Suicide Watch

Health and medicine explained.
Nov. 22 1997 3:30 AM

Suicide Watch

The strange case of Air Force Capt. Craig Button.

(Continued from Page 1)

Button's suicide also shows how, even in peculiar cases, the desire to die arises from one's individual history and psychology. Yet, in public discussion of youthful suicide, we're often unwilling to trace it to such causes and try to place blame elsewhere--on television, music, movies. Earlier this month, a Senate subcommittee considering stricter restrictions on music lyrics heard an anguished father blame his son's suicide on shock rocker Marilyn Manson's music. The 15-year-old died with the band playing on his headphones. Numerous studies show that there is no association between music and suicide. (One found that country-music lovers had higher suicide rates, but subsequent research disputes these results.)


Of course, ideas do count. We know, for example, that one adolescent suicide can trigger others, even through media reports, leading to "suicide clusters." Had later victims not heard about the first suicide, they may not have done it when they did. But psychiatrists insist that an idea cannot compel even a child to commit suicide. It is only a proximate factor in a vulnerable person with stronger causes at work.

Usually, the causes are an addictive or mental disorder. Craig Button's case shows how much more complex they can be. And how bizarre.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Never Remember Anything
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 2:44 PM Where Do I Start With Mystery Science Theater 3000?
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.