Re: Tragedies


Baseless speculation will necessarily be reductive and dismissive of the real complexities of people's lives.

So I'll go first: It must be crushing for people with a fascist worldview to become the targets of the very people they regard as allies. I don't suppose the BLM-protest police had to face the same kind of intense cognitive dissonance.

(Is anybody tracking other police suicides? How unusual is this?)

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 8:26 AM
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It's heartwrenching on many levels. Apparently among people who study this issue there is a real "suicide contagion" phenomenon -- though it's not clear if that's at work here.

One note on the OP: The journalism reporting guidelines say that it's best to say "died by suicide" (avoiding the word "committed").

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 9:03 AM
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Oh good, haven't had a new shibboleth in a couple weeks.

Posted by: Zedsville | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 9:27 AM
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2: oh thanks. I've heard that but hadn't internalized it.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 9:52 AM
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Everybody knows these officers were murdered by Jeffrey Epstein.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 11:20 AM
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From what I've read, 3 out of 4 of the police who committed suicide were from DC's Metro PD, not the Capitol Police. I feel a lot less inclined to speculate about them, b/c ..... well, it seems less-likely that there's a nefarious link to the failed coup. The fourth USCP guy .... well, from day one there's been speculation about him; I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing, but the cat's out of the bag.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 12:13 PM
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You're right that they weren't necessarily capitol police, but it sounds like they were part of the 1/6 response nevertheless.

Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 12:33 PM
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1. Cognitive dissonance over being on the other side from the fascists

2. Abuse by the fascists after the fact driving them to suicide

3. General extreme PTSD and depression after a very bad day on the job and not getting the support they needed afterwards, which is hard in general and especially hard when it's politicized

4. They were in on the attempted coup and died by suicide rather than face prosecution

5. They were in on the attempted coup and murdered and it was made to look like suicide by plotters covering their tracks

Possibilities # 4 and 5 wouldn't even have occurred to me until I read Chetan's comment 6 here. Not sure if that's naive of me or I just have different assumptions about the plotters of this particular coup. I mean, would Trump and his supporters consider the possibility of facing consequences for their actions? Even if they did, could they convincingly make murder look like suicide?

Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 1:08 PM
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There's the other factor:

Having a gun nearby.

Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 1:21 PM
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Heebie: Oh, I assumed when you mentioned "speculation" you were alluding to whether they played any nefarious part in the failed coup. And so, what I meant was, it seemed unlikely that DC MPD could have done so. More possible that the USCP guy might have, though obvs. we don't know. That's all I meant in drawing the distinction between the two categories of police who committed suicide.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 1:24 PM
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My speculation was entirely along the lines of PF's 1 and Cyrus's 1-3. It took me a couple tries to follow what Chetan was suggesting, but no, I don't think there was a nefarious link.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 1:29 PM
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The fascism talk is dumb and doesn't even remotely describe the culture of a large city police department, especially a majority black one like D.C. And nobody much cares about the politics or race of any particular rioter. One of our retired detectives was there and subsequently arrested by the feds. No one's wringing their hands over it. "Enjoy jail you idiot" is so far the unanimous consensus.

It's going to be impossible to assess this accurately from national news accounts. Three in less than a year in one department of approx. 4k is way high. Other cops they were close with likely have some insight but they probably won't be talking to press.

We've got a much improved peer support program here in large part because several years ago we had multiple suicides in our cohort within a couple year period. Two of them I knew decently well. One took me by surprise, the other took no one by surprise. Instability and stress in the other aspects of your life outside the job seems to be a factor.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 3-21 4:52 PM
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LOL, I wonder how law enforcement would generally feel if Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and AOC actively called for people to storm the Capitol. I know it's not as extreme as calling the guy who arrested Skip Gates an idiot, so it's really hard to say.

Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08- 4-21 4:39 PM
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I don't wonder about that at all. As it is I think a few more iterations will be required before mobs will be hunting democrats for sport.

In hindsight I think that the beer Summit was one of the most revealing events of the Obama presidency. The fact that the president of the United States was so outranked by a random police officer under those circumstances says a lot.

( What Obama did wasn't so extreme as to call a cop an idiot.)

Posted by: Roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 08- 5-21 4:21 PM
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I suppose if the experience of having to actually physically fight a brutal, vicious, and historically unprecedented attempt to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States was followed by being massively gaslit, abused, trolled, and otherwise denigrated and lied about by the bulk of half the country's political establishment, that might leave a mark. But sure, we can look for other causes. Could be there are some.

Posted by: Lacks Doctor | Link to this comment | 08- 6-21 9:25 PM
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I mean, it naturally seems like we might look to the most proximate potential causes for explanations first. But life is genuinely complicated. I'm reasonably confident there might be another explanation for at least, like... one of the four? Maybe?

Posted by: Lacks Doctor | Link to this comment | 08- 6-21 9:28 PM
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Do you know what's funny, though? The bulk of us -- even Unfogged, even now -- never go through these kinds of mental gymnastics for "police-involved shootings." I mean as regards the Presumed Innocence of the victims, that is to say, which is supposedly enshrined in law. It's a funny thing.

Like, there are still pretty much zero elaborate, abstruse theories about ways in which they might have NOT deserved to be murdered by the cops. But we are instinctively and even desperately looking for elaborate, abstruse theories for ways in which police deaths might NOT be explicable by way of the single most violent, vicious fascist action in American history. Does that seem off? A wee bit?

Posted by: Lacks Doctor | Link to this comment | 08- 6-21 9:34 PM
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