Statistics obtained by CNN show the Army will report 128 confirmed suicides last year and another 15 suspected suicides in cases under investigation among active-duty soldiers and activated National Guard and reserves.The obvious factors are mentioned, war-related stress especially. Army officials said that although the national figure is slightly lower, it's not fair to compare the two.
The confirmed rate of suicides for the Army was 20.2 per 100,000. Army officials were reviewing the suspected suicides Wednesday. If any of them are confirmed, the rate would rise.
Another factor is that military suicides tend to be committed by young men with access to weapons.I suppose that means that the availability of guns makes a suicide attempt easier and more likely to succeed. Isn't that an obvious logical conclusion?
The Los Angeles Times reported recently on the Marine Corps situation. For reasons that to me are unclear, they come in lower than either the Army or the civilian population.
Forty-one Marines are listed as possible or confirmed suicides in 2008, or 16.8 per 100,000 troops, the Marine Corps report said. Nearly all were enlisted and under 24, and about two-thirds had deployed overseas.To make further comparisons, I found this fascinating table on Wikipedia. The main thing that jumped out at me was the fact that the top countries are all former-Russian or other Iron Curtain countries. Why is that?
I'm reminded of some of our other discussions on whether suicide is an individual right. The talk of young military men taking their own lives saddens me deeply. I feel these suicides point out the terrible mistake that suicide is, in most cases. Here we're not discussing the terminally ill patients or quadriplegics trapped in an intolerable lifestyle; rather we're talking about young people in the flower of youth. What could be a greater waste than that? Everything and anything should be done to prevent it. What do you think?
The numbers are interesting too, in light of the murder statistics we've seen. If anything, my arguments about gun availability are strengthened by adding suicides to the equation. Besides the 5 or so murders per 100,000, it looks like we've got two or three times that number of suicides. Do you see what I mean?