AlibiWritten by H. Vanoy Barton
Alibi by H. Vanoy Barton We had nothing to with it. We never knew it was going to happen. We simply blindly elected disingenuous, contemptible and corrupt people to care for our world. We did not stand up for right, nor for our descendants. We allowed tyrants, bullies, zealots, spiritual harlots and outright murderers to seize control of nation after nation, church after church, city after city, block after block. But, our portfolios are flush, our bellies are full, our senses satiated and our retirement seemingly uncomplicated. However, we may have a bitter pill to swallow. A country and a world in throes of chaos. Rage, terror, stupidity, greed, bigotry and narrow-minded hostile intolerance ascend - beauty, grace, love and peace descend. It's not our fault. We are Boomers after all. How does it feel?
Teen SuicideWritten by Jason Liptow
Suicide is a growing problem in society today in United States. According to Centers for Disease Control, in 1995 22,552 Americans died of homicide in 1995 while 31,284 died due to suicide (Teens Attempting Suicide). Suicide is eighth leading cause of death in United States (Dolce 13). While it is estimated that nearly 35,000 Americans commit suicide every year it is believed that that number is closer to 100,000 because so many suicides are ruled as accidents (Dolce 13). The number of attempted suicides in United States is even more overwhelming. Approximately 5 million people now living in United States have attempted suicide (Dolce 13). Meanwhile, suicide among teenagers is becoming a growing trend as well. The third leading cause of death for Americans between ages of 15 to 24 is suicide, second only to homicide and car accidents, according to Centers for Disease Control (Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide). Once every 80 seconds an adolescent attempts to take his or her own life (Dolce 14). Again, these numbers may not be accurate as many suicides and attempted suicides are often reported as accidents, leading to conclusion that problem of teen suicide is even greater than what is reported (Teen Suicide APA). Teen suicide affects everyone close to victim – parents, friends, and siblings and family. For these people it is difficult to overcome suicide because they feel guilty; reason(s) for suicide are often never known. But teen suicide is a growing problem that can be deterred. The facts of teenage suicide paint a picture of sadness and desperation in a time of turbulence for many teens. During adolescence teens deal with a multitude of new experiences such as new relationships, decisions about their future, and physical changes that are taking place in their bodies. It is a very confusing and difficult time for many teens. While many teens handle these changes more easily than others, many become so overwhelmed by them that they feel like they have nowhere to turn and commit suicide. Adolescence is a time of great confusion and anxiety for many. During this time teens feel pressure to fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly (Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide). Adolescence is also a time of sexual awakening, growing self-identity, and a need to be oneself that often conflicts with rules and norms of our society (Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide). Teens that have a strong support group of friends, family, religious affiliations, peer groups, and extracurricular activities may have an outlet to deal with these everyday frustrations. But teens without such a support group often feel disconnected or isolated which often put them at risk for suicide (“Suicide Prevention”). Every day, fourteen young people commit suicide, or approximately 1 every 100 minutes (Teen Suicide). This rate has more than tripled since 1950’s for teens (Dolce 14). Why do so many teens attempt or commit suicide? Why has number of suicides and attempted suicides increased so drastically in recent years? One of these reasons is connection between depression in teens and suicide. It is important to understand that adolescents who are suicidal often exhibit many signs or signals before they actually attempt or succeed in suicide. Keeping an eye on teens for these signals may allow parents, teachers, and friends opportunity to intervene before they actually carry through with act. Some of signs are easier to spot than others. The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in teens are depression, alcohol or drug abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors (Teen Suicide). Teens that come from alcoholic or abusive families, have suffered physical or sexual abuse, lack parental support, and have a history of family depression are also at great risk (Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide). These factors usually exhibit easiest signs of possible suicidal tendencies. Depressed moods, substance abuse, frequent episodes of running away or being incarcerated, and impulsive, aggressive behavior are all signs that are often exhibited in teens that have highest risk of committing suicide (Teen Suicide). If any of these behaviors are detected in an adolescent they should be referred to a professional psychologist, counselor, or doctor for assistance. Other signs or signals of suicide may not seem so obvious or may appear to just be normal behavior for teenagers. But it is important to not just dismiss these signs as only regular behavior, especially if teen has recently undergone a major traumatic event in his/her life. Such traumatic events may include divorce, loss of a family member, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, abusive parents, loss of a job by a family member, moving to a different city or school, or suffering constant humiliation or embarrassment at school (Teen Suicide). Some of signals that may accompany these traumatic events include withdrawal from family and friends, no longer interested in participating in events that they once enjoyed, giving away possessions, talking of death or suicide, arguments with parents and friends, inability to concentrate, sleeping too much or too little, dramatic changes in personal appearance, expressions of hopelessness, self-destructive behaviors (promiscuity, substance abuse, or reckless driving, and changes in appetite (Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide). Other signs include personality changes, complaints about physical symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, poor schoolwork, and boredom (Teen Suicide, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). Teens at risk of suicide also may complain of being a bad person, become suddenly cheerful after a bout of depression (because they feel they have found answer to their problems in suicide), and signs of psychosis (Teen Suicide, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). One of most recent trends in factors that put teens at risk for suicide is that of sexual confusion. Teens who are dealing with homosexual feelings often feel isolated and alone. This is especially true for those who lack support of friends and family. Many times they are scared to even discuss their sexual feelings for fear of being ostracized. Recent studies have shown that suicide attempts are far greater amongst adolescent teens who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual than among their heterosexual peers (Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide). Brent Hafen includes many other underlying factors in teen suicide in his book Youth Suicide besides those mentioned above. They are worthy of mention because it is important to know all of factors that play a role in teen suicide. Among those already stated Hafen includes following factors: disconnection with a parent, “expendable child” syndrome (in which child feels he is no longer wanted by parents), role reversal (in which child must take on role of responsibility in household), broken homes, lack of communication and understanding with parents, high expectations to perform academically, religious conflicts (in which teen disagrees with parents’ religious beliefs), bullying at school, constant moving from city to city, romanticized perceptions of suicide, need to send out a distress signal, overwhelming shame or guilt, desire to punish someone, tunnel vision (the belief that suicide is only answer to a problem, no matter how trivial), exposure to violence, unresolved grief, desire to get attention, cluster suicides (in which case a group of teens make a pact to commit suicide), and poor impulse control (66-116). Although this list may include factors that may seem trivial or even normal for teenagers, it is effect that they have on each individual that make them important. As already stated, even though many teens go through many of these same situations and events and never attempt or commit suicide, there are many that do not have coping mechanisms or support groups to deal with them. That is why it is so important to look for warning signals from those who may actually be thinking of committing suicide.