Saturday, June 2, 2018

Obit For a Fellow Letter Writer

I was very sad to see that Dr. Harvey had passed. I didn't know him, but have enjoyed his letters for some time. I was surprised to see that he was 98. A life well-lived.

A link (mostly) to his letters.

To pick one dear to my heart:

Despite the opposition of the gun industry and its ally the NRA who profit financially by opposing gun controls, there are obvious reasons for much more serious controls in the U.S.

And to those who argue that what we really need are more guns in the hands of all the people so that the legally armed can outshoot the illegal ones, I must disagree, that’s civil war. The fact that gun shooting deaths in the U.S. by psychos, grudge holders, emotionally disturbed, enemies, etc. far exceed that of any other modern democracy in the world means we’re doing something wrong. 

A second need  for more gun controls, and heretofore relatively unrecognized, appeared in a recent JAMA article entitled Getting Serious about Reducing Suicide, More “How” and Less “Why.” This point is well taken given the numerous and varied mental, emotional and physical factors involved, all of which are difficult to control and treat (i.e. the “Why”), whereas the use of a gun to actually commit suicide is much easier to control (i.e. the “How”).

The article calls the easy access to a firearm “The most important modifiable risk factor for suicide in the United States.” The case fatality rate for suicidal gun use is 84 percent, while the fatality for intentional self injury using other means is 4 percent. The next most lethal methods of suicide are hanging (69 percent) and falls (31 percent), but these account for fewer than half those by gun use.

This country should begin to treat firearm possession seriously as the rest of the world does.


  1. That's a very good point about gun regulation being part of a strategy about suicide prevention. The topic of suicide is getting more attention as Anthony Bourdain's and Kate Spade's deaths call attention to rising suicide rates in the U.S. While guns weren't involved in either death — both celebrities hung themselves — Americans are realizing that something needs to be done and gun control will help.

  2. Yes, it was ironic that the big report came out at the same time as the suicides of two celebrities. The universe works in strange ways. Suicide is a good reason not to have a gun laying around, to my mind. The gun fetishists would tell me I shouldn't have rope either, I suppose.

    I'll miss Dr. Harvey's letters. He was always insightful. Had no idea that he was 98. He wrote younger.