In recent days the body of a 22-year-old girl was found in a car on the parking lot of a Walmart store in Salinas, California. According to Fox News, there are a couple of bizarre twists.
First, the attractive young woman – identified as Lauren Jessie Moss – was last seen alive in mid-November.
Secondly, and perhaps most bizarre, authorities discovered that her car had been parked in the same spot since December after reviewing security video; police blamed her car’s dark-tinted windows and a dashboard-mounted sunshade as the reason why no one spotted her body, which of course had to be in an advanced state of decay.
But what’s also noteworthy about this incident is that her death was likely a suicide – police also found a used syringe in the car next to her.
Now, reading about a suicide, even one involving out-of-the-ordinary circumstances like a three-month delay in finding a body parked on a public lot, is not uncommon, but that’s the thing: Suicides are not only common, but they are becoming more so in recent years. The question is, why are suicides on the rise?
As reported by The New York Times, nowadays more Americans kill themselves than are killed in automobile accidents. And to that end, the suicide rate among middle-aged Americans in particular has risen dramatically, “prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm.”
And here you thought the Obama economy was growing and working for everyone. Apparently not.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published figures in May 2013, there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 2010, compared to 38,364 suicides.
As the Times reported further, it was the rising number of suicides in a key demographic that was noteworthy:
Suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly, and the surge in suicide rates among middle-aged Americans is surprising.
From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7. Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, far more men take their own lives.
The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.
Fast-forward to 2016. The Guardian reported that suicide figures for the same demographic have continued to rise steadily since the 2013 CDC report. The combination of Big Pharma and debt, it seems, has only gotten more pronounced.
The paper noted:
A study released late last year by two Princeton academics, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who won the 2014 Nobel prize for economics, revealed that the death rate for white Americans aged 45 to 54 has risen sharply since 1999 after declining for decades. The increase, by 20% over the 14 years to 2013, represents about half a million lives cut short.
Rising numbers of suicides are approaching epidemic proportions in Montana, of all places, which has the highest number of them in the U.S. – and they rose 7.3 percent in 2014 alone. And again, those most likely to kill themselves are between the ages of 45 and 65.
“What’s been lacking in our town is an explanation for why this demographic in particular has been dying by suicide,” Karen Sullivan, health director for Butte and the surrounding county, Silver Bow, told The Guardian. “We want to take a look at what we’ve got going on in Butte. Is it economic in nature? Is it middle-aged white people discontented with where they landed in life? Is it isolation? A lack of a social network? Is it drug and alcohol issues? What do we have going on?”
But the biggest problem according to other experts is socio-economic. As wages continue to fall in comparison to rising costs – especially healthcare costs, which wasn’t supposed to happen under Obamacare, by the way – are huge contributing factors. Debt is also a big contributor.
“Definitely you see a lot of people that all of a sudden they hit 45 or 50 and they don’t see retirement as a bonus. They see something that they’re going to have struggle with and they’re not going to be able to retire,” Karl Rosston, Montana’s suicide prevention coordinator, told The Guardian.