Missouri State Auditor’s suicide: The gun

schweichfuneralThe sad details surrounding the suicide of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich continue to emerge. But something is missing in the reporting: the gun behind the tragedy.

Today, news reports revealed that Martha Fitz, an aide to former U.S. Senator John Danforth was on the phone with Schweich’s wife when Schweich killed himself.

According to the Kansas City Star:

At 9:40 a.m., Kathy Schweich called Fitz. A few minutes into that conversation between the two women, Tom Schweich took the phone.

“He spoke solely about his outrage concerning the rumors that were being spread about his religion, and how he could respond to those rumors,” Fitz wrote in a statement. “I told him I thought it best to let others stand up for him.”

At that point, Fitz wrote, Schweich threatened to kill himself and handed the phone back to his wife.

“Seconds later I heard Kathy say, ‘He shot himself!’” Fitz’s statement says.

Schweich’s spouse called 9-1-1 on another phone. Fitz and Kathy Schweich remained on the phone together until paramedics arrived.

Horrifying. Emotionally devastating. Beyond comprehension, for his family and friends. Unimaginable, some would say.

Or, maybe it’s not completely unimaginable. It’s a terrible, shocking, sad story, to be sure. But there’s something missing in the news reports. Nobody’s talking about the gun.

We may never understand why Schweich, who had recently announced his run for governor—a big plan for the future—became so desperate that he would take his own life.

But we do know that he had a gun close at hand. So close that, when he threatened to kill himself, he had the means to do it.

We don’t know where he kept the gun. We don’t know how long he had it. But we know that there was a gun in his house—did his family even know about it? And when he became despondent—it was all too convenient to just pick it up and pull the trigger.

No waiting period. No time for further reflection and possible self-preservation.

He may have had pre-existing mental-health issues. Maybe he had been depressed for a long time. I don’t know, and I wouldn’t hazard a guess. I’m simply saying that, having a gun in the house enabled him to act impulsively.

Did he keep a gun in the house for self-defense for himself and his family? After all, that’s the conventional wisdom. I don’t know why Schweich had a gun. But I do know that, like so many others, in the end, it didn’t serve its intended purpose.

It wasn’t used against an invading stranger. It didn’t keep him safe. It didn’t protect his family. In the end, it hurt so much more than it helped.

Another gun death; another possibly preventable tragedy.

But, in an America held hostage by the NRA and its Second Amendment propaganda, we don’t want to talk about that.