Sunday, February 03, 2008

Contrary to 'MASH,' Suicide Isn't Painless

Sociobiologists, according to Wikipedia, have a problem when it comes to explaining suicide. They argue about its adaptive value to society (like when a person will wander off alone into a blizzard in order to make sure there's enough food for the others), but there isn't much dispute about causative factors.

Two of those causative factors are:

1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and

2. Suffering (an emotional or physical agony that is not correctible).

Now, some ancient cultures, like the Romans, viewed suicide as desirable if it was the only way out of an intolerable situation, one for which there was no escape. There was even an advantage to it; a person who was in Dutch to the Emperor would be invited to commit suicide. This act protected the person's family and money (this practice wasn't always followed), where an arrest, trial and execution would invariably end up with money confiscated and the family exiled or dead.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, a recent study by the United States Army has revealed that the number of suicides (actually committed, not just attempted) has jumped to an appalling 2100 last year.



Two thousand, one hundred American soldiers, folks.

For contrast, only 350 suicides in 2002, the year before Our Happy Happy Joy Joy Military Imperial Adventure in Iraq started.

Why are they doing this? Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) put it best: "Our brave service members who face deployment after deployment without the rest, recovery and treatment they need are at the breaking point."

I strongly doubt you'll hear that from a Republican senator, and definitely not from one of the "I'll Fight From My Basement" or "Soldiering is for THOSE People, Not Me" crowd.

So, we have people who are on their third, fourth or fifth deployments, suffering from shell shock and with the prospect of shattered lives, divorce and poverty. Some may feel that there is no way out, and that their lives mean little and are worthless.

And the best some of them get is a 800 help line number.

I would surmise that some are seeing what Shakespeare described as "self-slaughter" as the only way out.

The theme song of the movie MASH was titled Suicide is Painless, but it isn't. The dead no longer care, but it is the people who live after them that have to answer the question "Why?" Some ask that question, and the answer makes them loathe their government and its leaders.


Blogger nunya said...

Suicide takes years for those close to heal from.

11:28 PM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home