Tag Archives | Suicide

California Grandmother Sells Thousands Of Homemade Suicide Kits

suicideHero or monster? Apparently, constructing suicide kits is the new knitting. San Diego’s KGTV reports:

A 91-year-old East County grandmother is getting national attention for making suicide kits. The woman started making the kits after watching her husband die a slow, painful death from colon cancer.

“I’m doing what I can to improve the world,” she told 10News. “There’s a lot of heartache and difficulty here.” Charlotte makes the kits — which cost buyers $60 — by taking large plastic bags and sewing soft elastic bands around the opening. There is a slot in the bag for a plastic tube carrying helium gas to be inserted. Helium — when inhaled in its pure form — is deadly. Kit users are responsible for securing their own helium gas.

“If heaven is so wonderful, you know you’d naturally want to go there, wouldn’t you?” said Charlotte. Charlotte said her sales were nearly $100,000 last year.

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The Happiest Places Have The Highest Suicide Rates

The Danish royal family: are they really happy? Photo: Bill Ebbesen

The Danish royal family: Are they really so happy? Photo: Bill Ebbesen

From ScienceDaily:

The happiest countries and happiest U.S. states tend to have the highest suicide rates, according to research from the UK’s University of Warwick, Hamilton College in New York and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.The new research paper titled “Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. It uses U.S. and international data, which included first-time comparisons of a newly available random sample of 1.3 million Americans, and another on suicide decisions among an independent random sample of approximately 1 million Americans.

The research confirmed a little known and seemingly puzzling fact: many happy countries have unusually high rates of suicide. This observation has been made from time to time about individual nations, especially in the case of Denmark.

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Pakistani Teenager Tells Of Failed Suicide Bomb Mission

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Coat of Arms of the Taliban regime (1996-2001). Photo: Falerístico (CC)

With the increasing number of suicide bombing, it is often asked, what were they thinking? Why did they do this? After 14-year-old Umar Fidai’s explosive vest failed to detonate, he discusses how the Taliban trained him and his regret towards his actions. BBC News reports:

In early April a suicide blast ripped though a Pakistani shrine packed with thousands of devotees, leaving scores dead. Both attackers were schoolboys in their early teens. But one survived and told the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool what made him want to take his life and the lives of others.

“All I was thinking was that I had to detonate myself near as many people as possible. When I decided it was the right time, it was a moment of happiness for me,” said 14-year-old Umar Fidai.

“I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in heaven.”

Umar did not make it to paradise.

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Self-Immolation and the Heart of Revolution

Ryszard Siwiec Self-Immolation“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” — Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961

In November, 1990 a man set himself on fire in front of the U.S. capitol, the news reports from the time say that the reasons for the man’s act were unknown, no riots were forthcoming. Last year the cultural shifts in Egypt, Yemen and Algeria proved a different outcome in light of similar self-immolation. As individuals express their anger, alienation and rejection in self willed conflagration it is igniting their communities into violent uprisings shaking the foundations of global culture.

As I’m writing this a young man sits in protest in a Palestinian Mosque, part of the March 15 Youth Coalition who set up tents in the Bethlehem municipality to demand a new Palestinian national council and a unified Palestine. He is threatening to set himself on fire if the Coalition’s demands are not taken seriously.

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Facebook To Add Suicide-Risk Alert System

Mark Zuckerberg CEO FacebookBBC News reports:
Facebook is launching a system that allows users to report friends who they think may be contemplating suicide. The feature is being run in conjunction with Samaritans, which said several people had used it during a test phase. Anyone worried about a friend can fill out a form, detailing their concerns, which is passed to the social networking site's moderators. It follows reports of several cases where Facebook users announced their intention to commit suicide online. The reporting page asks for the address (URL) of the Facebook page where the messages are posted, the full name of the user and details of any networks they are members of. Suicide-related alerts will be escalated to the highest level, for attention by Facebook's user operations team.
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For Second Straight Year, Military Suicides Outnumber Combat Deaths

AfghanistanThe U.S. military continues to experience a disturbingly high suicide rate, arguably the deadliest hazard that troops now face. Via Congress.org:

For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reasons are complicated and the accounting uncertain — for instance, should returning soldiers who take their own lives after being mustered out be included? But the suicide rate is a further indication of the stress that military personnel live under after nearly a decade of war.

Overall, the services reported 434 suicides by personnel on active duty, significantly more than the 381 suicides by active-duty personnel reported in 2009. The 2010 total is below the 462 deaths in combat, excluding accidents and illness. In 2009, active-duty suicides exceeded deaths in battle.

Last week’s figures, though, understate the problem of military suicides because the services do not report the statistics uniformly.

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Suicide Rate Doubles For Army National Guard

US_Army_National_Guard_InsigniaSome disturbing news out of Washington. CNN reports:

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that the number of suicides rose again last year to almost one a day, despite major efforts to identify and help at-risk soldiers.

Suicides among active-duty soldiers actually declined for the first time in six years but the numbers increased among other soldiers, doubling in the Army National Guard.

The overall number of suicides for the 2010 calendar year was 343 — an increase of 69 over the previous year — and included self-inflicted deaths among active-duty soldiers, the National Guard, the Army Reserves, civilian employees of the Army and family members. The Army reported 156 active-duty suicides last year and 112 in the National Guard.

“The bottom line is this is a significant issue and clearly there is much to be done,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said in a Pentagon briefing.

While active-duty and deployed soldiers are under constant observation and supervision, soldiers serving in the Reserves or National Guard who are not deployed may be off the Army radar for weeks at a time…

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Suicide Tourism Booming In Switzerland

Flag of Switzerland (Pantone)If you’re desperate for assistance in ending your life, Switzerland is your best bet, per this report from Bloomberg News:

Switzerland is the destination of choice for people from abroad who want to die. The office of the country’s top legal official is pushing to change that.

While assisted suicide is permitted in the Netherlands, Belgium and the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and Montana, only Switzerland allows doctors to help foreigners end their lives. More than 25 percent of the 380 assisted suicides in Switzerland during 2009 involved foreigners, most of whom died after drinking water laced with a lethal dose of barbiturates.

Former Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who was replaced by Simonetta Sommaruga in November, has proposed making the practice more difficult by demanding oversight by doctors who aren’t connected with one of the country’s four right-to-die organizations. Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1942.

“Those Swiss politicians who want to change the rules on assisted suicide behave like moral apostles,” said Margrit Weibel, president of Zurich-based suicide organization Ex International.

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Suppose Suicide Bombers Are Motivated By Suicide, Not Religion?

r_suicide_bomber1What makes a person willing to give their life in the name of holy war? A Boston Globe piece offers a novel theory on the inspirations of suicide bombers: rather than being the most rabid of true-believer fanatics, many may be individuals who are severely depressed and eager to kill themselves, and see “martyrdom” as not technically being suicide:

Williams is among a small cadre of scholars from across the world pushing the rather contentious idea that some suicide bombers may in fact be suicidal. At the forefront is the University of Alabama’s Adam Lankford, who recently published an analysis of suicide terrorism in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. Lankford cites Israeli scholars who interviewed would-be Palestinian suicide bombers. These scholars found that 40 percent of the terrorists showed suicidal tendencies; 13 percent had made previous suicide attempts, unrelated to terrorism. Lankford finds Palestinian and Chechen terrorists who are financially insolvent, recently divorced, or in debilitating health in the months prior to their attacks.

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Ustream Shows Live Suicide On Web

ustreamWhat kind of sick people encourage someone with serious problems to commit suicide so they can watch him die in real time on the web? The Telegraph reports on a Japanese man who used Ustream to broadcast his suicide to the world:

The 24-year-old man, who has not been named, was found dead in his apartment in the city of Sendai early on Tuesday morning. Police had been alerted by viewers of the Ustream web page and were able to locate the man’s apartment. By the time they arrived at 8am, however, the man was already dead.

The man had announced his intention to kill himself in online chat rooms last week, according to the Yomiuri newspaper, after complaining for some weeks about problems he had been experiencing at work.

Employed by a bank, the man had been suspended from his duties since August. The man, who lived alone, started a live stream on Sunday evening, repeating his plans to commit suicide.

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