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View Diary: When May I Shoot a Student? (238 comments)

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  •  As someone who's been suicidal frequently (1+ / 0-)
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    in the past, I'd just like to say that I'd probably be dead right now if I had access to a firearm back then.

    Many other methods of suicide require preparation. Preparation gives you time to think, time to change your mind. Having a gun doesn't give you that time to think. You can make the decision quite impulsively and be done with it a minute later. Not to mention its instant and pretty much guaranteed. I have quite a few scars on my thighs from times I attempted to cut my femoral artery and failed. I nearly caused an electrical fire after damaging a light fixture trying to hang myself.

    Guns don't make people kill themselves, or necessarily 'inspire' them to kill themselves, but they make it possible in a way almost no other method does. I live in California. If I wanted to go out and get a gun to commit suicide, I'd be sitting on my ass for ten days waiting. I can't speak for everybody who's ever been suicidal, but I doubt I'd still want to kill myself after that. I rarely had the desire to kill myself for more than a few minutes before I managed to calm down and think my way through it.

    Though its very hard to restrict access to firearms for people who are depressed. Compiling a 'list' of mentally 'ill' people would both be difficult, a severe limitation of rights, and an unpleasant invasion of privacy. Not to mention that there are some things listed as mental illnesses (Like, say, Gender Dysphoria) that could bar somebody from purchasing a firearm despite the fact that it has absolutely zero effect on whether or not it would be safe for them to own one.

    At least as far as suicide goes (Not even brushing on the hundreds of other gun related issues), I am of a mind to agree that firearms do contribute to suicide, though only because of ease of access and the instant, guaranteed nature of shooting oneself. But at the same time, there's no easy way to prevent this. Waiting periods are quite effective, but only for somebody who goes out and buys a gun to commit suicide, it would have no effect on somebody who already has access to a firearm. I have to agree with another opinion I saw earlier (Though its the only opinion this person put forth that I agree with) that an increase in mental health funding and increasing the ease of access to therapy and mental health programs will do a lot for the suicide rate, far more than limiting gun purchases in some way or another. Guns help suicide, but they don't cause it. Increasing the collective mental health of America would make the issue of guns and suicide a much smaller one, though thats still only a tiny portion of the gun debate.

    Just my two cents. My very, very long and unnecessary two cents.

    •  thanks fo the post... (0+ / 0-)

      It was thoughtful, and personal, and perhaps took more than a bit of courage.

      I read somewhere, (it may have been in the book "The Hazards of Being Male,") that women attempt suicide at something like four times the rate that men do.  Men, however, (at least, at the time the book came out,) SUCCEED at suicide at something like four times the rate that women do.

      The reason is obvious.  Suicide is a cry for help.  Women chose methods that would allow someone to hear their cry for help, and allow for the possibility of help arriving.

      For a long time in our society, women were socialized to believe that succeeding wasn't a valuable feminine trait, so it was okay for them to fail at suicide, and still be feminine.

      For many men, it used to be the opposite.  To be masculine means that one is not supposed to fail, that one has to be successful at whatever one decides to do.  In trying to keep up with our masculine socialization, men have learned that it's not okay to fail, even when it comes to suicide.  

      That's why, when it comes to suicide for men, guns, are the instrument of choice.  Hard to fail with a gun.

      All that changes if we change the socialization process for men, as well as the expectations that come along with it.  All that changes if the society promotes assertive behavior, as compared to either passive or aggressive behavior.  You stop violence when people learn to have respect for both themself and others.

      Even though guns, and violence, are real problems, they are still nothing more than symptoms of a deeper cultural socialization problem.  Isn't it time we stopped throwing time, money and energy at the symptoms of a cultural problem, and got to the roots of it.

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