Regular readers know that Ye Olde Blogge has a deep and abiding concern for gun violence. Guns provide the best of both worlds, murder and suicide, because they are so deadly. And, just for an added bit of fun, they make for dandy mass killing machines so we can all be entertained as much by the news as we are by our favorite movies and TV shows. After all, aren’t mass shootings riveting drama? They may not account for even a large percentage of annual gun-related deaths, but when they happen — and they happen every day — they are spectacular, especially the ones that make national news.
Unfortunately, for fans of mass shootings, they can’t compete with the multitude of shootings that don’t make the threshold of mass shootings. You know, the shootings that only kill one, two, or three people. Even with a mass shooting every day, they probably only average just over four killings a day, which means that they’ll never catch the 96 that are distributed over the one, two, or three killing shootings. See? It’s simple math.
Okay, but now here come some “researchers” — I KNOW, right? Like, what do “researchers” know that my own right good common sense what god give me honest lie don’t? — that give us this rich quote, “Many of these mass shootings are angry suicides, says James Densley, professor of criminal justice at Minnesota’s Metropolitan State University.” Yeah, you read it, now suicides and mass shootings are linked! Apparently, their “studies” of mass shooters suggest that many of them were suicidal and even botched an attempt or two before embarking on an elaborate suicide by cop plan.
Other researchers say the same things about school mass shooters and lone-wolf terrorists.
Their suggestion is that the so-called “red flag” laws might could stop some mass shootings, too. Apparently, states like Indiana and Connecticut that have red flag laws have seen dramatic drops in suicides by 7.5 and 13.7 per cent, respectively. Theoretically, if one of them sumbitches were inclined to mass shootings, when their guns were snatched from them to prevent their suicide, it prolly prevented the mass shooting as well.
Frequently, suicide is an impulsive event that takes place in the depth of crisis. Once the crisis passes, the person isn’t likely to commit suicide. In the parlance and lingo of those who know, means matter. Take away the means, you’re not likely to have a suicide. It turns out, like everything else, suicides like to use the tools that they are familiar and comfortable with. Nothing mucks up a good suicide like being stressed over how to do it, amirite?
While the article dithers over whether red flag laws are effective at preventing suicide but maybe violate personal liberty and maybe are sweeping up too many “innocent” people — after all, how do you prove prevention? — and laments that we aren’t likely to prevent all mass shootings and suicides even with red flag laws. And complains that red flag laws are still to “blunt” of an instrument to use in trying to address suicide and mass shootings — really, what the fuck Nate? — it does conclude that red flag laws can contribute to preventing both suicides and mass shootings. They give another tool for acting when someone is threatening to do the unspeakable.
Can We Prevent Mass Shootings By Preventing Suicide?
By Maggie Koerth-Baker 22 August 2019
Imagine a doctor who wanted to treat a broken leg with chemotherapy. Or treat cancer with a cast.
Just because cancer and broken legs are both things that happen to the body doesn’t mean they call for the same treatment. These are the kinds of issues policymakers face every day. Take gun violence. It feels like one big problem, but it’s actually a bunch of different problems that don’t necessarily have a single cause. So when somebody wants to, say, prevent mass shootings with a policy that originated as a suicide-prevention tool, it’s reasonable to have some questions about whether that makes any sense.
And that’s exactly what’s happening with “red flag laws,” the gun legislation model of the moment, which even many gun-control-averse Republicans have supported in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Studies have shown that state-level versions of these laws have been effective at preventing suicide. But can they actually address the separate issue of mass shootings? Surprisingly, experts think they could. And that’s because — just like a fragile, cracked bone could be a symptom of certain kinds of cancers — researchers are finding evidence that suicides and mass shootings can often be different expressions of the same problem.