Seeing the Round Corners

HEADS UP, the new day for Seeing the Round Corners “GOING LIVE” is Tuesday each week.

 September 1, 2020

The statistics of “death by gun” do not improve. As mentioned in the following column from this writer’s 2013 archives, one of the collateral issues of gun control is the increasing number of suicides committed using a gun.

In 2017 the number of suicides in the U. S.  was 47,173 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of that 47,173, the number of firearm suicides was 23,854. Think about this statistic – almost half of the total number of suicides in the U. S., 23,854, was by a firearm!!

The conclusion made by the Depression and Anxiety Journal regarding an eight-hospital national survey bears repeating:  “...restricting the means of harm is one of the proven ways to reduce deaths. The survey also recognized that “placing barriers on bridges prevented jumping suicides as support for the idea that making it more difficult for a suicidal person to get a gun lessens that person’s likelihood for succeeding.” 

DEATH BY GUN                                                                  April 22, 2013

This writer vowed to not write about gun control legislation during the 2013 Colorado General Assembly, but as the session has progressed, one aspect of the issue seems unavoidable due to the collateral effects of gunshot wounds and deaths.

With the expansion of Medicaid as a major component of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” the anti-gun control proponents refuse to acknowledge the catastrophic impact on America’s public health system.

The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) compiled these government costs using government statistics for gunshot wounds and deaths in 2010:

  • $5.4 billion in tax revenue because of lost work;
  • $4.7 billion in court costs;
  • $1.4 billion in Medicare and Medicaid costs for firearm injuries and deaths;
  • $180 million in mental health care costs for gunshot victims;
  • $224 million in insurance claims processing; and
  • $133 million for responding to shoot injuries.

Based on the latest figures (2010), the cost to the American health care system for gun-related injuries and deaths is about $12 billion annually. The PIRE study compared the 2010 statistics to those for 1994 and found the costs to have nearly doubled. 

A more recent study by Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville revealed that an astonishing 79 percent of gunshot victims in the Metro Nashville area were enrolled in Medicaid. By comparison, the number of other emergency room (ER) patients enrolled in Medicaid came in at 45 percent. Another 8 percent not on Medicaid when shot ended up on Medicaid due to their injuries.

So, through all this rhetoric, maybe the question for the anti-gun control proponents would be, are you willing for the collateral cost to be added to your health insurance premium? Rolling the eyes or rabid recitation of their “interpretation” of the Second Amendment is not an acceptable answer.

issues such as gun control reach the heated level now sweeping across America, people not accustomed to speaking out “run for cover.”

Collateral issue is the number of suicides committed using a gun. The March Depression and Anxiety Journal published an eight-hospital national survey which concluded that “restricting the means of harm is one of the proven ways to reduce deaths.” The survey recognized that placing barriers on bridges has prevented jumping suicides as support for the idea that making it more difficult for a suicidal person to get a gun lessens that person’s likelihood of succeeding.

The survey also identified that of the 38,000 people who committed suicide in 2010, more than half did so by firearm, thus removing it from the gun-control issue and placing it squarely where it should be – a safety issue for people in crisis.

The survey also acknowledged the difficulty for hospital emergency room personnel both from a sensitivity standpoint and reluctance to enter the fray of the gun-control issue. Missed is one last opportunity to warn a patient and their family about the dangers of easy access to a gun. Often overlooked is the opportunity to counsel a suicidal patient whose mental state worsens after release to go home. The study also found that many suicidal patients had visited an ER during the year prior to attempting or committing suicide.

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