Dr. Drew Pinsky says that country music star Mindy McCready may not have killed herself if her boyfriend had not been a “firearm enthusiast,” making guns “easily accessible.”
Speaking to CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday, Pinsky explained that McCready’s suicide was the result of a “one-two punch” after her boyfriend, music producer David Wilson, took his own life and then she released herself from a rehab facility after less than 24 hours to return to a home filled with guns.
“She was doing well until the death of her boyfriend,” Pinsky said. “When he apparently killed himself, she unraveled — was really struggling. When I spoke to her, she agreed finally she needed to go into a hospital, needed to take care of herself. But she was absolutely preoccupied and mortified with how people would perceive her, judge her. Would law enforcement consider her more of suspect [in her boyfriend's death] if she got hospitalized?”
“She eventually did go and then left after just 24 hours. If she stayed in the hospital, she would be with us today.”
Pinsky continued: “She’s had suicidal thinking and gestures before. The problem here is it was really a one-two punch. She was shattered — I mean, things had been going well — shattered by the death of her boyfriend. Then she lost custody of her children. Released from a hospital prematurely. You add to that mix accessibility of firearms. Apparently the boy friend was a bit of a firearm enthusiast. They were easily accessible and that was that.”
After troubles with addiction, multiple arrests and suicide attempts, McCready had appeared on Pinsky’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010. On Sunday, she became the fifth celebrity to die after joining the show’s cast.
The CNN host, however, seemed reluctant to press the doctor about the string of deaths. HLN, which is owned by the same company as CNN, also employees Pinsky as the host of Dr. Drew On Call.
“There has been some criticism,” Burnett noted. “Have you ever had second thoughts?”
“We worry, of course,” Pinsky admitted. “This was a documentary. We worried that the cameras would adversely affect people. We always worry about that, but we were treating people with advanced addiction. Their prognosis was the same as many cancer patients. They have a poor prognosis. I believe that those that are now actively engaged in treatment now [are] still in harm’s way. There are still potentially fatalities ahead.”
Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss on Monday revealed that McCready’s body had shot her dog before taking her own life. Her body was found at the same home in Arkansas where her boyfriend died in January.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns account for 55 percent of suicide fatalities, although they are involved in only 5.6 percent of suicide attempts.
“It’s access to weaponry that turns desperate people into suicides,” National Alliance on Mental Illnes medical director Kenneth Duckworth said in an interview before McCready’s death.
But the National Rifle Association (NRA) has argued that gun control is an ineffective method of stopping suicides because people will just find other ways to kill themselves.
“If firearms do not cause suicide but are merely implements utilized to accomplish the act, implements for which others would be substituted if firearms were not available, then it can be said fairly that the use of firearms in suicide is not relevant to the debate over firearm laws, rules and regulations,” the NRA wrote in 1999.
“Some would suggest that the rate of suicide may indeed be higher among firearm owners than non-owners. Gun owners are notably self-reliant and exhibit a willingness to take definitive action when they believe it to be in their own self-interest. Such action may include ending their own life when the time is deemed appropriate.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Feb. 18, 2013.
Watch this video from USA Today, broadcast Feb. 18, 2013.