Struck By Living

Coping with depression and living life to the fullest.

Bob Costas Bravely States the Obvious

Bob Costas's honesty about guns and suicide/homicide in his Sunday football broadcast inspires Julie Hersh to break her silence about this issue. Read More

less accidents and dui's

I suppose in the Eutopia of control to remove 'bad' actions from society we could reduce the large numbers of car fatalities by reducing the size of trucks. We could reduce DUI deaths and serious injuries by banning alcohol, which would also help reduce rapes, and the harm of children and domestic violence. Remove simple sugars from society to greatly help reduce obesity & heart disease which are huge causes of death in the US, far larger numbers than suicides by gun.

Things that are dramatic, and gun violence/murder/suicide certainly is--gets far more attention, while the more common killers get ignored. Bet we could cut back on the death tolls and serious injuries from war, if we quit going to war constantly as well. Apparently, there is a huge laundry list of social ills that could be reduced by banning objects...Alcohol remains one of the biggest by far, but of course its too socially acceptable eh?

It would be great if suicidal people didn't have guns in their home, but most stores sell rifles quite readily. Unless you propose we put people on watch lists based on mood. In therapy will call this the corrective impulse, the desire to fix things...of course this means by exerting control in some manner, fixing things for people.. I think the list of things that you would find that need to be banned are large. But perhaps humans are the real issue, not the objects humans use to kill, escape, drug themselves with. Data on excessive Media/Screen viewing by children/adults are pretty damning as well...perhaps we should put timers on all electronic media to stop them from being misused as well...I suggest we start with Cell Phones and make it so they can't be used in cars, and that everyone is limited to 500 text messages a month. But of course the kids will go nuts without the ability to text thousands of times per month...and we banned or severely limited nearly all their other media, so they may be forced to read a book, or actually play outside, or talk face to face, or maybe even god forbid be physically active. Good luck with the 10% reduction schemes...you know what they say about the path of good intentions.

Thanks for your thoughts Mitch

Mitch -

You are misreading my article. I am not suggesting bans on guns. I am suggesting that people don't store guns in their homes. And I would add college campuses as well.

You are right about traffic accidents, although I would use a slightly different comparison. Speed limits, safety belts and DUIs have caused a significant reduction in traffic related deaths. I see these laws as good things.

Encouraging people to not store guns in their homes is analogous to wearing a safety belt. You obviously see this differently and are entitled to your opinion. In my opinion, guns give an illusion of safety which is why people may have them in their homes. The stats from the CDC seem to back my opinion, suicides greatly out number homicides. If you add "accidental deaths" by older men and accidental deaths by children to that number, the pro-gun case for safety becomes questionable.

With regard to alcohol, that's a better argument. No one "needs" alcohol the way we need cars to get to work and function in our lives. However it does seem to be an advantage to have people drinking in their homes and not driving, right? I don't have good numbers on that to argue definitively.

Do what you want, it is a free country. Just know statistically your family incurs a greater risk by death with a firearm with a gun in the house than without a gun. If you're married, I hope your wife knows this information before you unilaterally make this decision in your household. If you want to take that risk with your life, it's your choice. My concern is you are making this decision in your family without any debate.

I will point out that men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women. I don't know the stats on male versus female gun ownership, but my guess is fewer women own guns. It is no surprise to me that because of this the suicide rate for women is far lower.

Julie

It is sad to see crazy people

It is sad to see crazy people using this forum to spew more PC crap.
BAN SPOONS! They cause obesity.

I am not renewing my subscription.....

Good day.

Re: Bob Costas Bravely States the Obvious

"Imagine if guns were less accessible. Would not the homicide and suicide rate drop?"

Perhaps the suicide rate would...but homicide? How many people use a firearm to defend themselves from violent attack? You would have to figure in the potential homicides that are prevented to get an accurate picture. If guns were "less accessible", the homicide rate would rise, not fall.

Got me thinking Anonymous

Okay Anon

I actually looked up the highest gun owning states and the highest murder rates in the US. If I am right - the lowest gun owning states should have the lowest murder rates. If you are right, the highest gun owning states should have the lowest murder rate.

Here are top gun owning states and their corresponding murder rate:

Top Highest Gun Owning States

1. Kentucky (murder rate rank: 30th)
2. Utah (murder rate rank: 43rd)
3. Montana (murder rate rank: 38th)
4. Wyoming (murder rate rank: 35th)
5. Alaska (murder rate rank: 27th)

So I will concede the point that the murder rate would probably not change. Hawaii did rank last in murder rate and almost last in gun ownership. But I've gotta believe that if everyone lived in a place as beautiful as Hawaii, we'd all get along much better.

I will stick on the point that the homicide rate is half the suicide rate. That's something to think about. I have never had a situation that merited pulling a out gun to protect myself in my 52 years, but maybe I'm unusually lucky or have always lived in a safe neighborhood. I do know if there were a gun in my house in 2001, I'd be dead by my own hand. So I know for me, no guns in the house gun is a no-brainer. Everyone else will have to make that call for themselves.

It's not about the violence

Julie,

If numbers really mattered, we'd be yelling about the number of people who drown each year in pools, or who are killed in car accidents, or who die from prescription overdoses. But we don't. Why? Because the argument is not about stopping the killing...the argument is about limiting people from owning guns.

And you say you don't want to limit gun ownership, just where they are stored. Really? Then where would you like me to store my weapons? So if I need them for some reason, who controls my access to them? What recourse do I have if the "guardian of the guns" says I am no longer allowed to have them?

The problem is our culture is too averse to guns that we have lost the ability to understand what they do. We are so afraid of them, or have moved so far away from wanting them, that those that want them don't know how to use them correctly. My wife and kids know that I have firearms in the house; they know how to use them; they know when to use them, and they are good at it.

There is only one number that matters in this discussion; the number 2. That is the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. Until someone changes that, I am authorized to own a gun. Case closed.

P.S. To add a little psychology to this otherwise psychology-less article, let's quote some Sigmund Freud. "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

et tu Sigmund!

Obviously we are going to go round and round on this one. I will choose to show my maturity and not engage further. Have a great day Mitch and stay out of trouble.

Dirty pool

Julie,

First off, I'm not Mitch.
Second, how are you showing your maturity if you are going to disengage from the discussion. Taking your ball and going home?

Discussions like this one are always filled with emotion and rhetoric, which really derail the conversation. If I may speak for Mitch, and those likeminded who love their guns, we get as emotional, if not more, than those who are opposed to gun ownership. The problem is that one side argues from a point of truthfulness and the other does not.

If those who argue against gun ownership would be truthful about their intent, instead of hiding behind the false pretense of stopping violence or preventing crime, then we would all be much better off and may be able to come to some agreement. It is when the anti-gun establishment hides their true feelings or agenda that the discussion cannot continue.

While I applaud your tenacity and your thorough researching, I think your argument, just like Bob Costas', is wrong-headed. The blame for the murder/suicide of the KC player has been placed squarely on an inatimate object and not where it should be...the man himself. I think we can all agree that the final blame lies with him.

As an American, as a Soldier, as a father and a husband, and a man in general, I take responsiblity for my own actions, and do not lay blame on others or other things for them. What the media and those on the anti-gun side are doing is just the opposite, and are teaching those vulnerable to the message that the person is not responsible, but the gun is.

Cheers

sorry Mark

Mark - sorry i thought I saw Mitch - to whom I'd already given a lengthy response, and it seemed like the discussion was escalating into name calling. I don't think that furthers the discussion, so I figured humor and a short answer was the best strategy.

But if you do want to engage in intelligent discussion (as I have done frequently with my gun-owning friends) let's try. I understand your point. In Texas I obviously have tons of friends who own guns, male and female, many of whom treat guns responsibly and have them in their own homes. So you are right, the majority of the time, guns in the home are not a problem. In addition, I don't think excessive legislation helps either. So that's why I only make a suggestion. Get the guns out of the house to give yourself (or someone you love) a little breathing room.

There is a problem with guns and suicide and your fellow soldiers are dropping at a one-a-day rate because of it. Suicide prevention is all about creating space between the thought of suicide and the action of suicide. A gun is the quickest bridge between thought and action. And here is the biggest problem of all - we can't read each other's thoughts, and sometimes our own thoughts are pretty skewed. So why tempt yourself or the ones you love? This is why I suggest not keeping a gun in your house.

Now our friend Mitch appears to live in a rural area and may actually need a gun to fend off animal predators. So I will give him that point, but he's already written a couple of missives and I don't think he wants to hear anything I have to say. But for most of us who live in cities, guns usually operate as tools of escalation. Arguments happen, depression happens, mistakes happen. The problem is a punch in the face doesn't usually kill someone. A bullet in the head is much less forgiving.

When I'm trying to drop a few pounds, I don't keep ice cream in the house. I don't think ice cream is inherently evil or should be banned - I just know if Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch is in my fridge, I'm probably going to cave. So I might have it on special occasions or when I go out. Not as a staple.

A gun is a bit more complicated. I might be sure of my own thoughts (or so I think), but what about my teen age kids? What if one of them has a hormonal burst of rage or is bullied and I don't know about it, and puts a bullet in the brain? What if my husband has lost his job and is so distraught instead of talking he decides that gun looks like a good option?

These things happen, trust me. I've spent an inordinate amount of time in the past two years with Survivors of suicide. By far, most of these suicides happened with a gun.

For me, the gun doesn't offer the security so many guy owners assert, only the downside. Despite being the daughter and a sister of military officers, I don't see the purpose of having a gun in the house in peacetime. For me the numbers don't add up.

I deeply respect your service to our country, but would love to hear your thoughts about deterring suicide in the military. As I'm sure you know, the number of suicides in the military has equaled the number of those lost in combat in Afghanistan. Most of the suicides happen once soldiers have returned home. My guess is most of those suicides were completed by soldiers who insisted on having a gun in the house.

Wouldn't it be safer to have a cooling off period when people return from war? As you know, our soldiers are under tremendous stress. The economy is terrible, reintegration tough and often family issues complicate a solider's return. Wouldn't it make sense to put guns out of reach for a period of time at least? Is the gun that closely tied to identity or masculinity? Seriously, I am trying to understand this.

BTW I was born on Sigmund Freud's birthday. I would have figured he'd have said something different about guns being phallic symbol or something. You got me on that one. Pretty good.

Julie

Hi Julie - thank you for

Hi Julie - thank you for comment back to me. I always try to discuss issues as detached from emotion as possible in order to see both sides and be as objective as I can. I'm glad you would like to further the discussion; I enjoy the back and forth.

I understand how frustrating it can be to attempt to make an argument regarding an issue, only to have some nit-pick and snipe you from a position of ignorance or emotion. If can be difficult to voice your opinion of a topic when people try to shout you down or throw insults. Not that I'm accusing Mitch of doing that, but sometimes these discussions devolve rapidly.

I think your rural/urban hypothesis dismisses the idea of personal responsibility for people's actions. Although my family is from rural Illinois, I have lived in mostly urban areas. I have been in some heated arguments, but have never once thought about pulling a weapon out and using it. I think your argument could be valid if we look at different cultural aspects of gun violence and who actually uses handguns in violent crimes in urban areas. Also, the legal versus illegal handgun ownership question comes to mind. There are so many variables to that urban versus rural argument that it would need further investigation.

I also think your assertion that guns do not provide as much security as we think is not supported by the evidence. Most evidence shows that states with concealed or open carry have lower crime rates. Also, where potential criminals are unaware of who is carrying a weapon, they are less likely to commit a crime. That being said, I also agree with you about the accessability issue. If guns are TOO accessible, then they become the first weapon of choice, and that is a problem.

As to your point about suicides in the military, I would like to push back a little bit on your assertion about guns and suicide. I was a company commander in a Warrior Transition Battalion a few years ago; that is where wounded, injured, or sick Soldiers go to recuperate or transition out of the Army. During my 18 months there, I had hundreds of Soldiers come through as patients who needed not only physical, but emotional and psychologial help. Suicide prevention was HUGE, mainly because the Army was pushing it, but also because me and my cadre cared about the Soldiers we had. I was lucky to never have had a Soldier commit suicide, but my sister company had a couple. That was hard work.

Our problem was overdoses. With all the medication our Soldiers were on, that was our biggest issue. Of course we were worried that they could use ANY means to kill themselves, pills was the biggest. That is not to downplay the role that guns play in suicides, but I think that not only are guns over dramatized in suicides, and the suicide numbers in the military are played up in the media.

Now, I do not speak for the Department of Defense or the Army, but for myself. I would like to make that perfectly clear. The Army is taking this suicide thing VERY seriously, and wants to get to the deep problems that are causing them.

In closing, for now, I'd like to say that I think your view on Soldiers and suicide is off the mark. Soldiers don't come back from theater and automatically want to commit suicide. They also don't come straight from combat operations and hop through the front door. There is a "cooling off" period where Soldiers decompress and attempt to re-enter their lives back home. We are given lots of leave and ample time to get back to "normal."

Our deployments are not usually the reason for our suicides, which is being used as the cause celebre. Most of them are from incidents or issues OTHER than combat stress or deployment. Family issues, drug issues, or other things drive them more than how many deployments we have had.

I think this is a great detour from the "Yay guns versus boo guns" argument. It is important and very relevant. The more we can talk about it and get the right info out the better. Please continue if you want and I would be glad to answer any questions you want to discuss.

Cheers

Amazing response - thank you

Mark

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to actually talk online with someone who wants to have a real conversation.

First let me clarify - I know the Army is dedicating tremendous resources to the issue of suicide. Very interesting to me that your experience with the sister company was overdose. Do you know if that is the main method of suicide within the military? I've been basing my opinion on stats that I see that indicate that about 70% of suicides are with firearms, and I may have jumped to the assumption that military personnel would follow that same pattern. Would love to see some veteran only stats on that.

I did read that 80% of the suicides within the army occur once a soldier returns from the experience in the field, not in the field. That makes perfect sense to me. A military unit is a tight, supportive unit. If someone returns home at the end of service and does not have the same daily reinforcement from a tight group - and is thrust back into a civilian population that typically has no concept of the sacrifice that has been made, that's a very isolating thing. Isolation opens the door for depression. If the solider is dealing with wounds from war, be it brain injury or lost limbs and perhaps a home environment that is struggling, that isolation can swallow a person.

As far as personal responsibility is concerned - I think there may be a concept that perhaps the military has not grasped. People who have never been clinically depressed assume that suicide is the easy way out - that the person is being selfish. A strange thing happens when someone is suicidal. The person actually believes that his or her family will be better off without him. I remember thinking that I would be an endless burden on my family and they would be better off if I were dead.

Today, with my depression under control, I can see that was "crazy" thinking. My children were 5 and 7 at the time, and my husband dearly loved me. My kids are 16 and 18 now, happy, well adjusted, with great friends. Would their lives continued that way if they'd lost a parent to suicide? I doubt it. In the worst part of my depression, my brain convinced me that my death would be the responsible thing to do. Possibly the morally justified thing to do. When people say the person needs to be responsible for his actions, my guess the soldiers who killed themselves would say - I was of no use. I was a burden. I was being responsible.

don't take my word for it. Read Thomas Joiner - he's a psychologist that has done a mountain of research on the suicidal brain. He asserts there are three things that are common in a suicidal person:

1. Isolation
2. Burdensomeness (they are better off without me)
3. Access to means (the pills, weapon and the ability to withstand pain)

Joiner's written Why People Die by Suicide and Myths of Suicide - (Myths is more readable for the general public). I remember reading his book for the first time and thinking - FINALLY! someone gets it!

When someone's brain is suicidal, and a gun is in the house, the combination is deadly. Pills can be deadly too, no question. But a gun is often so quick, so irreversible. A gun spans the gap between thought and action so quickly that it allows no time for a person to second guess himself. That's why I am suggesting to create a physical space between guns and homes.

I respect your argument about crime is lower with gun ownership - all my gun owning friends assert that one. In my gut, I have to tell you I have a hard time believing it. On that one, we'll have to agree to disagree unless you can show me a convincing study otherwise.

Anyway Mark, thank you so much for your service to our country. My dad retired a Captain in the Navy after 35 years, my brother retired as a Naval Captain as well. I have a deep love and respect for all the guardians of the gate.

Sincerely

Julie

Tough stories

Hi Julie - while I do not have numbers on me, I do have a lot of anecdotal evidence to support my claims. One of the best articles I have ever read regarding an "armed citizenry" and how guns can prevent or stop crime is at the following link. I would ask that you read it with an open mind. The stories and events are pretty harrowing.

http://kitup.military.com/2012/07/regarding-an-armed-citizenry.html

I found your website after our last discussion and I must say, I applaud your strength. You are truly an amazing woman and find your story heartfelt. After reading more about you and your history, I can understand your feelings regarding guns and their role in suicide. If more people on my side would read your story, I think they, or hope they, would have a better understanding as well.

I think you are correct about guns being the main weapon of choice for military suicides. But I would have to see more difinitive numbers other than stories I have read. Guns get the most bang for the buck from the media (please excuse the horrible pun) and the rest of them don't really sell. From the Soldiers that I have known who have committed suicide, which are too many, they used just about every conceivable way. Guns are easy, yes, but that is not always the first concern.

I would like to get your reaction to the amendment that Senator Schumer from New York placed on the defense bill that the Senate just passed, which denies Soldiers who have been deemed "psychologically unfit" by the VA their Second Amendment rights. As I told you, I was in a Warrior Transition Battalion for 18 months and the nurses and doctors pushed most Soldiers to say they had PTSD or a TBI to get more percentage on their disability. Now the VA is going to tell a Soldier he or she cannot own a weapon because they have been "diagnosed?"

I agree that those people who are mentally, shall we say...unstable, should not be allowed to own a gun. But if they are told by a VA doc and not a judge, is that really fair? Are they really mentally unfit?

Thanks for the back and forth banter. It is refreshing to get someone on Psychology Today who actually likes to debate and talk instead of throw insults and ram their ideas down your throat.

Cheers

Mark

A warrior without a weapon

Mark

Thank you once again for an incredibly thoughtful response. I was not aware of the bill Senator Schumer passed - although I have to tell you I cringed when President Obama said that we can solve the problem by taking guns away from the "mentally ill." Nothing like a quote from the President of the United States to increase fear and loathing of the mentally ill.

I read through the armed citizenry report, pretty rough stuff to be sure. This all boils down to a fundamental point. Does the deterrent impact on crime with a gun in the home outweigh the potential risk of death by accident or suicide? Unfortunately we really don't have a good way to measure that. My stats on suicide risk are pretty good. you would need a peaceful, heavily armed city to abandon its guns to see if the crime rate would go up. Don't see that happening in the foreseeable future.

Believe it or not I don't believe in passing legislation to impact behavior within one's home. We can't effectively police what people do in their homes - especially if the behavior doesn't overtly impact anyone else (obviously if someone murders a person in their house, you have to do something about that). So having a law that prevents people from having guns in their homes doesn't make sense.

Creating awareness, however, of the inherent risk of suicide or accidental death based on having a gun in the house, is valuable. Parents with teens, couples with marital problems, people who have hot tempers, people who have at any point in their lives engaged in a fist fight, people who are most of the time great people but have occasionally just lose it, people who have been depressed - all of those people are at greater risk for suicide. Isn't that all of us? You may argue that yes these things might happen to everyone, but most of the people don't kill themselves. That's true. Prior to seatbelt laws, most people did not die in car accidents. For me, the inherent risk of driving with a seatbelt outweighs the inconvenience of using the belt. i view guns in the same way. So I would educate and encourage people not to store guns in their homes. I would not try to legislate something that is almost impossible to enforce.

The Senate bill, especially in light of the the information you shared about the VA, seems especially harsh. Here we train young men and women to be warriors and no doubt the weapon is part of that identity. These warriors care for their emotional wounds and are stripped of the honor of being a guardian of the gate.

Again, here I would try to solve the problem with education, not legislation. I would explain to soldiers that depression is a common aftereffect of reintegration of civilian life. Because of that transition time period, I would recommend that all soldiers not store a gun in their homes for at least a year to ensure that they have passed through the transition period successfully. The problem with mental illness, depression especially, is that it can happen to anyone, especially someone who has been through the extreme stress of war. Oftentimes the depressed person doesn't realize s/he is depressed, or doesn't want to admit it.So why risk this valuable population? We could say part of being a warrior is being strong enough to realize that we are human and we need time to heal. Part of that healing is putting the gun away in a peacetime environment. But this message should be for all soldiers, not just those labeled mentally ill. Any one of us, in high stress periods in our life, has the potential to become depressed.

It frustrates me to no end that people, our President included, continue to point the ugly finger at the mentally ill and fail to realize the importance of mental health for everyone.

Again, great conversation Mark, always a pleasure.

Julie

assumptions

Julie,

The problem is assumptions, I know that nearly 80% of people live in the cities now adays--but my family does not. There is no "unilateral decision" to have guns. Both of us grew up with guns in the home, sure they are dangerous tools--but us country folk with half a brain treat them with respect. We don't leave chainsaws, sharp knives or anything else just laying around the house either.

Just more anti-gun dogma covered in a thin veil of public health promotion fantasy. So what, males just b/c they are more likely to commit suicide by gun--should have their guns stored somewhere outside the home? What about the 99.7% of males that don't commit suicide? They just have to go to a storage facility for the sake of the few? If public health policy is really just good old authoritarianism "for your own good". Then why not start with things that are much larger statistical problems such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, Alcohol. All of these cost society massive amounts financially, and in terms of early deaths, chronic health problems, or for alcohol its closely tied with nearly every horrible thing you can name from rape, murder, child abuse etc etc. But its apparently to much of a money maker, and far too loved by the liberals as well.

How about the "remove all sugars and high glycemic index foods from homes" campaign...similar to your gun removal idea. Thus people would have to drive somewhere to get their insulin dumping, cell destroying foods. Just like the guy who drives to Walmart to buy a shotgun to off themself, since their gun was stored offsite somewhere. It never ceases to amaze me how the conservatives/and Liberals both want to make the world a better place...of course through some sort of force, by those that know better.

Wow, this removing things from the home campaign could really get society healthier and with a lower death rate. We could ban TV's from the home--tied to obesity, ban stairs (high number of serious accidents/death each year--so single story homes only), of course you didn't address warfare, or the data on truck size and the increased fatalities from those.

Perhaps start small, and try for temporary gun bans on people hosptilized for suicidal/homicidal threats--that may have some legs to it. But just listing a risk factor such as gun ownership, which is negligible statistically and using a broad brush technique is in my opinion ridiculous--thus my arguments for other such bans, removal from home ideas. Apparently, this type of thought won't end, and certainly isn't going to get better since we have moved from rural familiarity with rifles, to city slicker type attitudes. Of course if guns aren't available your back to knives again...but I suppose for some reason removing sharp knives from the home isn't reasonable--b/c people aren't scared of knives like they are guns? I think history and current murder data shows knives did and still kill large numbers of people--but the objects actually don't have any intent, its the people. Being afraid of and for people is completely reasonable, humans are very flawed, and no amount of hang wringing or attempts to "Fix" humans with rules from above do anything to fix them. But throughout human history humans always find objects that they hate or that are against god or whatever, but I see the same type of fear mongering in the secular folks as well. But oh well, people apparently are too stupid and inept to have any weapons in their homes, since the objects will somehow use mind control on them. I'm pretty sure suicide was not a big issue 100years ago, back when nearly everyone had one....

Geez, y'all are pretty

Geez, y'all are pretty protective of your guns.

Thank you to Julie for writing this article. I agree with you, Bob Costas, and anyone else who thinks that guns are simply dangerous. Kudos to those who believe, correctly or incorrectly, that their family/home is different, and not in danger of anyone using the firearm incorrectly. I guess I have a couple of thoughts.

A couple Christmas seasons ago, a young guy walked into a mall near where I live and shot up the store, then killed himself. I think about this nearly every time I walk into that mall. The obvious question is: where did he get the gun? how could this have gone differently? I admit that the gun was not the only thing about this situation that was worrisome. In the last line above from Mitch, he notes that the suicide rate 100 years ago was not as high, which I can only assume is correct. So...

I agree that guns in houses would lower the risk of suicide. It's pretty hard to argue against that, no matter what stance you take. Maybe it's not true for you or your family, but looking at the evidence sure paints a clear picture. (For the record, LOL, I don't drink and drive, eat a lot of sugar, smoke cigarettes, watch a lot of TV, or do anything else that endangers myself or those around me...)

To me the greater question is: why is the suicide rate going up? If we really are "progressing" as a culture, shouldn't it be going down? Why exactly do we create video games where people can kill each other without any consequences? (no answer) Is our "hook-up" culture really making young kids happy? (no, they are miserable, as evidenced by the high suicide rate, duh) Do cell phones and iPads and iPhones and every little latest bit of gadgetry make people feel fulfilled? (no, it only helps them compare themselves more easily to others, which then makes them miserable, as evidenced by, once again, the high suicide rate) Is a lack of religion in society good for us? (no, as evidenced by lack of dignity and respect people have for each other and themselves)

Where has common sense gone? If you can have a gun safely in your home, congratulations. But it doesn't take a lot of newswatching to realize guns are killing a lot of people nowadays. Good grief. Stop trying to pretend it's not a problem.

Wow an Anon who agrees with me! That never happens!;)

Anon -

Thanks so much for your comments. I actually think a lot about why the suicide rate is increasing. Each situation varies greatly, but here's what I think. We all like to feel purposeful in some way and that we are connected - that part of human nature.

In periods of transition (e.g, divorce, job loss, returning from war, having a child, graduating from college, entering college)there are gray periods of life where we might feel pretty badly about ourselves. we don't know where we fit and we don't see why we're here.

In our culture, there is an expectation that life should be easy and we should always know who we are and our purpose in life. Sorry, that's just not life. Life is going to be rocky sometimes. Add to that false expectation a globally competitive world where is it much harder to shine today than it was 20 years ago, and it is no wonder people are getting depressed. Throw in social isolation because of technology and the fact that everybody is afraid to touch each other because of sexual harassment or pedophilia and the world can feel like a pretty mean place.

In these periods of transition, those with a predisposition for mental illness get hit harder. If a person doesn't get help, which most don't, the problems get worse.

What is the answer? Be kind to each other. Take a moment to listen to each other and actually hear each other. Be honest about our weaknesses and gain strength from that honesty. Most violence comes from a source of pain. I sincerely believe if people feel heard, they will be less likely to pull the trigger on themselves or anyone else.

So thanks anon for chiming in. Appreciate your thoughts

Julie

for the record

For the record, Anon Above, I'm protective of my butter knives, steak knives, chain saw, etc etc. I just don't see a constant stream of articles that under the guise of protecting people, want to remove an object--albeit a dangerous one from people.

There is an easy way to reduce the number of guns in homes, Choice. Just choose not to buy/own any. If that's what someone needs to feel "safe" from themselves or others.

I don't think people should be congratulated for being safe with their guns anymore so than being safe with their kitchen knives or anything else that can do harm accidentally, or intentionally.

People are dangerous, but people want to somehow make themselves feel better by saying its the gun, as if people don't have a myriad of other means to do harm. Most of the gun deaths are gang related, year in and year out, sometimes its not even close with up to 90% being urban and handgun related. Many of them are in the famously draconian anti-gun Chicago area. Apparently, criminals didn't get the message that it was illegal to use guns to kill each other--rather than using baseball bats or knives or whatever. Freedom is what the debate boils down to. Of course any reasonable person would like homicidal maniacs, criminals to not use guns to murder people. But for some reason the emotional fallacy arguments continue, as if people in these situations are going to just choose not to have a gun in their home/apt. Any public policy that threatens the freedom/choice of 99% of people to attempt to mitigate the damage of the extreme minority is beyond rational in my opinion. Thus these articles tend to be appeals to emotion, and often use scare tactics. Life is inherently risky and what will shorten most people's lives are not the scary guns, but the less scary chips/cookies and extensive sitting on but--but people don't get worked up about that, cookies just don't look as scary as guns now do they? How do you enforce any of these policies, and why do people focus on these media fixated stories, appeal to drama, rather than focus on the biggest problems society faces both financially and in terms of health/life. No way a society can be financially solvent with the massive amount of health problems backed into the modern culture.

I think I'll go eat a cookie.

Fun thoughts

I'm for medicating most people.

This can reduce paranoia-perceived threats,aggression,and Mania. Psychiatric medicine can improve IQ and improve upon personality.Improvement of personality can make someone uninterested in the idea of guns.

If I'm Julie-like does that mean I have to hike a mountain.
Not sure I can.

Just say whatever you want.

Sexy :3

Sexy :3

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Julie Hersh is the author of Struck By Living: From Depression to Hope.

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