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Taking guns away from "suicidal" servicemembers

Posted By Uncle Jimbo • [October 08, 2012]

There is some talk  about allowing commanders and others to talk to "potentially suicidal" servicemembers and ask them to voluntarily give up their guns. A common sense answer to the deadly problem of military and veteran suicides, or a naked power grab that will be used improperly? Probably both, let's see what they are talking about.

With nearly half of all suicides in the military having been committed with privately owned firearms, the Pentagon and Congress are moving to establish policies intended to separate at-risk service members from their personal weapons....

“This is not about authoritarian regulation,” said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “It is about the spouse understanding warning signs and, if there are firearms in the home, responsibly separating the individual at risk from the firearm.”

Dr. Woodson, who declined to provide details, said the campaign would also include measures to encourage service members, their friends and their relatives to remove possibly dangerous prescription drugs from the homes of potentially suicidal troops.

Other helpful safety tips remind them to avoid sucking on vehicle tailpipes, playing in traffic and leaping off tall buildings. Seriously people, this is another example of safety theater right up there with the reflective belt. Senior officials know they have to do something; they don't have an actual good answer so we get things like this, and the TSA examining our shoes. The problem with suicides is real and horrifying and deserves everyone's attention. But you cannot take a purely cosmetic move like this and pretend that is a real solution.

The new amendment, part of the defense authorization bill for 2013 that has been passed by the House of Representatives but not by the Senate, would allow mental health professionals and commanders to ask service members about their personal firearms if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe the person is at “high risk” of committing suicide or harming others.

How long after this do you think it will be before over-zealous commanders & ass-covering, zero-defect wankers start "reasonably" believing that a diagnosis of PTSD puts someone at "high risk". I mean we can't be too sure now can we? And don't tell me that wouldn't happen, paranoia flows down hill and no one wants to be the example of the commander who didn't take the gun away before Private Snuffy snuffed himself. Plus, how many people who really need some help are gonna ask for it when they start getting their guns, meds, drivers licenses and other freedoms taken away? Talk about a great way to make sure the stigma about mental health is alive and unwell.

You wanna add some money for post-deployment counseling and maybe make it mandatory, we can talk. You want to take some BS measures and blame the evil guns, talk to the Constitution.


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