During Obama’s second term, “48,000 Americans will be killed by guns,” says John Feinblatt, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chief police adviser and chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, citing a statistic based on research from the Center for Disease Control. “The American people deserve to know how they will be kept safe, and that’s the job of the president as he enters his new term.”The number will actually be more like 130,000. There's no reason not to count suicides. Here's why.
The terrible lethality of a firearm makes a suicide attempt more likely to succeed. The same can be said of attempted murder, when a gun is used, it succeeds more often. Therefore, if our qualifying factor is the gun, suicides and murders can legitimately be counted together. The larger number represents ALL the victims of gun violence.
Suicides, in fact, should be counted first. The use of a gun plays a more important role in the act of suicide than it does in murder. A person who attempts suicide and fails is more likely to get beyond their temporary depression or whatever the trigger was than the fellow intent on murder. It's with homicide that alternate means are more often used successfully.
Of course no one knows for sure what the percentages would be, but I think it's safe to say that homicidal people who do not have access to guns do not always commit murder. And suicidal people who do not have access to guns do not always commit suicide.
This is why restricting access to unfit and dangerous and suicidal people is so important. And this is why counting suicides and homicides together is the right thing to do when discussing the cost of gun violence.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.