Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop unit – collectively known as The Trace – is pumping out civilian disarmament content by the barrel full. Recently, The Trace published an article on firearms-related suicides called Why Suicide Prevention Depends on Gun Restrictions. That particular piece of misdirection’s based on the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s report The Truth about Guns & Suicide – which I eviscerated here. Bottom line: both anti-gun groups would have you believe a simple idea. The science is settled. No further discussion is necessary. Guns cause suicides . . .
Last week the Brady Campaign released an extensively researched report titled “The Truth About Guns & Suicide,” kickstarting a long overdue conversation on the role firearms play in suicides. The Washington Post, for instance, called the phenomenon “The death toll from guns no one talks about,” noting that suicide accounts for two-thirds of the 30,000-plus gun deaths each year in the U.S.
Whaddaya mean no one talks about it? In virtually every anti-gun polemic you will see suicides lumped together with homicides. Every time you see 30,000 a year (or 83 a day or 1,162 a fortnight) die from gun violence the antis are including suicides to boost their numbers. What they’re really saying: we’re opening another front in our ongoing efforts to deprive Americans of their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. For the children!
But you know what? I’m not going to do this. I could go on and on (again) about how suicide rates in places like Japan and Russia (with their strict gun control laws) are so much higher than ours. I could point out (again) that Canada’s gun ownership crackdown resulted in no change in overall suicide rates. But I am not going to do any of that. Instead, I’m going to show you a single graph.
As TTAG commentator Chip Bennet advises, “Look at the blue line (firearm suicides), against the gray line (# firearms). There is obviously no correlation. On the other hand, there is an apparent correlation between “number of guns” and “non-firearm suicides” (the orange line). So, I guess the antis could make the ridiculous-on-its-face claim that the more firearms there are, the more people commit suicide by non-firearms means.”
In short, correlation is still not causation, even less so when there is no correlation.