by

December 3, 2022

 

Teen Suicide in Utah

As of 2018, Utah has the third highest teen death by suicide rate in the United States. Of Utahn’s ages 10 to 17 years old, approximately 19% considered or planned suicide, and 9% attempted suicide. There could be many reasons for such high rates in Utah like geographical location (Wyoming has the highest teen suicide rate), school environments, family life, religious situations, and even political climate. I wanted to research further this topic, attempting to uncover Utah’s unique circumstances that is causing teen suicide. 

In an article disucssing Utah’s high suicide rate, Luke Ramseth investigates possible roles of religion and technology that contribute to this, as well as focussing on the LGBTQ+ community and suicide. Ramseth states that “The state’s suicide rate for all ages is more than 60 percent above the national average”. He explains that suicide is the leading cause of death in Utahns ages 10-17, and Utah has a great lack of prevention programs. In order to lower this rate, Utah needs to create better, more effective prevention programs as well as create a more accepting and open space for struggling teens, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community.

In a similar article , Heidi Hatch discusses other possible causes to why Utah’s teen suicide rate is so high and what we can do to fix it. Hatch mentions that suicide rates across the western states are high, correlating with the easy access to firearms in this area. She states that “45% of Utah’s youth suicides were committed with a handgun”. In addition to this, Utah has a severe lack of mental health counselors and treatment centers. If we want to lower Utah’s increasing teen suicide rate, we need to create more quality ways of getting help, and on a larger (even national) scale, move towards gun control/limitations.


Stop Suicide

Currently, more and more people  are faced with the problem of depression and pressure from work or school. Especially, teenagers are having higher and higher suicide rate overtime. How to deal with this social issue and help people around us become an essential problem.

According to a research, suicide is closest relating to the feel of hopelessness and depression. Further, behaviors like impulsively seeking ways to end their lives is the most obvious action to be observed. Suicides are mostly caused by problem solving deficiency when facing with extreme life situations.

Therefore, methods to reduce the suicide rate become important to these people. Pharmacotherapy and Psychotherapy are proven to be effective in preventing suicides. Especially, with most accurate information about the patients’ status, the therapy would be the most effective. 


Should assisted suicide be legalized?

  • Euthanasia other wise known as assisted suicide refers to the action taken with the intention of taking a life, in order to relieve extreme suffering. In most countries assisted suicide is illegal, however in countries such as Holland, Belgium, and Canada it is not. In addition, few states in the US allow Euthanasia. There are a lot of factors that play in to the controvorcial topic of Euthanasia, and wheter it is moraly right. With that being said, one of the big reasons is the Hippocratic Oath. 
  • According to the Harvard Medical School, the Hippocratic Oath calls physicians to “avoid harming patients, including providing no ‘deadly medicine’ even if requested to do so.” This simply by itself completely contradicts assisted suicide. However, because the world has changed significantly since the time of Hippocrates, many believe that the original oath is outdated. 
  • This was the case with voters in the state of Oregon, as they approved the Death with Dignity Act of 1994. As the CNN Library states, “This allows physicians to prescribe medications for people that have a terminal illness, as well as a 6 month lifespan, to hasten death.” Following this, many other states like Colorado, Vermont, and Washington have done the same. Althought the method in each state varies, the beliefs surrounding the controversial topic of assisted suicide remains the same. With time, it is probable that other states will change their views as well.

Is suicide legal

Suicide is a horrible thing to do, it can split families and hurts people around. Suicide can be caused by multiple reasons, like family pressures, school pressures, bully, society and self pressures. The suicide rate has decreased for 4 years but in 2019 the suicide rate in Utah is 23%. People have their own life but is it also legal to take their own life away.

Look through the Law in the U.S, there is no law that says it is illegal or legal to suicide. In the basics of the law, suicide can be defined as an intentional homicide but the person suicide didn’t hurt others and the person has already suicide, then there is no one for legal liability. If no one can take the ability of suicide then there is no purpose to make a law for the actions of suicide.

The action of suicide relates to the right to death. Now we have the human right to protect our selves and decide our path, we can not say that people do not have their right to suicide, they do control most of their life. People think suicide is another way to run away from stuff but they never thought about how hard for people to take the truth that there is a friend/family that leaves them but killing themselves. Live in society might be hard but the truth is suicide is a stupid way to finish a horrible life, Life is about family and people that will always support you, talk to people that support you, don’t leave them alone.


Is Assisted Suicide ethical?

The Catholic Church views death as the entryway to a new life with God in heaven. God believes that your life is precious and should not be abused or mistreated. We need to respect our bodies and our minds. We also need to respect others as well as ourselves.

God and the Catholic Church believes that we need to let nature take its course. But commiting suicide is not a natural thing but instead something that is caused by ourselves. When many people want to commit suicide they are wanting to just end whatever struggle they are going through. Jesus said that we need to pick up our cross and avoid sin no matter what. We all need to accept God in our lives and to not turn our faces from God.

When the people who want to kill themselves they are often not in the right mind set. And I personally do not believe that we should just throw them in front of a TV and make them watch a 1 hour video about suicide prevention but instead show that we care for the person and that we care for there life. People with mental disabilities often have suicidal thoughts and want to hurt themselves or others. God is always here to help us, but other people need someone they can physically interact with that needs to guide them to God. It is a big struggle for someone to believe in something that they cannot see. It is easy to get side tracked and is easy for someone to turn away from the lord. As kids we grow up knowing that Santa Claus exists but as we grow older and realize that it is not true because we are able to understand that Santa wouldn’t be able to stop by someone’s house to drop off the gifts at 7 billions homes in one night is just not logical. But as children it is easy for us to just imagine and to use creativity. Just like Santa, Jesus is something that we cannot see. We are told all about him but no one is able bring Jesus out of the sky and say “This is Jesus, Jesus this is Riley”.

When we talk more about assisted suicide we talk about the person dying but we never talk about the doctor that is killing the person. Watching someone die is very hard on the brain. My Dad is a Paramedic and always sees people die. He said that when he had seen someone die for the first time he had a hard time sleeping, just knowing that it was part of God’s plan to let that person die. 

People here in the US value their lives like an object. But the Catholic church believes that we need to move past the part where we only care about what car we have. Our end goal is to live with God in heaven and to live an eternal life. But in order to accomplish this goal we need to obey God’s rules and his commandments that he gave us. God is incredibly mercyful and is always able to extend a hand out to us for help. Even if your situation is terrible and you see suicide as the last option as to kill yourself, just know that God is there to help you through your situation and is there to be a shoulder for you to lean on.

 

Many people see the elderly as people who want to just be put out of their misery and don’t want to be alive for much longer. But just like what I said above we need to value our lives and let nature take its course.

Before we discussed assisted suicide in class I had asked my Dad what he thought about it and he told me that we always need to put our trust in God and to not change our destiny. If God wanted us to die the next day, then he would have had that happen already. Everything that we know is all part of a larger plan for him.

The ethical issue with this topic is that people should not be choosing whether to take their own life or not. I see it as too much power for one person and just being able to control that is a scary thought. The Catholic Church’s views on this is extremely negative because it is disobeying God’s plan and moves away from the final product.

The other side of the argument is that assisted suicide should be legal and that people should have the right to do what they want to themselves. This includes small things such as tattoos and piercings. I understand the piercings and tattoos only because they can represent who you are as a person. Assisted suicide is a right that anyone should have as a person because it gives that person the right to choose what to do with your body. Assisted suicide is a hard topic for some people. Either people who have family members who were going through a lot of pain or themselves who experience it.

In the end we all need to be there for each other and we need to support their decisions. I personally do not believe in assisted suicide. I hope that whatever you do is the best option for you and I pray that whatever you are experiencing will go okay and will work out in the end.


Mental Health Among Youth

Suicide is the second highest leading cause of death among youth ages 14 to 25, according to a study completed by Journal of the American Medical Association. Rates for youth depression and youth sucuide are at an all time high, as rates of depression among kids ages 14 to 17 have risen more than 60% between 2009 and 2017 ( https://time.com/5550803/depression-suicide-rates-youth/ ) There is no direct link to any external sources that have led to these heightened levels. 

Although many different external sources have been correlated and linked to these elevated rates, the true cause isn’t known, which makes the crisis that much more dangerous. The longer that we aren’t aware of the source, the longer these mental health issues will manifest among youth, creating a dangerous and at times life threatening environment for adolescents. “Dramatic changes are a sign,” said Schwartz.” a psychology professional stated in a PBS news article (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/suicide-among-teens-and-young-adults-reaches-highest-level-since-2000) As of now, researches are looking for any change in youth behavior or interaction in the past decade that could be the cause of rising mental health issues and suicide levels among youth. 

Many theories have been produced, as people are becoming increasingly worried about the mental stability of adolescents. Some attribute the raised levels to social relationships, the use of smartphones, drug addiction, and external stressors. Schwartz from PBS claims that the increased mental health and siucide levels can be attributed to increased drug use and abuse. He claims that the opioid crisis may be the primary factor, as increased numbers of children are struggling with addiction and the stressors that come with it. Other studies are focusing on the differences that have come about in the past decade; the beginning of the crisis. An article from Time claims that the only drastic change among youth in the past decade has come from the use of the smartphone. (https://time.com/5550803/depression-suicide-rates-youth/) The last leading suspicion for increased mental health levels and suicide rates amoung youth is stress. More is being asked of youth than ever; they are expected to get good grades, participate in sports, wake up early, do homework late into the night, have a social life, etc. External stressors are more forceful upon youth than ever before, and this pressure and anxiety could be a leading factor in mental instability. 

Although it is clear throughout the data that actions need to be taken to improve mental stability among youth, it is difficult to do so when the true cause is not known. Many theories by psychologists and professionals have been completed, and various potential sources have been named. This being said, the only way to truly tackle the issue of mental health issues among youth is by sourcing the cause.


Teen Suicide

Suicide among our youth in America is an important issue that needs to be brought to attention and discussed. This topic is important to me because I am a teenager in high school and this issue can affect many people I know. This is something that society tends to drift away from in conversations and doesn’t address properly or even at all, and we need to be informed about this matter and how to resolve it.

This issue is very impactful by young people losing their lives to this global health epidemic. Many people are losing families and friends because their problems are too hard to deal with and they need an escape. Suicide is very widespread and affects many people but we choose to ignore this up until it happens to someone we know and then acknowledge it. It is important to take action and not ignore the problem at hand when many people are at risk for suicide and we should be preventing the matter before it is too late.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds. Every two hours a teenager in America takes their own life. The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors. The aspect of school is also believed to play a role in teen suicide. A study in 2011 collected data between 1980 to 2004 analyzing teen suicides, the rate for males, on average, was 95% higher during the school months than in summer. For females, it was 33% higher. Males are 4 times more likely to die from suicide than females, but females are more likely to attempt suicide than males.

There have been attempts to address this issue through television shows, suicide hotlines, and commercialized ads. The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” had attempted to bring attention to the topic of suicide, but instead sparked conversation about how graphic and triggering the show had been for viewers. The intent to bring awareness to the matter had been entirely forgotten, and the show created a problematic image for itself, with many saying that it glorified suicide. I propose that schools should educate and bring awareness on suicide prevention to their students. The stress of school, between managing your grades and the pressure to uphold your social reputation among peers, is a factor in contemplating and attempting suicide. Schools should be advocates to prevent this and let the students know what their resources are for getting help. Hopefully by this post, teachers or students from other schools can see this issue and understand this topic and want to be educated themselves and others they know. I think this will be effective by conversations starting on how we can make even baby steps towards bringing awareness to this worldwide problem.

In order to better understand my topic, I could talk with someone who has attempted suicide and get their input on what the thought processes are like. I could also speak with psychologists and experts on mental health to gather more information about what can lead someone to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and how one can prevent themselves or someone they know from this act. I would love to see other viewpoints and suggestions about this topic and how to address it so we can help many people who are struggling. Please comment your thoughts!

Thomson, Jason D. “Discussion Around Depression and Suicide in Teens Today.” Student Mental Health, 2018, pp. 37–42.

Gray, Peter. “Children’s & Teens’ Suicides Related to the School Calendar.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 31 May 2018, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201805/children-s-teens-suicides-related-the-school-calendar.

“Teen Suicide.” Stanford Children’s Health – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford,
www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=teen-suicide-90-P02584.


What it feels like to die?

What I already know about why humans die all the time is because of plenty of reasons. This generation mostly involves death that causes  suicide, murders, and other mental health issues. Other common deaths are a result of illness such as cancer, cardiac arrests, and other illness. There’s been recent tragedies with people, especially the people we love and admire like families, friends, partners, and celebrities. I worry that my generation are most likely to die at danger risks from society because of domestic violence, anxiety, depression, and many other untreated mental health issues.

I don’t want to experience death, however, I want to know the sensation of a person dying.How does it feel like letting go? I feel as our bodies are machines that functions everyday, but what is it like to power off forever? Do we lose our body temperature? Do our souls roam around straight to heaven? It’s really unknown.

Due to what i just recently researched about ‘Why people do people die?’ it helped me know much about this topic. In the Atlantic article, What it Feels Like to Die, this article explains much of what I was wondering. For example, the author talks about the intensity that most people dealt with, but it expresses how people die in different causes and ways. Some people experience death slowly, which causes stages for them like vomiting, hallucinations, nausea, and more. Death can cause you to feel very cold; your brain stops functioning and it closes off your immune system, so basically you’re like a walking zombie. Finally, the heart will stop beating, and then you’re in eternal sleep. Therefore, i realize that death can cause from anything accidentally, forcefully, naturally, and mysteriously. I learned a more ideas and details from the author, because they talks about everything about how it feels to do die.  

 


Social Media and Suicide Post #8

Social media has taken over the teenage population of America. Almost 100 percent of the teenage population checks at least one version of social media everyday. With the huge rise in social media and technology, studies have also shown an even larger rise in mental health issues. The biggest mental health issue is suicide. Is there a correlation between these two things?

After my research that I have done so far, I seems pretty apparent to me that yes, indeed, there is a connection between social media and suicide. Social media does not bring hardly any benefits to our society. All social media does is show the perfect sides of people’s lives, which even then are far from perfect, and it is not a platform designed to show normal, real, everyday life. Nobody is perfect, but social media would beg to differ. This negative comparison and image leads to a feeling of insecurity among the teenage population who is designed to use these media platforms.

With these feelings of insecurity comes the unfortunate aspect of depression. Depression is a real illness and it is a killer. There is no better way to say it. Suicide rates among teens have absolutely shot up as social media has become more relevant, and I cannot help but believe that there is a direct correlation there.

As I have researched this issue further, I found another very interesting article. This article is a research piece posted on the us national library of medicine. In this article is cements the point that there indeed must be a connection between the rising social media usage rates among teens and the rising teen suicide rates. A very interesting paragraph from the article discusses how suicide can also be thought of as somewhat trendy on social media. This is a point that I had not necessarily thought of, but it is very relevant and compelling. It reads, “Social media platforms such as chat rooms and discussion forums may also pose a risk for vulnerable groups by influencing decisions to die by suicide. In particular, interactions via chat rooms or discussion forums may foster peer pressure to die by suicide, encourage users to idolize those who have completed suicide, or facilitate suicide pacts. Ultimately, these interactions may reduce the doubts or fears of people who are ambivalent about suicide. A trend also appears to be emerging in which people use social media to leave suicide notes. Suicide notes left by individuals via social media are shared with the public instantaneously and may influence the decisions of other vulnerable people who encounter them.

It is very unbelievable that these pictures, words, and bodies, that we perceive and see through the tiny screens in our lives. Social media truly is a black hole that is capable of sucking us in, and holding us captive in our own thoughts and comparisons. We need to be more careful and aware of the inescapable effects of social media, and the potential harm that it has to ruin lives.

Luxton, David D., et al. American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, May 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477910/?report=classic.


“Kill Yourself”

We live in a world where mental health is a prevailing struggle, that affects all ages. On average about 3,000 people worldwide commit suicide each day, which is roughly one person every 30 seconds. According to Medical News Today, for each individual who commits suicide at least 20 attempt to do so. Suicide has a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 people. They also said that “16.5% of suicides in the USA are alcohol-related. An alcoholic has between 5-20 times the risk of committing suicide compared to the rest of the population. Individuals who misuse drugs are 10-20 times more likely to take their own lives. Approximately 33% of suicides among those younger than 35 years of age have a primary diagnosis of alcohol or other substance misuse. Among adolescent suicides, alcohol or drug misuse are factors in up to 70% of cases.” These numbers are shocking and surprising, due to the fact that alcohol and drugs play such a prominent role in high school, and many kids use these substances as a way of coping with their mental health, which many times can make it worse. Also men commit suicide more often, but women attempt suicide more frequently.

As the stigma for mental health is starting to go away, and people can talk about it more openly and freely, there is still an underlying factor that continues to influence many people. I decided to type a google search of “kill yourself” and see what came up, and I was unpleasantly surprised as what showed up. The first thing was the suicide prevention hotline number, then many jokes about the saying. There have been songs written, games, blog posts about how “the best ways to commit suicide”, GIF’s and memes showing humor in the saying. And now thinking about it, this saying it almost said as a joke in our everyday lives. I can account to numerous times when people have texted me saying “school sucks I want to kill myself”, or “my parents are being assholes, I would rather die than be with them”, etc. There have been many different applications, and games that have allowed this saying to be prevalent in our everyday lives.

I also stumbled upon the Blue Whale Challenge during this search. It is an online challenge that started in Russia, that seeks out teenagers to “play this game” and it asks you to complete 50 tasks, and at the end you finally commit suicide. It leads vulnerable kids who are on the verge on suicide to talk to a persuasive and unsupportive moderator that tells you to stay up late, self harm, watch psychedelic videos, perform dangerous tasks such as standing at the edge of a cliff, and cut of all ties to your friends and family. This concerns me because I know from personal experience, that when someone is depressed, and feeling suicidal, often times these web searchers or games can be the end of someones life. It might just be the final push for them to end their life. People who are depressed and are considering suicide, are more likely to listen to these comments, and go through with their death, than if we put an end to these saying, and change the way we talk about this issue.

And my question to our society is why are we taking three steps forward by finally talking about mental health, and opening it up for people to talk freely about, but then we take 5 steps backwards be being insensitive as a culture by continually making jokes about dying, creating games that lures kids in, and not realizing the harm it is doing to my generation. I wonder what it is going to take to stop this trend, and put a positive out look on mental health, and support the people around us.

Suicide is Real.


Do We Have the Right to Die?

Assisted suicide is a very controversial topic in the viewpoints of many.  Before I get into this topic, I want to clarify that this is an end of life treatment that is available in some states for terminally ill patients who show no signs of improvement.  The patients that choose this route must pass a full mental competency exam and have their decision legally notarized by an attorney general.  Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill brain cancer patient was the woman who pioneered the first legalization in Oregon back in 2013. According to the article above, “doctors gave Maynard six months to live earlier this year after diagnosing her with a form of brain cancer. She publicly announced her intention to move to Oregon so she could undergo physician-assisted suicide under the state’s Death With Dignity Act.” Since then, legalization has been a slow and lengthy process and little has been done in some states to reform the laws restricting it. According to this article, “Physician-assisted suicide differs from euthanasia, which is defined as the act of assisting people with their death in order to end their suffering, but without the backing of a controlling legal authority.” This treatment allows patients to end terminal suffering in a dignified, peaceful manner on their own terms.  So if this is such a regulated treatment, then why is it only legally available in five of the fifty US states?

Many people may be skeptical about the process that physicians take to administer this treatment.  Technically this is not a treatment since it is ending the life of the patient, however it is offered my medical doctors to alleviate suffering and pain.  When a patient has undergone all of the prerequisite requirements to display both mental competency, and no promise of their illness getting better in the future, they will meet with a physician who will prescribe lethal doses of medication which can be picked up at a specialized pharmacy, usually only available in hospitals.  Depending on the condition of the patient, they may choose where to take the next final steps wether it be at home or in a hospital.  This offers patients an option to have a dignified death before their condition fully takes hold of their body.  This allows lucid thought process when departing with loved ones.

I believe that Death with Dignity should be an option for patients who meet the qualifications.  I have personally known terminally ill people and the struggle with allowing your illness to claim your life.  I believe this option leaved patients with a dignified choice on how they would like the last weeks of their life to look like.  I hope to do more research on this topic and hope to see it come up in congress in upcoming years.  I believe this is an important human right and that it should be made available to those who truly need it.


Mission to Bring the LGBT+ Community Home

Here at Out of the Closet into the Home we focus on LGBT+ youth who have become homeless due to their identity. Of the 7% of youth in America that are homeless, 40% of them are homeless due to their sexuality and identity. This number is alarming and has prompted us try and save some of those lives. At our LGBT+ home we try and meet the needs of as many who have been abandoned by their families by providing the following services: suicide prevention hotline, housing for homeless LGBT+ youth, and resources for career building and future housing. We understand that being LGBT+ is not a choice and as a result we offer the option of counseling sessions for youth and their loved ones to reconnect and understand each other. A majority of the LGBT+ homeless youth become homeless under the misconception that they have a choice. These individuals do not and as a result struggle with many issues with identity that can lead to mental health issues. This is why we have our hotline. It can be a dark time for these youths who have been abandoned because of who they are. It creates a self-image that can lead one to feel helpless, hopeless, and inferior. It is important that we open our hearts and our doors to these individuals and remind them they are worth and can live successful lives. As youth contacts us and come to our home, we hope to counsel them so they can come to recognize and accept who they are and flourish.  We value their lives now we need them to as well. Its a hard world out there for these young individuals and they need to be loved and supported for who they are. If their families have failed, maybe we can show them the way to open their hearts, if we can’t, certainly we can lend a hand to better these young LGBT+ lives.

 

Annotations of resources for this mission statement here.


“Kill Yourself”

On average in the U.S. 121 people die by suicide every single day making suicide the 10th leading cause of death. NFSP reports a steady incline in the suicide rate and mental illness is at an all time high – whether that be because professionals diagnose better, people are getting more ill, or people feel more comfortable discussing issues. Suicide and its various causes are all on the forefront of society and are an issue in dire need of attention. Yet, there has been no significant change. In fact, the statistics show that the problem is worsening. So what is the problem?
Walking down the halls at school, scrolling through social media, even hanging out with friends, we are bombarded with a culture desensitized to mental illness. Kill yourself jokes run rampant through just about any video’s comment section online. Cruel personal jokes flood school hallways.  Yet those participating are also the ones most affected by the problem. The majority of people using the internet are millennials and plurals which have the highest suicide rates compared to any other generation.  While no society is condoning the nature of the jokes, there isn’t much to stop the jokes either. People argue that taking a “kill yourself” joke – or something of the like – serious is a waste of time. It essentially doesn’t matter anymore.

So why has such a serious problem become fodder for humor on the internet by those who are most affected? I would dare say it is the culture these people experience. Our culture only recently has brought discussions about mental health to the attention of larger society, but in the past mental institutions were essentially places to separate the mentally able from the others. Mental institutions in the U.S. in the 1950s were infamous for institutionalizing and holding people after they were healthy as well as grouping crime, mental illness, and taboo into one category. The mentally ill were those who were less than the average citizen. Fast forward to today, a complaint of many on the internet is that they have been told their problems aren’t valid and that happiness is a choice. It comes down to the fact that society still doesn’t see mentally ill as people who need help. They have taken the small step up from being subhuman to being over dramatic.

On top of these societal stigmas, the funding for research on mental health severely lacks the backing that more concrete illnesses such as cancer have procured. Mental illness spending has even seen budget cuts on multiple occasions such as the 2008 recession.  So as confirmation to stigma, mental illness is not a major priority of society. Instead, society more looks to have the problem fixed just whenever. For a generation of insecure and mentally ill, the combination of low levels of action and stigma create an even more negative vision of themselves and the prospects of getting respect for their problems.

In response, young generations turn to the internet where they indulge in humor and leisure. As time passes, people begin to realize how everyone has had similar experiences surrounding mental health and connect over it. Yet, as the generation is acutely aware of how public the internet is, and how openness is looked down upon, the way of joking about their problems became more common. Thus, relatable became funny and with it mental health was the butt of the joke. However, not all is bad in this situation. While the young generations may feel overly comfortable in joking about such grave matters, they also engage in more conversations about the problem than ever before and the controversial nature of the jokes open the opportunity for debate and discussion of morals and standards relating to the subject matter. However, either good or bad, an awareness of how words define our beliefs or how words are interpreted play an important role in society’s issues.


Reopen the Kurt Cobain Case

Dear Seattle Police Department,

As a police department that prides itself on enhancing trust with the public, it would make sense to look at all evidence before reaching a conclusion. In your two year progress report, you highlighted the four things that make the Seattle Police Department great. Two of these things were enhancing public trust, and building pride and professionalism. If one truly wants to take pride in what one does, it would be expected that one would strive to always reach the correct conclusion.

Just a short time after Kurt Cobain was found dead in 1994,  detectives reached a conclusion on how he passed away. This is understandable, as it seems logical for him to commit suicide given his addiction to heroin, and the tone of the music he was producing. Also, there was a previous potential suicide attempt by Cobain.  At the time the conclusion was reached, not much other evidence had yet surfaced. In the next few years, Tom Grant, a distinguished private investigator, and former LAPD detective discovered more evidence that would suggest something other than a suicide.

I’m sure the Seattle Police Department gets many requests to reopen the Kurt Cobain case; however, New evidence has been brought to light about the “suicide” of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain that should be taken into consideration.The matter deserves justice, something it did not receive back in 1994. Such an incident cannot just be ignored and kept under the rug. I speak for thousands –  not just Nirvana fans, but for people who believe in the truth. I speak for everyone who believes that every case deserves justice.

Among the most notable evidence is the amount of heroin in Cobain’s body. As I’m sure you know, it was well over a lethal dose. It makes no sense for one to be able to peacefully pass away due to a drug overdose, but instead choose to kill themselves by the means of a firearm. What the heroin seems to suggest is that once Cobain was shot, a person who was not experienced with the amount of heroin one usually takes, injected him with heroin to make it appear as if Cobain had gotten high and then took his own life. Also, the SPD collected information from Jack Briggs, an employee of Tom Grant, in 1996. Tom Grant is a retired private investigator and former detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.   In this interview Briggs talked about Courtney Love attempting to hire Eldon Hoke to kill Cobain. In the film “Soaked in Bleach,” Norman Stamper, the Former Seattle Police Chief, stated “If I were the chief today, I would reopen this investigation.” Norman Stamper was the police chief at the time of Cobain’s death, and he reached his original conclusion due to a lack of evidence (at the time) to prove otherwise. Norman Stamper stating he would reopen the case if he was given the opportunity is very significant. The man who initially decided that Cobain had committed suicide, is having second thoughts about his conclusion now that more evidence has been brought to light.

Another factor that may have played into Cobain’s death being considered a suicide, are biases that go along with investigating a suicide case. Vernon J. Geberth, a retired Lieutenant-Commander of the New York City Police Department with over 40 years of law enforcement experience wrote a research paper, “The Seven Major Mistakes in Suicide Investigation,” where he states, “If the case is reported as a ‘Suicide,’ the police officers who respond as well as the investigators automatically tend to treat the call as a suicide.  It is a critical error in thinking to handle the call based on the initial report. The immediate problem is that psychologically one is assuming the death to be a suicide case, when in fact this is a basic death investigation, which could very well turn out to be a homicide.  The investigator cannot ‘assume’ anything as a professional law enforcement officer.” As stated in one of the Initial narratives on the morning of April 8th, 1994, by  Detectives Jim Yoshida and Steve Kirkland, “Lt. Marberg receives a phone call from SPD Communications. They are requesting a Homicide Team at *** Lake Washington Blvd. E. They are on the scene of a suicide. There is a note present and the gun is also in place. The victim is Kurt Cobain…” Also in Cobain’s death certificate, on April 14th of 1994, his cause of death is listed as a “Self inflicted shotgun wound.” All of this seems to suggest that from the beginning of the investigation, detectives had treated this case as a suicide and not a general death investigation. Perhaps bias that the case was a suicide was what made detectives reach a conclusion so quickly.

Another point that Geberth brought up in his research paper is that, when a case is initially reported as a suicide, detectives tend to go into what he called the “Suicide Position.” This is when the investigators take short cuts. Geberth describe these short cuts as “Sufficient photographs were not taken and certain tests were not conducted.” In the Cobain Case, the shell casings in his shotgun were not checked for fingerprints until 1997, three years after he was found dead. Geberth went on to state, “Suicides are non-amenable offenses that are not recorded in the UCR and therefore are considered less important than other events.” This could have potentially happened with the Cobain case, as I’m sure a SPD detective will have many “more important” homicide calls to attend to.

Given all the facts that were brought up it would be a wise idea to reopen the Kurt Cobain death investigation.

All Apologies,

Vincent Galanti

 

https://www.youthvoices.live/tag/suicide/