Tag Archives | Suicide

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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A Thoroughly Modern Suicide

Blame the messenger if you like, but if this isn't a sign of the times, I don't know what is. Story everywhere, this version from the New York Post:
It was a fatal blow struck from cyberspace. A shy Rutgers freshman was so humiliated when two cruel classmates secretly streamed live video of his gay encounter that he leaped to his death from the George Washington Bridge, authorities said yesterday. "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry," Tyler Clementi, 18, posted on his Facebook page just eight minutes before his plunge at around 8:50 p.m. on Sept. 22...
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Man Pens 2,000-Page Suicide Note, Kills Himself

Mitchell_Heisman200A Massachusetts man shot himself to death with a silver bullet in Harvard Yard after penning what may go down as one of history’s great suicide notes, published online at SuicideNote.info. The New York Post reports:

New York native shot himself to death in Harvard Yard last week — after penning an epic 1,905-page suicide note.

Mitchell Heisman, 35, quoted Thomas Jefferson, Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Einstein as he attempted to explain his motives in the rambling missive, which included a lengthy preface and 1,433 footnotes.
Heisman put the encyclopedia-sized note online and asked that the Web page be kept up after his death, so that everyone could know his feelings about life and the universe.

“I propose opening your mind towards the liberation of death; towards exposing the blind faith in life as a myth, a bias, and an error,” he wrote.

The massive document contains little information about his life, but includes many long passages touching on issues such as Jesus, the Battle of Hastings in 1066, sociology and the First Amendment.

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Suicides In Japan Cost Economy $32bn

I would think the number one problem is that Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world, not the fact that it’s hurting the economy. BBC reports:

The government in Japan says suicides and depression cost its economy almost 2.7tn yen ($32bn; £21bn) last year.

The figures refer to lost incomes and the cost of treatment. It is the first time Japan has released such figures.

Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, with more than 32,000 people killing themselves last year. PM Naoto Kan sees it as proof of an economic and emotional downturn.

The government is setting up a task force to try to reduce the rate.

From Friday, it will run a video clip of a footballer from the J-league on its website, urging people to be more aware of the problem.

Continues at BBC News

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U.S. Army Report: Crime, Prescription Drug Use Makes Soldiers ‘More Dangerous Than the Enemy’

US_Army_logoThe content of the report is not as shocking as its source: the U.S. Army itself. ABC News investigates:

After nine years of war, the U.S. Army is showing signs of stress because of repeated deployments and inadequate support for soldiers when they return, according to a blunt internal report released today. It blasts the Army’s leadership for failing to recognize the problem.

The figures in recent years are staggering.

The number of soldiers committing suicide has increased since 2004, surpassing civilian rates in 2008. Use of prescription drugs has tripled in the past five years; prescription amphetamines use has doubled between 2006 and 2009. One third of soldiers take at least one prescription drug and 14 percent of soldiers are on some form of powerful painkiller.

Crime is rising every year as well. Each year has seen an increase of 5,000 misdemeanors over the previous year, meaning soldiers are expected to commit around 55,000 such crimes in 2010.

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Heaven’s Gate Hearts Disinformation?

Heaven's GateI honestly don't know what to make of this. Disinfo collaborator and Office-mate Tim Pugh pointed out to me the other day that Disinformation is listed as an interesting link on the Heaven's Gate website. Really surprised to see the site still up, I didn't realize the group was still in "existence" after the March 1997 mass suicide. In case you haven't gotten your dose of massive creepiness today, here's an initiation tape from Heaven's Gate's Marshall Applewhite. Still creepy after all these years. Thanks to Tim Pugh for creeping me out even more...
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Suicides in U.S. Army Are on Track to Reach New High

Tony Capaccio reports for Bloomberg:

The number of suicides among active- duty U.S. Army troops this year reached 133 in October, 18 more than in the same period last year and putting the service within reach of a new annual high.

The 133 reported suicides, including the National Guard and Reserves, between January and October compared with 115 during the same period in 2008 when the service recorded 140 by year’s end, an annual record, the Army said in a statement.

The rate of suicide within the Army last year was 20.2 per 100,000 personnel, exceeding for the first time the age-adjusted rate in the civilian population, which was 19.2, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The institute has paired with the Army to undertake the biggest study ever of suicide and behavioral health among military personnel.

The Army has taken extra steps in the past year to prevent suicides as the number of cases began to alarm officials.

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Switzerland Tries To Stop Suicide Tourism

Roger Boyes writes for The Times:

Switzerland announced plans yesterday to crack down on “suicide tourism”, signalling that it might close the Dignitas clinic that has helped hundreds of terminally ill people to take their lives.

The plans — in the form of two draft Bills that will be offered for public debate — are likely to set off a rush of patients from Britain and elsewhere in Europe since Switzerland has become the main destination for those seeking assisted suicide.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, the Justice Minister, said that two options would be presented to parliament. Either clinics such as Dignitas and Exit, which deals chiefly with Swiss patients, will have to accept much stricter regulation or they will be closed down.

The tightening of the rules would require patients to present two medical opinions declaring their disease incurable, that death is expected within months and that they have made their decision of sound mind and fully aware of their options…

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