In reporting suicides in TN Military services, TN General calls suicide acts “selfish”

It has taken me many weeks to respond to this letter the General posted for all of TN Army National Guard to read. This was his way to announce more deaths from military suicide and in my heart, I believe he is a good man, who went about this in a wrong way. I was so angry when I first read it, I could not respond without some very choice harsh words. I want to say, “selfish” is not the word I would use when describing suicides when reporting it from a leader’s point of view.

I can easily apply the words “selfish actions” when referring to the suicides of some service members, but, on many of those occasions the selfish term should not have been applied to the victim, but, to the leadership of the victim. I totally agree, we really need to help each other. That help does not have to start at the bottom, but, should, start at the top and the middle to set the example of true leadership, not, set an example of how to make a situation even worse. Some of the worst leadership examples have lead to attempted and completed suicides, yet, the victim is called selfish by the highest leader in the state? That is just a little sad.

Many people may think suicide is a very selfish act, and in some ways, it might be, but, to the person who commits suicide, many times they believe they are making the most courageous decision of their life. They are no longer going to feel pain, they are no longer going to suffer, and they are no longer going to be a burden for their families. In some cases, their death will provide insurance money to their families, so they feel they are choosing one last act as a man or woman, to stand up and be the provider they once were. They could see this as one last beneficial act for their families.

Yes, having someone to lean on, “can save a life.” It is sad more leaders do not take this message to heart, and stop acting so selfish.

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