In some countries where U.S. soldiers are posted, there are significant restrictions on their ability to keep weapons in off-base housing -- and surprise: in those countries, the soldiers have much lower rates of suicide:
Even as the Army recorded its worst year in decades for soldiers killing themselves -- with 323 deaths in 2012 -- there were places in the service where suicides are rare....It's not just U.S. soldiers who commit suicide less often when firearms in the home are restricted:
American troops anywhere in the world are heavily restricted on registration and storage of personal firearms while living on U.S. military bases. But that uniformity ends when the issue is off-base housing.
Troops overseas must abide by the restrictions of host nations, according to military policy. Accordingly, U.S. soldiers in South Korea, Germany, Italy and elsewhere are virtually without access to personal firearms....
Last year there were three Army suicides among the 25,000 soldiers posted in Germany, one among 19,200 in South Korea and none in Italy where 3,900 soldiers are based.
Meanwhile, U.S. posts often see double-digit suicides each year. There were a dozen among the 30,000 GIs at Fort Campbell, Ky., last year; 17 at Fort Hood, Texas, which has 46,500 soldiers; and 10 among the 20,000 GIs at Fort Stewart, Ga., according to Army statistics....
In Israel, which has tough restrictions on personal firearms, the Israeli Defense Force changed policy in 2006, prohibiting troops from taking their service weapons home on weekends. Suicides dropped 45%, according to a 2010 study.Some information on this subject is about to be released in a Defense Department study:
A soon-to-be published study by the Pentagon's National Center for Telehealth and Technology asserts there is a gun culture among those who volunteer to serve and acknowledges the difficulty of restricting personal firearms, despite evidence that it could reduce suicides.The reaction of the gun culture and its agents in Congress will probably be to ban the federal government from conducting any more studies of this kind.
This comes from a sidebar story in USA Today; the main story, on suicide, notes that method plays a major role in whether people attempting suicide actually succeed:
While guns are involved in just 5.6% of suicide attempts, they account for 55% of suicide fatalities. That's because 85% of suicide attempts involving guns result in death, making firearms the leading method of suicide in the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In comparison, taking pills results in death in 2% of cases....But don't tell Wayne LaPierre:
The National Rifle Association has said guns don't play a major role in suicide, arguing that suicidal people will always find a way to kill themselves.Even though he and his pals are wrong:
The facts don't bear that out, says Catherine Barber, who directs the Means Matter Campaign at the Harvard School of Public Health's Injury Control Research Center....There was also a big drop in suicides and overdoses in the U.K. after it was no longer possible to buy paracetamol (acetaminophen) in any packaging except blister packs.
A 2005 study found that, among people who had survived a suicide attempt, one in four deliberated for less than five minutes. Nine in 10 people who survive a suicide attempt don't later die of suicide, according to the Harvard center....
Many studies show that reducing access to lethal methods dramatically lowers the rate of suicide, Barber says.
For example, suicide rates fell in the United Kingdom after that country eliminated carbon monoxide from home cooking gas, which had been the most common form of suicide in the 1950s. A 2002 study estimates that, over a 10-year period, that change saved up to 7,000 lives.
So, um, separate depressed people from guns, which are an easy way for them to kill themselves? We'll never do that in America, will we? The gunners will raise holy hell. Because they care about guns and guns only -- they don't care about saving lives.