According to this article in Slate, Greenland boasts the world’s highest suicide rate, at almost double the frequency of Japan — where most teenagers are convinced that death results in a sparkly wonderland of anime pornos and talking Hello Kitty backpacks. You may think it’s always been this way, since Greenland is both remote and sucky. But the truth is that it’s a relatively modern phenomenon:
Indeed, for the first half of the 20th century, Greenlanders lived much as they had for the previous 4,000 years: They hunted and fished, clustering in small, remote villages that hug the rocky coastline. They also boasted a suicide rate among the world’s lowest. One Danish analysis found that from 1900 to 1930, Greenland had an annual suicide rate of just 0.3 people per 100,000. And “as late as 1960 there was still the occasional year when there were no recorded suicides by Greenlanders,” reports Jack Hicks, a Canadian expert on suicide in the arctic region.
Sounds like a fun gig.
Anyway, by 1986 some towns cited suicide was the leading cause of death among young people. And when young people in Greenland want to kill themselves, they really, really want to kill themselves:
One reason for Greenland’s high suicide rate is that people are particularly proficient at the act, employing methods that leave little chance for survival. Shootings and hangings account for 91 percent of male suicides and 70 percent of female suicides. (Almost every Greenland home has at least one rifle for the annual caribou and musk-ox hunts. Of course, any rope, fishing net, or electric cord can be fashioned into a noose, which in the Greenlandic language is called “our Lord’s lasso.”)
“Young people in Norway and Sweden make a lot of suicide attempts with pills, but they’re not successful. Here the kids are successful because it’s always so violent,” said Poulsen.
A few thoughts here:
1. Our Lord’s Lasso is an awesome name for a metal band.
2. The moon definitely has something to do with this. Douche.
London Homesick Blues — Jerry Jeff Walker
Knowledge in Hand — The Forms
Librarian — My Morning Jacket
Invisible — Modest Mouse
Paranoid Android — Radiohead
Broken Home, Broken Heart — Husker Du
Go-Go Girls — Frightened Rabbit
My Family’s Role in the World Revolution — Beirut
Fire Escape — Fanfarlo
Sequestered in Memphis — The Hold Steady
Please Visit Your National Parks — Oxford Collapse
The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.