Monday, July 21, 2008

I Found the Empty Case in the Back Seat

I have been contemplating writing about this for some time. The words will not come easy and my heart will threaten to burst from my chest as the pain consumes me. I will taste the salt of my tears as they roll from my eyes as I relive one of the most painful times in my life...but I have to have my say.

Many of you who may read this are bloggers yourself. And many of you who may read this are concerned with the right to keep and bear arms. Many of you may be my friends and many may have just stumbled across me. Regardless of the reason you find yourself here, if you have been here before, you know that I too, believe my right to keep and bear arms is sacred. I stand up for it, I support it and I above all practice it.

But there is one thing I will not do. I will not stand idly by and listen without comment, as others, reporters, bloggers or the common man on the street, make sport of a subject as serious as the taking of one's own life. Please bear with me....this isn't easy.

Recently, there have been a plethora of information related to suicides and the ownership of firearms. The debate swings like a wrecking ball, back and forth, back and forth. Yes, the anti-gunners say: "If you bought a gun today, I could tell you the risk of suicide to you and your family members is going to be two- to tenfold higher over the next 20 years,"

No, the gun advocates retort: "there are at least 13 published studies finding no meaningful connection between the rate of firearms ownership and the rate of suicides. The number of guns in a nation tells you nothing about its suicide rate." Sometimes I feel like I am in the path of the wrecking ball.

The anti's use suicide by gun as a means to ban them. If I really believed their intent was to save lives, then I would have to give them credit for their misguided deeds. But that isn't their intent and we all know it. They need to quit adjusting the truth.

Gunnies seem to feel the need to use these articles to support their right to keep and bear arms. They also seem to feel the need to make sport of people who use other methods of suicide: specifically the Japanese. If I have to read one more sentence about banning ropes, knives, chlorine gas etc. I am going to scream. This argument too, is disingenuous. We all know there is no banning of these items...so why even suggest doing so? Suicide is not amusing and we are supposed to be the righteous ones.

It is true, the nation has one of the strictest firearm bans and one of the highest suicide rates. It is also true, those Japanese who commit suicide find numerous ways to do so. In fact, I think we all know that anyone who is really intent on committing suicide is going to use whatever means they can to do so. My brother did.

He was 29 years old and he shot himself in the chest with a 22 caliber pistol in his car. The bullet penetrated the right side of his heart, followed a path through the left and exited under his left arm. He was air lifted from an Arizona desert to the hospital where his chest was cracked open in an attempt to save his life. It was futile. The rest of the details aren't important.

What is important is this: Did having a gun make my brother's suicide easier for him? I can say without a doubt, yes. Would he have committed suicide if he had not had a gun? I don't know. Do I blame the gun for what happened to my brother? NO...I don't blame anyone, not even him.

My brother was sick, as are most of the people who commit suicide. There is often an underlying mental illness attached to the victim that drives them to take their own lives. Where is the talk and blogging about getting help for the illnesses that plague these people, instead of banning the object of death du jour.

This should be the focus of this argument. This is what will save lives. And if that is what the argument is about, saving lives, isn't that what we should be talking about? I want both sides to stop using suicide as a platform for the right to keep and bear arms. IT ISN'T THE PLACE! The only time death belongs on this platform is when we, the good guys, are taking down the bad guys.

1 comment:

Brigid said...

That had to be very hard to write, and the fact that there are few comments is more indicicative on the reflection it likely brings.

My best girlfrields brother committed suicide much the same way. I remember well when it happened, we've been best friends since college. The pain stays with her today.

As you said, perhaps his having access to the gun might have delayed his decision, perhaps not, but that is NOT the issue. And it's a tragedu that needs to stay out of the debate. The anti gun crowd even using it as a platform is an insult to those who have lost a family member to suicide.

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