Thursday, September 30, 2010

Strange Crimes: Suicide

Unfortunately, suicide is not a "strange" crime in that it is not uncommon. What's strange (and ironic) about the recent suicide is the ineffectiveness of the University of Texas to prevent it (and the other 5 suicides at UT in the last twelve months). On Tuesday, Sept 28, 2010, 19-year-old Colton Tooley fatally shot himself with an AK-47 in the campus library of UT Austin. The story is tragic, but the irony is that the university observed National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week just last week.

The irony continued when the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus decided to cancel the lecture that they had scheduled for the same day. The lecture was to be given by John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime. In The Huffington Post, John Woods notes that Lott's title would be more accurate if it was changed to More Guns, More Suicides, because suicide rates increase in direct proportion to gun ownership rates. Woods says, "Fully half of all firearms deaths in the U.S. are suicides, and 80 to 90 percent of suicide attempts with firearms are successful. Compare this to drug overdose, which is only successful 30 to 40 percent of the time...Indeed, social scientists use suicide rates as a proxy for household handgun ownership rates, because the correlation is so very strong. Instead of pushing for barely trained students to carry guns, let's talk about how we can keep firearms out of the hands of those who are struggling. Let's talk about getting them access to counseling."

Amen.

2 comments:

  1. Suicide with an AK-47? I guess he was serious.

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  2. The AK-47 is not a small weapon, I am suprised that nobody noticed the student had it before he pulled the trigger.

    How sad it is that someone so young and just embarking on higher education/career path could feel so hopeless. My sympathy to his family and friends.

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