This morning I was scanning the internet for news like I do every morning when I saw that Bob Owens had passed away from a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound.
If you are unaware of Owens, the 46-year-old was an expert on firearms and firearm safety and was best known as the editor of bearingarms.com, a pro-Second Amendment website.
I like to look at everything from a variety of directions, so I generally read sources from all over the political spectrum representing a wide array of viewpoints. When it came to guns, whether you agreed with Owens or not, his site was always one of the first I went to if firearms issues were in the news.
Love him or hate him, the North Carolina native knew his stuff when it came to firearms and was always somebody whose thoughts on gun-related subjects were worth reading.
That doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with everything he wrote, and I realize he wrote controversial things at times, but reading experts on subjects from multiple points of view is important, and Owens did an excellent job with the topic he covered.
And no matter what you thought of Owens’ positions on guns or politics more broadly, you still have to feel an incredible amount of sympathy for those who were closest to him and unquestionably hit the hardest by his suicide.
As I said, the news of Owens’ death was sad, but after the initial surprise hit me, I thought long and hard about his family. He was survived by a wife and two daughters, and as a father myself, I just could not shake how anybody could voluntarily choose not only to end his own life, but to do so with children left behind.
According to suicide.org, the overwhelming reason a person dies by suicide is mental illness, most specifically depression, which far too often goes untreated. This is why you hear stories time after time about people who died by suicide but didn’t seem suicidal. Somebody may seem down or depressed for a period of time because of a painful incident or a pattern of negative treatment that became too much to bear.
But far too often these people keep quiet and do not seek help, which means the depression never improves and the person gets worse and worse until he feels like he has no other recourse.
There are cases where somebody exhibits certain behaviors that make the depression easy to pinpoint but in the vast majority of cases, the eventual suicide victims simply suffer in silence and refuse to let anybody in until it is too late.
It is important that we all work together to collectively help stop this from being such a widespread epidemic.
We must do our part to make sure that people know they are not alone and there is no shame in admitting your depression and seeking help. Seeking help for depression doesn’t make you weak or pathetic; it makes you human. We desperately need to make sure that those who feel so isolated and helpless that they would consider taking their own lives understand that there is another way and there is nothing wrong with seeking it.
We have to do our best to ensure that there are fewer cases like Bob Owens. Not just for the suicide victims themselves, but for the devastated friends and family members they leave in their wake.
For more on suicide prevention visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
To read the tribute written by Owens’ friend, Townhall’s Katie Pavlich
Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157