June 13th, 2007

Katherine Dunn 3

Katherine, I remember you telling me several years ago that your style was getting increasingly stripped down.  Are you still in that head?   If so, what do you see as the virtue of this?  Has your journalism influenced this?

K. Dunn 4

Oops. Looks like former military members are twice as
likely to commit suicide as civilians.

This would delight my old history professor, who liked
to dwell on the „real‰ functions of war in human
culture. One of the premises was that the
extermination of excess young males was socially
valuable. A prime example was the way the Christian
Crusades obliterated a lot of Europe‚s second sons,
who would otherwise clutter up inheritance issues and
compete for the hot chicks.

In that light the high suicide rate among the
ex-military could be viewed as a gift that keeps on
giving. Even if they escape the overt barrage, they
might delete themselves.

Hard to work that into the recruiting literature,
though.

--Katherine

The Oregonian, (Portland, OR)

June 12, 2007

High rate of suicide by veterans, study finds

Author: PATRICK O'NEILL; The Oregonian
SUMMARY: Risk The rate was twice that of civilians,
researchers say, and coming years may bring a steep
increase

Although the guns of past wars are silent, their
echoes reverberate in the statistics of military
veterans who take their own lives --most of them with
firearms.

Men who served in the U.S. armed forces are committing
suicide at twice the rate of their civilian
counterparts, according to a new study by Portland
researchers.

The study, which includes veterans of conflicts from
World War I to the Persian Gulf War in 1991, raises
the possibility that veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan
--many of whom are severely wounded --will cause a
steep increase in suicide statistics in coming years.

Appearing in the July issue of the Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health, the study is the
first large-scale look at comparative rates of suicide
among veterans and non-veterans. Most other studies
have examined the small fraction of veterans who
receive medical care through the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs system. This one also looked at
veterans who get treatment outside the system, through
civilian hospitals and clinics.

The study's authors, as well as representatives of the
Veterans Affairs and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, see
the report as a wake-up call for improved awareness by
both government and civilian health care providers of
the potential for suicide.

One of the major risks for suicide found in the study
is physical impairment --a serious problem for
returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Advances
in military medicine have made it possible to save the
lives of soldiers with wounds so severe they would
have died in an earlier time.

"This does foreshadow some ominous trends," says Mark
S. Kaplan, a professor of community health at Portland
State University and the study's lead author. "These
are probably individuals who will be a risk for
depression and suicidality."

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