Saving Our Gun Rights Means Saving People From Suicide

 

We’ve known for years now that the problem with gun deaths in America isn’t street gangs and other criminals, it’s the thousands of people who commit suicide with a firearm each year. This horror is affecting men (especially men who live in small, rural towns) to a much greater extent than it is women. But rather than reach out to men and channel their feelings of frustration and impotence into more positive, traditional ways, the American Psychological Association says the real problem is they’re acting like men. 

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health... Researchers led by James Mahalik, PhD, of Boston College, found that the more men conformed to masculine norms, the more likely they were to consider as normal risky health behaviors such as heavy drinking, using tobacco and avoiding vegetables, and to engage in these risky behaviors themselves.”

Not eating vegetables is a risky behavior? News flash: Romaine lettuce has harmed more people than any of my guns ever have. 

This is just one of the reasons why so-called “gun restraining orders,” are a bad idea. A gun restraining order is when a person’s legally-owned firearms are forcibly taken away from them because, in the opinion of the courts and mental health professionals, that person represents a threat to themselves or others. Now, according to the APA, I’m supposed to believe that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” because it leads to, among other things, depression and me not eating my vegetables? What happens when a diagnosis of “traditional masculinity” is enough to trip a gun restraining order? You may scoff at such an idea, but In my lifetime, homosexuality has been replaced by homophobia as a sign of mental illness. The definition of “mental illness” seems to be quite flexible these days, and ideas that were once the very model of male behavior are now being diagnosed and treated as just another mental illness. 

I think psychology can and does amazing things to help people live happier lives. However, if a diagnosis of stoicism and eating too much red meat means someone gets to take away someone’s private property, it is no longer a science. “Gun restraining” orders are being touted primarily as an antidote to the unbelievable amount of suicides that are happening using guns. It’s a silly solution, of course, because if the desire is strong enough, no amount of restrictions will stop it, but at least it’s an acknowledgment that there is a problem. I lost a good friend, Bob Owens of Bearingarms.com, to suicide, and it’s high time we gun owners understand that the problem exists in our midst and that we need to do something about it before something is done to us. 

The first step one for tackling this problem from the pro-gun side is to admit there’s a problem. We need to show a willingness to come up with ideas to solve it other than confiscation. Coming up with solutions that respect and uphold our rights but are still are able to deal with the very real problem of suicides using firearms lies on our hands. This solution needs to happen because there are so many anti-rights activists who are waiting for an excuse, any excuse to take away our right to keep and bear arms, and they’ll use this ongoing tragedy to do so. Expanded background checks and other gun control measures have been proven not to work: It’s time to stop this horrible epidemic of violence where it begins: Within the ravaged souls of those contemplating taking their own life. 

We need to find with ways for those most vulnerable to suicide to bond together, find strength in one another. and build each other up over a shared love of the outdoors and the shooting sports. My friends Carrie Lightfoot and Juliana Crowder have had tremendous success with their Well Armed Women and Girl With Gun programs, which have created pathways into safe and enjoyable firearms ownership for thousands and thousands of women. 

Maybe it’s time for something like those programs, but for men. It’s no surprise that memberships in fraternal organizations like the Elks Lodge and the Rotary Club grew after servicemen came home from World War II. Inside the walls of the Elks Lodge or similar group, men could find a “safe space” to bond and deal with the horrors of war on their terms. It’s time that the servicemen coming home from overseas and the rest of the men in America to find a source of support that’s something other than people yelling at them for not eating their broccoli. The solution to the suicide epidemic is within each of us. We just need to share it with others. 

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There are 26 comments.

  1. Member

    Kevin Creighton: The solution to the suicide epidemic is within each of us.


     And it is not, it would seem, within the American Psychological Association.

    • #1
    • January 10, 2019, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  2. Inactive

    Kevin Creighton: and avoiding vegetables, and to engage in these risky behaviors themselves

    I had to stop reading and recompose myself at this point.

    Oh yes, the riskiest of behaviors! Look, look, I’m riding a bicycle without a helmet! Now that’s an acceptable level of danger.

    But avoiding vegetables? Up their with pointing a gun at your head and strapping yourself to a JATO for the thrill of a lark through the night sky. Time for involuntary admission.

    What’s his diagnosis, Doctor Quahk?

    Vegopenia, Dr. Van Rumpey. I think we can save him, but he’ll never be able to play the guitar and sing enchanting folk ballads raising his voice against the man’s opossum oppression again.

    • #2
    • January 10, 2019, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Member

    So basically, men who see themselves as part of a greater unit, working for a greater goal, are less likely to commit suicide?

    • #3
    • January 10, 2019, at 5:57 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    kidCoder (View Comment):

    So basically, men who see themselves as part of a greater unit, working for a greater goal, are less likely to commit suicide?

    It’s almost like we were created to serve a cause greater than ourselves, or something…

    • #4
    • January 10, 2019, at 6:04 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  5. Member

    Kevin Creighton: Researchers led by James Mahalik, PhD, of Boston College, found that the more men conformed to masculine norms, the more likely they were to consider as normal risky health behaviors such as heavy drinking, using tobacco and avoiding vegetables

    My goodness. What would the good Dr. Mahalik and his team think of deploying multiple times to enable truly toxic Jihadi masculines reaching room temperature, jumping out of perfectly sound airplanes, and training many hours per week to defeat a foe if, for whatever nefarious reason, one does not have a firearm to hand?

    I’d like to give that cat a Copenhagen enema. 

    • #5
    • January 10, 2019, at 6:21 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  6. Member

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):

    So basically, men who see themselves as part of a greater unit, working for a greater goal, are less likely to commit suicide?

    It’s almost like we were created to serve a cause greater than ourselves, or something…

    How do we do that without a war?

    • #6
    • January 10, 2019, at 6:57 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    Kevin Creighton: It’s a silly solution, of course, because if the desire is strong enough, no amount of restrictions will stop it, but at least it’s an acknowledgment that there is a problem.

    To be fair, some people probably do kill themselves with guns who would not kill themselves otherwise. Nothing provides such an instant, painless, certain death. 

     

    • #7
    • January 10, 2019, at 7:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton: The solution to the suicide epidemic is within each of us.


    And it is not, it would seem, within the American Psychological Association.

    Looking at how the APA diagnoses the problem, I think their solution would be a strict regime of arugula, wine coolers, and Lifetime movies.

    • #8
    • January 10, 2019, at 8:01 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Member

    Kevin Creighton: Maybe it’s time for something like those programs, but for men. It’s no surprise that memberships in fraternal organizations like the Elks Lodge and the Rotary Club grew after servicemen came home from World War II

    I agree with you about having groups where men can be men. Probably need to start new ones though because a lot of the traditional “fraternal” groups now allow women. The head of the Elks in my town is a woman. 

    • #9
    • January 10, 2019, at 8:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton: The solution to the suicide epidemic is within each of us.


    And it is not, it would seem, within the American Psychological Association.

    Looking at how the APA diagnoses the problem, I think their solution would be a strict regime of arugula, wine coolers, and Lifetime movies.

    I thought the eternity of torment was after you’d committed suicide.

    • #10
    • January 10, 2019, at 8:38 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Member

    For those that are interested there is a new podcast in Minnesota about gun policy both general and local. These guys are really smart and really good communicators and we have some really thorny legislative issues right now. I really recommend you give it a try 

    http://www.mngunreport.com 

    • #11
    • January 11, 2019, at 3:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Member

    Psychology is an art not a science. Psychiatry, although requiring a medical degree is mostly art, and not a science. We have reached the point in our society where every fantasy must be indulged, moral equivalency is the rule. In simpler terms; I’m okay, and you’re okay.

    Taking advice from any group that says you are really a woman, and not a man, or vice versa, and then medical doctors that will prescribe the hormones, and perform the genital mutilation necessary so a fantasy can be indulged should not be considered an authority on what is okay, and what is not.

    • #12
    • January 11, 2019, at 4:49 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Member

    kidCoder (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):

    So basically, men who see themselves as part of a greater unit, working for a greater goal, are less likely to commit suicide?

    It’s almost like we were created to serve a cause greater than ourselves, or something…

    How do we do that without a war?

    Contributing to our fellow human: Women need houses fixed, cars fixed, and yards cleaned up; towns need reconstruction after a natural disaster; elderly people need transportation to medical and other appointments.

    [My experiences are mostly with men’s groups from Christian churches. They start off with the intent to minister to others, but the participants get at least as much from participating as the recipients do from receiving.]

    • #13
    • January 11, 2019, at 5:09 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Member

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton: The solution to the suicide epidemic is within each of us.


    And it is not, it would seem, within the American Psychological Association.

    Looking at how the APA diagnoses the problem, I think their solution would be a strict regime of arugula, wine coolers, and Lifetime movies.

    I thought the eternity of torment was after you’d committed suicide.

    <snark on>

    I think a forced diet for men of arugula, wine coolers, and Lifetime movies would be likely to lead to a significant increase in suicides by men.

    <snark off>

    My favorite story of guys together is a group of married men in our church got together for an evening. Dinner was steaks grilled on an outdoor grill (meat on fire), and the entertainment was a Die Hard movie. A couple of the wives stopped by during the movie and asked about the plot of the movie. The guys: “Plot? Why does the movie need a plot? It’s got car chases and explosions.”

     

    • #14
    • January 11, 2019, at 5:17 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    <snark on>

    I think a forced diet for men of arugula, wine coolers, and Lifetime movies would be likely to lead to a significant increase in suicides by men.

    <snark off>

    There’s a “snark off” option? I don’t think I have that button on my account.

    But your snark shows more knowledge of the male human brain than what the American Psychological Association said. The idea that you can just tell men not to be masculine and think that they will just be good with that is ridiculous. Also, they pretend that biology doesn’t matter.

    No one wants to give people who are truly suicidal or homicidal weapons, but who gets to make that call for someone else? When we hear so called “experts” say that maleness and conservatism are mental illnesses, we don’t want them to be the ones signing off on gun restraining orders

    • #15
    • January 11, 2019, at 5:42 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Member

    My granddaughter was dating a young man in college several months ago. His roommates were concerned by his bizarre behavior and called his mother when he brought a gun into his room. She came and confiscated the gun. Shortly afterward my granddaughter found him hanging in his closet. 

    Not sure what actions would have saved this troubled young man’s life but obviously confiscating his gun was of little value. If guns are taken away from anyone seeking to do harm to himself or someone else then he will only choose another weapon. The only result of gun control is that the victim has a lesser chance of defending themselves. 

    • #16
    • January 11, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  17. Podcaster

    1. Gender is a social construct that can be changed at will. The reality of genitalia is absurd.

    2. Religion is bunk but millennia of human evolution can be changed in a generation.

    3. Party of Science™️

    • #17
    • January 11, 2019, at 6:11 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  18. Member

    Goldwater's Revenge (View Comment):

    My granddaughter was dating a young man in college several months ago. His roommates were concerned by his bizarre behavior and called his mother when he brought a gun into his room. She came and confiscated the gun. Shortly afterward my granddaughter found him hanging in his closet.

    Not sure what actions would have saved this troubled young man’s life but obviously confiscating his gun was of little value. If guns are taken away from anyone seeking to do harm to himself or someone else then he will only choose another weapon. The only result of gun control is that the victim has a lesser chance of defending themselves.

    This highlights the real problem. The gun is a quick way to die but does not create suicidal thoughts. People on suicide watch are deprived of any means of self-destruction, not just guns.

    • #18
    • January 11, 2019, at 8:16 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Member

    You lost me at APA.

    In less than 10 years, pedophiles will be more respectable than men. Save this post.

    • #19
    • January 11, 2019, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Member

    Kevin Creighton: We need to find with ways for those most vulnerable to suicide to bond together, find strength in one another. and build each other up over a shared love of the outdoors and the shooting sports.

    Yes! I think that a re-constituted militia, firmly anchored at the local community level – towns, school districts, counties – may be one way to provide such support. The most vulnerable can bond together with those stronger, finding support in a shared ethic of that which makes our masculinity its most noble and admirable (the willingness to place one’s life and body between the threat of harm to hearth and home.)

    • #20
    • January 11, 2019, at 10:50 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Inactive

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    meat on fire

    Don’t forget the sharp knives.

    • #21
    • January 11, 2019, at 12:37 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Coolidge

    Kevin Creighton: What happens when a diagnosis of “traditional masculinity” is enough to trip a gun restraining order?

    This could be a positive or a negative sign, or both. Positive if it is taken as a sign somebody actually cares that a male not kill himself, as a result of engaging in the risky behavior of “traditional masulinity.” As opposed to just confiscating guns from men.

    What if this attitude were to be applied to some of the risky behaviors engaged in by single women? Instead of taking away a personally owned weapon, could a woman diagnosed as being sexually promiscuous (with men) be given a restraining order that restricts her access to an abortion clinic?

    I think in the days when AIDS was rampant and treatment options were few (and being HIV positive was nearly certain a death sentence), a person who was HIV positive had a moral imperative to not engage in behavior that could pass on their potentially fatal disease. It would seem that a person who did not restrict themselves in that case ought to properly the subject of a restraining order.

    In all these cases, the sacrifice of a human life is a likely outcome. But I would guess that in the first case of “traditional masculinity,” it would be associated with the lowest probability.

    • #22
    • January 11, 2019, at 7:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Relevant to this discussion: How the Soviet Union weaponized psychiatry against its enemies. https://at.fee.org/2CLC51W

    • #23
    • January 12, 2019, at 4:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Coolidge

    The leftie solution re evil: leave the evil ones to live among us but disarm the innocent. Re suicide: owning a gun makes one suicidal so take away the gun. Don’t treat the mental illness and depression because it might create a stigma. And thenworst possibility yet: To gain control, use social issues as an excuse to disarm the population.

    • #24
    • January 14, 2019, at 7:44 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  25. Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton: It’s a silly solution, of course, because if the desire is strong enough, no amount of restrictions will stop it, but at least it’s an acknowledgment that there is a problem.

    To be fair, some people probably do kill themselves with guns who would not kill themselves otherwise. Nothing provides such an instant, painless, certain death.

     

    PSA: Not necessarily instant, painless or certain. You’ve got to do it properly and not flinch. Trust me on this. 

     

    • #25
    • January 14, 2019, at 9:05 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Member

    More to the point: Thank you, Kevin, for this. It’s important.

    • #26
    • January 14, 2019, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes