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Young Suicide

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

“The suicide rate among pre-teen and young teen girls spiked 76 %, a disturbing sign that federal health officials say they can't fully explain.” This was recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and redounded to girls in the age group 10-14 years (1). Richard Lieberman, who coordinates the suicide prevention program for Los Angeles public schools, said “one cause could be a rise in depression during tumultuous adolescent years.” (2) Lieberman continues:
Jodie and Stephanie

Jodie and Stephanie, dubbed E-Tube "Suicide Girls", found hanging from a tree
“There's a lot of pressure in and around middle school kids. They're kind of all transition kids. They're turbulent times to begin with... The hotline's been ringing off the hook with middle school kids experimenting with a wide variety of self-injurious behavior, exploring different ways to hurt themselves” (3).
Dr. Ileana Arias, the director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, stated that “suicide is a multidimensional and complex problem.” (4)

From a Catholic perspective, two of the items in the above narrative are astonishing, to wit,
  1. The fact that officials “can't fully explain” the rise in the percentage;
  2. The statement that youth suicide is a “multidimensional and complex problem.”
Why, exactly, are these items astonishing? Because the spike in the percentage among young teen girls (and youth suicide generally) can be fully explained. To affirm that they can't be explained, and are convoluted problems, only increase the confusion. Confusion exists when the problem itself is not well described (not knowing the solution does not cause confusion). Richard Lieberman's statements show that he, at least, is on the right track. The age group in question is in a “turbulent” time indeed, and because this is so, “depression” must be guarded against.

When I was in junior high school, during my “turbulent” time, there was a popular song titled The Cry of the Wild Goose, sung by Frankie Lane (5). The song was about a man who, in the dead of night, heard a wild goose crying as it winged north in the atmosphere. This cry caused him an itch, and sleeplessness. He had to join the wild goose. In order to do that, he was compelled to leave his wife, who would find “a feather” beside the bed the next morning. There were no other options for him, because he was “a brother to the old wild goose.” The lyrics, the timbre, the resonance, the occult mystery got to me.

In young teenage years hormones rage, temptations act like spurs in the belly of a horse, and even worse. Moral power alone can overcome them. The reader may ponder about this and say, “What does a simple song have to do with this? Those were the good years. Lyrics like those can't cause temptations.”

A Frankie Laine album cover

Some of the "innocent" Frankie Lane tunes carried dangerous messages of freedom and rebellion.
By the 1990s lyrics by groups like Geto Boys, below, were outright seditious

A Geto Boys album cover
Yes, dear reader, they can. The human condition is the same today and a half century ago when this song was popular. There are four humors, four temperaments. Some people are sanguine, cheerful. Some are phlegmatic, calm. Some are melancholic, they who don't respond readily to a stimulus. Finally there is the choleric, those who respond quickly and deeply to a stimulus. The song in question portrayed movement, speed, freedom from obligations, blood relation to a wild animal.

During the time of this song, the Hell's Angels were formed in southern California. Had this writer, with his choleric humor, lived there, he would have felt a strong attraction to that message. In fact, there was some attraction, overcome only by the discipline of the Marine Corps, frequent prayer and Sacraments.

Shortly afterward, the primitive beat-centric music would appear, replacing ballades like the above, pushing unrestrained instincts into outright collision with immorality. So effective was that type of music in corrupting youth, that by 1970 the following could be said: “We've combined youth, music, sex, drugs and rebellion with treason - and that's a combination hard to beat” (6).

Now, let me fast forward to the early 1990's, to the lyrics of a popular song of “Geto Boys”:
“She begged me not to kill her, I gave her a rose
Then slit her throat, watched her
Shake till her eyes closed,
Had sex with her corpse before I left her,
And drew my name on the wall like Helter Skelter” (7).
In the early 1990's the average grammar school child had seen 8,000 murders on television, and been exposed to 100,000 other acts of violence on the tube before entering the 7th grade (8). At that time it was said that there was “no end in sight” to this social leprosy (9). Many of these pre- and early teens were already exposed to lyrics like those above.

This was the lot of American kids 15 years ago. Today I have heard “songs” from car windows that yesterday one wouldn't hear even in the cell blocks of San Quentin. I won't repeat them. The filth from Hollywood and the Internet are well known. It all comes into the home. And the immoral dress is not only visible on the streets, but in the churches. None of the temperaments are protected from all this. All four are vulnerable.

Here then is the answer to explain the cause of a spike of 76% in the suicides of young girls. It is these “cultural” elements that no one wants to face or stop that are the real explanation for the “turbulent” times Lieberman mentioned. Our officials are impotent to stop this immoral avalanche, because they don't have the Catholic Church to back their actions and encourage them to brake the onslaught.

A poster warning about the teen suicide epidemic

Not difficult to find the reasons: broken Morals and a tolerant Church
After Vatican II, when the Catholic Church allowed the infiltration of Progressivism into her high ranks, many spiritual, intellectual, and moral patterns were changed. Catholic Morals became permissive, open to all the errors of the modern world. The clergy and the Hierarchy increasingly became part of the problem instead of the solution.

Before Vatican II, the Catholic Church held the lid on Hollywood with the Legion of Decency ratings. Every diocesan paper in the U.S. carried these ratings, and Hollywood couldn't make money if the Legion condemned a movie. It was dropped after Vatican II. Before the Council, the Catholic schools demanded modest dress and censored bad music, as did the family. Today Hollywood is flying free, like the wild goose, and the new progressivist Church schools are as bad or worse than the public ones, dress codes notwithstanding.

One of the worst crimes of Progressivism is the destruction of the family. By granting “Catholic divorces” with the easy annulment, the Church joined the world in undermining the family. With a society deprived of a morally healthy family life, anything can happen, such as a suicidal youth, and young persons addicted to all the vices. By granting over 60,000 “Catholic divorces” a year (10), the Conciliar Church has indirectly injured the psychological balance of the American youth. Therefore, it throws fuel on the fire it was called to extinguish.

Here is my contribution to explain the causes of this tragic problem of our youth.
1. Greg Bluestein, “American Girls' Suicide Rates Spike,” Associated Press, 9-7-07.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Copyright 1949, American Music, Inc/CA.
6. Jerry Rubin, Do It! , NY: Simon and Schuster, 1970, p. 249. Cited in A. Noebel, The Marxist Minstrels - A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, Tulsa, OK: American Christian College Press, 1974.
7. Popular song by Geto Boys, Mind of a Lunatic,; “Violence in Our Culture.” Newsweek, 4-1-91, p. 49.
8. San Francisco Chronicle, 3-5-92, p. D3; Daniel Goleman, “Teaching Emotional Literacy,” NY Times.
9. Sally B. Donnelly, “The Honor Roll Murder,” Time, 2-1-93, page 60.
10. www.saveoursacrament.org.
Posted October 12, 2007

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