Human Exceptionalism

Eight Million A Year Contemplate Suicide in USA and the Assisted Suicide Movement

A disturbing number of people–8 million–each year seriously contemplate suicide, with some 32,000 actually doing the deed.  From the story:

More than 8 million Americans seriously consider suicide each year, according to a new government study. About 32,000 suicides occur in the United States each year, but a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that many more give the idea serious thought.

The report is based on a survey of 46,190 people aged 18 and older.

— People 18 to 25 years old were far more likely to have seriously considered suicide in the previous year (6.7 percent) than those 26 to 49 (3.9 percent).

— Just 2.3 percent seriously considered suicide among those 50 or older.

— Among people with a substance abuse disorder, 11 percent had considered suicide, compared with 3 percent without such disorders.

Now, in the face of all of this despair, what is the message of the assisted suicide movement? That killing yourself is a right and proper means of ending your suffering.  Some advocates–a minority actually–say this is “only” for the terminally ill.  (I think that is a political tactic, but never mind.)  But suffering people are not going to hear the message that suicide is okay–but only if you have cancer.  Indeed, I believe the assisted suicide movement compromises society’s (weakening) anti suicide message, or at the very least, makes it equivocal.  It becomes akin to an anti-tobacco campaign telling people to smoke filtered cigarettes. In the end, the message comes out pro smoking.

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