Guns don’t kill people, and backhoes don’t dig holes in the ground

On Wednesday, my post about the effect on suicides from widespread personal gun ownership in the United States got a fair bit of attention.

The title distracted a lot of readers from the content of the article, which isn’t surprising. Even for those who read it, there were a few common objections, which are collected here to be answered in more depth.

1. ARGUMENT: ‘The U.S. military doesn’t have a suicide problem. It’s actually lower than the general population when you consider most service members are 18 to 30 years old and male.’

Continue reading “Guns don’t kill people, and backhoes don’t dig holes in the ground”

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The Second Amendment kills more U.S. soldiers than the Taliban

From 2010 to 2012, more people in the military died from suicide than any other underlying cause. Almost half were people shooting themselves in the United States with their private weapon.

Continue reading “The Second Amendment kills more U.S. soldiers than the Taliban”

How often are prison guards killed transporting prisoners?

Eight prisoners and two correctional officers died in an accident near my hometown last week when their bus went off the side of an overpass, onto a moving train. It made national news, and my former coworkers did a great job all day letting people know what was going on as information came out, and putting it all into context by day’s end.

When hearing about a fatal train/prison bus collision, many people made the obvious connection, because that’s how we expect things to work, but the culprit seems to be icy conditions and very bad luck.

I can’t explain why the eight prisoner deaths seem so much more tragic than the two guards. Continue reading “How often are prison guards killed transporting prisoners?”

In an alternate universe, Jack Kevorkian is a rich man

The other day I was talking to someone, and a friend of hers came up in conversation.

He’d killed himself, and he let everyone know why, and it was in its way a very good reason — or at least the sort of reason that came as a surprise to no one.

Someone else said he didn’t have the courage to do that himself. There’s nothing courageous about killing yourself to deal with a problem, but it’s not weak or cowardly, either. The decision to end all future decisions can, occasionally, be the product of a rational thought process.

More often, though, it’s the result of depression, the irrational chemical composition of the brain. Suicide comes at a moment of weakness, a bad night, hitting bottom.

Continue reading “In an alternate universe, Jack Kevorkian is a rich man”