Guns and suicide

Sunny

SF VIP
Location
Maryland
Original Poster
Sorry. Here it is:

Top Washington is a member of Everytown for Gun Safety’s Veterans Advisory Council.
I wouldn’t be here today if I’d had access to a gun when I was suicidal.

The roots of my struggle with suicide probably go back to June 14, 2008, when I found out that my son, Marine Sgt. Michael Washington — who had followed me into the Marine Corps, just as I had followed my own dad — had been killed in combat in Afghanistan.
I didn’t know how to cope with the news, or even how to feel the loss, so I focused on trying to keep it together. That urge to “stay strong” was partly a generational thing but also a product of the cultures that had molded me. I’d been a Marine for 23 years, including four tours overseas, and a firefighter for even longer. Most of my mentors in those professions didn’t talk about their feelings; they drank instead — and they were pretty good at it. I very much followed their exampl

From there, my marriage began to fall apart, my post-traumatic stress began to flare with devastating thunderclaps of emotion and — when the pain became too much — I began thinking about killing myself.
At first, that meant riding my motorcycle through red lights at intersections, hoping my death would look like an accident. But I didn’t want to hurt anyone else, and I didn’t want another first responder to have to pick me up off the street, so after months of suicidal thoughts, I found myself on a bridge. I walked to the edge and closed my eyes. I readied myself, waiting for a final feeling that would push me forward. But then I thought about my son and felt him pulling me back from the edge, saying, Don’t do this, Dad. This is not how it ends.
That was all I needed to go home and never come back. And before long, I opened up to others about my struggles, starting down a path that eventually helped me get better.

I am writing this during National Suicide Prevention Month because I’ve learned over the past few years how fortunate I was to not have a gun at my lowest moments. Gun suicide is particularly dangerous for veterans such as me, who often refuse to talk about our feelings right up until those feelings overcome us. Seventy percent of veterans who die by suicide do so with a gun; the rate is 50 percent among non-veterans. Between 2005 and 2017, more than 53,000 veterans died by gun suicide — more than 13 times the number of service members who were killed in action during the U.S. engagements in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria combined.
Access to a gun in moments of crisis is so dangerous because suicide is, as they say, opportunistic, meaning that it would have been all too easy for me, during my dark days, to have one too many drinks and end my life quickly. Alcohol and guns are a dangerous, often lethal combination. Having access to a firearm also triples someone’s risk of death by suicide, and gun suicides are nearly always fatal while non-firearm suicide attempts are not.
I’m living proof of those statistics: I was able to walk away from the bridge that night, but I wouldn’t have been able to walk away from a bullet.

Don’t get me wrong: I used weapons overseas, and I unequivocally support the right to bear arms. But it is crucial, especially for veterans, to find ways to talk about mental health solutions and, at the same time, to limit easy access to firearms in moments of crisis. One key preventive measure is extreme-risk laws, which empower family members and law enforcement officials who are worried that someone poses a risk to himself or herself to ask a judge to temporarily remove that person’s gun or guns before warning signs escalate into tragedies.
States that have already introduced these laws have seen lifesaving results, including a 14 percent reduction in firearm suicide in Connecticut and a 7.5 percent reduction in Indiana. Passing a similar law at the federal level would save thousands of lives — of veterans and non-veterans alike.
Seven years have passed since that night on the bridge, and I’m grateful every day that I didn’t jump. If I had, I never would have remarried, enjoyed my grandchildren or decided to retire from firefighting, as I will soon, to become a full-time therapist. But it’s important to remember that I have this second chance only because my son saved me that night, and because I didn’t have access to a gun when death seemed more bearable than life. Others deserve that second chance, too.
 

win231

Well-known Member
Location
CA
There isn't much difference between standing over a bridge, considering suicide & owning a gun & considering suicide.
The issue is what got him there & finding him some help; not the method used.
Murder and suicide are matters of will, not the availability of weapons or balconies or bridges.
The method used becomes a scapegoat to non thinkers who would rather blame an inanimate object that has no will of its own.
We saw a similar scapegoat when Carroll O'Connor's son committed suicide with a firearm. Mr. O'Connor blamed his son's drug dealer because it was easier than blaming his drug-addicted son. I've never heard of any drug dealer forcing anyone to buy drugs.

Would you blame a bridge, a car, a cliff, or a tall building or drugs if someone uses one of those methods?

Nothing whatsoever to do with the 2nd amendment.

And if I'm in a position so desperate as to consider suicide, I'd be glad there was a method so fast & reliable.
 

old medic

Member
Location
Western NC
I found this article very moving. Somehow, all the hollering about Second Amendment rights sounds pretty feeble against the point this gentleman is making.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/17/im-veteran-who-was-suicidal-its-good-thing-i-didnt-have-access-gun/
I'm sorry, but why attack the 2nd???? What about that fact of him possibly killing someone else while running a red light?
The mental trauma brought on to the person who could have hit him...
It is so very unfortunate the level and amount of dealings I have had with suicidal intentions... both successful and not, personal and professional.
Our Vets rate of suicide is unexpectable... but the cure is not taking guns away... its the treatment and counseling they should already be getting.
 

fmdog44

Well-known Member
Location
Houston, Texas
A long time friend of mine recently shot himself to death fearing long term suffering he witnessed his friend experienced. Who would not if you knew you were in for months of pain and suffering before you die?
 

win231

Well-known Member
Location
CA
I'm sorry, but why attack the 2nd???? What about that fact of him possibly killing someone else while running a red light?
The mental trauma brought on to the person who could have hit him...
It is so very unfortunate the level and amount of dealings I have had with suicidal intentions... both successful and not, personal and professional.
Our Vets rate of suicide is unexpectable... but the cure is not taking guns away... its the treatment and counseling they should already be getting.
Our Vets are expendable. Treatment & counseling cost money. Blaming guns costs nothing.
Same with the cost of building more prisons. Early release is much cheaper.
 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
I don't think that it's fair to use this article as a case for striking down the second amendment or abolishing gun ownership.

IMO it's a plea for a logical safety measure or tool to help family members, friends, employers, neighbors get help for someone that may be undergoing severe mental/emotional stress.

A law of this type helps to put some teeth into the idea of see something, say something, and could be useful in helping to prevent suicide, domestic violence, mass shootings, etc...
 

I'mnotdeadyet

Member
Location
SE Michigan
Meh. Another heart-wrenching story pushed by Bloomberg's Everytown. Their one goal is to do away with 2A.

Here's a challenge, go look up how many times a life has been saved by someone having a gun. It will be very difficult to find, not because it doesn't happen, it happens a lot. They just don't publish it. Let me help, spend some time on a website called the truth about guns.
 

rgp

Well-known Member
Location
Milford,OH
There isn't much difference between standing over a bridge, considering suicide & owning a gun & considering suicide.
The issue is what got him there & finding him some help; not the method used.
Murder and suicide are matters of will, not the availability of weapons or balconies or bridges.
The method used becomes a scapegoat to non thinkers who would rather blame an inanimate object that has no will of its own.
We saw a similar scapegoat when Carroll O'Connor's son committed suicide with a firearm. Mr. O'Connor blamed his son's drug dealer because it was easier than blaming his drug-addicted son. I've never heard of any drug dealer forcing anyone to buy drugs.

Would you blame a bridge, a car, a cliff, or a tall building or drugs if someone uses one of those methods?

Nothing whatsoever to do with the 2nd amendment.

And if I'm in a position so desperate as to consider suicide, I'd be glad there was a method so fast & reliable.

Once again we do agree.
 

Camper6

Well-known Member
You have to subscribe to read the article, Sunny.
The Washington Post lets you read a few articles before you have to subscribe.

I read the article because I just subscribed for a free month for $1 .

My comment is that if you are really intent on committing suicide, you will find a way.

One day a teacher and this was in grade eight, told my friends, that the best way to commit suicide was to sit in a car and run a hose from the exhaust. He said it was painless.
Can you imagine what would happen now if a teacher suggested that to his students?
 

rgp

Well-known Member
Location
Milford,OH
Like fmdog44, I too knew a man that took his own life with a gun, for the same exact reasons.

First thing I heard many say ....... How could he be so selfish ? He didn't think about his family, etc.......Talk about selfish thinking. The man was given a death sentence , that included prolonged suffering . So he made it easy ? on himself............If putting a gun inside your mouth and pulling the trigger can be considered easy?
 

Camper6

Well-known Member
Meh. Another heart-wrenching story pushed by Bloomberg's Everytown. Their one goal is to do away with 2A.

Here's a challenge, go look up how many times a life has been saved by someone having a gun. It will be very difficult to find, not because it doesn't happen, it happens a lot. They just don't publish it. Let me help, spend some time on a website called the truth about guns.
Please don't go there. It will become political and the thread will be deleted.
 

Sunny

SF VIP
Location
Maryland
Original Poster
"Don’t get me wrong: I used weapons overseas, and I unequivocally support the right to bear arms. But it is crucial, especially for veterans, to find ways to talk about mental health solutions and, at the same time, to limit easy access to firearms in moments of crisis. One key preventive measure is extreme-risk laws, which empower family members and law enforcement officials who are worried that someone poses a risk to himself or herself to ask a judge to temporarily remove that person’s gun or guns before warning signs escalate into tragedies.
States that have already introduced these laws have seen lifesaving results, including a 14 percent reduction in firearm suicide in Connecticut and a 7.5 percent reduction in Indiana. Passing a similar law at the federal level would save thousands of lives — of veterans and non-veterans alike. "



This paragraph tells us that the gentleman supports gun "rights," in fact, a lot more than I do. He does not want to strike down the Second Amendment. But he is talking about the ease of acquiring guns, and how dangerous they are in the hands of traumatized or mentally unstable people. In other words, it is much too easy for anybody and everybody to get hold of a gun, and use it for the wrong purpose.

Camper, if you happened to meet someone who told you, in the course of conversation, that their son had been killed in combat, would your response be. "Meh, another heartwrenching story pushed by Bloomburg's Everytown?" (Whoever that is supposed to be).
 

Pepper

Well-known Member
Location
NYC
The entire post is political in nature in that is supports gun control. Given that should be deleted accordingly.
Given that attitude, nothing not about baking or going to the movies should be deleted. No, you are wrong about the use of the word political here. Support, or not, for the second amendment has nothing to do with party politics.
 

I'mnotdeadyet

Member
Location
SE Michigan
Given that attitude, nothing not about baking or going to the movies should be deleted. No, you are wrong about the use of the word political here. Support, or not, for the second amendment has nothing to do with party politics.
Party politics do not dictate political content. If someone can make a comment about gun control and the letter, then someone else can counter. If not, then the thread should be deleted.
 

Pepper

Well-known Member
Location
NYC
Party politics do not dictate political content. If someone can make a comment about gun control and the letter, then someone else can counter. If not, then the thread should be deleted.
You just got here, and ALREADY you're deleting threads, in your opinion? Slow down, please.
And of course, counter away. I don't mind.
 

I'mnotdeadyet

Member
Location
SE Michigan
You just got here, and ALREADY you're deleting threads, in your opinion? Slow down, please.
And of course, counter away. I don't mind.
That's not at all what I said, let me try to clarify:

If someone takes a position and the thread is acceptable, then someone can counter that position. If that isn't acceptable, then the entire thread doesn't belong.

And it makes no difference whether "I just got here" or not. Playing the seniority game on web forums is long since past its prime. I have been participating in forums since their inception, this one is no different.
 

Sunny

SF VIP
Location
Maryland
Original Poster
Since this thread has apparently gotten sidetracked into what is "political" and what is not, maybe it's time for those in charge to give us a definition of what is considered political? Without some guidelines, it's too easy for anybody to call anything they don't like "political." And almost any discussion of current events touches on political feelings. How do we know when we're going too far?

If this has been addressed in the past, maybe it's time for a rerun?

P.S. Imnotdeadyet, there have been many, many discussions about guns and gun control on this forum. I don't remember any of them being deleted for being too "political."
 

Pepper

Well-known Member
Location
NYC
That's not at all what I said, let me try to clarify:

If someone takes a position and the thread is acceptable, then someone can counter that position. If that isn't acceptable, then the entire thread doesn't belong.

And it makes no difference whether "I just got here" or not. Playing the seniority game on web forums is long since past its prime. I have been participating in forums since their inception, this one is no different.
Let's not start off on the wrong foot. Just getting to know you. Welcome.
 

Camper6

Well-known Member
"Don’t get me wrong: I used weapons overseas, and I unequivocally support the right to bear arms. But it is crucial, especially for veterans, to find ways to talk about mental health solutions and, at the same time, to limit easy access to firearms in moments of crisis. One key preventive measure is extreme-risk laws, which empower family members and law enforcement officials who are worried that someone poses a risk to himself or herself to ask a judge to temporarily remove that person’s gun or guns before warning signs escalate into tragedies.
States that have already introduced these laws have seen lifesaving results, including a 14 percent reduction in firearm suicide in Connecticut and a 7.5 percent reduction in Indiana. Passing a similar law at the federal level would save thousands of lives — of veterans and non-veterans alike. "



This paragraph tells us that the gentleman supports gun "rights," in fact, a lot more than I do. He does not want to strike down the Second Amendment. But he is talking about the ease of acquiring guns, and how dangerous they are in the hands of traumatized or mentally unstable people. In other words, it is much too easy for anybody and everybody to get hold of a gun, and use it for the wrong purpose.

Camper, if you happened to meet someone who told you, in the course of conversation, that their son had been killed in combat, would your response be. "Meh, another heartwrenching story pushed by Bloomburg's Everytown?" (Whoever that is supposed to be).
I am not a fan of guns. I belong to a political forum and I rail against guns much to their dismay. But I save all my political comments for the political forum and not here. A long time ago when the moderators asked for comments on whether to allow politics I voted against it. I like coming here and just discussing stuff other than politics because I see the animosity displayed.
Also as far as guns go, the Pandora's box has already been opened.
 

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