The 2018 Summer Solstice edition of The Status Quo: An Electronic Newsletteris dedicated to those who decided to end their lives rather than live in the sick society we call America 2018. Since the Status Quo always knew that its life, digital as it may be, was to end today, it often contemplated how desperate one must be to embrace death over life. Over the past 18 years, the Status Quo has witnessed its maker feel the pain of suicide and death by other means. It watched as its maker dealt with the pain through alcohol, drugs, food and isolation. The Status Quo saw the pain and agony felt in the wake of a suicide. It saw misery in its rawest form.
As for those who believe that America is the greatest country in the world, the Status Quo offers advice given it many years ago. It is often better to remain silent and keep the world wondering if you are ignorant than to open your mouth and leave no doubt of your ignorance. Any nation as wealthy and educated as America but still allows hundreds of thousands of rape kits to remain untested is anything but great. Any nation as informed as Americans are about mental illness but still treat serial rapists better than those who suffer from mental illness is anything but great. Any nation that permits the education of its children to be determined by the value of the home a child’s parent(s) can afford is anything but great. America is an abomination of what it should be, what so many dreamed it could be and what so many fought and died for it to be.
A Failing Government…
Since the Status Quo’s digital life is coming to an end with this edition, it feels compelled to once again place the spotlight on the two cancers destroying our Republic. These cancers, exemplified by the pedophile and the career politician, were never intended to be anything more than symbols for what is destroying America. Although America is beset with a myriad of significant problems that require a unified national response, the abandonment of personal responsibility by the American people and the abject failure of government by our elected officials represent the two failures that have brought America to its knees.
The first of these malignant tumors is the pedophile. The pedophile represents the American people’s abandonment of personal responsibility. It is not the duty of government or law enforcement to protect our children from those who wish to rape them. It is not the duty of government or law enforcement to screen or investigate those who encounter our children with the hope of stealing their youth. We, as parents, grandparents and great grandparents are responsible for their health and safety and this duty is not some custom passed down from the old country. It is God’s law and the law of nature for those agnostics who do not believe Jesus Christ saved us all. The fact that we have not executed or imprisoned for life every pedophile we know has raped one of His little ones is evidence of just how indifferent we are to our collective future. We all know that a single pedophile can destroy countless young lives, yet we are shocked to read of the pedophile priest, teacher, doctor, coach or uncle who ravished hundreds of innocent children. Instead we blame government for not deterring or detecting their carnal desires. How pathetic. How American.
The second malignant tumor to which the Status Quo has dedicated countless editions of this Newsletter is the career politician. Like the pedophile, the Status Quo never asserted that if we eliminate all the career politicians in office our Republic would might live up to the promises contained in the Declaration of Independence. On the contrary, the Status Quo has asserted that until the American people unite under the banner of the child, America will never see the day when the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution are secured for all our citizens whether they be children, immigrants, poor or uneducated. We must remove money from the political equation or the future of our children will be dark indeed.
The career politician does not serve those who elected him. On the contrary, the career politician serves those who donate to his campaign. Since he must be re-elected every two years, as is the case with the members of the House, they must dedicate most of their time to raising money. The Special Interests know this and have over the past 50 plus years used this constitutional flaw to replace the American people with the top 2% as the focus of their service. As for the career politicians in the Senate, they represent the very worst of American politics. The Founding Fathers saw the Senate as the senior lawmaking body and gave each Senator a 6-year term of office. They saw these elected officials as men who had made something of their life and wanted to serve in Senate as a way of bringing their vast experiences in business, medicine, law and the military to Washington DC. It was not until the 20th century that we witnessed Senators make careers out of being in the Senate. Now we see men like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz from the right and Maria Cantwell and Debbie Stabenow from the left make the Senate a career. They brought noting to the U.S Senate save a career in politics. If you think they will ever allow the swamp to be drained, you are only fooling yourself. Every effort must be made to remove them from office. They are living, breathing examples of all that is wrong with Washington DC.
When the Status Quo began its campaign in 2000 to expose the career politician for what they represent, it did so by defining what a career politician is and by identifying its favorite career politicians in California, Michigan and a few other states. To those who have read this Newsletter since the beginning, you will do doubt recall the colorful descriptions of the degenerates Storm Thurmond and Ernest Hollings of South Carolina while pointing out that of the 25 longest serving U.S Senators in history only 8 were Republicans. No political party so embraces the career politician like the Democratic Party. Maybe that explains why in the face of Republican malfeasance, indifference and immoral behavior, Democrats continue to lose the battle to reshape government. As the comedian and political commentator Bill Maher recently commented on his HBO show Real Time that liberals like Ice Cube take pride in tweeting really negative messages about Donald Trump while Donald Trump continues to fill judiciary vacancies at an amazing clip. In other words, Democratic impotence in the face of Republican malfeasance.
As anti-Christian as the Republican party has become it appears the more feckless the Democratic Party becomes. All it takes for cruel and indifferent Republican career politicians to flourish, as they are, is for feckless and self-righteous Democratic career politicians to maintain the status quo. It is the maintenance of the status quo that career politicians of all political persuasions embrace because only through maintenance of the status quo will they continue to prosper while our nation continues its fall from grace. Each party knows the pendulum will swing back their way eventually. They know the lemmings, otherwise known as the clueless voter, will grow angry at the ineffectiveness of the party in power and vote the other party into power. November 2018 promises to be another example of the pendulum swinging back and the American people will rejoice at how well their democracy works. It sickens the Status Quo to the point that it relishes that today it goes to ground and will work to change the status quo from within the Deep State.
… and a Dying Nation
When the Status Quo read the article below while eating dinner on the evening of June 7, 2018, it realized that Amy Ellis Nutt had captured a snap shot of our sick and dying nation. Suicide, an all to familiar event in far too many American lives, is fast becoming a leading cause of death for children, women and the poor. It has long been a companion of the Veteran, whispering in his ear that its better to pull the trigger and end the misery than remembering pulling the trigger and starting the misery. There simply is no better indication of the health of a society than the number of its citizens who chose to end their lives.
As the Status Quo woke the following morning to begin writing this edition, it was greeted with the news that one of the Status Quo’s favorite educators/entertainers had ended his life in a hotel room in Paris, France. From the first time the Status Quo watched No Reservations and later Parts Unknown, it marveled at the places this native New Yorker visited, the people he interviewed, the meals he had eaten and of course the stories he told about those places, people and meals. In fact, the Status Quo was preparing for that Sunday’s edition of Parts Unknown by cooking the Status Quo’s favorite German meal. As always, Anthony took his audience to parts of a city, in this instance Berlin, that tourists never visit and introduced them to people that otherwise would have remained unknown save Anthony’s ability to capture people and places in a light not visible to the average journalist. To the Status Quo, Anthony was a 21st century tour guide to places it will never know let alone visit and for that the Status Quo is forever grateful. Gute arbiet Herr Bourdain. Möge deine Reise ins Unbekannte so angenehm sein wie die Reise, die du mir erlaubt hast, mit dir zu nehmen.
Suicide rates rise sharply across the United States, new report shows
By Amy Ellis Nutt (Washington Post June 7, 2018).
Suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the people had no known mental health condition when they ended their lives.
In North Dakota, the rate jumped more than 57 percent. In the most recent period studied (2014 to 2016), the rate was highest in Montana, at 29.2 per 100,000 residents, compared with the national average of 13.4 per 100,000.
Only Nevada recorded a decline — of 1 percent — for the overall period, although its rate remained higher than the national average.
Increasingly, suicide is being viewed not only as a mental health problem but a public health one. Nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the United States in 2016 — more than twice the number of homicides — making it the 10th-leading cause of death. Among people ages 15 to 34, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. The most common method used across all groups was firearms.
“The data are disturbing,” said Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director. “The widespread nature of the increase, in every state but one, really suggests that this is a national problem hitting most communities.” It is hitting many places especially hard. In half of the states, suicide among people age 10 and older increased more than 30 percent.
Percent change in annual suicide rate* by state, from 1999-2001 to 2014-2016 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
“At what point is it a crisis?” asked Nadine Kaslow, a past president of the American Psychological Association. “Suicide is a public health crisis when you look at the numbers, and they keep going up. It’s up everywhere. And we know that the rates are actually higher than what’s reported. But homicides still get more attention.”
One factor in the rising rate, say mental health professionals as well as economists, sociologists and epidemiologists, is the Great Recession that hit 10 years ago. A 2017 study in the journal Social Science and Medicine showed evidence that a rise in the foreclosure rate during that concussive downturn was associated with an overall, though marginal, increase in suicide rates. The increase was higher for white males than any other race or gender group, however.
“Research for many years and across social and health science fields has demonstrated a strong relationship between economic downturns and an increase in deaths due to suicide,” Sarah Burgard an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, explained in an email on Thursday.
The dramatic rise in opioid addiction also can’t be overlooked, experts say, though untangling accidental from intentional deaths by overdose can be difficult. The CDC has calculated that suicides from opioid overdoses nearly doubled between 1999 and 2014, and data from a 2014 national survey showed that individuals addicted to prescription opioids had a 40 percent to 60 percent higher risk of suicidal ideation. Habitual users of opioids were twice as likely to attempt suicide as people who did not use them.
High suicide numbers in the United States are not a new phenomenon. In 1999, then-Surgeon General David Satcher issued a report on the state of mental health in the country and called suicide “a significant public health problem.” The latest data at that time showed about 30,000 suicides a year. “We don’t have barriers between the science part of Cleveland Clinic and the clinical part. Knowledge and experience flow both ways.”
Kaslow is particularly concerned about what has emerged with suicide among women. The report’s findings came just two days after 55-year-old fashion designer Kate Spade took her own life in New York — action her husband attributed to the severe depression she had been battling. “Historically, men had higher death rates than women,” Kaslow noted. “That’s equalizing not because men are [committing suicide] less but women are doing it more. That is very, very troublesome.”
Among the stark numbers in the CDC report was the one signaling a high number of suicides among people with no diagnosed mental health condition. In the 27 states that use the National Violent Death Reporting System, 54 percent of suicides fell into this category. But Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said that statistic must be viewed in context.
“When you do a psychological autopsy and go and look carefully at medical records and talk to family members of the victims,” he said, “90 percent will have evidence of a mental health condition.” That indicates a large portion weren’t diagnosed, “which suggests to me that they’re not getting the help they need,” he said. Cultural attitudes may play a part. Those without a known mental health condition, according to the report, were more likely to be male and belong to a racial or ethnic minority. “The data supports what we know about that notion,” Gordon said. “Men and Hispanics especially are less likely to seek help.”
The problems most frequently associated with suicide, according to the study, are strained relationships; life stressors, often involving work or finances; substance use problems; physical health conditions; and recent or impending crises. The most important takeaway, mental health professionals say, is that suicide is an issue not only for the mentally ill but for anyone struggling with serious lifestyle problems.
“I think this gets back to what do we need to be teaching people — how to manage breakups, job stresses,” said Christine Moutier, medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “What are we doing as a nation to help people to manage these things? Because anybody can experience those stresses. Anybody.”
The rates of suicide for all states and the District of Columbia were calculated using data from the National Vital Statistics System. Information about contributing circumstances for those who died by suicide was obtained via the National Violent Death Reporting System, which is relatively new and in place in only 27 states.
“If you think of [suicide] as other leading causes of death, like AIDS and cancer, with the public health approach, mortality rates decline,” Moutier said. “We know that same approach can work with suicide.”
Post Script: Please donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) and please post at your office, home or Facebook page: 1-800-273-8255. It is time we demand that our elected officials change public policy surrounding mental illness and that includes suicide. Government can make a difference but only if we, as a united people, make it so!