Some points on gun deaths and their implications for — "self termination"? — in my area, Ventura County, California, 2000-2016, relevant points, I think for elsewhere in the USA:
• One reason guns are used in suicides is that guns are an effective lethal device available with minimal risk of getting caught up in the apparatus of the State as would happen if one tried to obtain poisons or pain-killers in sufficient strength and quantity to be lethal.
• Our local paper, The Ventura County Star reports "Nearly 900 people died from gunfire in Ventura County over the past 16 years," the majority by suicide. That's fewer than 9 deaths per 100,000 per year, as opposed to the number one killer in the USA, heart disease, at 193 deaths per 100,000. Suicide is #10 on the list of the 15 leading causes of death in the US in 2013; homicide does not make that list.
One reason homicides are rare among us — contrasted with earlier times and other places — is that most Americans depend upon law and government for resolving conflicts, rather than duels and vendettas. People attacking government legitimacy and its ability to protect us, people encouraging arming ourselves for self- and "tribal" defense, are moving in the wrong direction. And media coverage that makes mostly safe, middle-class Americans feel threatened by street violence pushes us further in that wrong direction.
To reduce the rate of gun deaths, we need better options for people at risk of shooting themselves: including getting objective advice and practical help with problems — a decent job, for example, decent insurance — and access to more elegant ways for old guys like me to off ourselves than blowing out our brains. Preferably, though, more practical help living: When suicide seems like a rational solution for the problems of a fair number of Americans, American society has issues.
Non-Linked Source: Ian Morris, War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots (2014).
Richard D. Erlich, "Limiting Gun Deaths: A Direct and Humane Approach (23 Jan. 2013)" <http://rich.viewsfromajaggedorbit.com/2015/03/limiting-gun-deaths-direct-and-humane.html>.
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