Friday, February 24, 2012

Interesting Statistic

John at the Boats and Bullets blog had the fortitude both to read through a Media Matters article and then to find something useful in it. He's a better man than I!

The MMFA article was quoting "research" by well-known anti-gun Harvard researchers David Hemenway and Matthew Miller regarding firearms used in suicide attempts. What John found was interesting.
Let's read that last sentence again... "Attempts involving drugs or cutting, which account for more than 90% of all suicidal acts, prove fatal far less often." So guns are used less than 10% of the time... and they're the biggest problem? Interesting...

As the "Coffee Talk" lady used to say on SNL... "Talk amongst yourselves."
Go and read John's blog post for the full story.


  1. Link is bad... Below until you fix it.

    1. I fixed the link. Thanks for catching that. The original link was left over from an earlier cut and paste.

  2. I posted over there but I seem to recall that suicide attempts fall in three groups:

    1) People who truly want to die and choose a method and time unlikely to fail or be interrupted. No gun law will stop them.

    2) People who -don't- truly want to die but are "crying for help" and choose methods less likely to work or more likely to be interrupted in time. They won't use a gun in the first place.

    3) People in the prior two groups who suffer ill-chance or screw-up based on their true intent and either unwittingly succeed or unwittingly fail or get interrupted accidentally. Again, lawful gun access not usually an issue.

    From what I remember of the literature, most truly committed suicides, the ones that actually are meant to work, are planned and not impulsive; the ones where the victim(?) seems calmer and more at peace than during the stress-filled time preceding their decision.

    Use of cutting and pills, particularly in a "public" (to others) place, is usually the sign of lack of serious intent. Those folks won't use a gun even impulsively because actually dying isn't on their to-do list. They are looking for help and/or attention. If they get it they are unlikely to follow through, should they choose to, you won't stop them.

    It's hard to prove a negative but I doubt there's any real data on people "impulsively" choosing to use a gun to kill themselves. I'd bet an honest read of the situation post-mortem would reveal any number of signs of mental illness or a prior decision to kill themselves, not simply an otherwise normal person "lashing out".