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Stopping the Suicide Problem

I read with fear and sadness the recent events surrounding the death of Richard Guy ’99. Having been an MIT student now since 1992 I have seen quite a number of MIT students die. Unfortunately, the administration’s response to death is particularly nearsighted. I believe that death due to drugs is much akin to suicide. Sometimes, this is not true, and the death is due to naivete and a willingness to take dangerous risks. But in almost all cases, there is definitely a serious element of self-destructive behavior. And isn’t self-destructive behavior that ever-present nebulous land between a perfectly healthy boring life and suicide? Guy’s case is not a gray area at all. With a bag over his head, either foul play or suicide is the cause.

But our society, and in turn the MIT administration, blame drugs. This is like blaming lipids for obesity or gunpowder for murder. Here at this school, we have a problem with suicide. It’s time that we stop blaming alcohol and drugs and instead take all this energy, fear, and rage and funnel it to a constructive process which will eliminate suicides.

This school can be a dangerous place for young people. The hours are long, the competition fierce, and the egos huge. By creating an atmosphere of zero tolerance here, this will only serve to alienate students who choose to do drugs, making the students who just might need help the most afraid.

Susan Mosher ’99 and Rene Ruiz ’99 are implicated in Guy’s death. They are currently the victims of a strong desire to find a scape- goat to blame for the death of Guy. To say that they are not being charged in his death but to arraign them for drug possession is two-faced double talk. The charge of ‘drugs with intent to distribute’ and the long prison sentences mentioned are equivalent to a charge of murder. These two people will have their life ruined. And for what -- some mushrooms, marijuana, diet pills, and a couple of cans of whipped cream?

As long as our society denies its self-destructive and suicidal thoughts and blames alcohol and drugs, we will never be able to correct the problem. I believe in the cliche, ‘first you have to admit that you have a problem.’

John Muir Kumph G