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How a Simple Semicolon Tattoo is Giving Hope To People in Pain

The punctuation mark has become an important symbol to those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Tattoos tell a story. Sometimes that story is as meaningful as memorializing a past relationship. Other times, it tells the story of “I got this when I was drunk.” Recently, an organization known as Project Semicolon came up with the idea of creating tattoos for the greater good. Tattoo semicolons would be used to symbolize the hope of people who could have ended their life—or ended the sentence—but decided to charge forward, with hope. Nearly two years after the project’s start, hundreds of people across the globe have responded with enthusiasm, engagement, and tattoos.

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Strange Reactions to Strange Fruit

While the investigation into Otis Byrd’s hanging death is ongoing, the court of public opinion is already rushing to judgment.

The same week that rapper A$AP Ferg declared that “racism been over,” Otis James Byrd’s decomposing body was found hanging from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The media speculated as to whether this was a possible suicide, but not unlike when a black or brown person dies in police custody amidst claims of self-inflicted gunshots while handcuffed behind the back, there are those among us who have a familiar, sinking feeling of where this is headed.

The FBI has asked for patience as 30 investigators pore over the details of the case. Yet, especially for us blacks, the pain is in the waiting. This feels all too much like waiting on the now-tainted Ferguson grand jury to announce its non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown. Just get it the hell over with. Such a delay feels like adding insult to injury with a well-established precedent, the promise of liberty and justice for all but us.

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Love Fools

A pitch-black period comedy takes all the romance out of a Romantic-era suicide pact.

Set in Romantic-era Prussia, director Jessica Hausner's Amour Fou deliberately de-romanticizes every aspect of the real-life suicide pact it depicts. On the shores of a lake outside Berlin on November 21, 1811, Frankfurt-born writer and philosopher Heinrich von Kleist drew a pistol and killed Henriette Vogel (the terminally ill wife of another man) and then himself.

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Chinese Law May Force Children to Visit Lonely Parents

Do you sometimes forget to call or visit the folks? In China, an amendment to an elderly rights law would let parents sue.

In a move to curb elderly suicides, which tripled in the massive Asian nation between 2002 and 2009, China is proposing an amendment to an elderly rights law that would require children to visit their aging parents. If they don't, their parents can sue them.

The urbanization of China has changed the nation's familial interactions drastically. Children are no longer living with their parents and grandparents into adulthood, and more old people are moving into apartments by themselves rather than close-knit rural communities.

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More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010

Since 2009, more U.S. troops have committed suicide than been killed on the battlefield. What's worse is that military doesn't know how to help them.


For the second year in a row, more American soldiers—both enlisted men and women and veterans—committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excluding accidents and illness, 462 soldiers died in combat, while 468 committed suicide. A difference of six isn't vast by any means, but the symbolism is significant and troubling. In 2009, there were 381 suicides by military personnel, a number that also exceeded the number of combat deaths. Earlier this month, military authorities announced that suicides amongst active-duty soldiers had slowed in 2010, while suicides amongst reservists and people in the National Guard had increased. It was proof, they said, that the frequent psychological screenings active-duty personnel receive were working, and that reservists and guardsmen, who are more removed from the military's medical bureaucracy, simply need to begin undergoing more health checks. This new data, that American soldiers are now more dangerous to themselves than the insurgents, flies right in the face of any suggestion that things are "working." Even if something's working, the system is still very, very broken.

One of the problems hindering the military's attempt to address soldier suicides is that there's no real rhyme or reason to what kind of soldier is killing himself. While many suicide victims are indeed afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after facing heavy combat in the Middle East, many more have never even been deployed. Of the 112 guardsmen who committed suicide last year, more than half had never even left American soil.

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Education: Morning Roundup, Teachers Unions Impacting State Elections

Unions get involved in state elections, Rutgers student commits suicide after cyber-bullying, and D.C. schools in budgetary trouble.

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