Thoughts on Teen Suicide
Bob Rosebrough, GBL, B-200 (rosebro@GGPL.ARSUSDA.GOV)
Thu, 6 Nov 1997 08:35:00 -0500
Devin Warrington has very nicely broached the subject of adolescent
suicide. Perhaps a few thoughts of my own may be worth bringing up.
Although the research is lacking concerning the availability of modality
and the subsequent act of suicide, certain points should be made
concerning firearms and suicide. A gun as a final solution cannot be
reversed like some drugs can. Therefore, as both an Assistant
Scoutmaster and an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor, I need to measure
two responsibilities simultaneously. As a Scouter, I need to manage a
program and teach firearms safety at all costs. On the other hand, I am
supposed to uphold the NRA's viewpoint on the Second Amendment and the
"right" to keep a loaded firearm for self defense. I shall tilt on the
question of safety and offer a few thoughts of my own. Loaded firearms
and adolescents do not mix under unsupervised conditions. Therefore, I
am willing to forego my "right" to defend myself in order to prevent a
tragedy. I realize that the NRA has an excellent firearm accident
prevention program, but I believe that young boys have a fascination with
guns that can supersede all education programs. Therefore, at the
minimum, I ask all of you to consider some ideas of mine.
1. All firearms should be store unloaded, under some kind of double lock
and key situation. I use a steel locker and trigger locks on all
firearms of mine. I keep the keys with me at all times. A spare set of
keys is in my desk at work. Do not use combination locks as combinations
are a challenge to find out.
2. Ammunition should be store locked in a separate location. Never
allow kids to handle your firearms unsupervised. Do not show firearms to
neighborhood kids without parental permission.
3. If the child wishes to practice shooting positions, be sure that the
gun is immobilized (I remove the bolt from my rifles to make the gun
inoperative.) before allowing handling.
4. Instill an appreciation in kids that once the trigger is pulled, the
bullet can't be recalled.
5. Please consider the cost-benefits of having a loaded firearm in use
as a self defense weapon. I personally don't believe that we live, for
all practical purposes, in Dodge City in the 1870's. For this last
comment, I will forever be in NRA's outhouse and may lose my ability to
run Scout shooting programs.
ASM Troop 601
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City