“Research shows that having firearms in a home makes suicide three times more likely. In fact, the presence of guns is a stronger predictor of suicide than substance abuse or depression.” – Jack McElroy, Guns and suicide go tragically hand in hand [via knoxnews.com]

83 Responses to Quote of the Day: Guns and Suicide…Correlation = Causation?

  1. If Robin Williams didn’t have a gun in his home, he’d still be with us today.
    Oh, wait…..

    • Japan!

      Nobody in Japan has a gun, yet their suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.
      Their suicide rate is higher than our rate of suicide and murder combined. It is just an inconvenient truth that the dishonest gun grabbers want to hide.

      Take away the guns and people will jump in front of trains, just like the Japanese.

      • Japan suicide rate = 15.4/100k
        US suicide rate = 12.6/100k
        US murder rate = 3.9/100k

        Not even close to the highest in the world and not higher than our murder+suicide rate. Try again.

        • Close enough to show that guns do not equal suicide. Mental and emotional illness equal suicide. If we want to correlate methods available to kill ourselves to the suicide rate one would also have to ban bridges and tall buildings, and prescription drugs, ….And razor blades….And ropes….

        • Source for your figures? I’ve read that the number of suicides in Japan is around 30,000 fore the last three years. But they have one-third the population, so their suicide rate should be three times higher, right? And the number you posit for the US is the entire suicide rate, only half of which are committed with guns. Wiki reports that the Japanese suicide rate is 15.4 per 100,000, while the US rate is 12.6.

          And still, there is the correlation vs causation issue. Guns do not cause suicide. They are a simply a means to an end. The proper phrasing for the quote of the day is that people with guns in their homes are (three times) more likely to use a gun to commit suicide, which is kind of a “Doh!” statement.

        • The point- which you seem to be willfully trying to miss- is that Japan, despite having about the strictest anti-gun laws in the world, has a higher per-capita suicide rate than the United States. If guns are so integral to suicide, why is that?

        • South Koreans have the same gun rights as the Japanese and a suicide rate of 24/100,000.
          Guns Don’t Matter when it comes to suicide.

        • “Not even close to the highest in the world and not higher than our murder+suicide rate.”

          This statement is meaningless. It’s akin to saying “Two is less than three, but two + two = four, which is greater than three, therefore two is greater than three”. Flat out dumb.

          Next time you troll try to do so in a manner that makes a modicum of logical sense.

        • “Not even close to the highest in the world and not higher than our murder+suicide rate.”

          Actually it’s not only quite close – 15.4 (suicide rate in Japan) to 16.5 (suicide + homicide rates in US combined), it flipped in just the past few years.

    • The good doctor’s argument seems to be based on the presupposition that if we inconvenience a suicidal person enough by taking away a simple, effective implement to snuff themselves – we can then count on natural human laziness to prevent them from getting up off their huge American butt and finding a more physically demanding means of shuffling off their mortal coil.
      As far as the liberal/progressive types I’ve observed are concerned: he may be right.
      Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to be self-sufficient and motivated types (huge butt notwithstanding) who will not be dissuaded from their goal so easily.

  2. So what? Why do these people think that suicide is a societal problem that requires their enlightened hand to solve? Why do they think it’s anything more than a personal issue?

    Oh wait, it’s because they can use it as a convenient excuse to stomp out behavior they don’t like. Silly me, I thought they might have actually cared about people for a moment.

    • Typical tag response, everyone is out to get my guns. What the real question the doctor was asking is if the speed and ease of the method of suicide has a influence on whether one actually commits suicide. And I noticed how every comment and the TAG article itself avoids that question.
      Now where the real danger to our rights come from is people’s willingness to give up rights in the name of safety. If representatives find that the ease of suicide that a gun provides is justification for curtailing the rights of a individual, that is what we need to fight. We need to make sure people are not willing to give up rights in the name of safety.

      • “Without easy access to guns, many of those deaths would not have happened.”

        “. . . in our community and our society at large, easy access to guns is helping the anguished to die.
        Ignored, the problem is only getting worse.”

        IMO, not paranoid to see these statements as a call for restricting access. The data, such as they are, purport to show a correlation between having a gun in the home and suicide, regardless of how easy or difficult it may have been to get that gun. When someone twice complains that “easy access” is the problem, despite that not being a factor addressed by the data, it’s not much of a stretch to infer that they hope to gain support for restricting access.

        • The reasons for suicide, and the possible solutions for those reasons, are far, far more complex than any of these smug anti-gun fools include, even if any of them actually consider it as more than an ax to grind. And as we have said here so many times, guns are merely one of thousands of tools available… and the time frame in which they are and can be used is not actually relevant compared to any other method or tool. Where there is a will, there is a way. You can even starve yourself to death.

          Just to name a few of those reasons/factors:

          The war on drugs that prevents even doctors from truly assisting the suffering to find relief. The self righteous actions of the do-gooders to control our lives – for whatever reason they give – is a big part of the problem. If you live in agony, death starts to look like a much better alternative.

          Life without hope, because someone else controls every aspect of that life against your will. Even well meaning friends and family fall into this trap. Far too many simply cannot bear to mind their own business, sometimes to the smallest things. How much worse a “government” of control freaks who presume to dictate everything, including life and death.

          Life without real purpose, without self determination, without the core of self ownership and responsibility… living only as a parasite or slave… without autonomy or pride in accomplishments. Some people simply can’t see any way to overcome these… even if they actually recognize the problem.

          As a retired health care professional, I understand suicide from long experience talking with and trying to help people. There are many things family, friends and professionals with integrity can do to help those who are willing to be helped. There is little or nothing that can be done for those who do not want our help. They will find a way. Sad as it is, we just have to live with that.

      • I’m avoiding the question because the question is stupid. If someone is suicidal, then taking away the means to commit suicide is putting a band-aid on a broken leg and all these “experts” know that. I have guns at home, but I also have a car, kitchen knives, bleach, electrical outlets, plastic bags, razor blades… I could go on.

        If they were so concerned about suicide, they’d be looking into what drives people to suicide and not the tool used. The same thing applies to violent crime – the “what” is far less important than the “why”. Dead is dead, whether the tool was a 9mm or a bottle of Clorox.

        I would bet my life savings that Dr. Dumbass up there is for every restriction and ban the left can dream up. You know, For The Greater Good.

      • “..he real question the doctor was asking is if the speed and ease of the method of suicide has a influence on whether one actually commits suicide”

        The problem is still one of you focusing on the tool used to commit suicide while ignoring the reasons one would contemplate committing suicide. Trying to remove the guns does nothing to remove the suicidal thoughts.

      • This is being used as an excuse to restrict firearm ownership.

        Secondly, it’s been shown that suicide is means independent, take away the guns and the suicidal person will choose another method.

        If you want to actually answer the question posed by the doctor you’d have to look at the length of ownership before suicide. I’d bet that among groups with low rates of gun ownership otherwise, guns are purchased shortly before suicide.

        No one has shown that removing guns lowers the rate of suicide.

        • A gun has never kept anyone from suicide? Ever? How many people have delayed suicide merely by the comfort of an easy means is close at hand? And lived to fight another day. I have known a few suicidal people, not all were completely successful, if we’re honest, we’d admit we have no idea how many suicidal people we have known or know now. However, none of the suicidal people were scrounging around for, or biding their time until they found the means. They were constantly struggling to stay away from the action (not the means) and that path was more like the elipse if a comet, more than the event horizon of a black hole.

          In any case OP’s Dr. Dipshit FU, guns are for people who are willing to fight for life. Sonetimes those are people willing to check-out, but it’d be worth hunting the lot of POS like you that are ready to lump us all together the other way.

          Again, and always, FU stupid.

      • WRong….again…Japan has almost total gun control…..and higher suicide death rates than we do. Guns are not the issue. You can’t get any clearer than that.

      • WRong….again…Japan has almost total gun control…..and higher suicide death rates than we do. Guns are not the issue. You can’t get any clearer than that.

      • @Binder, And yet I’ve read plenty of articles saying the opposite, that substance and abuse, particularly drinking is associated with suicide. IIRC one went on to make that case that many suicides are impulsive acts and that is why we supposedly see such a predominance of individuals that are suicidal and drinking heavily popping themselves. The alcohol lowers the inhibitions and depresses them further.

  3. What BS. It’s amazing that any of us who have amassed a moderate to large gun collection survived to do so.

  4. While someone becoming so depressed that they feel their only escape lies in death is truly tragic, at the end of the day, it isn’t illegal.
    Restricting someone’s rights to prevent them from doing something that’s legal is reprehensible. By all means, continue to try to find a solution they will prevent someone from reaching this level of despair, but not at the expense of mine or anyone else’s rights.

  5. Hmm, how does the suicide rate among Law Enforcement officers compare to the population at large?
    What percentage of LEOs in the USA have firearms available when off duty, 100%, 99%?
    Yep, must be all those cops are killing themselves because they have guns…

    • The suicide rate for cops is significantly higher than for the general population.

      But then again lawyers and electricians are up there too. Doesn’t mean it has anything to do with guns.

  6. Strange how they never seem to explain the failure of this supposed relationship to explain the failure of US suicide rates to diverge markedly from that of other industrialized countries. In fact, it seems like they try very hard not to notice.

  7. Actually, a very quick comparison between the top ten countries with the highest suicide rates with the top ten countries per capital gun ownership shows that Mr. McElroy’s information is suspect. As best I can tell, there is zero correlation.

  8. Another example of moron-level statistical analysis, and drawing false conclusions (that someone wants to reach) from said garbage analysis. Suicide is a cultural thing, the Japanese do it at a much higher rate than Americans, yet, almost no guns. So ‘guns as causality’ is completely out the window.

    As to a gun being more deadly than overdosing, or slitting your wrists, or some other method, well yeah. Because most deliberate ODs, wrist slittings, and the rest of the amateur hour nonsense are people crying for help, they aren’t trying to actually kill themselves. If they were, they’d use a gun, step in front of a train, jump off a building, or something likely to be, well, fatal.

    Too much time on a suicide hotline to believe fairy tales. People who really want to kill themselves don’t call. If someone is serious about wanting to die, they generally succeed the first time. People deliberately ODing or slitting their wrists in a tub is attention seeking behavior, not a serious attempt to die. Of course, they aren’t going to try again, they weren’t serious in the first place.

    Besides, let’s actually look at this in context. ~20K people per year. In a nation of 330MM. Medical errors kill more than that every 3 weeks, yet, I see no current campaign to replace most doctors with computers (but thankfully it will happen soon).

  9. This stat is easily disprove blessed BS. If someone buys a gun for the express purpose of killing themselves the are counted as a gun owner or a household with a gun, which completely skews the data and makes people who’ve never had a statistics or economics class think that the fact of owning a gun makes you more likely to kill yourself.

    It is no different than if I were to say research shows that people who buy houses are X times more likely to be home owners than those who don’t. This statement is statistically factual, logically consistent and completely useless for explaining anything about the world, just like the example above.

    • If someone buys a gun for the express purpose of killing themselves the are counted as a gun owner or a household with a gun, which completely skews the data and makes people who’ve never had a statistics or economics class think that the fact of owning a gun makes you more likely to kill yourself.

      Drew wins this discussion hands down. Seems 100% obvious now that he said it, but I failed to think of it myself.

    • The doctor was talking about impulsive suicides, not the hard cord determined ones. I have a strong suspicion that access to a firearm makes completion of impulsive suicide attempts a hell of a lot higher that not having access. At the same time, curtailing someone’s rights because of a possible impulsive action is really a stupid idea.

      • Doctor???
        Jack McElroy is executive editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel and a card carrying Brady Campaigner who loves to lie about guns in print. He can be reached at editor@knoxnews.com.

        McElroy is the sort of ass that thinks a teenage suicide, and a teen’s efforts to raise suicide awareness, is an open excuse for him to publish a faux scientific anti-gun screed.

      • You are correct that the article is talking about impulsive suicides, but the data he is using makes no distinction between impulsive and planned firearms suicides, so my point is still wholly valid. I do agree that the argument that someone might harm themselves is never a justification to limit rights.

    • Knowing the other side, it’s probably way worse. If you read the fine print it probably finds that firearm owners are 3 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun. They probably don’t count suicide by other means, just like they only count ‘gun violence’ as if being murdered with a baseball bat isn’t as big of a deal as being murdered with a gun. In other news, people who live in the San Fransisco bay area are 300 times more likely to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Just a meaningless BS study that can be used as freedom killing propaganda.

      • Clearly you’ve misunderstood the data,Gov., we must ban the Golden Gate and all other bridges FOR THE CHILDREN!!!! Fording rivers was good enough for my great great great great great grandpappy and it’s good enough for me! *subsequently drowns in botched crossing*

  10. The first issue is owning a gun has zero to do with attempted suicide. Gun owners are actually less likely to attempt suicide! It’s that people that use guns for suicide are way more likely to die from that attempt. They should clearly state that. Anyway kids under 18 should not have access to guns period. I’ve know four people that committed suicide. All four used a different method. One of the four tried three times over multiple years before ultimately killing themself with Aspirin. Every time the person tried aspirin. How do they count someone like that with multiple attempts then finally succeeding?

    • Well in countries without easy access to firearms, they now put aspirin in blister packs. Hard to stay impulsive when you have to punch out 50 on the things.

      • @binder — Well, in countries without easy access to guns, there are still higher rates of suicide than in the U.S. What part of guns are not the issue do you not understand? Is something getting lost in translation? Is something not registering with you? Something has to be wrong, because none of the available evidence — empirical or otherwise — even comes close to supporting your assertions. Or those of this “Doctor” quoted above, for that matter.

  11. “Without easy access to guns, many of those deaths would not have happened.”

    Without the easy access to hamburgers, many people would not be obese
    Without the easy access to bathtubs, many people would not be injured in the bathroom
    Without the easy access of large screen TVs, over 5000 children would not be injured or killed from the TV falling
    Without the easy access to swimming pools, many children would not have drowned
    Without the easy access to purchase and ride a motorcycle, many riders would not be killed (CT #1 in motorcycle deaths because automobile drivers suck!)

    and the list can go on.

    Safety is not an issue why we should give up our rights and the this like many anti-gun arguments are excuses for gun control.

    • Excellent point. Freedom can be dangerous for those who embrace it.

      My late father was a gun owner and a motorcycle owner. Died at age 72 flying down the road on his BMW R1150RT. He accepted the risk.

  12. It’s a proven fact that if you have in your mind to kill yourself you will do so with whatever you have available to you. If you have a gun you may use a gun if you have a swimming pool you made round yourself in it crap if you have a car you may run it off a bridge the list goes on and on and on. I think I remember the percentage being somewhere around 94.3% of people that have it in their mind to in their life will do so with whatever inanimate object they have to their availability including jumping off a bridge or a building they do it all the time in states where they have the strictest gun control laws possible look at New York City New Jersey I believe it’s one or two a month jump off the bridge is down there we even get them here in Florida off the Skyway Bridge every once in awhile somebody I’ll do the Pepsi plunge off a 200 foot dive straight into the water then blowed up a couple days later and they fish him out. People that commit suicide or attempted have cereals serious psychological problems that don’t go away just because they don’t have a gun available remember that.

    • Have known a few people who committed suicide; each person used a different method. Only one was a firearm.

  13. Not very scientific on my part. But if I were suicidal. I have 17 guns. That would be the last way Id take myself out.
    Why make a mess?? Take a bunch of pills, fill the car with exhaust. If your going to take the easy way out. At least be clean about it.

    • But..but, pills are only 1/45th as effective as guns!
      (yeah, right, Jack. So you’re saying that less than 2% of overdose suicides are successful?)

      • I dont know about you but I was trying to be bit of a wise ass. Ive had a person or 2 commit suicide within my near vicinity one time at all places a gun range with a rented gun.
        I was more pissed off that the person was so unthinking about where he took his life. Screwed up my day and others for sure. When the range reopened a few hours later. The stink of bleach was worse to me then the splatter…………………………

  14. Maybe we should add in a quality of life/age qualifier. Does the rate of suicide by gunowners change by age or health situation? I agree that when someone in the prime of life does themself in, it is a tragedy. We do have laws on the books for them, family, mental evaluation, ect.
    I suspect that most of these suicides is just someone with extreme pain, who has already got a estimate of his/her death date, is deciding that day is a good day to die.
    I can understand that. I believe my mother willed her own death when she became an invalid. She fought off cancer for over a year. The day the durable equipment came, she gave up the ghost.
    I was sad, but very relieved that she did not have to face the indignaties that would follow. I would have felt the same if she had used a gun.

  15. Every morning after I poop, the sun comes up. If I didn’t poop, the sun wouldn’t rise. Right?

    Guns are a preferred method of suicide because they’re quick, so if we took guns away, people wouldn’t be suicidal right?

    Problem solving

  16. Why are we stopping people, adults at least, from killing themselves? Either you own your body and life or you don’t. And if you don’t own both why have this pretense of freedom, civil rights and human rights?

    Those that will say you don’t have the right to decide to end your own life view you as less than human. Property. Slave…….

    • Exactly…. Isn’t this the same 14th Amendment “Right to Privacy” argument the pro abortion crowd used??

      If you don’t like suicide, then don’t kill yourself

    • “Those that will say that you don’t have the right to end your own life…”

      In the West those that say that generally refer to themselves as “Christians”.

  17. Another wanna be somebody who desires to be relevant in their middle age – Golden years!
    Basically have been brain washed by the Demonic-crats so long they have become Parrots of this
    parties agenda plus it gets their name in the spotlight for their seconds worth of Infamy!

  18. What’s interesting to me is that the same liberals that want as many abortions as possible, involuntary death, want to stop someone from suicide, voluntary death.

    If guns are the problem why do more people commit suicide worldwide without one?

    Oh the hypocrisy.

    • One could quite easily design a study that would show that LACK of guns in a nation is correlated with high suicide rates….

  19. “…. In fact, the presence of guns is a stronger predictor of suicide than substance abuse or depression.”

    Is it a stronger predictor, also, of unsuccessful attempts?

    This seems to me to be an apples-to-water lilies comparison. Substance abuse and depression are some of the things that make someone *want* to commit suicide – causitive factors. I don’t start feeling depressed when I look into my gun safe. (Well, actually I do – no more room at the moment – but that’s another discussion.)

    A firearm, on the other hand, is an enabling technology that may make an attempt more likely to be successful; that doesn’t mean it’s the exclusive method. Perhaps a better question to ask is, What makes people want to commit suicide in the first place; then ask, Is it any of society’s business if the do; and finally ask, If it is, then what’s the best way to help people improve the quality of their lives so they don’t want to commit suicide in the first place.

  20. If you go to the CDC Wisqars site, where they list all the deaths and how people died….for 2014 and 2015, non gun suicide out numbered gun suicide. Also, Japan, and South Korea which have absolute gun control for law abiding citizens…have higher suicide rates than we do…as do these countries including European countries with extreme gun control….the list is a little dated, but you can find updated lists that show pretty much the same thing…http://www.newstalk.com/MAP:-Suicide-rates-around-the-world

    France….24.7
    Belgium..28.8
    Austria…23.8
    Finland..29
    Germany..17.9
    Ireland…19
    Japan…36.2
    New Zealand…18.1
    Sweden…18.7
    Switzerland…24.8
    Hungary….40

    United States….17.7

    • Clearly the country of Japan must be awash in guns to have the highest suicide rate….oh wait, nevermind.

  21. Sorry, you lost me after the “research shows” part, Jackie boi.

    Research “shows” what ever you want it to “show” after you find the “facts” that fit your preconceived notion. No one is listening to you people anymore, so f*ck off and run along now.

  22. The statistics used are garbage because of an abundance of unconsidered variables, and were contradicted by the Kleck Study in 1997. HOWEVER, even if every thing he alleges is true, (it’s not of course…but IF). The question becomes…Is it morally or ethically sound/reasonable to punish lawful gun owners for the acts of those who choose to disregard the societal/moral/ sometimes legal Prohibition regarding suicide that chose of their own free will to misuse a firearm and kill themselves?

  23. Correlation does NOT equal causation. It simply means that there is a strong relationship between two sets of data. I won’t bore you folks with the technical definition. Any statistics book or teacher will confirm this.

    I assume Mr. McElroy is anti-gun. I assume this because he is either misinterpreting or deliberately misconstruing the relationship between data points around suicide and gun ownership. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether his misleading statements about guns and suicide is CAUSED by anti-gun beliefs or CORRELATED with them.

    Mr. McElroy has a BS. in English. I assume he hasn’t run any statistics against data sets to support his claims. But, perhaps I’m wrong. If so, I’d love to see his raw data and his interpreted results.

    Mr. McElroy, do you know how to calculate a multivariate correlation coefficient? I do.

    Gator,

    Former statistician, fervent gun owner.

  24. No this plays into what I call the “Easy Access” narrative; in California this is why I can’t cross the threshold of my house with out having my pistol in a locked case. In their mind the lock on the case is the only thing between me and the world. Because as you know, all violence is impulsive. (just like suicide). Nobody plans suicide, writes notes, buys rope or ladders, search for bridges to jump off or abutments to crash into. This is the same logic used in magazine restrictions. All shootings are unplanned and will terminate when the magazine runs dry.

  25. US adult suicides from firearms would drop to near zero if the government would simply hand out free suicide pills to anyone over the age of 21.

  26. Several years ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. He had a house full of guns and was an avid hunter and target shooter. He left a note, got into his car in the garage, started the car with the garage door closed. He was found a few days later. Leftists grasp at straws.

  27. South Korea and Japan are almost completely free of civilian-owned guns.

    In both countries, their suicide rate is about double the US murder rate and suicide rate COMBINED.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *