I am back. I had a good break. I read. I wrote. I reestablished contact with several people I had not visited with for a long time. My back continues to improve. I am refreshed and excited to share my thoughts and learn from you.
When I taught Introduction to Psychology, I started one lecture with the question “How many more murders are there than suicides?” Most of the students were surprised to learn there are more suicides than murders.
I used the example to show the importance of number of exposures on memory. We are constantly exposed to murders. Television news, social media and other sources remind us constantly about murders but the shame of suicide reduces exposure. I read obituaries every day. I cannot remembering seeing any report of death by suicide.
The constant message of murder, murder, murder and nothing about suicide leads us to believe there are far more murders than suicides. Think about this: after you watch the evening news are you more concerned about suicides, homicides or car accidents? Most people I know are more worried about murder than suicide.
Even though I know suicide is more common than murder, until I read a recent article on suicide, I did not know the extent of the problem. I was surprised to learn approximately 1.7 million people attempted suicide and approximately 48,000 people committed suicide in America in 2021. With around 20,000 homicides, the issue of suicide is over twice the issue of homicide. The problem of 37,000 vehicle-related deaths is much closer to the problem of suicide. In retrospect, in addition to teaching about frequency effects on memory, I wish I had spent more time discussing the danger of suicide.
I have never had personal thoughts of suicide, but with 48,000 deaths the problem needs to be confronted. I would like to hear from any programs of which you are aware and ways we can address the problem.
I was surprised by the extent of the problem of suicide. I was even more surprised when I read a survey of the states with the most hate groups. The definition of hate groups was the definition used by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The data for each state is the number of hate groups relative to the population.
I am pleased to report Kansas is 48 on the list. The result that broke stereotypes is the placement of the southern states. Louisiana was 50th, Kentucky was 47, Georgia was 46, Texas was 45, Mississippi was 44, Alabama was 40, Florida was 28, and Tennessee was 22. Red states being low on hate groups does not meet most stereotypes.
I do not like people to disrespect the American Flag or the National Anthem. It is their right, but I do not see positive outcomes from those types of protest. I believe the people are often drawing more attention to themselves than achieving specific outcomes from the protest.
Similarly, if the President visits a state in the face of a national disaster such as a hurricane, then I believe a governor not joining him is disrespectful of the presidency. You do not have to support a person and can still be respectful of the presidency. Governor Christie was respectful when the President visited New Jersey to aid in hurricane relief. Governor DeSantis was not respectful this last week. I believe the American Flag, the National Anthem, and the President should be respected.
Kindness by Police