Thursday, September 06, 2007

Experts are at a loss

Girls' suicide rates spike - The Washington Times This is a national tragedy.

The numbers for girls 10 to 14 are too low to draw many conclusions with.
the suicide rate for 10- to 14-year-old girls. There were 94 suicides in that age group in 2004, compared to 56 in 2003.
Although the percent increase is large (76 percent) the number is small enough relative to the population to fall under the "law of small numbers" or whatever. You really can't reason statistically about this small a percentage of the population. The rate is less than 1 in 100,000.

It is in the older populations that the trend is bad.
Suicide rates among older teen girls, those aged 15-19 shot up 32 percent; rates for males in that age group rose 9 percent.
This is a tragedy on the national level, but I have to poke fun at the experts. You see they are confused. It seems that the guns and access to guns don't seem to the driving forces behind the increase in suicide. In fact hanging and suffocation are now the two main methods used. Guns were the number one cause in 1990, but 15 years of campaigns to get people to safely store their guns has greatly reduced accidents and gun-related suicides.

But not suicides. Suicides went up. This is why you always need to look at anyone talking about gun-related anything with great skepticism. "Gun-related" is only an issue to those who hate and fear guns.

The truth is these girls did not commit suicide because they had easy access to guns, any more than they resorted to hanging themselves because they had easy access to rope. Neither did the boys. There are other issues. People - even children - bent on suicide pick the most effective means available.

The experts are confused about the causes. This article talks about the decline in the use of anti-depressant drugs. The fact that our culture has completely given up on romance in favor of hooking up, that teens are sexually active at a younger and younger age every decade does not present itself as a reason to these experts. The fact that the culture (and the men) are completely obsessed with images of genetic freaks, or of women starving themselves to death, or images that have been so altered that I find it hard to say they are of members of human species. Idealized images. But the "experts" don't even consider this.

I expect that the experts will go on to recommend increasing the use of psychoactive drugs among our teenagers. But only those drugs that will make the pharmaceutical companies richer, of course.

The experts also don't consider the effects of a nihilistic culture that denies the existence of Good and Evil, or the effects of a culture that celebrates Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, et al, and doesn't even consider women (let alone young girls) who are smart or athletic or anything but stupid and beautiful. Consider for a moment the treatment given to both Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. Whether you like either of them is not the point. Both are subjected to ad hominem attacks because they are women in powerful positions, almost more than they are attacked for what they stand for, and not a few of those attacks are launched against them for the way they look.

People on the right will continue to push for censorship, because they claim that they, as poor helpless parents, can't control what their kids see. Maybe they are right. But they should be able to control their kids' values. They will cry for the 10 commandments on courthouse lawns, and ignore the culture we get from Greece and the Enlightenment. The Right will push for prayers (their prayers of course) in schools.

People on the Left will continue to blame the lack of social programs for young girls. They will call for better sex education, or whatever. The Left will push for government programs to raise self-esteem in the absence of doing anything that might actually raise your self-esteem, like playing sports, excelling in the sciences or arts, or being a decent human being.

People on both sides will continue to lap up every bit of news on Hilton, Lohan, whomever, both during their fairy-tale rise or their tragic fall. They will buy magazines filled with images of women starving themselves to death, or digitally altered beyond all recognition. And they will not think they are to blame.

This is a national tragedy and I certainly don't have the answers. But I don't believe the answer is in more medication. I don't believe the answer is more celebration of stupidity, and drunken debauchery that we get every time some barely legal, barely dressed bimbette goes on a binge in LA. I don't believe the answer is another government program, or mandatory Christian prayers. In short, I don't see anyone out there with what I believe is the answer, or who is even looking for the answer

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