i came across this study on LETHAL VIOLENCE today via Mind Hacks. basically… it hypothesizes that differences in culture affect how lethal violence is directed (suicide or murder).
An Analysis of WHO Data on Lethal Violence: Relevance of the New Western Millennium.
Asia Pac J Public Health. 2009 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print]
INTRODUCTION: Suicide and homicide are considered to be lethal violent acts with a clear difference in their directions, that is, inwardly “killing oneself” or outwardly “killing another,” respectively. There are some studies in which these 2 violent acts are considered under the same framework mostly within Western countries. This article for the first time investigates this issue throughout the world. Material and methods. The present study uses data that have been estimated by Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project for 2000 for the 6 different regions of the world proposed by WHO. The suicide/homicide ratio has been calculated by dividing the suicide rate by the sum of the suicide and homicide rates within each age and sex groups.
FINDINGS. Three distinct groups have emerged. In the first group, that is, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Western Pacific, lethal violence in both males and females usually directs inward whereas in the second group, that is, Africa, lethal violence in both males and females directs outward. In the third group, that is, America and Eastern Mediterranean, in males lethal violence generally directs outward whereas in females it often directs inward.
CONCLUSION: Under the same framework if a factor causes external blame for the people’s failures it will increase the likelihood that the suicide/homicide ratio is expressed as homicide and vice versa. Although this might explain the observed pattern to some extent, more in-depth studies are needed to better understand the causal root of the pattern.
I think it’s really, really annoying when people refer to suicide as “the coward’s way out”. Really? Given the simple fact that the vast majority of people do not have a 100% solid idea of what will happen to them after dying makes it a pretty courageous thing to do. Even most religious people won’t be totally sure that they aren’t destined for Hell. Of course, many of these people also think that suicide is a one-way ticket to hell so these people are either super courageous or just plain stupid to kill themselves. I personally believe that I will just cease to exist when I die and my body will just be a big lump destined to be cremated or buried and decompose. However, I can’t prove that and I’m not even SUPER sure that will happen, no matter how likely I think it is. So for me to kill myself would be a really BRAVE thing to do.
phil ochs. i first learned about this man maybe two years ago through a reference in a billy bragg song. i first heard his tunes maybe ONE year ago, and he’s now easily one of my TOP 5 favorite folk singers.
(i haven’t actually made a top 5 list, but off the top of my head, and in no particular order… woody guthrie, phil ochs, jim croce, john hartford, and some other boring asshole probably)
phil was a “left social democrat” and “early revolutionary” who wrote and performed “topical songs” from 1962 through 1975. he was also bi-polar, manic depressive, and had an alternate personality as well as alcoholism and an addiction to valium and sometimes lithium. i think i like him a LOT because he was an actual political activist and his songs are about real, important things. so many of these stupid folk singers sing ‘political’ songs, but don’t actually get involved in any real activism. phil ochs was serious about it.
when he was 18, he was arrested in miami for sleeping on a park bench, and was held in jail for 15 days. while in jail, he realized he wanted to write, and more importantly, to become a journalist. so… during college, he wrote a lot of articles for the school paper, many of which were refused publication because they were too radical. getting fed up, he started his own underground paper and continued pursuing radical jounalism. during this time, he was also introduced to folk music and learned to play the guitar (he was already a somewhat acclaimed clarinet player).
the natural next step for ochs was to combine his love of music with his love of journalism, and he began writing political songs. he described himself as a troubadour jounalist whose songs were built from the stories read in newsweek. in the early sixties, phil was getting rather popular in the new york folk scene and would hang out with such well knowns as joan baez and bob dylan. he was also heavily involved in political activism, performing at and organizing anti-war rallies, civil rights rallies, labor events, etc.
however… he seemed to become more disillusioned and depressed with every passing year (his mental problems were becoming more and more serious as well), and when 1968 rolled around, it really took its toll on phil with the assassination of martin luther king jr. and robert f. kennedy, the riots at the dnc, and the election of nixon. he was also getting negative reviews on his new “baroque-folk” style album, which didn’t help the depression.
in 1970, in order to have more influence on the general public, he commissioned a gold suit from elvis’s costumer and went on tour, playing buddy holly, merle haggard, and elvis covers as well as his own songs. he also travelled to chile, hung out with victor jara (who’s death was immortalized in the song “washington bullets” by the clash), a staunch supporter of allende, and performed in the first greenpeace concert.
1973 was another bad year for ochs… not only did both jara and allende die in the u.s. backed coupe in chile, but he was attacked in africa by robbers who strangled him and injured his vocal chords. the attack worsened his mental problems, and he became increasingly paranoid, believing that the attack was arranged by government agents. (it later turned out that the FBI did, indeed, have a 500 page file on ochs, but they didn’t actually have anything to do with the strangulation)
in 1976, phil ochs hanged himself.
here are a couple of mp3s off the one album i own… “there but for fortune”, a compilation put out by elektra in 89.
There But For Fortune
Is There Anybody Here
Draft Dodger Rag
here’s a live clip of phil performing “the highwayman”:
TAIPEI (Reuters) – A Taiwan man grieving over the death of his girlfriend climbed inside a morgue freezer to be with her and was only pulled out alive half an hour later, media and an official said on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old man was discovered on Monday when workers detected an unusually high temperature in the freezer and realized the hatch was not securely fastened.
“A morgue manager opened the hatch, saw two people lying inside, felt scared enough to yell out and then even cried,” the Liberty Times reported. “She didn’t stabilize for a long time.”
The man took a drug before entering the freezer to speed what appeared to be suicide attempt, local papers said. They said his girlfriend died on Friday from an overdose of sleeping pills.
The morgue would step up security to ensure that family and others who come by to identify bodies do not stay too long, morgue administrator Chang Lung-ching said.
"Being Strangled" b/w "Us Mere Mortals" (02/08/11)
"Billy and the Black Spot Under an Ugly Moon" (01/11/11)
"Radio Prohibidas" b/w "Never Know" (01/11/11)
"Merry Christmas (Don't Forget To Write)" (12/25/10)
"I'll Take The Bullet For You" b/w "Zenith/Nadir" (12/14/10)
"Warholism (Is Polaroiding)" b/w "Among The Saints" (11/09/10)
"Frantic Prayer" b/w "Kicking The Tires" (10/12/10)
"Gravitational Collapse" b/w "Carcinogenic Kiss" (9/14/10)