Re: Teen suicide

Janet Gillis (jgillis@NOVA.UMD.EDU)
Tue, 1 Nov 1994 12:04:49 -0500

My cold and calloused opinion is that our society tolerates a lot of
"unacceptable" behavior. If we are discussing teenage suicide/the
suicide of young people in the U.S., then issues of moral responsibility
of the individual (the teenager) should also be included. I'm not
referring to those trapped by violent abuse who can find no means escape
but for death; I'm talking about "copy-cat suicides", and "not being able
to handle the pressure" -- teens who have been educated to alternatives,
but reject them.

In addition to finding the causes of violent behavior and educating
teens about such, why not also reinforce some discipline? If a person
(whether 15 or 50 years old) cannot make rational decisions regarding the
value of human life, they should not be allowed in society until their
judgement improves.

A suicidal person may not be deemed dangerous to those *around* them, but
suicide is _a deliberate choice of violence as a means to an end_. Each
person is responsible for his/her actions, and violent behavior should
bring more than a therapy session and a slap on the wrist. Teenagers
should be helped and protected, but they need to know that once they make
a decision, they will suffer ALL the consequences for that decision. I
believe that if the consequences of violent choices are unpleasant enough,
fewer of those decisions will be made.