The next time an American gun enthusiast tells you there’s no correlation between gun ownership and suicide (and many of them will tell you this), you could mention that the Israeli army disagrees.
This column goes one better on the subject.
But let’s suppose science could establish that people who obtain firearms do indeed increase their death rate (or the death rate of their family members) from suicide. So what?
Buying a car may shorten your lifespan, since traffic accidents are a major killer. Building a backyard swimming pool creates a potential fatal hazard to you and your loved ones. But nobody says the government should interfere with such decisions.
Personal safety is a far more central matter of individual autonomy than those choices. A mentally stable person living in a crime-ridden neighborhood should be free to judge whether she’s more at risk from street criminals than from a spell of intense depression.
One imagines survivalist Nancy Lanza reading that last line and feeling relieved.
December 29th, 2012 at 10:49AM
Your readers might not know this, but Israeli soldiers are 18 years old, and their immediate officers six months to a year older. Kids that age in the United States are in college and still confused about what major to choose. Israeli kids may be more mature than their American counterparts, but 18 year olds are still adolescents. The short fuse of an adolescent, combined with the stress of the army and the availability of firearms, contribute to the problem of suicide, and the officers are too young and too inexperienced in life to identify the problem. I’m glad the army is finally waking up and doing something abou it.
December 29th, 2012 at 11:50AM
Greetings, Janet! Thanks for those details.