TTAG reader MarkPA writes:
Of the 30,000 or so annual deaths by gun shot, two thirds are suicides. We, the People of the Gun, ironically take little interest in this statistic, brushing it off by mentioning the “substitution effect.” That without guns, these people would have found other means to end their lives. This is a mistake on our part.
First, assuming this doesn’t change, our community of gun owners is depleted by 20,000 members annually. Besides the obvious tragedy of 20,000 lives lost, our side loses that many supporters in the voting booth.
Second, we will continually be battling with that statistic — 30,000+ people shot to death each year — in the fight to defend Second Amendment rights.
It is in OUR OWN interest to take the lead in the public health issue of general suicide prevention. Not just the 20,000 or so who use firearms, and not only the 20,000+ more who succeed by other means. We should be concerned with the far larger number of those who attempt suicide.
To this end, there is a report of encouraging news: Club drug spray ketamine can stop suicidal thoughts, study finds.
After four hours:
34% of patients given the nasal spray treatment no longer had suicidal thoughts
26% of patients given the nasal spray treatment still thought they were “probably better off dead”
55% of patients given the placebo still thought they were “probably better off dead”
After four weeks:
77% of patients with continued treatment with the nasal spray reported that they “enjoy life or take it as it comes”.
58% of patients treated with traditional antidepressants reported that they “enjoy life or take it as it comes.”
Imagine if this, or some other method of intervention were found to be so remarkably effective. Imagine if we, the People of the Gun, were to take a lead position in the search for and PROMOTION of some such a remarkably effective treatment.
What might be the net result? Let’s say we were able to save half of the 20,000 who commit suicide using a firearm each year; that’s 10,000 gun owners’ lives saved. Ten thousand more gun owners’ each year to support gun rights.
Say also that we had some impact on the 20,000 or more non-gun owners who commit suicide annually. Or some of the 100,000 who attempt, but fail, for what ever reason. Might some fraction of these – and their loved-ones – be just slightly more open to arguments about the contributions that gun-owners make to public safety?
Are we, America’s gun owners, better off appearing to be indifferent to the problem of suicide in society at-large? Or is it even remotely possible that we could save lives, not to mention improve the the image of America’s gun owners by getting behind this effort? Why not a Bob Owens Memorial Campaign to Prevent Suicide?