill A). At that point, one shouldn't have an issue with A killing A.

Malcolm said...

I have no doubt your assessment is correct, some people are "broken," just as some are "stupid," and some are, well, whatever die hard liberals are, which may turn out to be some form of mental defect, or at least a mental condition preventing accurate and/or unbiased processing of information. Which may be the same thing.

The human urge is to "fix the problem," which is now, and forever may be, beyond our capabilities. That said, despite the data indicating its lack of effectiveness, I'd vote for continuing whatever reasonable anti-suicide support we're capable of; to the truly "broken" it will make no difference, to those merely "cracked or bent" but not fully "broken," it may offer some value.

Reading Anon 0004's comment again, I suspect he (or she) may be on to something: we've substantially cheapened life in recent decades with abortion, euthanasia and gratuitous and very graphic video violence. I have no clue what the impact of those things has been on suicides, but I doubt the effect has been beneficial.

Michael Bane said...

I am NOT in favor of doing away with various anti suicide/depression programs that are in place. They may have some effect on the "micro" level, but the numbers tell the real story. I suspect (as do some researchers) that those programs primary effect the "moderately depressed/attention seeker/need to talk/grief-stricken" variety, who's needs are indeed important.

If someone waved a magic wand and "disappeared" very firearm in America, research suggests that the suicide rate would remain exactly the same. People truly seeking to end their lives would substitute one method for another. Note that in other countries other forms of suite are, for lack of better terminology, "popular."

Our enemies seek to create a new category of suicide — "gun suicide" — as they have done with the fallacious phrase "gun violence," each carrying the implication that the gun, an inanimate object, was somehow complicit in the act.

Key take-aways are that economic conditions have the largest (and perhaps only significant) effect on suicide rates in America, and there is no such thing as a "gun suicide" that exists separate from "suicides' in general.


Anonymous said...

Another logic question: If gun owners are all murderers and many of our ilk aren't toeing the statist line, why would "they" care if we off ourselves? Wouldn't fewer gun owners mean increased officer safety when the time comes to round us up?

Anonymous said...

Stats from Canada as gun laws were changed suggest that suicide rates are means-available independent. i.e. the method might change but the overall rate remained the same.

With the wide availability of information on the Internet it's not hard to find several highly effective means that don't involve firearms.
Japan is a prime example.


sheepdog1968 said...

Suicide does emotional damage to those left behind. I had an "uncle" who had terminal cancer and was near the end. Either becuase of the drugs or the pain, he killed himself rather than let nature take its course. He was probably within a few months of dying from cancer. Even so, it still rattled most of the family. We knew more or less why he did it. We knew he would be dead soon. Still, there was quite a bit of pain and grief over what he did.

Ever since that experience, I've become a fan of laws like they have in Oregon where you can end your life in some circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Suicide is just one reason the anti-gun crowd wants to make firearms a "public health" issue. Urban violence is another. They are counting on the medical establishments hewing to a liberal biased gun control "course of treatment." Should a high profile medical establishment look at the statistics and recommend more gun ownership, and training in firearms (part of a "health class"), you would see them run screaming from the idea.