I was driving on March 2015, and Charles texted me this picture. I had to pull over. For some reason, this picture triggered an uneasy and uncomfortable feeling. Things were not going well with him and I think I must have sensed on some level his cavalier attitude about his own life.
He killed himself just three months later although by a different method.
He had been at a friend’s house when this was taken and the dad had told the guys they could have a look at his collection. I must have sent a mom-style freak out text because I remember the response, “Mom, chill. It’s not like they are loaded!”
Boys love firearms. Even when they are kids, if you give them legos or sticks, they’ll fashion a gun out of them. Charles’ fascination was obvious.
I’m not advocating on or expressing an opinion on the second amendment. But these are facts.
- 51% of all deaths by suicide are by firearm
- 60% of all deaths by firearm are suicides (not homicides)
- Having a firearm in the house increases the risk of suicide by about three times. It’s not because people who own guns are more likely to be suicidal, but in that moment of crisis and impulsivity, a firearm leaves fewer chances that someone would walk away from an attempt. Firearms mean more completed suicides.
Counseling, safe storage and education in the community about firearm safety helps prevent suicide. So if you have a gun, keeping it in something like a thumbprint safe and being apprised of firearm safety reduces risk. Most of us who’ve lost someone to suicide never thought our loved one was at risk. And prior to my son, Charles’ suicide I would have told you it was something he’d never do.
If you are going to own a firearm, you need to own the gun safe.
This message below from AFSP, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. It’s worth two minutes of your time.