January 02, 2009

Suicide in Beautiful Settings

Suicides in national parks are increasing, says the Association Press, although the National Park Service only recently started tracking the numbers.

"It's some place where, toward the end of someone's life, when they're feeling a total sense of despondency, they want to return to a place of natural beauty ... for their final moments," [Glacier NP chief ranger Patrick] Suddath said.

That comment immediately make me think of the death of Edward G. Robinson's character, Sol Roth, in the dystopian SF movie Soylent Green. Ready to die, Sol goes to some kind of official euthanasia parlor where his last views will be panoramic movies of animals and scenery that has disappeared from this overcrowded future Earth.

No one collects these numbers, but I recall a Colorado newspaper story from the 1990s about people coming to the mountains to end it all. My little county sees one or two of these (at a minimum) every year.

5 comments:

LabRat said...

Not mentioned: such suicides can be an absolute BITCH for forensics professionals if the body is not found quickly; notes decay, the implement can go missing, and generally all evidence of exactly what happened tends to go away, especially if scavengers find the body first...

Sawtooth said...

I our own "little county", just to the northwest of you, we have our own beautiful setting...in the form of a 1,053-foot drop into the Arkansas River. I wonder sometimes why they don't just go 1/2 mile south and save everyone the agony of watching the fall.

Chas S. Clifton said...

I will say that I have had to deal with the aftermath of several suicides of people close to me.

Some made the process easier than others by pre-planning the event.

But for some people, leaving their remains to scavengers might be an attractive idea.

Stepping over the railing of the Royal Gorge Bridge in front of the tourists, as Sawtooth alludes to, is a little too exhibitionist for my tastes though.

otowi said...

There is a forest by Mt. Fuji in Japan where lots of people go to kill themselves, on average 30 a year but in recent years in the 70's. I saw a show on it on TV and it was really creepy. People were there looking for some kind of animal and kept getting lost, seeing things, getting creeped out, and came across abandoned camps with people's valuable belongings, burned passports/id's/photos, etc. Horrible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aokigahara

Sawtooth said...

Chas, we have more than a few things in common. I lost both my adoptive father and brother to suicide. After all of that, most of it is still a mystery to me. More questions are left unanswered than not.