The Pentagon reports a shocking 46% spike in active-duty Army suicides in the second quarter of 2021 over the same time period last year.
Second-quarter numbers are the most recent available.
Today’s news is even worse than the headline number would make it appear since the active-duty suicide rate had already hit a new record in 2020.
Government Executive reported on the 2020 suicides:
The year-over-year change to the suicide count is not “a huge increase” but the increase to the rate over time is “cause for concern and there needs to be renewed focus to specific suicide-prevention intatives,” said Julie Cerel, who leads the Suicide Prevention and Exposure Lab at the University of Kentucky. “What they have been doing hasn’t been working and they need to do something different and more sustained.”
A nearly 50% spike, however, is a huge increase.
The CDC reported an overall suicide rate in the U.S. of about 14 people per 100,000 in 2019. The highest rates were among men over 75 and women in the age range of 45-64.
Army personnel trend younger than both of those groups, and the 2020 suicide rate for active-duty servicemembers was 28.7 per 100,000 — or more than double the national rate.
No one can say for sure, although officials have discounted COVID as a cause.
But I can’t help but notice that since Presidentish Joe Biden was sworn in back in January, the military brass has been purging the ranks of so-called “extremists” while also berating the troops about the service’s “racism.”
President Harry Truman ordered all the services to integrate in 1948, and since then, the military has been probably the most successfully integrated institution in America.
While we may never know what causes a soldier to take his or her own life, we’ve come a long way — down — from celebrating their courage to officially castigating them for imaginary crimes.