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.