Saturday, September 23, 2017

Suicide and Guns: Maryland Study Debunks itself

As shown in the image above, many countries with extreme gun control have higher suicide rates than the United States. When criminologist's showed that murder rates either dropped or remained the same when guns were more easily accessed, proponents of a disarmed society turned to suicide.

Their studies about suicides "caused" by firearms ownership, tend to be junk science. Consider a recent "study" published only with the American Public Health Association. It was done about suicides in Maryland. Maryland is densely populated, and has extremely strict gun control.  Only 3.5% of the suicides were in rural areas. The numbers are likely correct, but the interpretation leaves much to be desired. From
In particular, doctors need to pay close attention to gun use and mental health for men, the study results suggest.

That’s because 89 percent of the gun-related suicides occurred among men, and because the higher rural suicide rate was only true for men.

Firearm suicide rates were 36 percent higher for rural men than urban men. But rural women were 37 percent less likely to commit suicide than urban women, regardless of the method.

The author of the study draws this mind numbing conclusion, directly in contradiction to the evidence just cited:
 “Access to guns in the home creates a higher risk of suicide for family members whether or not there are known mental health concerns,” Nelson said. “Secure gun storage - locked, preferably in a storage cabinet, and unloaded with ammunition locked up separately - should be routine in gun-owning homes.”
And how is locking up guns and ammunition supposed to prevent suicides, especially by men who preferentially own guns? Another conclusion, likely as valid, is that rural areas with guns prevent women from committing suicide, as the rate of women committing suicide is almost exactly as reduced as the rate of men is increased, in rural areas.

Other possibilities are likely. There are more available women in urban areas. Men with women available are less likely to commit suicide. The obvious conclusion is that more women should be making themselves available in rural areas to keep the suicide rate down. At the same time, the suicide rate for women would be decreased. But that obvious solution is not politically correct. It is much easier to blame inanimate objects such as firearms. Suicide is a complex affair. Countries with lots of guns have a high suicide rate and low suicide rates. Countries with few guns have both high and low suicide rates.  It is the overall suicide rate that maters, not the number of suicides performed with a particular method.

Overall suicide rates in the United States have risen from 11.08 in 1997 to 12.93 in 2014. The number of guns per capita has risen from .97 to 1.21 in the same period. But the percentage of suicides committed with guns decreased from 60% to 49%.

If guns were the cause, you would expect the percent of suicides with guns to rise, not fall.

Many other methods of suicide are available. A search on the Internets confirms this obvious fact. Web sites are available that describe suicide methods in detail.  The idea that suicides can be meaningfully prevented by requiring guns to be locked up is not proven. It seems decidedly counter-intuitive.  Suicides are not capable of turning a key?

In Australia, as suicides with guns have dropped, suicides with other methods have risen, just as expected. Suicide rates are not dependent on the availability of a particular method. In a modern society, many methods are commonly available.

In Australia, the most common method is strangulation/hanging, with suffocation close behind. Suffocation commonly involves a plastic bag.

A common problem with statistical studies is confirmation bias. Authors of studies find what the expect to find in their work. It appears to be the case here. The medical community has been pushing poor "studies" that promote the strict regulation of firearms for decades.

This appears to be another such effort.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a damn thing wrong with keeping your guns unloaded and locked up., especially the ones you intend to use for self defense, as long as all criminals are required to make an appointment in advance for their planned attacks and break-ins. It is only prudent and reasonable to expect felons to be honorable and give notice in advance of their planned crimes. Or you better be ready to blow the shit out of the bastards any time they choose to show up. How ignorant can people get? Maybe we should send our military into the front lines and require them to fill out a requisition form for ammo when they are under siege and tell the enemy to stop they are not permitted to attack until our ammo is delivered. I just don't understand how people can think up crap like this. I like single action revolvers for one reason. it wont shoot any one without an operators with the intent to make it bark.

Anonymous said...

Your {NOT} GOING TO STOP someone if they are set on {Suicide} ,pills,hanging,drinking,jumping,guns. There are 100's of way to do it are YOU going to stop it? By new laws F--k NO!

Daniel Lewis said...

Its more than just confirmation bias, this is something the anti gun crowd is pushing in a combined effort. This is their current front line effort and has been building from them for some time.

It needs to be pointed out every single time. The US has by far the highest gun ownership in the world so if your hypothesis is true, even remotely true we would have the highest suicide rate in the world. We are around 50 depending on the list you read. Sweden with little access to guns has a slightly higher suicide rate than the US. Many many many countries have a much higher rate.

Anonymous said...

Japan has a much higher suicide rate than the US with NO GUNS used. They have perfected the "art".

Anonymous said...

I have worked numerous suicide cases, very few are un successful. God does not allow or accept suicide, the same as he does not accept murder. suicide is a ticket straight to hell.

Anonymous said...

It illegal to attempt suicide as soon as they figure out how to keep dead bodies in prison I'm sure we will see an increase in convictions