Thursday, September 06, 2007

How might liberals explain the "jump" in young American girls' suicide rate?

From 2003 to 2004, "The suicide rate among preteen and young teen girls spiked 76 percent, a disturbing sign that federal health officials say they can't fully explain."

If you look at the data, the apparently huge percentage comes from things like "94 suicides [among 10- to 14-year-old girls] in 2004, compared to 56 in 2003." Out of a population of 300 million people, a difference of 38 people in anything is statistically and socially meaningless. Similarly, my blogfather Don Luskin recently noted Reuters' absurd sensationalism in reporting a layoffs increase in August versus July, which affected a whopping 0.02 percent of the 153 million-plus American workers. (Actually I calculated about 0.0238 percent, but who's counting when the numbers are this small?)

Call me a cold-hearted bastard, but I'm merely pointing out that the "experts" are trying to find a trend that just isn't there (it goes without saying that they won't mind generous government funding, meaning money coerced from the rest of us, while they continue their search). While each suicide is an individual tragedy, there's simply nothing to explain because they are individual cases. This isn't a single car model with a major design defect causing many to crash, but unique combinations of family, school and other circumstances of life. In an ideal world we could save every single person from harming himself or herself, but at a certain point we have to recognize and admit that we are individuals with our own minds, and despite all the families' love and counseling and medication in the world, some of us can't be stopped from harming ourselves.

Furthermore, if you look at the big picture:

Well how about that: the general trend in the most significant groups, males from 15 to 24, is actually a steady decline since the mid-1990s. For all we know, all suicide rates may drop from 2004 to 2005 (and I question why 2004 is the latest year for which they have data). In fact, suicide rates for males ages 10 to 14 did drop while other rates increased, so what does that say? It's simply ridiculous to interpret this kind of data from a nearly infinitesimal portion of the population.

But I was thinking, how might noted liberals use their ideology to explain the spike? Be sure to check the supplied links so you'll see why I think these liberals would say these.

Hillary Clinton: "It's clearly the lack of universal health care, because our present system makes psychological counseling and anti-depression medication too expensive."

Barack Obama: "These girls would still be alive today if we had universal health care, but Hillary ruined things with her closed-door process. And I am not inexperienced, my status as a non-professional on this topic makes my opinion more valid than doctors!"

John Edwards: "I can guarantee that these girls would be alive today under my universal care program, which requires preventative care."

Harry Reid: "I don't care what the long-term trend is, we're obviously losing."

Byron Dorgan: "Have you noticed the correlation between suicide rates and the price of oil? Oil has been going up, suicide rates have been going up. We need a federal investigation into Big Oil, and an emergency measure of a windfall tax on oil companies."

Ted Kennedy: "I wonder how many drowned?"

John Kerry: "Don't you see the obvious answer? It's a response to Bush's tax cuts for the rich, which he did again in 2003 and therefore caused the 2004 spike."

Paul Krugman: "Hey, Kerry stole my line!"

John Kerry: "And by the way, when I served in Vietnam, and don't forget that part, suicide rates for young Americans were never this high."

Eliot Spitzer: "I don't know exactly what happened, but I'm sure Wall Street is somehow the cause, and I intend to shake down some CEOs to get to the bottom of things."

Al Gore: "More and more girls are getting depressed about the environment."

Ralph Nader: "They're depressed about growing up and having no work because all our jobs are going to Mexico and China."

Jesse Jackson: "The African-American girls could not endure the despair from having to grow up in a white-oriented world. The white girls were expressing sympathy."

Al Sharpton: "Clearly it's that there aren't enough fast food restaurants open late at night when they're depressed, although some may have done it as their only method of protesting Vieques."

Keith Olbermann: "It's Bush's fault for getting us involved in Iraq. Don't you dare question my patriotism!"

Bill Clinton: "I feel the families' pain. These girls someday would have been great interns at the White House."


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