Pentagon Experts Don’t Trust Young Men With Guns, Red Bull
The U.S. military is concerned with the rising rate of suicides among service members. In response, a Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee (SPRIRC) established by the Department of Defense is recommending limiting their access to guns and posting warning signs about energy drinks.
An SPRIRC report recommends “on DoD property, raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition to 25 years.” This change is designated as “high priority”—something SPRIRC considers to be “necessary” or “must” change.
The committee also recommends subjecting all gun purchases on DoD property to a seven-day waiting period, and implementing “a 4-day waiting period for ammunition purchases on DoD property to follow purchases and receipt of firearms purchased on DoD property.”
The waiting period rules are also designated as high priority, as is requiring “anyone living on DoD property in military housing to register all privately owned firearms with the installation’s arming authority” and establishing “DoD policy restricting the possession and storage of privately owned firearms in military barracks and dormitories.”
The flaws in logic here seem glaring. These are the people tasked with defending our country with force if necessary. Many of them will work with guns or other weapons as part of their service. How can Americans feel confident in their ability to do this competently, safely, and humanely if they can’t even be trusted to personally own or maintain a gun? On the flip side, how can Americans expect members of the military to fulfill their duties—with all the sacrifice that might entail—while denying them full access to their constitutional rights?
The gun recommendations manage to infantilize service members, limit their liberty, and serve as a vote of no confidence against them.
At the same time, the committee assigns lower priority to a number of things that could address the root causes of suicide among service members and help treat them. For instance, “increas[ing] the number of active-duty behavioral health technicians” and “provid[ing] behavioral health technicians with advanced training in evidence-based practices” are designated as only a moderate priority. The same goes for “ensur[ing] the availability of evidence-based care for those seeking treatment or support for unhealthy drinking” and “expand[ing] opportunities to treat common mental health conditions in
To be clear, there are plenty of SPRIRC recommendations that seem reasonable and well prioritized. And the committee does a good job of considering a broad range of factors that could contribute to suicides, from frequency of reassignments to internet connectivity and substance abuse.
But there are also some recommendations that seem just plain weird. For instance, “rais[ing] the minimum purchase price and ban price discounting of energy drinks sold on DoD property,” “ban[ning] the promotion of energy drinks on DoD property,” and “display[ing] signs on vending machines and retail outlets where energy drinks are sold about responsible energy drink consumptions.”
Article from Reason.com