Thursday, September 11, 2008

Most Texas gun deaths are suicides

There's an old and wise saying, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight." Perhaps a corollary to that adage should be, "Never bring a gun when you're fighting emotional demons." Reports News 8-Austin:

There are more suicide deaths by guns in the state of Texas than gun-related homicides. ... Suicides account for nearly 57 percent of the state's gun deaths. That’s compared to 41 percent who die by homicide.

To their credit, this data comes from an announcement that the Austin PD and the Suicide Prevention Council are teaming up for a public ed campaign on gun suicides.

Here's more evidence Texas underspends on mental health treatment compared to prisons and jails, where thousands of mentally ill offenders are anyway locked up. We're justifiably concerned with a killer shooting somebody else, but from a statistical perspective that's a smaller problem than suicides. So if the goal is to minimize gun deaths, why don't government spending priorities reflect that fact?

I think some of it has to do with the political strategies described in the last post, Governing through Crime. Modern politics overprioritizes "crime, and particularly the fear of it," while ignoring social problems that may actually take more lives and cause more harm.


Anonymous said...

Thins the herd.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of those suicides were police officers? I recall reading an article in one of the UK's newspapers that considrably more police officers end thier own lives with thier firearms than are killed by criminals in the line of duty. Also that the level of suicides by police officers is hard to tally because police departments are reluctant to record one of thier own members has committed suicide but instead record these instances as "accidents"

Joel Rosenberg said...

Nationwide, most gun deaths are suicides; ; it's been the majority for more than a dozen years. (And if you add in the small number of [clearly justifiable] homicides that are "suicide by cop" it gets higher.)

Anonymous said...

We must condone gun suicide since I don't want these morons using their car as an exit since they may well take you or me with them, dear reader, as they leave.

After all, liberty and the "pursuit of happiness" are all about freedom of choice.

Anonymous said...

But their freedom of choice end where my right to live start. Very logical don't you think!