New Study: Gun Ownership, Not Suicidal Behavior, Is Strongest Predictor of Death by Suicide

Comments

1
Indeed, the claim that a suicidal person will always find a way is complete bullshit. The vast, vast majority of people who are suicidal survive. This is why removing firearms, never leaving a suicidal person alone, and suicide barriers help. It takes a long chain of failures for a suicidal person to die.
3
Similarly, female doctors have high rates of successful suicides, because they know how to successfully pull it off using pills, while most people don't even seriously hurt themselves.
4
Wow, someone who uses a gun to kill himself has a higher likelihood of succeeding. That's shocking news. Who could have guessed that? Yawn.

I hope that "study" wasn't paid for with tax dollars.
5
Goldy says:
"For example, I'd probably kill myself were I forced to live in Wyoming, even if the state didn't rank tops in gun prevalence."
Ha ha ha! Suicide can be funny! You are so witty! Please, please, more suicide jokes!
6
"you don't get a second chance when you use a gun."

exactly, if you wish to do it, do it right.
7
Jackson Hole is a really nice place, even if it is rife with rich republican fucks. You would like living there.

@4: you should try reading until you've understood the point. goldy even bolded it for you. now go polish your arsenal.
8
Max, read @6.
9
Why are we so troubled by people successfully opting out? Could it be we're jealous that they found a way off the hamster wheel that none of us want to be on?

Life is more meaningful if we acknowledge that it is optional.
10
It's time for another episode of EVERYONE'S favorite game show
STRANGER TROLLING BINGO!

Today's winning picks are:

Gun nuts!
Thee Olde Seconde Amendmente!
Suicide!
Assault weapons!
Apples and oranges!
You just do not care about X dead Y's!
Tautological tautologies!
Picking cherries!
I don't want to ban all guns but ... !
The NRA!

Beat a straw man for big bonus points!
11
Here are the results of the CDC study authorized by Dear leaders febuary executive order.

For a mere 10 million we learned
"
1. Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker:
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

2. Defensive uses of guns are common:
“Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year…in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

3. Mass shootings and accidental firearm deaths account for a small fraction of gun-related deaths, and both are declining:
“The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths. Since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in 1 day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.” The report also notes, “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

4. “Interventions” (i.e, gun control) such as background checks, so-called assault rifle bans and gun-free zones produce “mixed” results:
“Whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue.” The report could not conclude whether “passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.”

5. Gun buyback/turn-in programs are “ineffective” in reducing crime:
“There is empirical evidence that gun turn in programs are ineffective, as noted in the 2005 NRC study Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review. For example, in 2009, an estimated 310 million guns were available to civilians in the United States (Krouse, 2012), but gun buy-back programs typically recover less than 1,000 guns (NRC, 2005). On the local level, buy-backs may increase awareness of firearm violence. However, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example, guns recovered in the buy-back were not the same guns as those most often used in homicides and suicides (Kuhn et al., 2002).”

6. Stolen guns and retail/gun show purchases account for very little crime:
“More recent prisoner surveys suggest that stolen guns account for only a small percentage of guns used by convicted criminals. … According to a 1997 survey of inmates, approximately 70 percent of the guns used or possess by criminals at the time of their arrest came from family or friends, drug dealers, street purchases, or the underground market.”

7. The vast majority of gun-related deaths are not homicides, but suicides:
“Between the years 2000-2010 firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearms related violence in the United States.”

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_i…
12
@4, @6, @8, @10 Okay, maybe you believe it's your right to be able to take your own life when you get despondent enough to want to.

What about your teenage son? Would it be okay for him to break into your arsenal and use one of your guns to take his life in a moment of despondency? Or to kill one of his teachers or classmates in a moment of rage? Would that be okay with you?

13
@12

Well would that be the fault of an inanimate object, or a failure on behalf of the parent.

And of course it would not be ok, but does it justify stripping millions of Americans of their civil rights?
14
@8: can't. unregistered comments blocked. it makes life more pleasant.
15
@13 This either/or argument is just plain stupid. If you're a hunter, you need a gun. If you enjoy target shooting, you need a gun. If you just love collecting guns, the way some people enjoy collecting stamps or Star Wars figurines, then obviously, you need to own guns.

But if you're purchasing a gun for personal safety, well, most people are making a mistake. On average, owning a gun increases the likelihood that you or a loved one will be killed or injured by one. Those are the facts. And 95 percent of my posts on the topic have merely been to inform readers that guns don't make you safer. Not sure why that's perceived as a threat to your civil rights.
16
@12
"Okay, maybe you believe it's your right to be able to take your own life when you get despondent enough to want to."

Maybe you can get Goldy to start a thread on that subject.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/…
17
@13 This is a health study. What makes you think it's anything else?

We know that cigarettes are bad for us, but it's still legal to smoke.

We know that alcohol has a heavy toll on society, but it's still legal to drink.

We know that a bad diet will contribute to excessive heart attacks and strokes, but you can still eat whatever the hell you want.

If it's simply that you object to anyone discovering the truth; if you're protesting against people popping your little fantasies about empowerment and self-protection; then you're probably not fit to either be a citizen of this country, or to own a gun.
18
@15
"And 95 percent of my posts on the topic have merely been to inform readers that guns don't make you safer."

You are the one who keeps bringing that up.
Even when the fallacy has been pointed out to you.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
"There is a difference between arguing the blanket statement that guns make us safer and arguing that guns can be used to defend one's self against death, serious bodily harm or tyranny."
19
Guns are a public health problem. It's as simple as that. Only crazy people and Republicans think public health is stupid or communistic or whatever.
20
Not sure why that's perceived as a threat to your civil rights.


Because they are fucking paranoids?
21
It seems to me that Goldy has a serious gun fetish.

Even I, as a 'gun enthusiast' don't think and write about guns every day. In fact, I don't spend much time thinking about guns at all, except when perusing the whiny gun posts here on the SLOG...
22
If you value your family's well being, don't get a gun. Simple as that.
23
@8

Thank you. Gun nuts today are nihilists. Human life has no intrinsic value and so you're happy to stand by and let people kill themselves. You see no meaningful difference whether people live or die.

You care more about letting a blame fool buy a gun and shoot the first random thing he bumbles into than infringing on that blame fool's "rights" by making him pass a gun safety course first. You oppose trigger locks and insurance liability and background checks for all the same reasons. It stopped being about protecting human life 35 years ago, when the NRA changed from a group of responsible citizens into a gun cult.

Now admit it: guns don't make you safer. You know it's true, and you don't care about safety anyway. The dance with death is part of the turn on for you fuckers.
24
@21

Yeah, it's a fetish. Same as when a doctor gives a vaccination. Disease fetish. If you point out that driving drunk or texting kills people, then you're a car accident fetishist. But if you buy a gun to protect yourself from crime, then are you a... crime fetishist?

Sometimes it's impossible to parse the crazy from you fuckers. Anyway, guns kill more people than traffic accidents in Washington, and many other states. It's obvious why guns should be a top priority.
25
"Gun Ownership, Not Suicidal Behavior, Is Strongest Predictor of Death by Suicide"

Just came here to point out that every suicide requires suicidal behavior, making the correlation 100%.
26
@5

There's a deep message in Goldie's joke. He is stating that Seattle's society is superior to Wyoming. People with better-than-thou beliefs would have made good Nazi soldiers.
27
Curious, does "predictor" happen to be scientific or medical jargon or was that completely made up here? I can't find the full-text of the citation.

The NRA is definitely a gun cult. Used to be grandpa who would train the kids on how to use guns properly. Now it is indeed a bunch of redneck weekend nihilists--but, to be honest, we have a society of nihilists who don't give a shit about the suffering we inflict on others thousands of miles away or the vitriol we spew at [mostly] *humans* online. "Go shopping" or "I'm pragmatic" are the answers our political system gives those who have genuine concerns. So, I'd look at the disowned dark side of glorifying violence in actions AND words, too, before I thought about guns. It's a sick culture that spawns things like the NRA and George Bush.
28
@26

Guys who think they're better than everybody else would not follow orders. Everybody knows good Nazi soldiers are all about just following orders.

You suck at recruiting Nazi soldiers. Not sure why you're on the lookout for them to begin with, but keep your day job.
29
@23

Nice try. But the point of this post was to deteriorate public support for the 2nd Amendment using a red herring.

The 2nd Amendment nowhere mentioned hunting or any other reason I might choose to bear arms. But it makes the anti rights crowd happy to use the "hey, I'm not against hunting or collecting or whatever, I'm just concerned for your safety" line of irrelevant bs.

Don't like the 2nd Amendment? Change it, or accept it. Those are the two options for rational....

Oh. Never mind. Carry on with the futile hatefest.
30
@25: You are going to have to work on your reading comprehension. This is a survey on rates. If the suicidal ideation rate in an area is X% and the gun ownership rate is Y%, the suicide rate will be mostly determined by the gun ownership rate. It means that as far as preventing suicide, it is more effective to reduce the proportion of guns than it is to reduce the rate that people feel suicidal.
31
@25 I hope you're a better engineer than you are a logician. The study that Goldy cites is concerned about the success rate of that behavior, not the behavior itself.

Imagine we're discussing the tensile strength of steel alloys, and you say, "All steel alloys that failed contained primarily iron." Well, duh.
32
@ 29, your entire Slog comment history is a futile hatefest. Another SB Freudian slip.
33
@15
Did you even bother to peruse the United Stated Center For Disease Control Study I posted, because it refutes your point completely.

Yet you still continue to cite the flawed and refuted Arthur Kellermann and Donald Reay study that states that “firearms in the home are 43 times more likely to be used to kill a family member than an intruder. “The study had serious flaws; namely, it skewed the ratio by failing to consider defensive uses of firearms in which the intruder wasn’t killed. It has since been refuted by several studies, including one by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, indicating Americans use guns for self-defense 2.5 million times annually.

Protip:
The Second Amendment was not for hunting, target shooting or collecting. It is enumerated to protect the individual and collective right to armed self defense, as clarified by SCOTUS in DC vs Heller
34
@28

'Better' is a good word, but I prefer Superiority. It has that Aryan Brotherhood feel which perceives inferiority among gays, gypsies, jews and wyoming society.
35
But where does Seattleblues stand on the rights of uncloseted gays to own and carry guns?
37
@29 Why are you such an idiot? Paranoia makes you stupid.

The point of this post, and others like it, is to deteriorate the myth that owning a gun makes you safer. This myth has been heavily marketed by organizations and lobbyists to insecure people anxious to believe it.

Without changing or repealing the Second Amendment, we can make this country a lot safer if we just dispel that myth with actual facts and let people make more rational decisions about their own personal gun ownership. This is empowering people, not disempowering them.

Just because everyone should have the right to own a gun, doesn't mean everyone should own a gun.

By fighting against epidemiological studies and public education, you are not empowering people, you are disempowering them. And making them less safe. Keeping other people ignorant doesn't make you smarter.
38
@37

The Center for Disease Control disagrees with you.

Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker:

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_i…
39
The right to bear arms is infringed upon at this very moment and has been for a long, long time. And unless you're cool with private ownership of Patriot missile batteries and tactical nukes, you're cool with the infringement of that right, too. So, now that we're all agreed (excepting the truly psychotic, of course) that some level of infringement is good and necessary, let's have a fucking rational discussion about the correct level of infringement without bringing in the specious argument about the inviolability of the second amendment.
40
@38: C'mon. You know that wasn't what BR said. BR said that gun ownership doesn't make you safer. You countered with a small subset of gun owners who are victims of crime, ignoring the general statement. You aren't going to change the world with this discussion, so you might as well argue it honestly.
41
@36

You may be right!
Still, all of us gotta keep eyes on the prize, Superiority!!
42
but we're still clear,
Goldy,
that owning a gun,
or even owning a hundred guns,
does not put one,
or one's family members,
at anywhere near the same level of risk of bodily harm
than homosexual sexual activity by men imposes.

Right?

You get that, right?

Homosexual sexual activity by men is several magnitudes of order deadlier than gun ownership.

Right?

So you will post several times a day that
"Male Homosexual Activity is Deadly"

Right?
44
@37
"The point of this post, and others like it, is to deteriorate the myth that owning a gun makes you safer."

What "myth"?
Goldy is the one who keeps claiming that as a straw man he can beat.
Guns are not magical.
Buying one will not make you "safer".
And that has been addressed already.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

"There is a difference between arguing the blanket statement that guns make us safer and arguing that guns can be used to defend one's self against death, serious bodily harm or tyranny."
45
About that study that Cascadian Bacon keeps under the mattress next to the porn mags, don't trust it:

Gary Kleck, a Florida State University criminologist who is the source of a debunked claim that critics say dramatically exaggerated the frequency of defensive gun use, recently served on a committee tasked by the federal government with creating a potential research agenda focusing on ways to minimize gun violence.
. . .
Right-wing media have pointed to the report's citation of Kleck's research to claim that it proves that "guns actually save lives." In fact, the report's treatment of the criminologist's work is more complex, typically contrasting his results with other studies that show dramatically different results.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/06/28/…

Here's more about Kleck and the problems with his research.
http://vacps.org/public-policy/the-contr…
46
Texas has fewer guns and less suicides than Washington.

It also has fair property taxes.

47
@30/31 Who says I even read Goldy's article? The headline was humorous to me. I know he means that previous suicidal behavior isn't as predictive of future suicidal behavior as gun ownership. But that's not what he said.
48
@43

It's time for a joke, but I don't think I can get a bigger laugh than Goldie's @5. He's the superior one in this thread, he just has the superior mindset that I don't have.
49
@24

Another bullshit statistic. Vehicle fatalities per capita in Washington is 6.8 per 100,000 people. There are 1.4 gun murders per 100,000 people here.

And yes, Goldy does have a gun fetish. He and everyone else at The Stranger don't give a shit how people die unless it's from gunfire, then they piss and moan until they're blue in the face.
50
@10. you forgot pit bulls. suicide by pit bulls? or gentrification?
51
This is hilarious @15 and everyone else claiming to have facts, homeboy keeps posting the actual CDC STUDY THAT OBAMA CALLED FOR TO STUDY GUNS IN THE US THAT CONTRADICTS YOUR OPINIONS

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_i…

OH LOOK AT ALL THOSE FACTS RIGHT THERE FROM THE STUPID GOVERNMENT

keep posting these half baked opinion rants.
52
40
It points to a group of people who have been made safer by firearms ownership. Thus it refutes the blanket statement "guns do not make you safer."

In fact the CDC study goes on to state that they make 500,000 to 3,000,000 safer each year.

2. Defensive uses of guns are common:
“Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year…in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

No one is saying that a gun in a safe item, the damn things come with warnings stamped on them in a box that says "WARNING" with a manual with "WARNING" written in big red letters on every page.

If the things were not dangerous, they would not work as a defensive weapon.

@45
I am referring to the CDC study that was requested by the Obama Administration.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_i…
53

Death by Transit

In the UK, jumping under a train accounts for around 3.5% of all suicides. In the US it is almost insignificant, although in some other European countries that have well developed rail networks and tough gun control laws, it is more popular. Germany has 7% of suicides take place on their railways1.


http://lostallhope.com/suicide-methods/j…

54
this totally rings true. If I owned a gun there's a good chance I'd be dead. Whenever my thoughts turn to suicide, I always fantasize about buying a gun. It's immediate, it's quick, it's sure fire.
55

Suicide by transit. It's growing!

Look at this commuters tear jerking response:

Suicide-by-train happens on a regular basis (at least monthly) on my train-line, and it always happens on my commute home. It pisses me and my fellow commuters off something shocking.

[...]

You fuck everyone over who just want to get home after a long day at work.

You fuck with the PT train system who had to call in emergency buses (and our lovely busdriver who had to ask the passengers for directions to all the stations...bless her soul!!)

You fuck with the cops, the ambos, the SES and all the other poor schleppers who had to scrape your bits off the tracks. And you seriously fuck with the hearts and souls of the drivers. Damn you.


http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/show…
56
I am referring to the CDC study that was requested by the Obama Administration.

Yes, that's the same study with the debunked researcher working on it that you keep citing.
57
@51 Not sure which report you're reading, but I just clicked on the link you posted, and page 1, paragraph 1 lays it out pretty clearly. Gun violence is a plague in this country. "Fatal and non-fatal firearm violence poses a serious threat to the safety and welfare of the American public." The report goes on to raise a number of future research questions, including studying the effects of the dissemination of gun-safety features, violence in entertainment, etc.

So, given that, which minor hair are you trying to split, just so I can have some idea of your "argument?"
58
@56
Well 6 months ago everyone was crying that the CDC was not allowed to do a public health study of firearms.

Now the same people are crying because the CDC study was done and failed to back up their misconceptions or support their "feelings".
59
@29, Your contempt for the 1st amendment is showing. Again.
60
Thanks for highlighting this study. Here are some tips for writing about suicide from people who study it. They'd prefer that we not use words like succeeding for obvious reasons.
http://reportingonsuicide.org/
61
@57
Oh you made it to page 1, very good only 122 pages to go.

The study shows that firearms violence is related to multiple factors, including the economic status, substance abuse, and the education of the user. The mere presence of a firearm is not in and of itself an indication of gun violence.

There is a reason this study is being buried by the regimes media lapdogs.
62
@47 No, that's not at all what I meant. Read the article. In fact, read the headline. It clearly states that suicidal behavior is not as predictive of suicide mortality as gun ownership. You are conflating suicides with suicide attempts.
63
@58: The "study" you link to is not a study. It is the recommendations of "a committee of experts to develop a potential research agenda focusing on the public health aspects of firearm-related violence."It is basically an in-depth review of current literature and studies to determine where and how the CDC can best invest to "improve knowledge of the causes of firearm violence, the interventions that might prevent it, and strategies to minimize its public health burden."

This "study", such as it is, did not include any original research. The CDC has not studied gun violence in this "study". It has simply identified, based on existing research, where it wants to focus its efforts when it does study gun violence.

That being the case, this "study" shouldn't be cited as proof or support of any position on gun control - it isn't a primary source. It also can't be cited to show that the CDC has reached any conclusions. All it tells us about CDC is what they want to study in the future in their own research, which hasn't taken place yet.
64
@52:

500,000 to 3,000,000 defensive uses PER YEAR?

on average, that's 1400 to 8200 defensive uses PER DAY.

i find this hard to believe. are we counting things like shooting your neighbor's cat?
65
@61 You evidently never read the study. Footnotes start on page 71. The section on video games starts on page 63. The sections before that lay out criteria and procedures for future studies.

It's basically a study on how to do a comprehensive study, with an overview (and lament) about the types and quality of data available to study and the impediments imposed to that study. There are no major conclusions about gun violence itself drawn after that first paragraph. Or, at least looking in the table of contents, I can't see where they would have hid them.
67
@62
"It clearly states that suicidal behavior is not as predictive of suicide mortality as gun ownership."

From previous discussions, there are approximately a million suicide attempts in America every year.
There are about 100 million households with guns in America.
There are about 40,000 "successful" suicides per year.

So, that is 0.4 suicides per 1,000 gun-owning households.
But 4 suicides per 1,000 people attempting suicide.
68
@62

I think you are flashing your Superiority Card here. In the past two years, considering the 50+ posts on Guns, and the 1000s of the same old arguments from commenters, I have NEVER detected any CONFLATION. These women and gentlemen are the Most sound, rational writers in the country. They make Wyoming debaters look like suicide cases. Ha Ha SUICIDE!
69
@62 Every suicide includes a suicide attempt.
70
@69

Every suicide attempt does not result in a suicide. Moreover, every instance of "suicidal behavior" does not necessarily lead to a suicide attempt. Even the headline doesn't imply what you typed.
71
@53 Maybe that's what's behind the trend in Asian countries to have glass walls between trains and platforms, with doors that open along with the train doors (like SeaTac's internal train system). They make the stations much quieter and cleaner as well.
72
@70 I think I regret my flippant statement by now, but I'll defend it further. Yes - the 100% thing is wrong (100% of suicides were caused by suicidal behavior, but less than 100% of suicidal behavior causes suicides). But unless you're saying that gun ownership has a stronger correlation with suicides than suicidal behavior even including successful suicidal behavior, I don't get your point.
73
@72 Now you're just being a dumbass.

The report clearly states that:

1) gun ownership rate in a locality is clearly proportional to suicide rate (said rate being defined by success) in that locality.

2) suicidal tendencies alone (as measured by attempts) is less proportional to suicide rate (as measured by success) than is (1).

Do you need a fucking PowerPoint presentation on this?
74
@72
"But unless you're saying that gun ownership has a stronger correlation with suicides than suicidal behavior even including successful suicidal behavior, I don't get your point."

That is what Goldy claimed.
But the statistics show something else.

There are 4 suicides per 1,000 people attempting suicide.
There are 0.4 suicides per 1,000 gun-owning households.
75
@72

My point was just that you inadvertently or deliberately misread the headline, that's all. It mentioned gun ownership and suicidal behavior and made a claim about the rates of suicide these two factors lead to; you worked from the opposite direction and took suicide as your starting point.
76
Correlation is not causation. Correlation can not ever tell you that doing x causes y. You cannot say that owning a gun causes an increased suicide risk based on this data.
77
@11:
1. Armed defendants are less likely to be injured by an attacker, but armed attackers are far more likely to injure defendants.
2. That claim is immediately followed by the caveat that many other studies predict much lower levels of defensive gun use, on the order of 100,000 to 150,000 events per year, and that Kleck's higher numbers were based on very small sample sizes.
3. Mass shootings and accidental deaths may be minor parts of the problem, but what about the vast numbers of deaths from intentional shootings of a small number of people?
4. The lack of decisive evidence with regard to the efficacy of gun-control legislation is the product of the pro-gun movement, as Republicans in Congress have long restricted the use of federal funds from any research that could be used to support gun control, effectively banning gun research from being adequately funded.
5. The ineffectiveness of buyback programs does not counterindicate the use of gun control legislation.
6. Guns acquired via street purchases or the underground market originate somewhere. Unless the guns were stolen from the manufacturer, every gun was at some point sold legally. There are numerous known cases of street-level illegal gun dealers patronizing gun shows in order to supply their clients, including a recent and much-publicized case involving a college student in Chicago, his distributor on the streets, and a gun show just across the border in Indiana.
7. Reducing the availability of guns to persons with a track record of mental illness and/or violence will cause gun suicide rates, as well as homicide rates, to fall.
78
@72, This is not about gun ownership vs. suicide attempts, but gun ownership AND suicide attempt vs no gun ownership and suicide attenpt. I.e., Someone who has a gun in the home and attempts suicide is more likely to die from suicide than someone who does not have a gun in the home and attempts suicide.
79
Hey Cascadian - just curious, but what public health measures do you think are reasonable to reduce gun violence and accidents? How about some sort of gun-safety test/classes before the purchase of a firearm, similar to a driver's ed? Car and guns are tools - as a society, isn't it in our self-interest that people demonstrate the capability to operate them safely?
80
@76, You are correct. That is not what this data, nor this post, is saying. It does say that owning a gun is associated with an increased probability of dying by suicide when it is attempted.
81
@74: rate ≠ correlation
82
@79
I support mandatory gun safety education at the grade school level. Even if one has no plans on ever owning or firing a gun they should still know the basic principles of safety, IE Coopers 4 rules and how to unload a weapon.

I would also support an education requirement added to the WA CPL, similar to the mandatory hunters safety education required for a hunting license, as well as training in the legal aspects of armed self-defense.
83
@81
Yet when the rate is 10x higher for A than B it takes a lot of "statistics" work to get that down to even 1 to 1.
Which is why the study is restricted to incidents where suicide is attempted rather than including situations where there is a gun in the household (or not).

And that is where Goldy incorrectly quoted the study.
There is NOT a correlation between a gun in the household and an increased suicide rate (over suicide attempts).
There IS a correlation between a suicidal person AND a gun and an increased suicide rate (over suicide attempts).
But phrasing it like that would result in a collective "well duh!".

Which is why Goldy incorrectly quoted the study.
84
so gun nuts kill themselves at greater rates than normal people... sounds like a self-correcting problem to me.
85
@66: uh, yeah... thanks, ken. i kinda knew that was "defensive use".

what i'm doubting is that americans flash their guns at a bad guy 8000 times a day, or even 1000.

so i'm asking if their including shooting something that aren't a threat, i.e. the neighbor's cat, or a rabid squirrel, a drunk kid looking for a party at the wrong address, etc., as a "defensive use".
86
@80 Actually, this study goes further. It finds that owning a gun is associated with an increased probability of suicide mortality independent of the probability of suicide attempts.

@72 I don't believe you don't actually get my point. But for the sake of those reading along, let me explain it with a hypothetical example: There are two people living in the same state, Person-A, who does not keep a gun in his home, and Person-B, who does. Person-A has a history of major depression and substance abuse, two predictors of suicidal tendencies. Person-B has no history of mental illness or substance abuse, and has shown no obvious signs of suicidal behavior. Person-A may be statistically more likely to attempt suicide, but Person-B is statistically more likely to actually commit suicide. Thus gun ownership is a stronger predictor of suicide mortality than suicidal behavior.

The reason is because most non-firearm suicide attempts fail, yet on those occasions when the suicidal impulse strikes without prior warning, easy access to a gun enables the victim to act on the impulse quickly and effectively, thus vastly overwhelming all other predictive factors.

It's not that suicidal behavior isn't a predictor of suicide mortality. It's just that gun ownership is a much stronger predictor.
87
@84. Not really. They also kill the rest of us at greater rates than normal people.
88
they're.
89

@85
1000, or even 8000 is a small number in comparison to 180,000,000 armed citizens.

Though I do agree that the numbers do seem a bit high, at the very least, as the study says, guns are used defensively as much as they are used offensively.
90
My step-grandfather did this.

Something no grandchild should ever have to discover.

Or at least that's what my brother thinks.
91
@83 Wrong. Click on the link to Science Friday and listen to Dr. Miller explain his study in his own words.
92
@76, @78, @80, @83 I'm going to assume that you folk honestly don't understand statistics or the study and that you're not just willfully throwing smoke in the air.

So, pay attention.

The study looks at two different things. Separately.

1) The number of successful suicides per attempts in different areas (e.g. states).

2) The number of successful suicides per gun ownership in those same areas.

It then looks for the degree of correlation between those statistics across different areas. This has nothing to do with rates of suicide alone, or with rates of attempts. Nor does it look directly at rates of suicide by method.

By looking between areas, they could see how predictive the varying rates of attempts, or the rates of gun ownership, separately, were in predicting the rate of successful suicide. The math showed there was a closer correlation of gun ownership than there was with suicide attempts.

Yes, it's a "sneaky" statistical way to show that independently, gun ownership alone is predictive of suicide rate, but so what? It's the truth.
93
@86
"Person-A may be statistically more likely to attempt suicide, but Person-B is statistically more likely to actually commit suicide."

Yet the nationwide stats don't seem to match that.
From previous discussions, there are approximately a million suicide attempts in America every year.
There are about 100 million households with guns in America.
There are about 40,000 "successful" suicides per year.

So, that is 0.4 suicides per 1,000 gun-owning households.
But 4 suicides per 1,000 people attempting suicide.

That's a 10x difference so someone is working some "statistics" somewhere.
94
@93, If you actually believe a back-of-the-envelope calculation at a 4th-grade math level somehow disproves a rigorously peer-reviewed multi-variate statistical analysis, you are flattering yourself. I am going to be generous and assume you are pretending to miss the point to derail the discussion.
95
@94
If you could show where my math was wrong then you would have.
Therefore, you cannot.

The point is that in order to get the numbers claimed someone has to be creative in their definitions of "gun" or "suicidal behavior".
And if you start digging you'll find that "suicidal behavior" (suicide attempts) is NOT what is being measured.
Instead, things like "substance abuse" are included.
If you smoke pot on the weekend, you may be included in those statistics.

So someone who smokes pot on the weekend (more than 1 million people) is more likely to attempt suicide and fail than someone who does not smoke weed but does own a gun who is more likely to succeed in a suicide attempt (but will attempt suicide a lot less often).
96
@94, The problem is that your math is not applicable. It does not even come close to addressing the question here. I realize that statistics, particularly multi-variate models, are difficult for a lot of people to understand, but you should have the humility to recognize when you are out of your depth.
97
(@95, obv)
98
OK- as someone who has worked on this, read the article, listened to the Science Friday Podcast, and has some understanding of stats- here is what was actually said:
-Suicidal ideation and rates of attempts are pretty flat across the board.
-Suicide 'success' rates triple if there is a firearm in the home,
-Teen suicide rates go up 4x if the firearm in the home is kept loaded and unlocked
-Suicide is primarily an older white male problem. About 2 people kill themselves with firearms for every person who is otherwise killed with a gun.
-Suicide rates are highest in what some scientists call the 'Loser Belt'- essentially the inter-mountain west -high rates of unattached white men with weak economic prospects and social ties.
-Suicide is generally an impulsive act, often less than 5 minutes between the time of the idea and taking action. That is why firearms are such a potent risk factor.
99
All right Mr. Goldstein. For the hell of it, I'll assume you first care about gun deaths by suicide more than the traffic or substance abuse or industrial accident caused deaths you never blather on about. I'll assume you want something done to prevent your person B from the suicide their mental and physical health showed no signs of prior to picking up that .38.

What's your fix? You must have an idea since gun deaths, while statistically a small problem, clearly loom large in your mental landscape. Share your wisdom with us mere mortals, would ya?
100
@49

I didn't say "gun murders". I said "guns kill more people than traffic accidents". Gun murders, plus gun suicides, plus accidental gun deaths. You've gone down this road of denial before, and here we are again. The whole point of this thread is gun suicides and you're deliberately being dense about it.

It's the same nihilism as 5280 cheering on suicides. You don't count suicide because you think anybody who tries to kill themselves ought to succeed. You don't value life for its own sake.
101
@93 You can't even divide by 1000, and you expect anyone to believe you? Plus, your grasp of simple English is clearly deficient. What part of the following sentence escapes your understanding?

States with higher levels of gun ownership have higher rates of suicide.

And of this one?

These higher rates of suicide have closer correlation to the rates of gun ownership in the population than they do to the rates of suicide attempts.

Obviously, if the rate of suicide attempts were the same everywhere -- that is, if it were a common factor that we could zero out on both sides of the equation -- then gun ownership alone would determine the death rate from suicide, as it's the singular most effective method. But, the rate of suicide attempts is not the same everywhere, so it made for an interesting statistical exercise to compare the two. As for the import of the results, one of two interesting conclusions might be drawn: a) easy availability of guns didn't promote suicidal tendencies or raise the level of suicide attempts; or b) easy availability of guns actually reduces the number of attempts because fewer people need to try more than once.
102
@96
"The problem is that your math is not applicable."

Households with a gun have a suicide rate of 0.4 per 1,000 households.
People who exhibit suicidal behavior (attempting suicide) have a suicide rate of 4 per 1,000.

Now, in order to get those numbers to where guns are more indicative of suicide than suicidal behavior someone has to be creative with the definitions of "guns" or "suicidal behavior".

And once you start digging you will see that that is exactly the case.
"Suicidal behavior" is NOT what is being used but rather "substance abuse".
Because more people exhibit "substance abuse" than exhibit "suicidal behavior".

But that is NOT what Goldy claimed the study was about.
"New Study: Gun Ownership, Not Suicidal Behavior, Is Strongest Predictor of Death by Suicide"
103
@102, If you read past the headline you would see that, according to a new study, gun ownership is a stronger predictor of death when suicide is attempted than all other predictors included in the model.

With that, I recognize I am way out of my depth here, so I am no longer going to attempt to help you understand something that has been explained repeatedly.