September 24, 2012

Not to be

Here's a bit of a downer dug up by researchers at West Virginia University: suicide has now surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of deaths by injury. Further, as Science Daily reports, the number of deaths by injury have increased even while deaths by disease have decreased. The suicide mortality rate was 15 percent higher in 2009 than in 2000.

I find myself wondering to what extent this change is due to the skyrocketing increase in military suicides. My guess is that it is a significant factor.

The French sociology pioneer Emile Durkheim was probably the first to systematically study suicide. His 1897 work on the subject is still extremely influential. One major take home point from his work is the argument that this most seemingly individual of acts is a reflection of larger social facts or social currents going on within a given society.

To coin a phrase, there's something happening here.

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