Correlation does not prove causality
This is one of the first rules in statistics.
A very simple word picture to prove the point: We all know that a rising tide lifts all boats. A naive statistician might look at the data and conclude that lifting one boat, perhaps with a crane, would result in all of the boats in the harbor also being lifted.
In the real world, most metrics are not as strongly correlated as the elevation of the boats in the harbor. A problem solver might note correlation between many factors. He/she will first look for causality relationships between those factors that have the strongest correlation.
Gun ownership rates and suicide rates
|Anti Second Amendment "progressives" like to point to correlation between gun ownership rates and suicide rates. It is very clear to them, reducing availability of the tool will reduce the likelihood of a successful suicide.|
Mental Health Maintenance
People are social animals. Perhaps suicide rate correlates more strongly with population density. Lets compare.
|There is so much separation that the chart is not readable.|
|All I can say is "Wow!"|
Low population density means that potential friends are farther away.
Low population density means that mental health professionals are more distant. In some cases, mental health professionals have an active dislike of American West culture and refuse to provide services to the same.
Psychology Professor at U-T refuses to teach classes if guns might be present. In many other professions this would be considered dereliction of duty.
Low population density is often a disincentive for any health professionals to relocate to your area. They have bills to pay and debt to work off.
Gun ownership rate and suicide rate are linked but it is not a pure "causal" link. They are linked because they both share a relationship with low population density.
People who live in states with low population density tend to own guns because they have more opportunity to use them. Thus, guns are an investment they can exercise. People who live in densely populated states have fewer opportunities to shoot their guns. Consequently, guns tend to be an investment that provides little return.
The data suggests that people in the states with the lowest population are more likely to seek suicide than states with higher population density. One possible reason is due to the difficulty in talking face-to-face with friends and the difficulty in getting professional medical help.
In the interest of even-handedness, I will note that suicide attempts made with guns are more likely to be successful than attempts made with other methods.
I like to stay positive. One thing we can do is to slow down and actively listen to one person today. It is best to listen to the one person who seems to be hurting the most. Regardless of who you choose, let them know that you think the world is a better place because they are here and let them know that we are pulling for them because we are all in this together