From a post in response to a forum member who suggested that we can demonstrate our willingness to confront the suicide problem by tightening restrictions on the access of the "mentally ill" to firearms, including "safe storage" laws:
You know, I really doubt that.On to a different topic, this is from an email response:
There are countries whose suicide rate eclipses ours where firearms are effectively impossible for the average citizen to access.
Firearms are used so often in successful suicide attempts in the U.S. of A. because firearms are A) Effective, and B) Relatively Accessible.
Someone who uses a firearm in a suicide attempt is not crying for help; suck-starting a Mossberg is not the same as taking a couple Darvocets with a pint of Stoli and calling a 1-800-HELP-MEE hotline (or texting a friend and getting them to do it for you.) Someone who uses a gun is serious about checking out of the net.
Sure, there is a percentage (and I would submit that it is a small one) of suicides who snatch up a heater with no forethought and cap themselves in a sudden fit of depression, but I would wager that the majority of suicides who currently use firearms would, if firearms were somehow magically disappeared from the American landscape, go jump off bridges or play "Kiss The Locomotive" like their foreign cousins. (And how is your screening going to capture the "sudden fit" ones anyway?)
Demographic shrinkage is an almost inevitable result of a prosperous technological society. When the author of the column bemoans that we aren't breeding enough serfs to stoke the furnaces of our entitlement programs, the problem is the entitlement programs, not the birth rate in the slave cabins on the tax plantation.
Social Security and Medicare cannot continue as currently constituted in a society where the average lifespan is creeping toward the nineties and the birth rate is dropping, but no politician of any party is willing to confront it, guaranteeing a catastrophic failure rather than a controlled shutdown.
(There is a concomitant problem, which is that countries that are still on the upslope of the industrialization curve have populations that are still breeding like rabbits and are steeping in a doctrine based on violent envy of the declining West, but the fix isn't to spawn more X-box-playing iAddicts to interpose their flaccid selves between the teeming heathen and our fair shores.)