Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill Themselves

(Trigger warning for suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, trauma – basically most mental health stuff that necessitates a trigger warning.  This is a nasty, uncomfortable piece.  It’s an attempt at satire.  Please keep in mind, if you’ve been affected by any of the problems I’ve listed, you are not the target of this satire, and I don’t mean to cause you any harm.  If you choose to read it I hope it doesn’t hurt you.)

In the aftermath of the recent spate of mass shootings, we’ve seen a great deal of spirited discussion about the cause of the violence.  Some believe we need stricter gun control, limiting ammunition purchases and banning more dangerous weapons.  Others blame violence in the media, and argue that trained, competent gun owners are best equipped to prevent further tragedies.

Only one proposal seems universally agreed upon, and included in proposals by those across the political spectrum: the need to reduce access to guns for the mentally ill.  The American people have realized that most of these media-enticing serial murderers suffer from extreme and dangerous forms of mental illness, and that the best way to prevent massacres like Aurora and Sandy Hook from interrupting their television viewing and forcing them to have sad feelings is to stop these troubled men from acquiring guns.

That idea is an atrocity.  That is literally something that Hitler did.  Even suggesting it is an infringement on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the gentle, peace-loving, self-hating mentally ill.  Ask yourself: are we so hellbent on preventing a handful of crazy people from inflicting violence on innocent children, that we’re willing to prohibit innocent crazy people from inflicting violence on themselves?  Are we really that far gone?

A study on gun control in Canada determined that suicide is five times more likely to occur in a home with a gun.  That’s a statistic that should give any proponent of gun control pause: if we take away guns, as many as five out of six suicidally-depressed people will find themselves without the constitutionally-guaranteed instrument they need to pursue their personal vision of happiness.  Check your sanity privilege, readers: maybe you’ve never tried to kill yourself with a firearm, but that doesn’t give you the right to stop 19,392 law-abiding American citizens every year from doing so.

What will happen to these decent, constitution-loving, suicidal Americans once we take away their guns?  Will they be forced to poison or suffocation, less-effective methods that leave their suicide vulnerable to interruption by some interfering “good Samaritan”?  Will they toss themselves off buildings, requiring clean-up and even more big government spending?  Keep your government out of my brain, Mr. President.  The only thing that belongs in there is a bullet.

And that’s not even considering the countless legitimate uses the mentally ill have for firearms.  You might argue an obsessive-compulsive would have to spend less time counting bullets with smaller magazines, but maybe you should keep your nanny-state good intentions to yourself?  It’s an obsessed person’s right and his right alone to decide how many tormented hours he wants to spend counting – besides, with smaller ammunition capacity per magazine he’ll just buy more magazines and count those, you can’t stop crazy people from finding ways.  Or imagine an anorexic who finds the best way to shed pounds is to take a literal “pound of flesh” with an assault rifle.  Imagine a self-mutilator who decides razors aren’t enough, and who can only get relief from the unrelenting emotional numbness the unrelenting by blasting holes in her forearms (or thighs, if she wants to be discrete).

People like to say that the constitution is not a suicide pact.  Maybe it’s not.  But it is a pact between the American government and its people, and it explicitly guarantees our right to the tools of suicide.  This nation was founded on belief in the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and some of us are afflicted with a tragic condition that means we can’t be happy until we’re not alive.  This is America, my fellow patriots.  Live free and die.

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