In response to COVID-19 concerns, many Americans went out and bought a firearm. Since then, the gun surge hasn’t really let up. Then again, riots every night for months on end don’t really make people feel safe enough to go without a gun, by and large.
Yet one thing we’ve seen over and over again since then are people popping off about how suicides are going to increase. After all, we have all these new gun owners and the world is crap and that means people are going to die.
You know, the usual.
However, it seems that while we may see suicide by firearm increase, it may not be because of the pandemic, the gun buying surge, or any of those factors. How can I say that? Well, because it was happening before any of that.
Even before the pandemic, suicide rates in the United States were rising, according to a new government report.
While suicide rates in both urban and rural areas rose steadily between 2000 and 2018, the pace of increase quickened in rural areas after 2007, rising 3% every year compared to the 1% increase seen each year between 2000 and 2007, the National Center for Health Statistics report found.
Of course, the media can’t get away from blaming the pandemic for a potential increase.
There are, however, early indicators that the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, which could potentially drive the country’s suicide rate even higher.
A CDC survey from late June found that 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use issues during the pandemic. There was also a striking number of those surveyed who reported seriously having considered suicide in the 30 days prior to taking the survey. Among those respondents, those mostly likely to say they had considered suicide were young, Hispanic or front-line workers.
A quarter of people between the ages of 18 and 24; 19% of Hispanic respondents; 31% of caregivers for adults; and 22% of essential workers said they had seriously considered suicide in the past month.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pandemic did drive more people to kill themselves. They shouldn’t, of course, and if you’re someone who might be thinking of this, then please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Yet despite that, some may well decide that living their life stuck at home, not able to go anywhere without wearing a dystopian nightmare mask is just something they don’t want to deal with, especially while being called racist because they won’t bend the knee to a particular organization.
With that, though, we’re likely to see many people use that suicide spike–a spike we can’t be certain was caused by any one factor–as evidence that we need more gun control, that we need to somehow interfere with the rights of the majority because of the acts of a distinct minority. That’s not remotely sane, yet gun control tends not to be.
We have to remember that the spike started before the pandemic, the riots, and everything else. I suppose it might have been driven by people trying to escape the Michael Bloomberg ads on YouTube, but that seems a bit drastic.
Seriously, we don’t know what’s driving any of this. Not yet, anyway, so don’t let people try to convince you the surge in suicides is simply because more people bought guns. That dog don’t hunt.