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October 13, 2008

Hard Times, Hard Deaths

Over the years, numerous rigorous academic studies have pointed out the relationship between household firearms ownership and the rate of suicide. According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health: "Deciding whether to own a gun entails balancing potential benefits and risks. One of the risks for which the empirical evidence is strongest, and the risk whose death toll is greatest, is that of completed suicide."

As the current economic crisis deepens, Americans across the country will find themselves struggling with stress and depression. The media has yet to address how this situation will affect the suicide rate in America, and how guns will factor into that equation.

We should fear the spread of horrific events like the one that occurred last week in California. An unemployed financial advisor, distraught over money worries, killed himself and five family members at their upscale Los Angeles home with a handgun he had recently purchased.

Simultaneously, we are seeing alarming stories of an increase in sales of guns as a result of the economic downturn. If this is true, how much more tragedy will result? How many more lives will be lost due to the combination of impulsive behavior and the ready availability of firearms?

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