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Why we didn’t air the suicide car chase video

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, September 28, 2012 17:16 EDT

Do you need to watch a man blow a hole in his head with a weapon to learn that he did it?

Every 13.7 minutes in America, someone takes their own life. According to CDC statistics, about 30 percent of women and 56.3 percent of men who commit suicide do so with a gun. A gun is the most fatal method for those who attempt suicide.

Do you need to watch a car chase to know that one happened, and that it was likely futile and certainly dangerous?

The NHTSA estimates that 360 people die each year as a result of high-speed car chases — though statisticians suspect that the real number is 3 to 4 times higher because the statistics don’t account for people who die as the result of their injuries or those who die after the police officially stop chasing. The National Institute of Justice estimates that 90 percent of car chases are for non-violent offenses. A 2004 study suggests that one-third of car chase fatalities are innocent bystanders.

In our estimation, the news story wasn’t necessarily that there was a car chase, that it was dangerous or that it resulted in a fatality — those things happen more or less every day. It wasn’t that a fellow American and fellow human took his life — which also happens every day. It was that he did so with television cameras following him (an apparent risk factor), and that those stations following him aired that footage of his suicide in violation of what are long-established cultural norms.

Our condolences go out to this man’s family, who now have to live with knowing that thousands, if not millions of people, watched the final seconds of their loved one’s life.

For anyone thinking about taking their own life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Welcome to the bubble: Most people don’t use social networking for politics

To read some people on the Internet, you’d think the election would be decided by who had the most followers and Tweeted the most about his or her favored candidate. The truth of the matter is that, even if you are the world’s most prolific political Twit with gobs of followers… those people (other than the spam bots) self-selected to follow you, meaning you’re either preaching to the converted or the trolls. In real life,…


What unions do for umpires and referees, or why the NFL referee lock-out is bad for everyone

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 15:02 EDT

I was a unionized baseball and softball umpire from 1993 to 1996. For two years before that, like a bunch of other teenagers, I umped local Little League games for between $8 and $10 a game: $8 when I worked the field (running between bases) with another ump at the…


Rush Limbaugh has always been obsessed with penises (and that’s okay)

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, September 21, 2012 12:17 EDT

For those people still giggling at Rush Limbaugh’s rant about how “feminazis” are responsible for men’s shrinking penises, let me assure you that his clear obsession with penises and things liberals want to do with them is unlikely to end soon. Whether it’s saying that “we need to save our…


An illustrated guide to the people Mitt Romney believes don’t pay enough taxes

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 12:53 EDT

Though he’s since called them “inelegant”, former governor and current presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) comments about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes have generated a lot of buzz about who those people actually are. Here’s a look. [Data for this chart comes from here,…


The new ‘alt’ media looks a lot like the old media

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, September 14, 2012 14:52 EDT

As has now been widely reported, Village Voice editor Tony Ortega is leaving to “pursue a book proposal” (reportedly not of his own volition) as is music editor Maura Johnston*. Of course, it’s far from the Voice‘s only high-profile departure of a woman or a non-white dude this year: Jen…


When did we start hating teachers?

By Megan Carpentier
Thursday, September 13, 2012 16:29 EDT

Like many Americans, my access to a quality public education was the single most important determining factor for my access to the middle class (via a college education funded by subsidized federally-issued student loans, Pell grants and academic scholarships). And, for that, I can thank a teacher. Or, rather, I…


Raw Story on the air: The strange case of David Rivera’s missing political operative

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 15:47 EDT

I appeared on “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann” last night to talk about the disappearance of Ana Alliegro, who is tied to a wannabe Democratic primary candidate and Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), who the eventual winner of that primary is set to face in November. Alliegro disappeared after her…


If corporations are people, which one would you rather have a beer with?

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, September 10, 2012 17:01 EDT

It’s that time of the election cycle, when pollsters look longingly at press coverage of polls past and wonder, “Who would Americans prefer to have a beer with in 2012?” because the people Americans would prefer to get drunk with are the ones they want running the country. But since…


Democratic Convention Diary Day 1: Michelle rocks the conventioneers and the gun show

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 13:44 EDT

Was there another speech last night? Does anyone else remember? What was going on last week in Tampa anyway, that was a lot of press to cover a tropical storm, right? And why was Clint Eastwood there again? The skies might have opened up over Charlotte before the main speeches…