Flashback: CDC says gun at home increases suicide risk by 500%

Why CDC ought not be funded to produce more junk science… if only Adam Lanza had turned his gun on himself before he turned it on others.

Read more a Pro Publica.

15 responses to “Flashback: CDC says gun at home increases suicide risk by 500%

  1. All you need to know before cutting funding:

    “There were basically four questions that we were trying to answer. The first question is what is the problem? Who were the victims? Who was killed? Who were injured? Where did they happen? Under what circumstances? When? What times of the year? What times of the day? What was the relationship to other events? How did they happen? What were the weapons that were used? What was the relationship between the people involved? What was the motive or the setting in which they happened?”

  2. H’m.
    Suicide rates have been pretty stable for many years but many more homes have guns.
    Homicide rates have fallen generally but many more homes have guns.
    The empirical evidence seems to be that the link between having guns and misuse is pretty small.
    It is probably true that a very angry person who has access to a gun is more likely to succeed in suicide or homicide than a very angry person with access to knives, baseball bats or rope. If a suicidal person can impulsively get hold of a gun, the episode is more likely to end in a fatality than if the person uses a knife or pills. That’s a reason for responsible family members to remove guns when the occasion warrants but it’s not a public health issue and it’s not a valid excuse for trampling everyone else’s rights.
    GC — the doctor who was interviewed identified four key questions and a lot of sub-questions. The writing was awkward, yes, but there were four key areas the doctor was addressing. Doesn’t mean I agree with him, of course.

    • Announcing four questions, then rattling off dozens, is incompetent. Immediate disqualification.

      “If a suicidal person can impulsively get hold of a gun, the episode is more likely to end in a fatality than if the person uses a knife or pills.”

      No. Knives are far more dangerous than guns. 90% of gunshot wounds are not fatal. And a bottle of Tylenol is very effective as well.

      Suicide is not generally impulsive, but rather the result of chronic depression.

      • Howdy Gamecock
        I’ve been in the trauma trade. I saw one overdose of medication that was dangerous and one accidental Tylenol OD that was dangerous. I cared for several people who cut their wrists. But the ones who used guns were all coroner’s cases.
        The plural of “anecdote” is not data, of course. Still, more people who attempt suicide with a gun complete the act than people who use drugs or knives. Ropes have a pretty gruesome record too.
        Many suicidal gestures are more impulsive than committed and there are a lot more gestures and attempts than completed suicide acts. When the impulsive act features a knife or pills, it usually ends in a hospital rather than a morgue. When an impulsive act features a firearm, a rope, or a tall structure, the odds go the other way. That’s just a fact. The fact does not justify sweeping government policies, especially not things like requiring a mental health check before you can buy a rope or walk along the Rims in Billings.
        Some suicides — perhaps most completed ones, I don’t know — are the result of careful planning and they’re the ones that probably can’t be stopped.

      • I could believe that if you are assaulted a knife is more lethal than a gun just because of the danger of blood loss.

        Suicide is entirely different. Considering that distinction, I think you and MT Geoff are both correct.

  3. They’re always bringing up suicides with respect to gun laws. I suppose, because a gun increases the odds that an attempt will be successful. But there is little causal evidence tying suicide rates to gun access.

    According to government records, the highest suicides rates are in the cities and states with the strictest gun laws, such as Detroit. And globally, the picture is worse. Some of the highest suicide rates in the world are in nations with very strict gun laws, Japan being the most familiar.

    In Japan, suicidals have resorted to mixing chemicals together to poison themselves and cause evacuations of homes, apartments, schools, etc. in lieu of no gun access. A gun suicide may be messy, but at least it doesn’t pose as great a risk to everyone in the vicinity as gas poisoning. Unless, of course it’s a MURDER/suicide. But that’s something different entirely.

  4. The odds of a person killing themselves is really small. Tiny, in fact. Increase that by Five Hundred Percent (wow!) (actually, just multiply by five) and you still get a really dinky number.

    Are we really supposed to be that terribly impressed by eentsie-teentsie numbers? And heck, it’s a voluntary personal choice anyhow.

    I wish these people would study something we should care about.

  5. Attempted suicide by firearm is a pretty certain way to succeed and may be the prime choice of those who really want to do it. How many of them would try one of the more certain next choice if guns were not available?

  6. In the whole article, only three statistics are presented—and those are very misleading.

    First: “…having a firearm in your home…increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent, almost three times as high.”

    How many of these people are law abiding citizens? If gang members and other criminals are included in this statistic, the issue of home security is irrelevant. For that matter what is counted as a homicide and did all of these “homicides” occur in the home. Do you count, for example, a felon wielding an illegally obtained firearm shot in an altercation with police as a firearm homicide? Do you count a man shooting his wife with a firearm he purchased an hour earlier?
    Even among law abiding citizens, the cause and effect is questionable. Would you not be more likely to buy a firearm for home defense if you lived in an area with higher crime rates? In any case, the notion that buying a firearm suddenly sends armed thugs running to your house or turns you into a homicidal maniac is absurd, but you don’t question these things when the forgone conclusion is: guns must be banned.

    Second: “…the risk that someone in your home would commit suicide went up. It went up five-fold if you had a gun in the home.”

    Again, the cause and effect makes no sense. Does this include guns bought within a day or even a week of the suicide? Are we to believe that people randomly pick up a gun and blow their brains out after a bad day at work when they otherwise would have taken a few deep breaths and decided to make tomorrow a better day?

    Third, they say that there are 30,000 gun deaths a year. Even assuming that those are all law abiding citizens killed with legally obtained guns, there are over 30,000 deaths from auto accidents yearly. Do we ban cars too? On second thought, the green kooks might not find that an absurd notion.

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