Gun control advocates tend to ignore firearms-related suicides, even though they – the suicides – account for nearly half of all firearms-related deaths. Maybe that’s because the antis know they can’t legislate away suicide. And anti-gun legislation is the name of their game. Only now the rules of that game may have changed. A new technology may open the door to the anti-gunnners’ wet dream: proactive proscription. Here’s the deal [via pbs.org] . . .
Alexander Niculescu of Indiana University developed a blood test and questionnaire that can predict who within a group of men with psychological disorders will develop suicidal feelings in the next year.
Sally Adee, reporting for New Scientist, explains:
To develop the test, over several years Niculescu’s team took blood samples from 217 men undergoing various psychiatric treatments. They compared changes in gene expression in 37 of them who developed suicidal feelings with previously published work and with post-mortem samples of 26 men who had killed themselves. They identified 11 gene changes that could be biological markers for spotting people who might be considering suicide, and they monitored these same markers in a test group of 265 men with psychiatric conditions.
The questionnaire asked the subjects about their physical energy as well as their feelings about their accomplishments, but avoided direct questions about suicide. In a trial of 108 people, the scientists’ predictions of suicidal ideation was 92% accurate, and in a second trial of 157 people, they predicted which men would be hospitalized from a suicide attempt that year with 71% accuracy.
The test was especially accurate when predicting suicidal thoughts within the next year in people with bipolar disorder, predicting correctly 98% of the time. It even predicted with 94% accuracy who would make a serious suicide attempt that would require hospitalization.
You know what’s coming next: make the blood test mandatory for citizens looking to exercise their gun rights, ID the people in danger of suicide and make them prohibited persons. No new gun purchases. In fact, no guns in your household. Ba-bam! Civilian disarmament. As Jesse Pinkman would say, yeah science, bitch! Only . . .
There are doubts about its effectiveness on the general population, since only 16 people out of every 100,000 commit suicide. Right now, the test could provide too many false positives and false negatives for use in the general population to be safe, but could be helpful for those already diagnosed with psychological disorders, since doctors could make further decisions on treatment of those patients, including the length of hospital stays and medication.
Never mind all that. The antis have always said gun owners have little pricks. It could soon be true. [h/t SS]