The national map of suicide lights up in states with the highest gun ownership rates. Wyoming, Montana and Alaska, the states with the three highest suicide rates, are also the top gun-owning states, according to the Harvard center. The state-level data are too broad to tell whether the deaths were in homes with guns, but a series of individual-level studies since the early 1990s found a direct link. Most researchers say the weight of evidence from multiple studies is that guns in the home increase the risk of suicide.
“The literature suggests that having a gun in your home to protect your family is like bringing a time bomb into your house,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, an epidemiologist who helped establish the C.D.C.’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Instead of protecting you, it’s more likely to blow up.”
It is known that the NRA is adamantly against even studying the violence around guns. Maybe this limited study is one of the reasons. It shows that guns are the preferred tool of choice for those contemplating suicide. It also show that if you really are serious about killing yourself you will have a much higher success rate if you use a gun than any other choice.
While so far this post seems to be about guns, it is really about statistics. I think we in the country are just statistics averse. We just can’t seem to accept that branch of science as giving us any valuable information. Even when we see election after election being accurately predicted with statistics we still don’t really believe in them. If we did we would understand that other countries that have sensible gun regulations have lower murder rates, suicide rates, and accidental death rates than those, like the U.S. that stubbornly refuse to enact the necessary controls.
I don’t know what it will take to bring us to our senses regarding things that are statistically proven to benefit our society but we, for one reason or another, are adamantly against. Statistically we know that without pre-school education our kids are doomed to trying to catch up with their peers but for some reason we resist giving pre-school opportunities to some. Statistically we know that the U.S. is falling further behind many other countries when it comes to the quality of general education for our population but that doesn’t seem to alarm us much. We leave the education of our children up to our local neighbors to decide how and what they will learn. Of course they have little or no knowledge of statistics or the world where our children will be competing.
We need to listen more when statistics show us that we need to do some things differently if we want to maintain a world class society. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very aware that statistics can and is often done in a faulty method. We have to be careful that there is validity and not manipulation behind the statistics that we use.