Two Sides of the Same Coin from Suicide Issue: A Summary Analysis

Managed to spark a controversial debate among the readers, in 2014 The New Yorker published an article with the title of “Suicide, a Crime of Loneliness”, which favor the author’s cultural commentary on a reason that drives into suicidal actions. The author, Andrew Solomon, suggests that the inevitable loneliness is one of the lethal parts of adult life that can determine whether a trigger will be pulled or not in ending one’s own life. Although loneliness indeed can be the basis of someone’s suicide as the author conveyed.

Such premise is too narrow of a justification to plaster on each suicide cases. Besides the article approach on this matter glorifies suicide and the prejudice can undermine real psychological issues that subsist behind the daunting decision of suicide itself.

“Suicide, a Crime of Loneliness” opens up by stressing the imminent threat of suicide by stating statistics on the rising rate of suicides, especially in United States. Solomon asserted, “Every forty seconds, someone commits suicide.

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Nearly half a million Americans are taken to the hospital every year because of suicide attempts.” Solomon now settled on grey area as those statistics shows the logical fallacy behind Solomon’s thesis on loneliness as suicide corroboration reasoning. Those statistics are facts that can’t be denied which illustrate how there are too many of different suicide cases, in fact according to National Center for Health Statistics there are 44,965 recorded suicide cases in USA in 2014 alone, the year Solomon wrote the article. The massive reckoning demonstrate that Solomon can’t make hasty generalization regarding each individual whom went through suicide have the same issues of loneliness that isolate them into ending their own life.

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Researches do indicates that there is increment in suicide rate including research published by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018 shows that rates of deaths by suicide increased as much as 25%, but CDC also reported that there is no single factor that leads to suicide. While it is true that suicide rates and cases have increased but from the beginning of the article Solomon has failed to set up strong foundation that can convey robust conception to support his thesis.

Solomon then continues to justify his stance by carrying out only one suicide case which is Robin Williams’s. Solomon explains that Robin Williams lapsed into despair and decided to end his life as he whom famously symbolize joy can’t show no sadness. Solomon declared, “It often seems as if those who are most exuberant experience despair in proportion to their joy; they seem to swing wildly about the neutral average”, but he failed to explain why. I believe that Solomon trying to prove his whole arguments by bandwagon into Robin Williams’s case but it is simply inadequate since Solomon just cherry picking this example without providing strong back-up that can demonstrate how Robin Williams was indeed decided to end his life because of loneliness. In contrary to Solomon’s point of view, Robin’s personal life nor career life didn’t show that such ‘loneliness’ indication, he was successful and comfortably speaking out that he was in medical treatment for his mental health. Robin Williams never attest any evidence that he felt isolated from the rest of the world; there was never any record that can quantified nor show how lonely Robin Williams was. Thus, Solomon can’t impulsively affirm that loneliness as main reasons of suicide cases including Robin Williams’s. In this manner Solomon miscarry the burden of proof from his only back-up which once again proves that Solomon’s thesis is hardly justify.

Solomon proceeds to drag out an anecdote on Robin Williams’s profile that was published by the Guardian in 2010, analyzing how William’s bearing is a grim retrospective since he openly talks about his unsettled mood which means that suicide does seems appropriate for Williams to do. Solomon spells out, “Suicide is not a casual behavior· it is also profound and momentous step for which many people don’t have the force of will.” I strongly oppose Solomon’s outlook on Robin Williams’s upbringing; Solomon sees Williams’s openness as a sign of weakness that directs into loneliness while I see it as valiant regard from Williams himself that he allowed other to see inside of him. It is bad enough that Solomon articulate how Williams owning his feeling as a flaw, which is a deeply toxic masculinity stretch when man doesn’t allow to express his vulnerability, but Solomon perceive suicide as some sort of ‘Truth or Dare’ game that only the bravest can conquer the challenge by stating that it is a profound and momentous step. That peril statement deem to glorify suicide. Hence the article in a way doesn’t respect vulnerability in a human and promotes to everyone whom feeling gloomy might as well end their life.

Throughout the rest of the article Solomon tries to refute on reasons that media perpetuated on Robin Williams’s suicide motive which haul in mainstream personal or career issues by giving counterpoints on Williams’s good standing for such aspects in life. “So he would have had little “reason” to commit suicide- as, indeed, most people who kill themselves have little “reason” other than depression, which is at the base of most suicide” stated Solomon. These refutations however do not provide moral equivalence as such correspondence is simply iniquitous and inaccurate because Robin Williams’s suicide reasoning is not an ‘either/or’ situation; just because Robin Williams manage to do well in his personal or career life doesn’t mean that loneliness is the factor that eventually drove him to end his life. Solomon arguments are poorly supported since the footing in the wake of Robin Williams’s death is barely a speculation made by Solomon. Also Solomon neglects a massive fact that Robin Williams had suffer mental illness in the previous years, in fact in 2015 the Guardian published an interview with Robin Williams’s widow, Susan Williams, in which she revealed that Robin Williams was suffering from Lewy Body dementia which is a combination of mental and neuron disorder. Thus Solomon arguments abandon the enormous facts about his only provided evidence and totally insensitive to Williams’s health condition.

Solomon’s analysis to his thesis fails to uphold the burden of proof, besides evidence related to the wake of Robin Williams’s death is too anecdotal because reasoning Solomon provides is simply a speculation; meaning he can’t be justified to make such broad statement. Moreover the facts shown from data and Robin Williams’s family shows the suicides links to other variable including mental health. Thus Solomon’s article downplaying mental health syndrome and turns it into a mere loneliness. At the end, I partly agree with the author premise on how loneliness can influence one’s suicide. But Solomon brought this issue with inadequate support and a hopeless manner that glorifies suicide, as if there is no other way out in facing life despair. If suicide issue is a coin, Solomon only look into one side without checking the other side of the same coin which provides more materials. Hence to oppose that, I manage to propose data and factual information on other factors that should be taken into account since it already happened in many suicide cases. Thus society will have clear point of view to seek the solution behind imminent threat of suicide and raise more awareness on mental health issue in these suicide cases.

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Two Sides of the Same Coin from Suicide Issue: A Summary Analysis. (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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