This topic has become more real for my family. My first cousin’s son-in-law committed suicide this past weekend. He had had difficulty adjusting since his return from Iraq, but the family was still caught off-guard. If you can make it any worse, he chose his wife’s birthday to take his life. Fortunately, neither she nor their toddler son was home at the time.
The issue of soldier suicide concerns many. Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, Arkansas’ National Guard Adjutant General, recently made a public plea for help asking family members, friends and employers of the state’s 10,000 Guardsmen to watch for personality changes or signs of stress overwhelming his soldiers and airmen. There has been four suicides in Arkansas Guardsmen since January.
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*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*
One of the joys of having a blog with 10 readers is that a bunch of them actually add content. From the comments to this post (about the Collier Township, PA mass shooting) by CHenry:
Sadly a recurring pattern of tragedy. A mentally ill person: depressed, angry, frustrated and paranoid, socially isolated largely due to the behavioral features of his disordered personality (I say “his” particularly because it is true, most of these mass-killer-suicides are men) and then some event that triggers the lethal cataclysm of violence. It doesn’t even have to be something most people would think would trigger someone to break, maybe the failure of a brief relationship, or something more significant like a job loss.
U. Texas at Austin, Port Arthur, Tasmania, San Ysidro, California, Ecole Polytechnique, Quebec, Kileen, Texas, Dunblane, Scotland, Virginia Tech. All very similar, and there have been many more.
The gun control activists point to the weapons of choice. They have a point: semiautomatic firearms give an assailant a huge advantage of speed in making a body count when turned on unarmed and trapped victims. But even in places where gun ownership is tightly controlled, those with the determination to kill have found weapons of their choice.
We live in a society where it is startlingly easy to be alienated and alone, even in a crowd. For whatever reasons, the ties that bind us to one another, community, family, church, friendship and work are much more tenuous than ever before. People with thought disorders and violent tendencies have probably never been freer, both of the laws that once gave a society powers to confine them and of the observation and social controls that a world of smaller communities once imposed on their behaviors.
The lonely berserk stranger, hell-bent on wreaking as much destruction as possible before his own destruction has become the dark meme of modern living. Going postal.
I don’t see a practical answer to this problem. Good comment.
*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*