Suicide is a Tragedy, Not a Political Tool
Suicide is a Tragedy, Not a Political Tool
Andrew Black committed suicide on December 6, 2018. He was 23 years old – a young life snuffed out too early by a desperate act. Andrew’s suicide was a heartbreaking tragedy that I am sure left his family and friends in unimaginable pain and demanding answers as to why this seemingly healthy, happy young man would take his own life so suddenly. What I’m at a loss to explain is why his parents would use his death as an opportunity to push a political agenda.
I feel nothing but sorrow for Andrew’s loved ones, but my sympathy ends where political opportunism begins. Apparently, in their grief, parents Rob and Alyssa Black decided it was a good idea to use their son’s obituary to push gun control.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Andrew’s name be made to the Green Mountain Club. Additionally, the family asks that you please consider lobbying your State Representative with the following: “In honor of Andrew R. Black, we ask that you work for legislation that imposes a reasonable waiting period between firearm purchase and possession to provide a cooling off period to guard against impulsive acts of violence.”
Not unexpectedly, in her zeal to use the blood of others to push her political agenda, unhinged demanding mommy Shannon Watts joined the exploitation dance. What I didn’t see from Watts is any indication of sympathy for the family and no acknowledgement of the tragedy. In her usual bout of opportunism, she began calling for gun control, citing Andrew Black’s obituary as though the parents of a suicide victim have some moral authority to call for a nationwide policy change that affects the rights of millions of people.
What were the parents thinking when they decided to push policy in what was otherwise a heartfelt tribute to their son? There was no context about Andrew’s life. We don’t know whether he had mental and emotional issues that caused him to feel pain so acute, that he decided ending it permanently was the only answer. We know nothing other than the fact that this young man bought a gun and was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound a few hours later.
“Andy was having a bad day,” his father said in an interview with a local news outlet.
Although it’s true that many suicides are impulsive acts, I can’t imagine that a simple “bad day” would cause someone to end it all so drastically.
Research has shown a link between alcohol and suicide. Andrew was an avid fan of beer and started home brewing at the tender age of 16; could this have exacerbated whatever feelings of hopelessness he may have experiencing? Did something happen on that “bad day?” The parents aren’t saying, but the media and gun control advocates immediately picked up the gun control baton and ran with it.
“We believe in the Second Amendment, but…” say the parents. “What’s the big deal?” they ask.
What’s the big deal? A waiting period for an abused woman who needs a tool to protect herself from an abuser can mean the difference between life and death. While the victim waits patiently the legally required time, a murderous abuser will have no such limits. Anyone willing to beat the crap out of a partner will have no problem buying a gun from a street dealer, stealing it, or borrowing it. A waiting period will not stop them. Every minute the victim has to wait to exercise her right to protect her life is a minute that the abuser can exploit. That’s the big deal.
Moreover, in some situations, the attack may be especially likely during the waiting period: A person’s attempt to buy a gun may be prompted by a specific threat, a threat which could turn into an actual attack in a matter of days or hours. If a woman leaves an abusive husband or boyfriend, who threatens to kill her for leaving, she may need a gun right away, not 10 days later or 6 months later.
What’s the big deal? Being unable to make a purchase when we want and when we deem necessary is an absolute violation of our rights. You must be able to purchase a gun before you can keep and bear it. Actual possession of a firearm is necessary in order to exercise this right. How is an arbitrary, government-imposed waiting period that prevents law-abiding citizens from taking possession of their property – even for a short time – not infringing on our Second Amendment rights?
Yes, it is a big deal. Making people wait to exercise a fundamental right is a huge deal. Making them beg for government permission to exercise a basic right is a huge deal. Making citizens pay for ineffective programs that have zero hope of stopping violence is a huge deal.
A cooling down period before a gun purchase will do nothing to stop people intent on ending their own lives. They can easily access guns via other means, much like criminals do, and if those means fail, alternate ways to kill oneself are readily available. If they weren’t, Japan – which has banned private gun ownership – wouldn’t have a higher suicide rate than the US.
These facts won’t stop emotionally distraught parents like the Blacks from advocating policies that have no hope of stopping these tragedies, and they definitely will not stop opportunistic, bloodsucking leeches like Shannon Watts from exploiting their heartbreak.
And frankly, using your child’s obituary as a tool to push your political agenda is disgusting.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay; cropped.