Monday, October 13, 2008

Beyond the Front: Let's Talk Suicide

The number of suicides in the U.S. Army continues to rise, and the Army (not suprisingly) has no idea what to do about it. So why not play a game? What could be better at combating suicides than a suicide game?!?! It's genius. I hope you'll excuse my sarcasm, but this is all so freaking ridiculous.

The Washington Post broke the story Wednesday, and I was appalled when I read in the story that the Army launched this program completely untested. Who the heck doesn't pilot test any form of communication before launching it? The Army, that's who! Medical experts say this new mandatory game could actually have reverse intended effects, actually causing soldiers to contemplate suicide more or even push them over the edge. This is extremely dangerous and reckless behavior by the Army, again, not surprising, considering this administration's ability to ignore the facts and all logic quite regularly.

The Denver Post article on the game also cited the same critical views of the program, stating that statistics are usually not favorable regarding community-based suicide-prevention programs. One expert quoted said, "Some media presentations about suicide can increase the likelihood of suicidal behavior, so there is a potential danger."

Can you believe this? Our brave American men and women in uniform are already experiencing such a mental health crisis because of the wars they have been involved in, yet the government is allowing the release of a mandatory game that trivializes suicide and could possibly increase it. Utterly stupid. Again, not utterly surprising.

There were several other media outlets that covered the story, though most just ran the Washington Post's version. Comments from viewers on the popular site Current.com were skeptical and critical of the video program.

There is one definite way to stop this suicide crisis in our military. Bring the troops home! Quit thrusting them into civil wars! Quit back-door drafting them and sending them on their third, fourth and fifth deployments! Don't force our troops to make unethical decisions by ordering them to bomb civilians or shoot people who had nothing to do with Sept. 11! It's horrifying and so saddening that we have lost so many lives in these wars, misguided by an atrocious administration. We shouldn't have to lose more, not to coward terrorists' roadside bombs and not to their own mental woes forced upon them by an irresponsible government.

You can play the first level of "Beyond the Front" here. Relatively Journalizing is not responsible for any effects experienced as a result of playing the game — blame the Army.

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