Dear Chuck Grassley: Suicide is no joking matter

This is in the same class as joking about prison rape of financial executives–or anyone else. Suicide is an appalling tragedy. If you think we should have the death penalty for AIG executives, go ahead and introduce a bill to that effect. But joking about it is sick. People don’t kill themselves because that’s the honorable thing to do when you’ve failed badly; they kill themselves because something bad has happened and they have an uncontrolled mental illness. Creating a public culture that reinforces the belief that suicide is the correct response to the deep shame, guilt, and sense of worthlessness that accompanies depression isn’t a good idea. It’s certainly not funny. And this kind of macho performance art where we compete to come up with ever-worse fates to wish on financial executives is frankly a little sickening. When did our primary national pasttime become hate?