The cover article of Free Inquiry’s previous issue (“By My Own Hand: Suicide Can Be a Wise and Gentle Choice,” by Lowrey R. Brown) was expected to generate more controversy than it did. Consider the timing: Though the decision to publish Brown’s essay in the August/September 2018 issue was made months in advance, “By My Own Hand” appeared mere weeks after celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide and after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a 25 percent increase in the U.S. suicide rate since 1999. The headline of a June 9 New York Times story on the CDC report declared suicide a “public health crisis.”1
Nonetheless, response to Brown’s essay was muted. (See one mildly critical Letter to the Editor in this issue.) Perhaps Free Inquiry readers hold sufficiently sophisticated views on suicide that Brown’s article did not occasion controversy.
In the interest of sparking dialogue, here comes a more radical take on suicide. Mine.