Timesizing® Not Downsizing
[Commentary] © 2002-2016 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117 Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080 -   HOMEPAGE
Work-related Suicide, Death and Violence
(Phil Hyde's family background un?fortunately made him an expert on suicide. Click here for a *tribute to Dr. Kevorkian, here for the new *Hemlock Society.)
The USA has ~33,000 suicides a year, data rarely published (but try 11/21/2009 below), and ~700 workplace homicides, often linked with the stress of long hours or downsizing (11/07/2003 #1 et al.).
Here's a selection of cases from (mainly) the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) & New York Times (NYT) -


11/14/2015  1 suicide mention (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


11/03/2015  2 work-stressed-suicide mentions (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


10/08/2015  1 work-stressed suicide AND murder mention (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


2/01/2015  7 unemployment-related suicides mention (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


12/04/2014  1 work-stressed-suicide mention (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


1/27/2014  1 work-stressed-suicide mention (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


12/06/2013  1 economically-stressed-suicide reference (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


5/03/2013  1 karoshi-flavored suicide reference (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


12/01/2012  1 job-shortage-tied suicide reference (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


1/20/2012  1 job-related suicide reference (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


7/01/2011  1 karoshi (death by overwork) story in WSJ, NYT or online (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


4/14/2011  1 work-related suicide story (more recent stories are excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


12/17/2010  1 job- or jobloss-related suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT (more recent stories are more stringently excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


5/27/2010  1 work-related suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT (more recent stories are more stringently excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


11/22/2009  1 work-related suicide story (more recent stories are more stringently excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -


1/28/2009 JOB-STRESS OR -LOSS RELATED SUICIDE in the news (archives) -


1/21/2009 JOB-RELATED SUICIDE ATTEMPT in the news (archives) -


1/15/2009 JOB-RELATED SUICIDE ATTEMPT in the news (archives) -


1/07/2009 JOB-RELATED SUICIDE in the news (archives) -


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(Gap in coverage, 2005-2008, to survive the depressing recoronation of one of USA's most destructive presidents, who uncorked the Pandora's Box of the Middle East, and his lethal legacy goes on and on and on, to the delight of his buds and financiers in the weapons industry. Coverage more complete pre-2005 below, dwindling to start of daily updates in Jan/1999, and just a sampling post-2008 above, fuller coverage on our archive pages.)
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10/15/2004  1 interesting but non-work-related suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT (more recent stories are more stringently excerpted on our homepage or its archives) -

1/15/2004  1 work-related suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT (more recent stories are more stringently excerpted on our homepage or its archives) - 12/23/2003  1 work-related killing story in WSJ &/or NYT - 12/22/2003  1 work-related killing story in WSJ &/or NYT - 12/17/2003  1 work-related killing story in WSJ &/or NYT - 12/16/2003  2 work-related killing stories in WSJ &/or NYT -
  1. Nurse accused of slaying patient reportedly admitted 30 killings - Inquiries at 10 institutions in 7 counties, by McFadden & Hanley, NYT, front page.
    SOMERVILLE, N.J...- A nurse [Charles Cullen, 43, of Bethlehem PA] with a history of job dismissals was charged on Monday with killing one patient and trying to murder another with drugs at a hospital here in central New Jersey, and a prosecutor quoted the nurse as saying that he had slain 30-40 patients in his 16-year career "to alleviate pain and suffering."...
  2. Cases - Health care workers who kill, data from Dir. Beatrice Yorker of San Francisco State U. School of Nursing, and Issues in Law and Medicine published by National Legal Center for Medically Dependent & Disabled, via NYT, C19.
    [This issue is complicated by presentday human compulsiveness about "keep them alive regardless" and the persecution of people pushing for an alternative, like Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who painstakingly screens his "victims."]
    Since 1975, more than 20 healthcare workers in the U.S. have been convicted or implicated in the deaths of multiple patients. Some recent cases:
    • Robert Diaz - A nurse at several hospitals in Riverside County CA, sentenced to death for killing 12 elderly patients in 1981 by injecting them with large doses of lidocaine.
      [Oh great, this is going to give people lotsa ideas too.]
    • Genene Jones - Sentenced in 1984 to 99 years in prison for killing a 15-month-old child in Kerrville TX by lethal injection. She was also implicated in a rise in the number of deaths in pediatric intensive care units, but was not convicted.
    • Donald Harvey - A nurse's aide, he pleaded guilty in 1987 to killng 37 patients at hospitals in Ohio and Kentucky, using cynanide, arsenic and suffocation. Sentenced to 3 concurrent life terms.
    • Richard Angelo - A nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip NY, convicted in 1990 of two murders and three assaults, after injecting patients with paralyzing drugs. Sentenced to 50-years-to-life in prison.
    • Efren Saldivar - A respiratory therapist, he pleaded guilty in 1998 to killing six patients at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center in California. Claimed to have killed more than 40 others.
    • Orville Majors - A nurse in Vermillion County IND, convicted in 1999 of killing six patients with lethal injections of potassium chloride.
    • Michael Swango - A former doctor, convicted in 2000 of four murders in NY and Ohio, using lethal injections. Suspected in as many as 35 other deaths. Sentenced to 3 consecutive life [terms].
    • Kristen Gilbert - A nurse convicted in 2001 of four killings at the VA Medical Center in Northampton MA, using injections of epinephrine, a stimulant.
    [Is it possible that every so often, one of healthcare workers freaks out over our rigid and obsessive attempt to prolooooooooong life, no matter how painful and pointless? Clearly humanity is not ready to think about this yet, or take the responsibility for wading into the large gray areas between the white and black, so if you take on the responsibility to "help" other people in this way, you've got to be prepared to die yourself.]
11/22/2003  1 work-related suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT - 11/17/2003  1 work-related mass murder story in WSJ &/or NYT - 11/14/2003  1 work-related mass suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT -
  1. [a glimpse into our own American future? -]
    India: Inquiry into deaths of government workers, Agence France-Presse via NYT, A6.
    A court ordered an investigation into the deaths of more than 1,400 government employees in eastern Bihar State, most of whom died of starvation or committed suicide because they had not been paid in more than a decade.... "The state government created such conditions that forced the 1,428 employees to die or commit suicide," the court said, charging that state officials responsible for running 45 public sector units stole money meant for the employees, causing many of the units to close down. "...While the state officials...made merry in foreign trips and big hotels, the employees died of starvation," it said.
11/07/2003  2 work-related murder items in WSJ &/or NYT -
  1. Job (dis)qualifications - Now widely disseminated, criminal records make it hard for ex-offenders to go straight, by David S. Bernstein, CommonWealth Mag fall 2003 (rec'd in mail today), p.48ff.
    ...Crime on the job, especially violent crime, is a relatively minor societal danger. Workplace homicides are rare (roughly 700 a year nationally), and the vast majority result from robberies.
    [How does this figure square with Handgun Free America's statistic that over the last 15 years, the U.S. has had over 100 deadly workplace shootings (see 8/28/2003 below)? That's far less than 700 homicides a year and it's unlikely such a huge difference can be ascribed purely to shootings vs. other.]
    According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, just 2.1% of rapes, 3.2% of attempted rapes, and 4.2% of stabbings take place at a commercial establishment other than a restaurant or bar, and only a fraction of those are committed by employees....

  2. 2 dead in shooting at trucking company, by James Hannah, AP via Boston Globe, A5.
    WEST CHESTER, Ohio - ...The attack began shortly before 10 am in an industrial park in suburban Cincinnati..\.. A trucker opened fire with two handguns yesterday at a company that once employed him, killing two men and wounding three before fleeing, authorities said. He was arrested at an Indiana truckstop...two hours later....
    The attacker drove past a security checkpoint at Watkins Motor Lines [couldn't have been very secure!], then walked into a dispatcher office lined with desks and opened fire on five men.... About a dozen shell casings littered the floor. About 2½ hours later, Indiana state police received a tip that a man in a truckstop was saying police were looking for him. West was arrested inside the truckstop just off Interstate 74 near New Point, Ind. He was eating a meal when officers arrived and responded "yes" when police asked if he should be handcuffed....
    [He wanted the full ceremony.]
    Police identified the suspect as Tom Wst, 50, and said he had worked for Watkins Motor Lines...Atlanta [office].
    [NRA member?]
    Police Chief John Bruce said the employees in the West Chester office...did not know him. "We believe that the suspect shot at anyone and everyone he saw," Bruce said. "We have nothing to lead us to believe that he had a grievance against a specific person."... The two men who died were Donald Haury, 50, of Bellbrook, and Bob Lines, 65, of Cincinnati..\..
    West, also known as Joseph Eschenbrenner III, was charged with two counts of aggravated murder [is there "unaggravated" murder?] and three counts of attempted murder, Bruce said. Police brought him back to Ohio and he was to arraigned this morning..\..
    Watkins Motor Lines, based in Lakeland FL issued a statement saying Tom West had worked out of Atlanta from 1998 until he resigned in 2001. The company did not say why he left....

10/30/2003  1 work-related pre-Hallowe'en excursion into the macabre in WSJ &/or NYT - 10/28/2003  1 largely work-related suicide story in WSJ &/or NYT - 10/23/2003  2 work-related murder stories in WSJ &/or NYT -
  1. A farmer kills another and town asks, How did it come to this?, by Monica Davey, NYT, A14.
    [It came to this cuz they were both working megahours and had things way out of proportion.]
    In the community of Motor, Iowa, 240th Ave. divides Tom Lyon's property...and the land known as Rodgers Place, [over which] Rodney Heemstra [44]...shot Mr. Lyon [52] to death on the road in a feud.... [photos' caption]
    ...315 acres...both men wanted it. Farmland is a treasured commodity...not just in Iowa.... The mere size of one's farm can man the difference between prosperity and failure....

  2. China: 10 dead, 23 hospitalized in poisoning, AP via NYT, A8.
    ...a mass poisoning at a lunch held after a farmer's [what is it with the farmers today?!] funeral in Yuanbao, a town in central Hubei Province.... Scores of people have been killed in China over the last two years in attacks linked to feuds [and feuds again!] or business disputes, all involving the same banned brand of rat poison.
    [Is this China's new population control program? This is what happens when we allow human life to become too common and cheap. And the key factor is, are we valued in the job market? And the general answer is the one that counts - unless there's full employment, with inflation controlled by incentive-balancing instead of unemployment-fostering - we're too common and cheap, and can "look forward" to increasing acts of self-hatred (terrorism, poisoning, suicide...) on the part of our self-styled "intelligent" species.]

10/22/2003  1 work-related suicide attempt in WSJ & NYT - 10/16/2003  1 work-related attempted suicide in WSJ & NYT - 10/06/2003  1 work-related suicide story in WSJ & NYT - 10/01/2003  1 work-related suicide story in WSJ & NYT - 9/27/2003  1 work-related suicide story in WSJ & NYT - 9/20/2003  2 work-related (+/- attempted) suicides in WSJ & NYT - 9/18/2003  1 general workplace-murder story in WSJ & NYT - 9/17/2003  1 workplace murder-suicide in WSJ & NYT - 8/28/2003  1 workplace multiple-murder & 'suicide by police' in WSJ & NYT - 8/07/2003  1 work-related attempted murder in WSJ & NYT - 8/06/2003  by-the-way, re assisted suicide - 8/02-04/2003  1 work-related suicide in WSJ & NYT - 7/31/2003  by-the-way, re assisted suicide - 7/26/2003  1 work-related suicide - 7/23/2003  by-the-way, re assisted suicide - 7/22/2003  by-the-way, re assisted suicide - 7/19/2003  1 work-related suicide - 7/15/2003  one story, 2 overwork-related suicides alias "karoshi's" (Japanese for 'death by overwork'), or maybe here, 1 karoshi and 1 guilty conscience - 7/09/2003  2 work-related suicides in the news -
  1. Man guns down 5 co-workers, then shoots himself, police say, by David Halbfinger wthi Ariel Hart, NYT, front page.
    MERIDIAN, Miss...- An assembly-line worker [Doug Williams, 48] who had talked openly about shooting people walked out of an ethics and sensitivity training session at his factory [yesterday] morning, returned moments later with a semiautomatic rifle and a shotgun, and opened fire, killing 5 co-workers before fatally shooting himself...at the Lockheed Martin aircraft parts plant [here] about 9:40 am....
    [followup]
    Mississippi: Death toll rises in plant shooting, by David Halbfinger, 7/16/2003 NYT, A12.
    ...DeLois Bailey, 53, died of her wounds, bringing to 6 the number killed by Doug Williams, an employee who also wounded 8 others before fatally shooting himself.
    [Too bad he didn't shoot himself first.]
    Mr. Williams had frequently made violent threats against blacks, co-workers said. Five of those killed were black.... The Lockheed Martin plant has reopened a week after the shooting.

  2. Toyota employee's wife wins workers' compensation suit, Kyodo 07/08/03 03:59 EDT via AOLNews.
    NAGOYA...- The Nagoya High Court on Tuesday [7/08] upheld a lower court ruling that repealed a decision by a Labor Ministry office not to provide workers' compensation to the wife of a Toyota Motor Corp. employee who committed suicide in 1988 as a result of overwork.
    Presiding Judge Katsusuke Ogawa rejected an appeal from the Ministry of Health, Labor & Welfare, saying the suicide was caused by excessive work hours and workload which made the man suffer depression.... According to the ruling, the man started suffering from depression around August 1988 when he was in charge of designing cars to exported to other Asian countries and jumped to his death at the end of that month at age 35..\..
    [No name. A couple more paragraphs are on our timesizing page today - 7/09/2003 #2.]

7/03/2003  1 work-related murder-suicide in the news - 5/31-6/02/2003  2 work-related suicide story in the news -
  1. 5/31   Japanese pastor reaches out with suicide line, by Howard French, NYT, A4.
    TOKYO - For the Rev. Yukio Saito, reflecting on the suicide hotline he opened in Japan 30 years ago inevitably raises mixed feelings. There is satisfaction in knowing that many...thousands of people have been saved by his initiative, Lifeline. It has expanded since 1971 from a single telephone bank st[u]ffed in the cramped recesses of a Tokyo church to a network of 50 call-in centers all around Japan, most operating 24 hours a day, [using] more than 7,000 volunteer counselors.
    But [there is a] silent avalanche of desperate people in this society driven to take their own lives. Long one of the world's highest, the reported suicide rate in Japan has increased 50% in just the last 5 years, reaching an annual toll of 30,000 deaths.
    [Estimates of the unreported rate?? Why such an acceleration in the last 5 years? (Hint: see our collapse news today, 5/31-6/02/2003 #2, and it ain't "robust economic growth.")]
    "...By today's standards the problem was relatively small when we started out," said Mr. Saito.... In the era of Japan's most robust economic growth, the cost of rapid industrialization was the breakdown of the traditional extended family and the transformation of cities like Tokyo into what was known, even then, as emotional deserts.
    [You've heard about Japan's workoholism. This is "The Re-e-est of the Story" -]
    Fast-rising suicide rates had persuaded Mr. Saito to travel to the U.S. for training at a seminary in suicide counseling, and bring to Japan what would prove to be a groundbreaking vocation in a country where the shame and stigma surrounding suicide had enforced a deafening silence around the issue.... It is a calling that has often placed the Methodist minister at odds with...his fellow believers [because he] rejects...using his hot lines to proselytize..\., and that has fed feelings of estrangement from a mostly Shinto and Buddhist society. These religions, particularly Shinto, are more permissive of suicide.... Mr. Saito .
    [So let's get the story straight, Howard - is there a big shame-stigma-silence or is there more permissiveness?]
    70% of the country's suicides are committed by men, and almost everyone here invokes two causes:
    1. the huge social changes in the early postwar period and
    2. the protracted economic crisis of the last 12 years that has ravaged the careers of millions of "salarymen," or corporate employees.
    3. To th[ese 2], Mr. Saito adds a particular form of modern loneliness washing over Japan, where nuclear families occupy the same home but scarcely communicate, where dating and friendships are negotiated on the tiny screens of mobile phones, and where the phenomenon of shut-ins - total, housebound seclusion - has become endemic.
      [Huh??? This is the first we've heard of this. There's probably an American analog as more less-than-perfect-bodied people, with PCs, default to computer sex and/or socializing.]
      "...We have seen...the collapse of the family throughout Japan, even in small towns," said Mr. Saito.
      [And Japan, with the most technologized cities and factories in the world is, what would you say, 10 years ahead of the U.S. in social evolution, layoff impact and persistent recession? They are demo-ing our future. They had bubbles; we had bubble(s). Their bubbles burst; our bubble(s) burst. They cut interest rates to zero; we're cutting interest rates to zero. They spoiled the promise of technology by downsizing instead of timesizing; we ditto ditto. They gave themselves so much job insecurity they were scared to leave the workplace; we ditto ditto. They had the longest annual working hours in the world; we just surpassed them a couple of years ago. Despite a strong tradition of family, they have "seen the collapse of the family throughout Japan"; despite our strong family-values rhetoric, we have NO FAMILY TIME. We both need to quit betraying the blessings of technology with downsizing and switch from massive, but always too little too late, public works and job creation, to simply work sharing at gradually lowered levels of the workweek, as low as it takes to regain full employment, centrifuged dynamized spending power, and solid economic prosperity for everyone, not just a tiny and shrinking minority of insecure, incomprehensively wealthy people, insulated and isolated but still making all the big decisions.]
      "Loneliness has become universal." ...Lifeline's volunteer[s'] most important service is simply keeping company with lonely strangers, Mr. Saito said. [One] woman said..\..after talking with a [counselor] for over an hour [and] pretty well resolv\ing\ things..."Please don't hang up. You needed say anything more. I'm just afraid of being alone."

  2. 6/01   Chief allowed to keep gun day too long, AP via NYT, A19.
    TACOMA, Wash...- The city's personnel director [Phillip Knudsen] said on Friday [5/30] that he and other city officials had recommended taking away Chief David Brame's gun the day before he fatally shot his wife and himself, but that the city attorney [Robin Jenkinson] had opposed the idea. [He] said they had suggested..\..at a meeting on April 25...placing him on administrative leave, which would have included giving up his service revolver..\.. At that meeting, officials discussed an article in that day's Seattle Post-Intelligencer describing Chief Brame's divorce proceedings with Crystal Brame, who had said the chief had abused and threatened her..\..
    The April 26 murder-suicide continues to shake Tacoma's government, and state and federal officials are investigating Chief Brame's rise through the police ranks.... Chief Brame was hired in 1981 despite failing one psychological examination and being judged a "marginal" candidate by another psychologist, records show.
    [followup, & another instalment in our ongoing inquiry into 'how sick are Americans?' -]
    Damages sought in killing of chief's wife, AP via NYT, A21.
    Relatives of the wife of Police Chief David Brame, who killed his wife and himself, filed a $75 million claim [yester]day that accused city officials of ignoring warning signs about him....
    [There it is, the new American Dream = hitting megabucks. or suing the deep pocket...and it makes no difference which one.]

5/28/2003  1 work-related murder in the news - 5/27/2003  2 work-related suicides in the news -
  1. Fugitive ex-priest leaps to death in Mexico, AP via NYT, A4.
    MAZATLAN... - A former American priest who crossed into Mexico to escape sex abuse charges in California and Wisconsin has died after leaping from the 2nd-storey balcony of a hotel to escape the police in this resort city. Federal and state agents surrounded the Vista Dorada Hotel, just off one of Mazatlan's most popular beaches, on Sunday and planned to arrest the former priest, Siegfried Widera, who was accused of 42 counts of child molestation in the U.S. ...Mexico had planned to extradite the fugitive priest to the U.S. shortly after his arrest....
    The manhunt...had expanded from Milwaukee and Orange County CA to Tucson, El Paso and...Mexico CIty..\.. As the authorities closed in, Mr. Widera ran to the balcony of his room and jumped. He died of severe cranial trauma as members of Mazatlan's Red Cross were taking him to a nearby hospital, said Maria Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the Sinaloa State Attorney General's office....

  2. At a traumatic moment, Morocco's king is mute, by Elaine Sciolino, NYT, A3.
    [So what's he supposed to say, some of the pablum-talk that US presidents have sunk to saying on the occasion of every disaster above Richter 5? The second photo shows him visiting a wounded man in the hospital, and actions speak louder than words.]
    Sidi Moumen, a sprawling slum..., produced most if not all of the 14 young suicide bombers believed to be involved in the terrorist attacks on May 16....
    [Looks like a pretty clear link between poverty and terrorism to us. More to the point -]
    ...But even before the bombings [of May 16], the king [Mohammed VI] was faulted by many both inside and outside the country for not delivering on his promises for reform. Political decisions are still made at the top and in secret. The economy is dominated by monopolistic enterprises with connections to the state. Corruption is widespread; the gap between rich and poor a chasm. [The] country [has] an unemployment rate of well over 20%, an illiteracy rate of more than 50%, 5 million people living under the poverty line and more than half the population under the age of 25....
    [And this is what the neo-cons appear to want to turn the USA into - see today's collapse news, 5/27/2003 #1.]


For earlier suicide stories, click on the desired date -

  • Jan-Apr/2003.
  • Oct-Dec/2002.
  • Jul-Sep/2002.
  • Jan-Jun/2002.
  • 2001.
  • 2000 & previous.


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