Think ... People,  THINK!


A young man graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor's Degree in speech communications. He subsequently received a Master's Degree in psychological counseling from Columbia University. At age 24 he took his own life. At that time he was rooming with his best friend from high school, who had no inkling of the impending suicide.

Although brought up Catholic in his early years, his high school and college years were influenced by the Youth For Christ, Campus Crusade, and Navigators groups. The three journals he left behind reflect increasing frustrations with relations with previous friends and a desire to sit at the right hand of Jesus.

When there was a hint of depression in his college years, professional counseling said he was only normally stressed. A Catholic priest's evaluation was that evil spirits were infecting his body and soul, and he recommended exorcism (which was not done).

I think  all of us have a core of self-esteem that cannot be penetrated for a "normal" life. We have failures and criticisms but believe we are not truly bad ... and go on. However, if that self-esteem core is actually penetrated, if one sees himself/herself as a true failure and sees criticism as valid, suicide looms as the way to end the psychological pain. I think the more religious a person is, the easier it is to end one's life, to think that "life" will be better with God. I think in that final phase, thinking and logic and reason do not come into play; thought is not given to the consequences of suicide, to the hurt that it will do to others or to how life could be changed in the future.

What do you think?

Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year.
There are twice as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide is 15th).
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old Americans.
There are four male suicides for every female suicide.
The highest suicide rate is among men over 85 years old: 65 per 100,000 persons.
There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.

I think that where old age and/or disease are involved, suicide is a reasonable option. I applaud Oregon's assisted suicide law. If one's quality of life is negligible, and science provides no hope for our improvement, and we are a burden to others, and we see us making no further contribution to society, then perhaps ending this most precious thing we have is reasonable. We are going to die sometime. Life-ending thinking should be the deepest, most comprehensive thinking we ever do, based on facts and with inputs from others we trust. But the mere fact that we can do such comprehensive thinking belies the belief that we are worthless; that we have nothing more to contribute. We might have have a Hemingway-type novel bottled up inside us that could be dictated; we might have Einstein-type thoughts on the universe; we might ...

What do you think?

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