Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Why The Killing?

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Rasmussen Reports published a national survey yesterday that finds the public believes "Red Flag" laws can help prevent mass shootings.

But our youth are not only killing others...they're also killing themselves.

Dr. Rebecca Marshall has collected an enormous amount of data on youth suicide in Washington and Oregon. It's an epidemic with numbers spiking.

And we are still looking for answers. But can "science" solve the problem?

Be informed, not misled.

Rasmussen Reports asked this question: "Can Red-Flag Laws Prevent Mass Shootings?"

The response: 

Mental health problems are seen as a leading factor in mass shootings by young men, and voters overwhelmingly support so-called “red flag laws” to help prevent such tragedies.

A new Rasmussen Reports national survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters believe mental health is more to blame for mass shootings by young men in America, while 30% blame access to firearms. Ten percent (10%) think family problems are more to blame for mass shootings, while another 10% blame social media. Only four percent (4%) think school problems are more to blame. 

The Seattle Times published an article yesterday with this headline: "Rising number of suicide attempts among young children---particularly girls--- worries NW physicians, poison centers."

It is an in-depth article that begins with this:

Dr. Rebecca Marshall became increasingly concerned as she did rounds in the ER at a children’s hospital in Portland.

More young children than usual — and girls in particular — were being brought to the hospital after swallowing medications to attempt suicide. Children of jarringly young ages, some just 9 or 10, were seeking out pills in the family medicine cabinet. As Marshall tried to come to grips with what she was witnessing, she’d make a point to ask: Why did you think about ending your life? 

So the data shows that boys are killing others, while girls are killing themselves.

Why are kids killing themselves and others?

Dr. Marshall says there is "no single reason, and it's difficult to generalize about youth suicide because there are only limited data. Sometimes children she spoke with said they didn't know how they got the idea. But a worrisome attitude shift seemed to underlie much of what we saw."

She listed these as warning signs and said that the more of the signs below that a person shows, the greater the risk of suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

The article reveals the significant spike in teen suicides, and attempted suicides.

For example, self-harm and suspected suicide cases in Washington State reveal the fastest increase coming among girls and those ages 6-12. Cases among 6-12-year-old girls increased from 190 in 2019 to 300 in 2021.  Girls aged 13-17 increased from 1813 in 2019, to 2482 in 2021.

Girls are far more likely to commit or try to commit suicide than boys, according to these studies.

Data shows that 419 boys harmed or attempted to harm themselves in 2019, while 431 attempted to do so in 2021. However, among girls, the number was 1584 in 2019 and 2344 in 2021.

These numbers in Washington State match, pretty much, with Oregon and other national numbers.

Marshall says the primary method of girls attempting to commit suicide is ingesting poison. And she says these numbers are "not surprising to me at all" and "I don't think it is surprising to any of my colleagues who work in children's mental health, because it's what we're all seeing."

Dr. Christopher Holstege is a medical toxicologist and professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the University of Virginia. He has led a separate study that aligns with these findings that have been published in the JAMA Pediatrics.

He says, “These very young ages are pretty stunning to these parents, Parents are often more primed to keep medications out of reach of a toddler, or locked away from a moody teenager. But if you have a 10-year-old, parents can’t even comprehend that age group would even be thinking that, that they would try to take their life."

Dr. Marshall says, "There's kind of this idea that's out there now, which is if you get really overwhelmed if something bad happens, an option is trying to kill yourself."

The solution?

"Bad things happen to all of us, we all have upset feelings sometimes, and we all can figure out ways to cope with those feelings," she says.

A better way.

I'm not suggesting that these studies are not helpful. They are. The statics are indeed alarming and informing. The solutions these and other professionals are putting out to parents and grandparents are, in fact, their best efforts and we should be mindful of what they are saying.

However, there is another dimension to this crisis. It is the spiritual dimension.

I am very aware that some of these suicides are happening in the context of Christian families---with children who have professed their faith in Christ.

Christian parents and families who have experienced loss in this way must put their unanswered questions before the Lord---and in some cases leave them there, unanswered until a later time.

Gospel songwriters have called it "trust and obey," or "leaning on the everlasting arms."

To recognize the spiritual dimension of our current crisis is to recognize these are most often consequences of wrong thinking and the overwhelming influence of a dominant secular worldview in our culture.

I want to share something I've seen recently on social media---something I rarely spend my time with-- but feel this is so appropriate for this issue I want to share it. I don't know who wrote it. If I did I'd tell you, but in this lies the clear biblical path forward: 

We've glorified perversion, fought to deconstruct the nuclear family, drugged our kids on uppers and downers and rounds of injections, substituted the family dinner table for screens, put porn on demand into the hands of every kid with a device, made entertainment shockingly graphic and bloody, created "gaming" worlds of realistic violence without consequence, sacrificed honor and virtue for sensuality and vice applauded crime as expression, mocked tradition, scorned faith...the culture is poisoned.

For 170 days a year, we hand our children over to state institutions that vacuumed out God to preach a doctrine of confusion and destruction:  skin color makes you a racist, boys are girls, comprehensive sex-ed is necessary grooming for kindergartners, masculinity is toxic, an experimental injection is the road to salvation, closer than 6 feet with friends is deadly, drag queens are healthy childhood entertainment, climate change is going to kill you...We are poisoning the water and then sending our children to drink deeply.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Engaged. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.