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I know. It sounds like a headline from The Onion. But it's not a joke.

My nephew lost one of his best friends, John, last Wednesday.  Out of respect for his family and friends, I won’t post his real name or a link to his obituary, but I thought that how he died might be of interest to my fellow Kossaks.

John, 22, still lived at home with his parents. He got into an argument with his Dad, and before storming out of the house, John found his Mom’s purse and removed her loaded handgun. She kept this gun with her for protection. (I should note that John’s parents live in a very safe, upscale Atlanta suburb).  John then drove to a construction site and shot himself in the head.

How many people who purchase guns for self-defense actually ever have a legitimate opportunity to use their guns for this purpose? On the other hand, how many people who purchase guns for self-defense, or any reason, end up losing a loved one or a friend as a direct result of such purchase?

The fact remains…if you bring a firearm into your home, then you significantly increase the chance of losing a loved one to a gunshot wound.

Please protect your families: Don't own a firearm.

Originally posted to cjo30080 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  incredibly sad (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, LilithGardener, wader, Mayfly

    yet another gun death.

  •  He was his own worst enemy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM UID 2547

    by ROGNM on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:42:07 AM PDT

  •  Another death abetted by NRA gun proliferation (5+ / 0-)

    agenda.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:42:11 AM PDT

  •  I want family to share my cause of death (4+ / 0-)

    Eventually I will die, everyone does. When that happens, I give my family, friends and total strangers permission to discuss my death publicly, even though it is likely to be embarrassing.

    If I die due to a public health issue, such as guns, infectious disease (even embarrassing infectious diseases), people should discuss the issue at my funeral, so my survivors can work to keep it from happening to others.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    The above is sort of zeroth draft of my share the details pledge.  I want to preemptively block the "it's too soon after the tragedy to discuss" subject changing technique.

    Suggestions welcome. I will turn a more refined version into my first diary.

  •  Couple mistakes here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnel, Dogs are fuzzy

    1: The mother carried off body.
    2: The firearm wasn't secured.
    3: The Kellerman quote in your link is very, very wrong. I'm assuming that's where you got this:

    if you bring a firearm into your home, then you significantly increase the chance of losing a loved one to a gunshot wound.
    Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008. Link to another diary

    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:08:09 PM PDT

  •  Happens all the time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, PsychoSavannah, LilithGardener

    natural causes in the US. Nothing to see here.

  •  Georgia Gun Law (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cjo30080, wader, PsychoSavannah, Miggles

    Summarized by the Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence

    http://smartgunlaws.org/...

    To advocate effectively, we each need to be conversant with both Federal and state gun laws. Toward that end, here is an excellent resource to find out about gun laws in any state, and about which laws are percolating up to SCOTUS.

    http://smartgunlaws.org/...

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:26:28 PM PDT

  •  I'm so sorry for this family and your nephew (5+ / 0-)

    I'm sure those parents are responsible people. GA requires a license for handguns and I imagine both parents were licensed to carry concealed weapons. IOW, just a couple more responsible, law abiding gun owners, who don't leave their gun lying around on the coffee table, or who think that hiding it in the closet or behind the TV counts as securely storing a weapon.

    But here's the thing. People who carry daily get used to having their guns around. In the open. When they are awake. Do they lock up their gun every time they take a shower? Most people feel the inside of the home is already scecure, especially when they are home to respond immediately to anything that happens.

    I'm sure these people never imagined any circumstance where upon their own son (or any other family member) would steal their gun. People who own guns and don't secure them every time they take off the holster are really playing a kind of lottery.

    They always assume they will be among the winners, who will never face the convergence of unplanned circumstances that takes the life of someone they love.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:36:37 PM PDT

  •  There might be some who try to explain that (6+ / 0-)

    gun suicides are really violence because someone who is suicidal will just choose a different method. Whoever argues  that is promoting a false meme.

    A gun suicide rips holes in many lives. I hope the diarist will allow me to repost my prior comment about suicides.

    What's the bottom line?
    The cost of gun violence is born by those who survive, those who must pick up the pieces of shattered lives; that may be the person who survived a gunshot, or it may be those who survive the deceased.

    In much of our discussion of firearm death, we speak of gunshot victims in terms of a binary function - did they die on the spot or did they survive. But that is only because the finality of death makes the reporting of it much more timely (usually). The authorities must be called. Next of kin must be notified. Someone must determine the probable cause of death. Accident? Suicide? Homicide?

    Of course there are other factors that influence whether someone will survive a gunshot, such as access to state of the art medical care.

    A few weeks ago the Washington Post published an analysis of firearm suicides, a topic that is difficult for many people to talk about, and compared their findings side by side with homicide data.

    Gun deaths shaped by race in America
    By Dan Keating, Updated: March 22, 2013

    Gun deaths are shaped by race in America. Whites are far more likely to shoot themselves, and African Americans are far more likely to be shot by someone else.
    Washington Post - Gun deaths shaped by race in America - Figure 1 (Image 2)
    Washington Post - Gun deaths shaped by race in America - Figure 1
    The article nails one of the most confounding features of suicide, an aspect that many people find hard to understand, unless they've experienced the dynamic of suicide up close and personal themselves, or with someone they know well.
    The impulse to commit suicide has been described as a trance, and the speed and lethality of a gun make it harder to interrupt the trance. Attempts at suicide are more than 20 times as likely to be fatal when a gun is used.

    (Harvard School of Public Health, Case Fatality Ratio by Method of Self-Harm, United States, 2001).

    The article maps the origins of our national divide on gun safety and breaks out some key findings state-by-state, as gun deaths per 1 million people.
    Washington Post - Gun deaths shaped by race in America - Figure 3 (Image 4)
    Washington Post - Gun deaths shaped by race in America - Figure 3
    "Gun deaths in urban areas are much more likely to be homicides, while suicide is far and away the dominant form of gun death in rural areas. States with the most guns per capita, such as Montana and Wyoming, have the highest suicide rates; states with low gun ownership rates, such as Massachusetts and New York, have far fewer suicides per capita."
    For more detail, they created an interactive map, Gun suicide and homicide: statistics shaped by race. Note: All charts show age-adjusted rate per 1 million people unless noted.

    The summary captures why it is so hard for us to reach agreement about new legislation.

    Contrasting life experiences, whether from a family member’s suicide or the death of a relative in a homicide, drive the nation’s split over an essential element of the gun debate: Would fewer guns save lives? Survivors of homicide victims consistently tell pollsters that the answer is yes, but the response to suicide is different.
    “We have less empathy with those who take their own lives,” said Sean Joe, an expert on suicide and violence at the University of Michigan. “So we don’t have the same national outcry. The key argument for me is that increased access to firearms increases suicide and homicide.”
    Suicide frightens us. Sometimes, it makes us feel impotent, or guilty. We often wonder if there was some way we could have known, or something we could have done. Like homicide, the forward costs of attempted gun suicides are born by the survivors, who too often must also bear extra burdens of shame and regret.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:40:25 PM PDT

    •  Typo - that gun suicides are [NOT] gun violence nt (0+ / 0-)

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:03:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "False meme"? (0+ / 0-)

      It's an observation about reality. People kill themselves under suicide watch in mental hospitals. People killed themselves before there were guns.

      I'm not going to talk about techniques in public, but people who actually want to die have options more reliable than gunshots, and that don't bring people running to investigate the noise.

      Excuse me if I sound angry. I've been through the suicide of a close relative and damn it I hate when people try to use suicide to score political points. The idea that if he'd shot himself instead you would be using him to promote gun control causes me pain as well as anger.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:58:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This diary is about a suicide (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gramofsam1, cjo30080, Miggles

        in which the suicidal person chose to use a family member's gun.

        As related in the diary, it was an impulsive decision made in a moment of strong emotion and family conflict. The lethal aspects of guns as a method choice is well established.

        Anyone willing to approach the problem as a public health crisis can find more information at the links in the article, which I provide in my comment.

        If you want to write a diary about suicide risk and what you think we could be advocating for to reduce the number of completed suicides, I'll come and support your diary.

        If you are here to argue that gun suicides are somehow not violent deaths than I'll strenuously disagree.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 03:59:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  RE: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles
        ...damn it I hate when people try to use suicide to score political points.
        I don't know if you're referring to my diary, or to a specific comment, but to be clear, the diary itself did not advocate for or against any particular legislation. I guess that you can call it a "conservative" diary in that it asks people to take individual responsibility by not owning a firearm.

        With that said, I'm for stronger gun legislation. And in my view, when somebody thinks that a law should be passed, in a flourishing democracy, it's incumbent upon us to, you know, share that idea.

        Of course, you don't simply say, "I think this law should be passed." Undoubtedly, it helps the cause if you give a reason. In addition, when advocating in favor of a particular law, it also makes sense that we share not just statistics (assuming that they're even available), but provide illustrations of how the absence of such laws have affected people with names and faces--perhaps people we know, are connected to, or even read about in the news.

        In short, I reject the notion that, in the wake of a suicide or any form of gun violence, seeking to get laws passed intended to reduce gun violence (i.e., save lives) is the equivalent of "scoring political points." I think that I speak for most progressives when I say that politics isn't a sporting event to us. It's not about winning and losing. It's about making a difference.

        So excuse me if I sound angry, but the use of that phrase--"score political points"--falsely accuses all (not some) who advocate for such laws of being disingenuous. As one who does advocate for stronger gun laws and personally knows many others who support the cause, nothing could be farther from the truth.

        I'm genuinely sorry about this young man's death. And yes, he could have found another way to kill himself. But I strongly suspect that if he wasn't able to grab a loaded gun in a moment's notice, that he would be alive today. So, I'm very comfortable telling his story to add to the enormous pile of evidence and anecdotes that our gun culture and gun laws are out of control.

  •  Statistics on Youth Gun Violence & Gun Access (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, gramofsam1, Miggles

    From the Law Center for Prevention of Gun Violence

    Statistics on Youth Gun Violence & Gun Access
    Children and young adults (24 years of age and under) constitute 38% of all firearm deaths and non-fatal injuries.2

    More than 75% of guns used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries of 0-19 year-olds were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend.4

    A number of references are cites at the link.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:22:32 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and rec'ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 02:45:33 PM PDT

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