Wednesday, November 17, 2010

United States: Suicide Tourism Destination?

The United States has relatively liberal gun laws compared to first-world countries, and allows the public to access shooting ranges where real guns may be rented for target practice. Many Americans have taken advantage of this quick access to guns in order to commit suicide (and sometimes homicide-suicide).

On November 15, 29-year-old Australian twin sisters in the United States on tourist visas attempted to commit suicide at a public shooting range in Colorado. One died; the other "was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was in a critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery." As of November 18, police have not yet determined which sister died.

Free access to guns makes the United States attractive as a suicide tourism destination; however, as this case illustrates, the de facto suicide prohibition makes gunshot suicide in the United States a risky proposition. But apparently it's better than the options in Australia.

Australians have previously taken advantage of the availability of barbiturates in Mexico. One can only conclude that the suicide prohibition is even worse in Australia than it is in the United States:
Another Australian who purchased the drug in Mexico, Caren Jenning, was convicted in June of accessory to manslaughter because a friend, Graeme Wylie, who had advanced Alzheimer's disease and had long expressed a desire to end his life, used it to commit suicide two years ago.

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