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View Diary: Guns and Suicide: Wrap-Up (91 comments)

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  •  How do you explain.... (0+ / 0-)

    My bad; your data on gun suicides and drowning deaths is clearly labelled as a rate - I should have picked up on that.

    If we think that population growth results in an increase in the rate of gun suicides, we would expect that population growth would have a similar effect on the rate of drowning deaths (or fatal bicycle injuries).  Yet from your data shows an increasing rate of gun suicides only, without any increase in drowning deaths.

    How do you explain that population growth effects gun suicides, but not drowning deaths (or fatal bicycle injuries)?

    The correlation of gun sales with fatal gunshot injuries is very strong (r = 0.849 as I have measured it) as is the correlation of gun sales with gun suicides (r = 0.917 as I have measured it).

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 09:45:36 AM PDT

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    •  The old cliche, correlation is not the same as (1+ / 0-)
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      theatre goon

      causation. As I said above, the rate of gun suicides has gone up only about 5.5% during the study time, while the rate of non-gun suicides has gone up by about 33% during the same period. Is the increase in non-gun suicides causally related to gun sales?
            I believe we are looking at an overall increase in suicide, of unclear etiology, during which the proportion of gun suicides has actually dropped from 56.6% to 50.6% of the total. The increase in gun sales might be conjectured to be related to the same sociological phenomena that have lead to the increase in all suicides, or not. But there is no reasonable basis to believe that there are more gun suicides now because there are more guns. There are simply more suicides, and for unclear reasons, a smaller proportion are being committed with guns.
            The massive increase in gun purchases in recent years is not being driven by suicidal people. As other surveys have suggested, the proportion of American household with guns has fallen somewhat, despite the increase in overall purchases. The households that already own guns have been buying more. If you already own a gun, you don't need another gun to commit suicide.
           It is intuitively true that if you have a gun in the house, and you become suicidal, it is easier to choose to kill yourself with a gun than if you don't have a gun easily available. And if it is impossible for you to get a gun, than you can't kill yourself with a gun. Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate gun suicides is to eliminate guns. All guns. Target pistols, hunting shotguns, and deer rifles are all as lethal for a suicidal individual as semiautomatic handguns and AR-15s. Background checks won't do it; they only identify people who have been formally identified as suicidal in the past. Waiting periods might prevent the impulse purchases, but they would have to apply to all gun purchases, & I've seen no data to indicate that a substantial proportion of gun suicides are committed with guns purchased on impulse.
            Most gun suicides appear to be committed by people who already own guns. You are going to have to get the American public to give up all their guns, if you mean to eliminate gun suicides. I don't believe a sufficient number of people in this country are willing to do that.

      -7.25, -6.26

      We are men of action; lies do not become us.

      by ER Doc on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:14:06 PM PDT

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