Tag Archives | Suicide

Elderly Suicide Epidemic Strikes South Korea

In the new, hyper-modernized South Korea, many older people feel that they have been left abandoned, obsolete, and penniless. A dark omen of things to come in developed societies around the world with focuses on technology and individualism, and shredded social safety nets? The New York Times reports:

The number of people 65 and older committing suicide has nearly quadrupled in recent years, making the country’s rate of such deaths among the highest in the developed world. The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation’s runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries.

That contract was built on the premise that parents would do almost anything to care for their children — in recent times, depleting their life savings to pay for a good education — and then would end their lives in their children’s care. No Social Security system was needed.

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The World’s Most Romantic Death Spot: Japan’s Suicide Volcano

Would you let yourself be consumed by burning love at an infamous volcano where thousands have taken the plunge? Providentia writes:

On February 11, 1933, a 21-year old student named Kiyoko Matsumoto committed suicide by throwing herself into the volcanic crater of Mount Mihara on the Japanese island of Izu Oshima. Matsumoto had developed an infatuation with fellow student Masako Tomita. Since lesbian relationships were considered taboo at the time, she and Tomita decided to travel to the volcano so that Matsumoto could end her life there,  [where] an observation post allowed visitors to look straight down into the lava.

To profit from Izu Oshima’s new popularity, the Tokyo Bay Steamship Company set up a daily steamship line to the island and the brim of Mount Mihara picked up the new name of “Suicide Point”. In 1933 alone, 944 people would jump into the crater. In the two years that followed saw an additional 350 suicides and visitors would often travel to Mount Mihara just to watch people jump.

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Berlin’s ‘House Of Doom’ Has Had Nine Unnatural Deaths In 15 Years

The world’s worst feng shui? Germany’s Local writes:

A building in the leafy suburbs of Berlin has been dubbed the house of doom after it emerged that nine people died unnatural deaths there in the last 15 years.

Built just 25 years ago in the Gatow district of Spandau, the large house has been home to a brothel owner who ended up decapitated while flying down the nearby Autobahn on his motorbike in 2003, the suicide pact of a British journalist and his lover, and the murder-suicide of an entire family. The most recent was scientist Lorin W., died in a car crash.

In summer 2012 Berlin police were called to the building’s maisonette apartment, where they found the bodies of 69-year-old Kristian B., his wife Kathrin, 28, and their two sons aged six and three. The debt-riddled asset consultant had suffocated them all before killing himself with a plastic bag.

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Under The Law, Anyone Interesting Is A Felon

The criminal prosecution of activist programmer and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz over his sharing of academic works from the archives of JSTOR likely lead to Swartz’s suicide. Via the New Yorker, law professor Tim Wu writes:

Most of the time prosecutors do chase actual wrongdoers, but today our criminal laws are so expansive that most people of any vigor and spirit can be found to violate them in some way. Basically, under American law, anyone interesting is a felon. The prosecutors, not the law, decide who deserves punishment.

Today, prosecutors feel they have license to treat leakers of information like crime lords or terrorists. In an age when our frontiers are digital, the criminal system threatens something intangible but incredibly valuable. It threatens youthful vigor, difference in outlook, the freedom to break some rules and not be condemned or ruined for the rest of your life. Swartz was a passionate eccentric who could have been one of the great innovators and creators of our future.

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Disinfo Contributor and Author Peter Bebergal on His Brother’s Suicide

Picture: Peter Bebergal (C)

DisinfoCast guest and Disinfo.com contributor Peter Bebergal (Too Much to Dream) wrote an article a few years back about his brother Eric’s suicide and research into the experimental application of the Implicit Association Test in ascertaining suicidal intent. It’s a great read, and with two recent posts about suicide, one that might intrigue our readers.

Here’s an excerpt (mid-article):

What clinicians need is some other measure beyond external evidence that could assess whether someone like Eric is capable of suicide in the near future. Four years after my brother’s death, Harvard researchers at MGH are experimenting with a test they think could help clinicians determine just that. It focuses on a patient’s subconscious thoughts, and if it can be perfected, these researchers say it could give hospitals more of a legal basis for admitting suicidal patients.

Of course, I can’t help thinking about whether such a test could have saved my brother.

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RIP Dennis Avner, ‘Stalking Tiger’

If you've ever watched one of those "most extreme" tattoo shows on cable then you'll recognize Dennis Avner, commonly known as "The Tiger Man". Apparently Avner (who preferred to be known as "Stalking Cat") died last week, with the evidence pointing toward suicide. Via NY Daily News:
Shannon Larratt, who knew Stalking Cat, wrote in a blog post that Avner had tried to adopt the spiritual essence of the animal world. He had tried to transform “himself not just into a tiger, but a female tiger at that, blurring and exploring the gender line as much as the species line.” "A wonderful and complex person, he was at times as troubled as he was remarkable, and he recently took his own life at the age of 54," the piece read.
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Florida Man Commits Suicide Over Obama’s Reelection

Is this becoming a trend? The Miami Herald reports:

A Key West man who told his partner that “if Barack gets re-elected, I’m not going to be around” was found dead on Nov. 8, with the words “F— Obama!” scrawled on his will and two empty prescription bottles nearby.

Henry Hamilton, 64, owner of Tropical Tan off Duval Street, was “very upset about the election results,” his partner Michael Cossey told Police Officer Anna Dykes. A friend of Hamilton had been worried about him and had a standing request to police to make welfare checks. Officer Pablo Rodriguez did just that and when he went to the condo, he woke up Cossey, prompting the discovery of Hamilton’s body in the bedroom.

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The Political Psychology of Self-Immolation

Picture: Sensei Sam (CC)

Costica Bradatan writes for the New Statesman:

Here he is. Matches in one hand, petrol bottle in the other. He removes the bottle cap, drops it to the ground and douses himself in liquid. He does everything slowly, methodically, as if it were part of a routine he has practiced for years. Then he stops, looks around, and strikes a match.

At this moment nothing in the world can bridge the gap that separates the self-immolator from the others. His total defiance of the survival and self-preservation instincts, his determination to trample on what everybody else finds precious, the ease with which he seems to dispose of his own life, all these place him not only beyond our capacity of understanding, but also outside of human society. He now inhabits a place that most of us find inhabitable. Yet, from there he does not cease to dominate us.

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Virginia Man Kills Himself And His Family Over Fear Of Obama’s Reelection

A wealthy defense contractor and devout Christian from suburban Washington, D.C. fatally shot his wife, his children, and himself over fears of Barack Obama’s winning a second term, the Daily Mail reports:

Albert Peterson shot dead his wife and two sons hours after going to church because he dreaded the thought of Obama winning the election, a family friend has revealed.

A confidante of the family for the past 25 years has spoken to MailOnline about the strength and grace of the Peterson family, as well as the torment that plagued Albert which drove him to shoot dead his wife Kathleen and his two sons Christopher and Mathew at their suburban home in DC on Sunday.

A history of mental illness and a growing fear of Obama winning a second term in the White House took its toll on the mind of Mr Peterson, a wealthy defense contractor, the friend said.

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Ghosts Blamed for Rash of Self-Immolations in India

The Daily Bhakshar reports on a rash of self-immolations among Indian youth. In the most recent incident, a young girl doused herself in kerosine and set herself afire. Before she died, she told her parents that two ghostly girls had told her to do it. Strangely, this is not the first such incident: Henna's father Abdul Razzaq and brother Feroz were shocked when the dying girl told them that two girls had come to her and asked her to douse with kerosene and accompany them. However, no one saw the mysterious girls entering in or going out of the house before or after the incident. They were also shocked as Henna was absolutely normal and had meal with family before she was found 100% burnt.
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