• Side note. How often are multiple homicides followed by a suicide. Rather than isolate on one single event it would be worthwhile to explore the warning signs of violent acts that lead up to these tragic events. There normal are events and actions that will indicate there is a deep problem that will preceed the final outcome.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.

  • You may read the full thread by readers on my Facebook page:

    "It is a tragic part of your job but also your duty....if this community doesnt know its happening WE cant stop it.....I am a suicide survior I understand the pain..I also know you are trained to report on this subject..Someone committs suicide every 17minutes,18 soliders committ suicide not mention how many attempts reported and unreported...No one enjoys reading about murder but it is also your duty to report it or war...i relize how sensitive the matter is but it must reported."
    "Media plays a huge part in either increasing or decreasing the strength of stigma, especially in our smaller communities. Suicide is to mental illness as heart attacks are to heart disease, or what traffic fatalities are to car crashes. If you were out in public and saw a person having a heart attack or stroke, you would certainly never think twice about using your phone right then and there to get them life-saving emergency care. However, in this area, it seems like most will allow mental and emotional problems remain untreated until suicide, homicide or other undesirable outcomes occur, and then speak only of the results as criminal justice issues. Stigma is the deadliest factor out there in the Crossroads. The media, by choosing to discuss such matters in a respectful, yet completely honest manner can help the community as a whole move towards a more equitable, healthy mindset when it comes to suicide and other symptoms of mental illness or injury"
    "Suicides are not news unless it's a public figure or there are special circumstances. This is what I've always been taught in tv news/school. Of course, that's just my opinion."
    "public figure" is a very flexible standard...and can easily apply in the case of a well known or prominent family in a small town/small city locale
    "My BF's death was ruled a suicide...which I question till this day, but it wasn't covered in the advocate so is it fair to pick and choose suicide stores based on their popularity in the community? I do agree that it is DEF an issue that needs to be addressed though, but the truth of the matter is someone will always be upset either way because there is NO way to make everyone happy. During my BF's funeral the pastor preached about suicide to the young crowd there and it was VERY moving!"
    "Id like to thank the Victoria Advocate for letting me share me story...although has helpd me heal.."
    "I believe it is important to let the public know this is an illness and help is the answer. Ignoring the issue only adds to the stigma. Knowledge can cure what we don't know."

    January 13, 2012 at 9:41 a.m.

  • Edith,
    Mental health experts recommend we avoid trying to explain why people might take their own life. Mental health issues are complicated, and you can rarely point to one reason.
    A daily listing of hotline information might be helpful, but people's attention is even more focused when news happens. That's why we consider the listing important at these times.
    In the "good old days," newspapers used to list the cause of death with every obituary. They went away from that with the advent of paid obituaries and families wanting to write them exactly how they wanted rather than have the death notices be treated as news items.
    Instead, we make judgments about what deaths still should warrant being treated as news. All news judgments are open to second-guessing.
    Mr. Zuck, we put suicides in the category of news because of the public health issue in question and because the deaths often raise questions about foul play. We try to put those rumors to rest.
    I've been interested to read the conversation by readers on my Facebook page about this topic. I'll share those comments here in my next post.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:34 a.m.

  • You would accomplish your claim of public awareness by having an emergency number box on the top corner of the paper, where folks could look everyday, not just the day of the story.

    Your reasons for reporting on suicides are lame. If we follow your reasoning then we can expect to hear about the fat person who had clogged arteries (self inflicted) lung cancer (smokers-self inflicted) drug overdoses (self inflicted) cirrosis of the liver (self inflicted). Is this really making sense to you?

    Not everything is everyone's business. Those who are close enough to the family will learn what they need to know. The rest of us, too bad. And as this: "Rumors routinely surface about such deaths. A simple, straightforward reporting helps put rumors to rest." Well, I've heard three different reasons for the recent suicide, and I have yet to see the Advocate report--in any kind of manner--the reason for the suicide.

    I think you have struck out on this topic, Chris.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:16 p.m.

  • Does it help other people that read about it? Not really
    Does it decrease the chances of it from happening? Obviously not
    Does it give a few readers some kind of strange pleasure to read about it? Apparently so
    Does it provide real value to any of the citizens of Victoria or Crossroads? Not really
    Does it help the grieving family get over it? Absolutely not
    Does it cause more harm than should be to the family? Of course it does.
    Does it bring value of any way shape or form to report the incident in the paper? In my opinion, NO!

    How about you list all the benefits of writing a great big article.

    BTW, I tested positive for 10 of the 11 warning signs. Am I a threat? I kind of doubt it. Do I know for certain I won't? Nope and neither do any of you. Tomorrow hasn't arrived yet.

    January 12, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.

  • Mr. Cobler, I support your position on this subject. "Say it ain't so" is not the answer to these tragic events. This is not a death by natural cause but one of destructive behaviour. Education and outreach can and do save lives. Please continue to keep the public awareness of these important issues on the front burner.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.

  • Mr Cobler, I do respect your opinion regarding your coverage of this issue. I also believe this will be a delicate issue in your Ethics Committee meeting? However, what makes this form of death any different from another? The Victoria Advocate does not generally note a person passed as a result of AIDS, liver failure, heart attack or other issues. The person's passing is noted and occassionally the person's accomplishments in life is duly reported. Suicide is a heartfelt emotion, especially for the family. I request that the reporting be handled in the same way as most other misfortunate passings.

    January 12, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.