Canada –-(Ammoland.com)- In the wake of every mass shooting, the media-presented solution is always the same –– more restrictions on the people who did not commit the crime. That refrain is just as predictable as ours –– stop blaming the people who did not murder anyone!
Jeff Wilkinson, writing for DebateReport.com, did his best to turn an American mass murder into a call for greater Canadian firearm restrictions. Wilkinson cited statements by Iain Overton, research director for Britain’s Action on Armed Violence, as the rational for stricter mental health checks.
“I don’t think Canada should feel smug,” Overton said. “Between 2003 and 2012, over 5,500 Canadians shot and killed themselves. And this, I think, is something that really is lacking in the Canadian debate.”
What’s missing from Overton’s comment?
Full disclosure of Canadian suicide numbers by all methods. That gives a vastly different view of Canada’s suicide deaths.
Overton would have readers believe it’s a gun problem. It’s not. According to Statistics Canada, 44% of all suicide deaths are by hanging; 25% are by poison; and just 16% of all suicide deaths are from gunshot wounds.
Almost half of all Canadian suicides are death by hanging. Where is Overton’s call to ban ropes in the wake of 27,000 hanging suicides in his quoted range, 2003 to 2012? Or his call for more mental health checks at home improvement stores?
Wilkinson and Overton care only about firearm suicides. Why is that?
Are the thousands who hang themselves morally superior to those who shoot themselves? The answer, it seems, is a resounding “YES!”
You can’t blame guns for hanging suicides, and nobody will ban rope, so they howl about the smallest segment of Canadian suicides, those 16% of suicides by firearm.
The uncomfortable truth ignored by Wilkinson and avoided by Overton is this: While Canada’s suicide by firearm numbers continue to DROP, our overall suicide rate continues to rise.
In 2009, 3,890 Canadians killed themselves. By 2014, that number was 4,254, and yet Wilkinson will only talk about guns.
“If you don’t have a gun in the house, then your risk of suicide will go down, according to Overton.”
What a lovely but misleading statement. Firearms are inanimate objects. A gun cannot force a human being to do anything. A gun does not hold some mystical power over us. A gun does not, and cannot, whisper “shoot yourself” in your ear.
That’s the stuff of anti-gun fantasy and lousy Hollywood movies.
The terrible truth is this –– when people decide to end their lives and they are serious about that decision, nothing will prevent them. The annual increase in Canadian suicide numbers proves this with horrible clarity.
Only a fool would deny Canada faces serious societal problems when confronted with those numbers.
Why are the 1,957 people who hang themselves and the 1,063 who poison themselves each year ignored by Wilkinson? Because they didn’t kill themselves with a gun?
Statistics Canada dedicates an entire report to firearm suicides.
No such report exists for hanging or poisoning suicides.
We ask again –– why are those 3,000 suicides per year –– tragedies and failures of society, each and every one –– seemingly of little consequence?
Obviously, we have a national suicide problem. Those numbers don’t lie. Over 3,000 people killing themselves each year by hanging and poison is a wake-up call –– at least it should be a wake-up call.
If we want a conversation about suicide prevention in Canada, then let’s have a serious conversation. Bring everyone to the table. Stop hiding from inconvenient facts that don’t support your pet agenda.
Let’s stop “blaming guns” for suicides (and murders) and truthfully examine the state of mental health in Canada.
The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.
For more information, visit the website at www.cdnshootingsports.org.