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Suicides Surge as Financial Crisis Worsens

Our readers respond to a recent story about the increase in suicides as more Americans face economic desperation.

As the economy spirals out of control, more and more Americans are seeing their jobs, savings, and hopes for the future evaporate.

Increasingly, many have resorted to desperate measures to ward off eviction, dept, and unemployment; an alarming number are even turning to crime and suicide.

Not surprisingly, the tragedies of the wealthy grab headlines while the suffering on Main Street is largely ignored by the mainstream, national media.

In a recent article published on AlterNet, Nick Turse tells some of those stories: the 23-year-old woman on the verge of eviction who robbed a bank to pay rent; a Georgia woman who shot herself in the head prior to her eviction hearing; the 43-year-old man who hanged himself after getting behind on mortgage payments; and many, many more.

In fact, Turse reports, suicide hot-lines throughout the country have reported an increase in calls since the start of the financial crisis.

And yet, writes Turse:

... while various bailout schemes have been introduced and implemented for banks and giant corporations, no significant plans have been outlined or introduced into public debate, let alone implemented by Washington, to take strong measures to combat the dire circumstances affecting ordinary Americans.

There has been next to no talk of debt or mortgage forgiveness, or of an enhanced and massively bulked-up version of the Nixonian guaranteed income plan (which would pay stipends to the neediest), or of buying up and handing over the glut of homes on the market, with adequate fix-up funds, to the homeless, or of any significant gesture toward even the most modest redistributions of wealth. Until then, for many, hope will be nothing but a slogan, the body count will rise, and Americans will undoubtedly continue going to extremes.

AlterNet's readers had some very strong reactions to Turse's article.

and_abottleofrum writes that this is just the beginning:

This is an extremely disturbing article, but there's so much more to come and all of this has been quite predictable. Suicides will become a lot more common, so will violent crime, domestic violence, and property crime -- however I wouldn't call robbing a bank to pay one's rent a crime at all.


This is the onset of a cruel chapter of human history. There's a lot more suffering to come. Many reading these threads will find themselves economically destroyed this year; many may end up homeless, anomic, permanently scarred, and persecuted by authorities that want to keep their misery out of the public view.

Quannah agrees, drawing a disturbing and by now familiar historical parallel:

This reminds me of the stories I've read about what people were doing in 1929 after the Stock Market Crash.

We're only beginning to see the tip of this iceberg. This is a sad commentary on what our society has wrought. Worship money and things and when they are gone, a person has no worth. That's a cancer on our culture. And it could prove to be our ultimate downfall.

Others also point to our culture-wide preoccupation with financial success as the culprit. Cybershaman writes: western culture we worship those who have money. They are paraded in front of us daily as an example of the 'winners' in our society. HOW they made their money is irrelevant. Sweat shops, prison labor, snake oil, we don't care how the money was made. The fact that they made money at all makes them a 'winner'! THAT'S why we will never go after these bass turds or stop the next wave of people just like them.

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