Thursday, October 05, 2006

Public Suicide

Suicide used to be a deeply personal act by an individual. It appears now that suicide has become a plural phenomena. As the recent school shootings in Canada and the U.S. andthe increase in work place violence with guns shows. It exposes the continuing failure to deal with mental illness and depression as a public health crisis.

And of course the failure of the media to report on the epidemic of suicides across North America, leads to these kinds of public suicides. A private suicide is a statistic, a plural mass killing which is a public suicide makes the news. And it results in more copy cat killings.

In 2001, 55% of suicides were committed with a firearm (Anderson and Smith 2003).
  • Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all U.S. men (Anderson and Smith 2003).
  • Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females (CDC 2004).
  • Suicide rates are highest among Whites and second highest among American Indian and Native Alaskan men (CDC 2004).
  • Of the 24,672 suicide deaths reported among men in 2001, 60% involved the use of a firearm (Anderson and Smith 2003).

What would have been a private act has become a public act, thanks to the failure of the powers that be in society to publicly deal with issues of mental health. That is because we have that mythical compasionate conservative ideology that says mental health is your problem, not a social problem, and something that should be left up to the indvidual and their priest. They blame it on the evocatively amorphous euphimism "evil". In the extreme it says secular scoeity and public schools themselves are to blame.

Mental illness is not treated as a health problem, let alone a public health issue, like bird flu or SARS is. Yet its impact is just as serious as these diseases.

Mental health has been too often linked to questions of morality as well as being excused as an individual problem of their inability to cope with the stress of their lives. But that stress is a social phenomena of capitalist society. It is the physical reality of the alienation we experience in our daily lives.
Workplace Shootings: Crazy Workers or Crazy Workplaces?

People create coping mechanisms to deal with this when those fail they become prey to the overwhelming sense of dread, panic, and powerlessness, that is not an illusion but the very reality of the authoritarian political economy of capitalist society. It is the emotional plague of capitalism written into our psyches and our bodies.

As usual councillors will be called to deal with the post crisis trauma, when in fact councelling should have been used with the mentally ill killers earlier.

A conference on school safety will now be held at the White House to deal with the three school shootings in the past week. They will suggest more parental involvement, better security in schools, blah, blah blah. But they will miss the most important issue that underlies this, besides the question of mental health.

You can't make schools or the work place safer by ignoring the biggest source of violence, easily accessable guns. An issue blithly ignored by the MSM that wants this to be another isolated event, by an unstable person. Someone not like you or me.

Amish shootings colors House debate on gun violence

Can America Ever be Weaned off its Love Affair with Guns?

First-grader has loaded gun in school

The misogynist patriarchical culture of the so called moral majority, fails to see that it produces crimes against women because it is inherent in its belief system. It has nothing to do with the devil or evil it has to do with the belief system of Christianity. Women are moral failures, they are temptresses who are out to corrupt men. The three recent shooitngs in the U.S. were not only cases of public suicide, but of attacks on women.

And in Canada the moral majority is just as guilty of this kind of thinking that leads to crimes of violence against women.

In fact the whole of our culture is inundated with misogynist propaganda, so men acting out on it should come as no surprise, they feel society approves.


Emotional Plague

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1 comment:

son of gaia said...


You are right on the mark in your analysis, in my opinion. Very insightful! Thank you.

I'll be recommending this article to family & friends.