Colorado truck accident (courtesy pikespeaklaw.com)

I’m going to try very hard not to get lost in the weeds on this one. That’s easy enough when you’re bandying firearms-related statistics about. The antis are masters at taking numbers out of context to further their civilian disarmament agenda. It’s important to stay focused and clear. So let’s keep this really simple. Here’s the graphic money shot and lead from the story on gun suicides at dailycamera.com:

 

Gun deaths have outpaced motor vehicle fatalities in Colorado since 2009, but data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicate the state has passed yet another milestone in death statistics.

For the first time in 2012, suicides by firearm alone surpassed motor vehicle fatalities, with 457 Coloradans dying in fatal car crashes and 532 taking their own lives using guns.

Gun suicides experienced their biggest increase in the past 12 years between 2011 and 2012, jumping up nearly 20 percent.

The important fact to keep in mind: the United States Census Bureau pegs Colorado’s [legal] 2013 population at 5,187,582. So 532 firearms-related suicides–regrettable and tragic all—represents an extremely small percentage of Colorado’s total population. Around .0001 percent. This is not exactly what I’d call “something must be done about firearms” territory.

Especially remembering that laws designed to prevent firearms suicides can have negative unintended consequences. Like making it harder for people to own or access firearms for self defense. You know: infringing upon their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

The next part of the article examines possible reasons for the jump in CO suicides in general and firearms-related suicides in particular. It also suggests reasons for the Rocky Mountain State’s decreasing traffic fatalities. And then, deep into the article, we learn this:

The fastest rising causes of injury death in the state, in order of percentage increase, are poisonings, which includes drug overdoses; fatal falls, which predominantly affect the state’s growing senior population; and suicides.

In 2012, 673 people died from poisoning or drug overdose, 679 sustained fatal injuries from a fall, and 1,053 died from suicide, a nearly 44 percent increase since 2000 — adjusted for Colorado’s population growth.

Katharina Buchholz circles back to the firearms-related suicide stat, which she is just as well, given that we now learn more Colorado residents died from drug ODs and fall injuries than car accidents. Or firearms-related suicides. But that’s not quite the spin she puts on the new info . . .

Gun suicides didn’t take the biggest chunk of the increase. Fatal, self-inflicted gunshot wounds increased by nearly 29 percent while suicides by other means increased by nearly 64 percent. Gun-related and non-gun-related suicides are approximately equally common. While other types of suicide increased most rapidly between the years 2000 and 2001, gun suicides experienced their biggest jump between 2011 and 2012.

So even though an increase in “gun suicides” are the big story here, in reality they aren’t growing as fast as other forms of suicide. In other words, firearms aren’t the preferred means of suicide in the state and the relative death figures are declining. But that doesn’t matter, since we’re looking at raw numbers with no context for a sensationalist article.

By now, your head must be spinning. Suffice it to say, the article moves on to non-numeric “solutions.” Here be dragons.

Douglas County Coroner Lora Thomas agreed that removing guns temporarily from a suicidal person was a step that shows friends or family members cared.

The only problem is that the state—with the help of the NRA and the NSSF—aren’t hanging fire while friends and family perform a firearms-confiscating suicide intervention. In the wake of mass shootings by deranged killers the powers That Be are working to integrate the mental health care system with the FBI’s criminal background check system.

The result will be state-instigated firearms confiscations. Which will make it far less likely that people with mental health problems—who want to keep their gun rights—will seek treatment. Which will lead to an increase in the number of untreated, armed mentally ill people and, potentially, a rise in the number of firearms-related suicides.

Experts Breitzman and Thomas agreed that gun suicide, like all suicide, has a multitude of causes and many prevention strategies, none of which should be disregarded.

“For people on either side of the issue, it’s still an either-or approach,” Breitzman said.

Huh? Do they mean either the government takes the guns or not? If that’s the choice, not.

50 Responses to Gun Suicides Outpace Traffic Fatalities in Colorado. And?

    • In related news, Peruvian nose-picking is on pace with Obamacare enrollment in southwestern Kansas.

      Coincidence?….

    • Colorado should ban skiing;
      So far, the death toll in Colorado is 15 — 14 skiers and 1 snowboarder — surpassing the previous high of 12 set in the winter of 1998-99

    • How would the antis prefer people kill themselves? In Japan it is popular to step in front of trains.

      Banning guns doesn’t ban suicide. It only makes other methods more popular.

    • Boulder Daily Chimera. (Fixed it for you).

      The sad thing is that rag isn’t half as bad as the “Colorado Daily” which is more accurately known as the “Commie Daily”

      The person who was editor of THAT piece of agitprop when I was in school at Boulder, later went on to be an editorial page guy at the LA Times. Explains a lot.

  1. Looking at the graph, the number of gun deaths from non-suicides has remained steady since 2002. Also, the number of gun-related suicides was steady until the recession. However, the biggest numerical difference in that graph is the huge drop in traffic accident deaths. If I was the Department of Transportation I’d be pissed that people look at that graph and all they take away from it is how many gun suicides there have been lately. Give the DoT a little credit too.

    • the recession caused a reduction in vehicle miles traveled, and a lot of people lost their homes and a truckload of money. My money is that the recession reduced both motor vehicle accidents and increased suicides. As employment recovers, you should see a reversal in both trends, if i am right.

    • We all know that the purpose here was to sow anti-2A agitprop, not discuss suicides or suicide prevention. “…removing guns temporarily from a suicidal person was a step that shows friends or family members cared.” What the Hell is that? If they didn’t care they’d be LOANING them guns?

      Since we know that bringing logic (Ugh!) to he table will have little or no affect on the discussion. But how about just for ourselves we ask the question they will not: WHY are they committing suicide is more important than HOW. What has changed in their demographic or economy in the last ten years or so? Maybe they were immigrants from California who finally realized they were being unsuccessful in Californicating Colorado and took it hard? But getting these people to look at actual reasons for why people do things rather than the tools they use is too much to ask.

  2. What was probably an attempt to slander firearms went awry when they pointed out that suicides in general rose by 64% while suicide by guns by 29%. That missing link is usually left out by antis in order to skew public opinion.

    • The news business is about telling stories, not finding the truth. As this story shows, they’ll go to great lengths to ignore the truth in pursuit of their chosen narrative.

  3. “And then, deep into the article, we learn this: ….”

    Am I the only person amazed at how, presumably in a feeble attempt to be un-biased, reporters or writers in general will bury facts or the Armed Intelligenstia viewpoint way down, deep in the article?

    Maybe I’m just a cynic, but it seems awfully intentional, like the writer is thinking “Maybe by the time they’ve read the first couple of paragraphs, their ADHD will kick in and they’ll move to another article”.

  4. I wish there were no suicides by vehicle. Too many people are killed in the process of the selfish act. They should off-themselves safely, and leave the car and firearm for their family to sell off to pay for the aftermath.

  5. Now I understand why it was important for Colorado to ban full sized magazines. ‘Cause a suicidal person might miss his own noggin once, but not sixteen times.

  6. According to the data the death rate from poisoning and falls has nearly doubled. Apparently Coloradans have become much more clumsy and stupid over the last decade. How is THAT not the headline?

    Also, the per-capita death rate from gun suicides is exactly the same now as it was in 2000. What a joke that article is.

  7. Fewer people are accidentally dying than accidentally surviving.

    More interesting facts:
    In the US there are between 30,000 and 40,000 suicides per year.
    Over 25% of them are veterans.
    Men commit suicide about 4-5x the rate of women.
    White people, American Natives commit suicide at over 2x the rate of Black people, Hispanics, and Asians.
    Gay people commit suicide at about 5x the rate of straight people.

    It looks like if you are a demographic that large swaths of society condones and expects and instigates to be self-loathing, you have a higher chance of being suicidal. Maybe (in a very generalized sense) if liberals stopped making it ok to shame veterans, men, and white people; conservatives stopped making it ok to shame gays, then suicide rates would go down. American Natives, victims of genocide, I don’t think there’s any way to fix what was done to them.

    • Maybe certain groups are more likely to be mentally defective in the first place, eventuating in higher suicide rates, and any alleged shaming is incidental? Especially since suicide is so rare compared to the U.S. population, or even to a particular subgroup’s population, it’s difficult to argue any particular cause since so few are allegedly affected by it.

      • I doubt that white people, males, veterans, and gays have mental defects that lead them to be white people, males, veterans, and gays, as well as suicidal. We know that persistent psychological torture can lead to suicide in any demographic.

    • Can you imagine the “national awareness” campaigns and the media drumbeat that would occur daily if women died on average 7 years before men instead of the other way around?

  8. ” Fatal, self-inflicted gunshot wounds increased by nearly 29 percent”

    The way this is worded it could, and probably does, include accidents, not just suicides. If so, then the stats used are even more flawed.

  9. Maybe off topic, but I think that the growth of the nanny state is to blame for the rise in suicides. The effect of the nanny state is to reduce the consequences of my actions. Thanks to welfare programs at the bottom, and “progressive” tax rates at the top, and redistribution in general, our own individual actions and choices matter less and less. It think this raises the propensity for individuals to conclude: “I really don’t matter.” I’m not saying that’s enough for an otherwise happy, healthy person to commit suicide, but I think it has this effect at the margins.

    • Based on that premise the suicide rate should skyrocket when the benefits are reduced through entitlement expiration, legislation, sequestration, etc. Is that factored into those numbers?

      • That might in fact happen but not based on my premise.

        My premise is that human dignity is bound up with taking responsibility for conducting one’s own affairs. In the long run, entitlement programs assault that dignity and make suicide more likely.

  10. It is all in how you CHOOSE to interpret the data. The economy is in the crapper. Combine the fact that fewer people are traveling to or from work with cars are constructed to be safer and you have fewer possibilities of traffic fatalities.

    The flip side of that same coin has folks faced with a bleak financial outlook turning to suicide as an unfortunate final alternative.

    Would passing a law making suicide illegal stop suicides from taking place?

    • I think a lot of people who used to choose to commit suicide by driving into a bridge abutment have realized that they most likely will just end up with a large hospital bill after the EMT got done from pulling them from behind their computer simulated and designed airbag and then put on a helicopter flight to a well equipped trauma room.

      They then just decide to check out in another proven method.

  11. Wait! So they passed all those liberty-infringing laws (read: p1ss3d away all that Democrat political capital) because of ~200 non-suicide gun deaths a year?

  12. Douglas County Coroner Lora Thomas agreed that removing guns temporarily from a suicidal person was a step that shows friends or family members cared.

    It sure doesn’t show they cared about his rights or his ability to protect himself. Also there are other “firearmless” means of ending ones life that are just as easy and less messy – such as the garden hose vehicle exhaust trick.

  13. Totally unsupported “fact” aka, projection and d-bag comment: So as California moved in and ruined Colorado, more people are killing themselves? As long as they aren’t locals, who cares?

  14. Until there are more states pass right to die laws, there will be continue to be DIY suicides.
    There are circumstances that makes suicides a viable alternative. My dad had a good friend, elderly gentleman, wife had passed away, he was going blind, lived alone no children, no close relatives. Shot himself. Left the gun to my dad.

  15. Robert, love the website!

    I have to correct you though. If you are to complain about the anti’s misuse of stats, good form insists that your figures are correct. I can’t help myself: I’m a CPA.

    532 deaths in a population of 5,187,582 is 0.0001 using standard division. To convert this to a percentage, you multiply this figure by 100 = 0.01%.

    I know, your point was that this is still a tiny percentage!!

  16. “Experts Breitzman and Thomas agreed that gun suicide, like all suicide, has a multitude of causes and many prevention strategies, none of which should be disregarded.”

    So what the experts are really saying is that the whole point of this article is meaningless.

    • I agree. None of the options should be disregarded.

      I would like for once, however, for the first idea presented to *not* be taking guns away from people.

  17. More proof that some with go to any lengths to attach something negative to firearms ownership. Ho hum, nothing to see here.

  18. With legal rec marijuana that will all change. More high people, more driving places, more traffic accidents, more deaths. Although the fact that legal rec will raise the unemployment rate and cause more people to chose suicide that doesn’t help us and the people that actually try to make sense of meaningless stats. Choice is a great right.

  19. The increase in suicides is likely due to the lousy economy

    From the CDC I found mortality stats in Colorado 1999-2009
    Suicides went up from 574 to 941 (+64%)
    Suicides by firearm went up from 309 to 454 (+47%)
    Suicides by other means went up from 265 to 487 (+84%)

    In other words, more suicides are now committed with means other than guns. That means we should worry less about gun ownership and more about how to help people in need.

  20. The essential question that should be asked here is this:

    “Would these suicides have been prevented in an absence of guns?”

    And the answer (because other researchers have asked this question in the 90’s) is “no.”

    If people claim to be worried about suicides by gun, ask them if they’re worried about suicide by other means. If they’re not, and they don’t have the numbers of suicides in general or by other specific means at hand, they’re not interested in talking about suicides, they just want another canard on which to ban guns.

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