Friday, August 24, 2012

Is the NRA responsible for the military suicides?

I will let you decide the answer to this question once you have finished this post.  The hard facts are that the majority of these military suicides, mostly Army because it is the largest of the four, have two things in common: Alcohol and a gun.  If you recall in an earlier post, the two are also a factor in domestic suicides in the U.S.  Firearms were used in 50% of these deaths.  But the military has been stymied by the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) by another of their stupid laws.

Military commanders claim in the Christian Science Monitor, “…that a new NRA-backed law prohibits them from engaging in discussions about weapons and safety.”  Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s former Vice Chief of Staff, commented before retirement, “…when you have somebody that you in fact feel is high risk, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to tell that individual that it would not be a good idea to have a weapon around the house.”  Now is that unreasonable?

The NRA thinks so.  Due to an NRA backed law, commanders are not allowed to ask a soldier who lives off post whether that soldier has a privately owned weapon.  Chiarelli “…expressed concern...that this law amounts to a prohibition on commanders engaging in vital discussions with US soldiers about weapons and personal safety."  The military can enforce any situation if the soldier lives on base but not off base.  50% of military suicides also use a firearm.

Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta said, with 206 troops already taking their lives this year, “That is an epidemic.  Something is wrong.”  Chiarelli makes another statement that is significant to all self-inflicted gun deaths, “if you can separate the individual from the weapon, you can lower the incidences of suicide.”  Of course, this would also apply to certain situations other than suicides, those that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally unbalanced.

Big mouth NRA head, Wayne LaPierre
responsible for loose gun law

The NRA is apparently not confronting the situation.  But Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) Oklahoma through his spokesperson is, “very concerned” about suicide within the military. At the same time, he adds, “individual rights must be protected.”  There’s that NRA dictated 2nd Amendment crap again which places the right to have guns over human life.  By the way, Inhofe was the author of this idiotic legislation, and in 2008 received a $51,050 donation from the NRA. 

In a Huff Post article exclaiming how military suicides doubled in July over June, it is thought this is a result of multiple deployments as well as marital and financial problems and health issues.  I do not know how many guns are owned by members of the military, but it is a fact that between 270 and 300 million are in the hands of all Americans.  Those guns privately owned by the military may be included in this but, no matter, it’s still just too many damn guns.

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