[lit-ideas] Re: Suicide in Europe

  • From: Judith Evans <judithevans001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2010 10:12:16 +0000 (GMT)

Yes, that is the thesis (the suicide rates thing plus 'second cause of death' 
is Bruce Thornton).  Thank you, Mike. I muddied the waters a bit by going on 
about teenagers: there's been a mini-spate of teenage suicides in a nearby 
town, it's worrying; the town is, like much of South Wales, economically 
depressed, that's dispiriting... sorry.  anyway

Judy Evans, Cardiff

--- On Sun, 21/11/10, Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Suicide in Europe
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Sunday, 21 November, 2010, 2:10

My older brother emigrated to Denmark in 1965.  I made fun of Denmark remarking 
on how high their suicide rate was.  Emory didn't try to deny it or excuse it.  
He said, yes, when the Danes lose their ability to cope, they kill themselves, 
whereas Americans kill each other.  He said he'd prefer to live among those who 
might kill themselves as opposed to those who might kill him.  Made sense to me.

The saying, "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem" rings very 
true to those who are not suicidal.  But the decision not to exist is not a 
rational one.  It's a screw up in brain chemistry.  Lawrence's thesis that the 
higher suicide rate in many  European countries  assumes that their decisions 
was driven by perceptions of cultural malaise or whatever the hell it is 
Lawrence accuses Europe of.  That's just silly.

Mike Geary

On Sat, Nov 20, 2010 at 5:47 PM, carol kirschenbaum <carolkir@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems this study merely says that suicide 
is more prevalent than murder. How else can one die, if not from illness or 


On Sat, Nov 20, 2010 at 2:28 PM, Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

Thornton published his book in 2007.  His references on the subject of suicide 

"European suicide rates: World Health Organization, Suicide Prevention in 
Europe (2002), 

"American: National Institute for Mental Health, In Harms Wary: Suicide in 
America (2003)."

Thornton probably didn't have the 2004 edition of WHO's book on suicide when he 
wrote his own book.  Interestingly, WHO's reputation doesn't seem sterling:





Of course Thornton's "suicide" has most to do with the reduction of the 
production of children and the importation of immigrants to make up the short 
fall so the European elderly can continue their retirement entitlements.   A 
lot that is in his book seems a rehashing of material I've read elsewhere.  My 
own tangent was based more on books I read about Europe (including those by 
Tony Judt) after World War II than Thornton's reference to actual suicide, that 
is, I had been thinking about that for some time.  Why the West has bifurcated, 
Western Europe one way and America (or Anglo-America?) another is something I 
have an ongoing interest in.

From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Judith Evans

Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 11:50 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Europe, World War II, Suicide and Jason Bourne

I am not sure what the various figures actually measure, Lawrence, but for what 
it's worth, reported/recorded suicide rates in European countries are not 
uniformly higher than in the USA.  Also I don't know what Thornton's sources 
are, but mine say Luxemburg's figures are more or less identical to the USA's.  
That leaves us, pending further investigation,  with four European countries 
with higher suicide rates than those of the US and of other European countries.

more importantly, Thornton says (I copy the quotation from your blog)

"in many European countries, suicide is the second leading cause of death, 
after accidents,"

in fact, it's the second leading cause of death, *disease apart*, **among 
teenagers** in Europe (according to a WHO report of 2004).  (This teenage 
suicide rate varies greatly across Europe.)

That's worrying but doesn't really support your overall thesis.

Judy Evans, Cardiff, UK

 and France's suicide rate is about twice that of the United States', as

--- On Fri, 19/11/10, Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Subject: [lit-ideas] Europe, World War II, Suicide and Jason Bourne
To: "Lit-Ideas" <Lit-Ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Friday, 19 November, 2010, 18:08



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