The Hidden Gun Epidemic: Suicides

editorial, New York Times, 1/9/17. See also our post from States United to Prevent Gun Violence here including the quote “A gun in the home is 22x more likely to be used in a suicide, homicide, or unintentional shooting than for self defense.”

Ralph Demicco, a gun shop owner in Hooksett, N.H., was shocked in 2009 when three of his customers bought handguns and committed suicide over five days in separate shootings. He encountered firsthand the stark, barely noticed fact that more than 60 percent of the nation’s 30,000-plus gun deaths each year are acts of suicide, not accidents or homicidal attacks. In New Hampshire, where the suicide rate is 31 percent higher than the national average, over 85 percent of firearm deaths are suicides.

The dealer reviewed the shop’s surveillance tapes. There were no giveaway signs of the troubles driving these customers to shoot themselves. “It’s just an ugly, ugly thing,” Mr. Demicco later told researchers for Harvard University’s School of Public Health. “I decided I must become involved.”

One thought on “The Hidden Gun Epidemic: Suicides

  1. rtgardner3

    Tom,

    In 2014 70% of suicides were white males, 29,271 out of 42,773. Firearm suicides in 2013 were 21,175 out of 41,149 total suicides, 51%. Three males complete a suicide for every female because males use a more lethal method – firearms. A suicide begins at ideation. This is the point in time at which a person makes the decision to attempt suicide and decides the method to complete the suicide.

    The largest suicide cohort is young men. The second largest is men of retirement age. Men, especially older men, with no spouse or significant other in their lives are the most vulnerable. There is little substitution between suicide methods. Stopping the preferred method usually prevents the suicide from being completed. The more barriers which can be put in a person’s life to prevent suicide, even small annoying ones, the less apt a person is to complete a suicide because it gives the person time to think, recover emotionally and move away from the suicidal impulse. Mostly, it means removing guns from a home and making sure the suicidal person has no access to firearms, including the ability to purchase one.

    This information is at http://www.slideshare.net/rtgardner3/family-wellness-conference-oct-8-2016. Share as you see fit.

    I want to see a registry to prohibit the purchase of guns that is similar to the one for alcohol.

    Richard

    Like

    Reply

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