Palmer woman uses gun to kill herselfAgain, the tags make no sense to me. Did Sarah Palin hand this troubled woman a gun? Did the Republicans do it? Did a Talk Show host drive her to suicide?
I wonder what other path she could have chosen. I imagine her family would have preferred counseling for her, instead of using her gun against her face. Cops probably would have preferred that as well. But I’m confident that over the years, she used that gun in self defense. SURE of it. Yup.
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2010 at 10:35 am and is filed under Guns. Tagged: Alaska, Guns, Firearms, Republican, NRA, Death, Pistol, Palin, Hunter, RickRydell, Handguns, Palmer, Suicide.
This is the actual blotter information:
Case number: 10-16528
Type: Death Investigation
Text: On 2/27/10 at 1509 hours, Alaska State Troopers responded to the
Knik River Access area in Palmer for a death investigation.
Investigation revealed Ann Miley, age 59 of Soldotna was found deceased
inside her vehicle with a self inflicted gun shot wound. State Medical
Examiner's Office responded to the scene and took possession of the
body. No foul play is suspected. Next of Kin has been notified.
Received Saturday, February 27, 2010 7:27 PM and posted Saturday, February 27, 2010 7:41 PM
First, suicide is tragic. I'm not sure that talking about it with sarcasm is respectful to the deceased or the grieving family. I've known people who are emotionally troubled or dealing with depression and PTSD and its not an easy or trivial struggle. Gwen suggests that the easy access to a firearm allowed the woman to avoid counseling. However, I do not think that there is a strong, proven, causal relationship between guns and suicide.
Here's some more facts from Gun Facts:
Fact: The rate of suicide is not affected by the presence of a firearm. This is true in either a time-series analysis,388 or through crossnational analysis. For example, Japan has no private handgun ownership (aside from an extremely limited number of licensed Olympic sport shooters), and yet had a suicide rate more than twice that of the United States in 2002.389
Source & References:
Smith, Guy. 2009. Gun Facts 5.1. Available Online: www.GunFacts.info. Used IAW free usage license terms.
388 FBI Uniform Crime Statistics online, BATFE Firearm Commerce Report for 2002.
389 FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, World Health Organization Suicide Prevention country reports (online).
One common argument is that mentally ill people should not be allowed to own firearms. This was a common outcry after the VA Tech attack, and whenever someone commits suicide with a firearm its often hinted at. I think there are some problems with that, however. Denying someone of a Constitutional Right by means of a health provider's diagnosis -- for which there is no clear appeal, unlike the judicial system -- does not seem to be "due process." Additionally, these diagnoses are often subjective.
Finally, there are already many barriers for troubled people seeking mental health treatment. If an avid sportsman, collector, shooter, or hunter knows that seeking help for their depression will result in their firearms being confiscated by the state they may be less likely to seek help. I think a choice to temporarily hand over one's firearms during a tough time is better made by the individual with the help of their family. Just like a recovering alcoholic shouldn't have booze in the cupboard (and their family needs to help them stick to this!), a suicidal depressed person should carefully consider whether its wise to keep potentially hazardous objects like guns, lengths of stout rope, large quantities of dangerous medication, etc around the house. But, that's a choice best made by the individual with the support of the family, not by the state.
If someone is so dangerously unstable that they have committed or are extremely likely to commit a violent crime, then there is already a process for that: either felony convictions or involuntary commitment. If someone is really a great danger to themselves and others then they should be locked up. While this has been abused in the past, at the judicial system's protections for habeaus corpus, due process, etc. start to come into play in these scenarios.