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    What's up with Maui and suicides?
    By Hank Campbell | September 9th 2010 02:49 PM | 16 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

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    I confess I have never been to Maui or any other part of Hawaii.   Part of that is my age - I am still young enough to do fun stuff and so I have had run-ins with Turkish police, the Bulgarian mafia and even set a record at the Escape&Evasion course for officers at Ft. Gordon, GA, but I have never been to Hawaii.

    Like the World's Biggest Ball of Yarn, it is something I can do when I am older.  

    But part of it is also lack of interest.   Culturally, Hawaiians are regarded as the most racist people in the US - they hate everyone white most of all but they also pretty much hate everyone.   Knowing that makes it a little more difficult to have fun, since employees at the hotel could be spitting in my fruity umbrella drink or whatever people consume on Hawaiian vacations.

    But I would never have expected they hate living there, since generally the weather is regarded as the reason to go to Hawaii.    But Maui is apparently miserable.  So miserable they kill themselves.  A lot.

    Suicide rates have dropped a lot in the US since the 1950s and recent statistics show an unexpected duo at the low end - New Jersey and Washington, DC have the fewest suicides, under 7 per 100,000.   Nevada, the home of gambling and high heat, is 23/100,000.   The US national average is just under 11.

    But Maui, in Hawaii, has a whopping 93/100,000.   Yeah, that's right, the suicide rate in Maui is 13 times higher than New Jersey, where popular culture leads us to believe that the whole state is filled with "Snookie"s and "The Situation"s and that might make me want to end things if I lived there.  And it isn't just Maui.  Kauai has 88 deaths per 100,000 residents, Hawaii island itself has 83 and Oahu has 54.

    So now I have a new reason not to visit Hawaii.   Not only do I not want to die now, I don't want to die ever.  So I will either become a transhumanist cyborg with my brain in a robot exoskeleton chassis lording it over ordinary humans or I will sit in a throne in my tomb and make my descendants fight my Lich for their inheritance.


    Me, somewhere in Pennsylvania, presumably around 2070.   Want my comic book collection?  Come and get it.

    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    OK, well I've done a bit of research and I'm guessing that the main reasons that there are so many more suicides in Hawaii than any other American state, is probably because a) most of the suicides are by males in either the over 85 age range or between 40 to 54 years b) Hawaii has the highest projected lifespan of any American state c) over 82 % of Hawaii's residents were born in the United States and roughly 75.0% of the foreign-born residents are from Asia. Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans, 38.5 % of the total population, 175,000 Filipino Americans and 161,000 Japanese Americans. In addition, there are roughly 53,000 Chinese Americans and 40,000 Korean Americans. Suicide is much more common in Asian people and cultures and also in men who outlive or split with their partners and who are not living in their country of origin. See http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/540204/County-s-high-suic... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    vongehr
    Wow, 93 versus 23 or 11 is high, but I do agree with Helen: suicide rate is not just proportional to how miserable life is. After all, the fear of death or hell does not make people happy, on the contrary, it makes them even more miserable but keeps them alive. A lot of especially the older, male Asians may commit suicide in a quite rational, with life satisfied but tired manner.

    Helen, what about the lithium levels in Hawaii diets - could that also contribute?
    Hank
    Helen&Sascha, some of this was clearly tongue-in-cheek (about suicide, no less!) and using bad correlation-causation arrows to do it.    A hundred years ago, Colorado's moderate temperature and dry climate got it recommended by physicians for patients with tuberculosis.  So it could be said that Colorado had more TB deaths than any place in the US, and perhaps the world, though that would not have told the real story.

    There is a real concern there, sure, but the population is so small in each of those Hawaiian counties that any blip in numbers skews the results dramatically.    I was not kidding about building an underground tomb and remaining there, undead, and fighting my ancestors over my gold and treasure, though.
    Aitch
    Nah...Hank the transhumanist cyborg sounds much more fun!

    Who knows, maybe a film.....or next Christmas's top toy - wink

    Aitch
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Didn't think you believed in ghosts Hank, unless you're thinking of fighting your Grannie, Grandad, Mum or Dad?
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    I said descendants in the article and then accidentally wrote ancestors in the comment above.  Thanks for catching it.   Either way, while I don't think my ancestors are haunting me, but I certainly intend to haunt my great-grandkids if it becomes scientifically possible.
    Aitch
    If it becomes scientifically possible.....it would make a good blog article, also

    I look forward to it......

    Aitch
    Hank, you are an idiot. Why would you speak badly about a place you've never visited. You speak as though you have hard data or proof of what's going on in the thoughts and minds of those living in Maui, or Hawaii, in general? Locals "spiiting in your fruity drink?" What a laugh! You also say Hawaiians are racist. Are you speaking of Native Hawaiians, or people in the entire State of Hawaii? You do know that Hawaii is a part of the United States. "Pure" Hawaiians are a very, very tiny group campared to other enthnicites. Many "pure" Hawaiians are upset because they got their land taken away. I've been here for many, many years and I've only met a handful of pure Hawaiians. The state is very mixed with people from all over the world. That is why Hawaii is great place to conduct research surveys and other experiments because of the enthinc diversity. I should know- I've worked on many NIH and NIMH funded projects here. Yes, there are suicides in Hawaii, and maybe it does seem a bit high, but does that mean people are miserable? You generalize your topic like an uneducated novice. Did you happen to think that Hawaii's main industry in hospitality? Why would "miserable" people "spit" in drinks where tourism is the main industry? What about tourists who come to Hawaii to die? It is not uncommon for hotel industry workers to find dead tourists in hotel rooms. Why do they do it? I do not know and I won't speculate. I do know that the hotel industry management that I've talked to are under strict guidelines not to advertise suicides since it would hurt business. I invite and dare you to come to Hawaii with all your misconceptions. If you leave Hawaii with your same thoughts and feelings, I'll still accept you. Why? Because the people here have taught me what is known as the "Aloha Spirit."

    Hank
    Why would you speak badly about a place you've never visited. 
    I visited there earlier this year.  While I personally witnessed no suicides, just like I do not personally take the temperature all around the globe, I know suicides happen and people record temperatures around the globe because there are people paid to do that.   Are you instead claiming it is a conspiracy by Big Suicide Hawaii to make the place look bad?  Are you denying it happens at all?

    No, you just object because I don't personally know every person on Maui, which seems a little silly.  You called me an idiot, for example, despite not knowing me at all.  So much for 'aloha spirit'.

    Whether you personally agree or not, it is the most racist state in the country - and you can also deny Kill Haole Day happens, except Hawaii had to try and pass legislation to stop it, which would be odd if it never happened.  If they hate everyone as much as they seem to, it is no surprise they hate themselves.

    P.S. I had a fine time there, but I have had fine times everywhere I have vacationed.  Including New Jersey.  I mean, people in New Jersey are happier than people in Hawaii.  That has to be meaningful, right??
    Denying suicide? No. I've already stated that suicide happens and that it may be high. Please read my earlier comment. Again, I do speculate as to the causes and the mindset of the people in Hawaii, and neither should you.
    Did I state or infer that you knew everyone in Maui? No, I did not. Again, read my earlier comment. I did point out that you made many fallacies in your argument. You made them again in your reply. Come on fallacies and generalizations are taught in grade school English composition.
    Yes, there was a day known as "kill haole day" which is a totally different subject in regards to your argument of Maui residents being miserable. As I stated earlier, there are some Native Hawaiians that are still upset about there land being taken away. Any misdeeds most likely happened in areas where Native Hawaiians reside. I went to grade school, middle school, and high school here- nothing happened to any "haoles." My daughter doesn't even know what that is. Hank, I've lived and visited many different places and racism is everywhere. I couldn't tell people in China and Vietnam my ethnic background, on advice from my travel buddy, so that we would be "safe." I loved it so much visiting East Asia that after a while I found that people didn't really care. They just accepted me because I treated them with respect.
    Yes, I did call you an idiot, and you're right, I don't even know you. How does it feel to be called something when it's not the real you?

    You claimed that you visited Hawaii? Okay. Like I said, I still accept you. I'm not into hate and you're entitled to your own opinion. I'm sorry that you feel the same. Maybe we'll meet one day, I'll buy you a beer, and you'll change your mind.

    Hank
    Yes, I did call you an idiot, and you're right, I don't even know you. How does it feel to be called something when it's not the real you?
    It feels ironic when that someone says they have the 'aloha spirit', since you have no way to determine my idiocy and just made it up.  On the other hand, I have all kinds of data to show racism, suicides and violence against white people, so I did not make anything up.

    So it seems I have more 'aloha spirit' than you, even though I have never lived there.

    P.S. You were not wrong in thinking I had not been there when I wrote this piece.  My wife read it and she has been many times, she has taken the children, etc., she just realized I always had to work or something and had never gone. So for our anniversary she got us tickets to the islands and earlier this year we visited.  

    Alright, so you've finally visited and you enjoyed yourself... Next time you write an article, you should educate yourself, so you don't look so ignorant on the subject. It's like going into battle without weapons. If you had prepared yourself, you wouldn't have had such things said to you like the above comments. I'm sure the "haoles" you're referring to are tourists. Most people from Hawaii don't like "haoles" because these people are the ones who come to visit for a period of time, litter, cause traffic jams, crowd the beaches, and buy out all of the land, which raises taxes and the cost of living. Most people who live in Hawaii are not Hawaiian and have some haole in them, so you'd be saying that these people are racist against themselves... Doesn't really make sense now does it?

    I was born and have been raised in hawaii my entire life. I have experienced a lot of pros and cons about living in Hawaii. Yes, there are many suicides that happen in our state. A few of those losses were close friends and/or family. Many different things come in to play when someone makes such a huge decision as taking their own life. Family issues, high cost of living greatly disadvantages people here, a general sickness of the psychosis. All in all the choices some people have made should not be ignorantly looked at in a negative form against all locals to the islands. You talk about statistics and research of these "facts" you stated but I still see your statements as unintellectual (hence why the other person called you an idiot). Statements like that are one of many reasons why some locals don't have respect for haoles (foreigners). The lack of education of our beautiful state makes it difficult for tourist to coincide with residents of the islands. Hawaii is made up of many cultures, colors, and amazing diversity. All those who I know on all islands embrace that wonderful aspect of Hawaii. People come for visits here & never want to leave. Hawaii, like other states, has it's down falls, we are a group islands. You will for sure hear more about deaths n sucicides here cause of that then you would in the Vegas or the Bronx or wherever else is stated as dangerous places to visit.

    As for kill HAOLE day...that's absolutely ridiculous. Maybe it's joked about for some odd reason but I have never participated or heard of such stupidity. If you choose to stay away from Hawaii.. Then good riddens I say because the last thing we need Is your negative flow to disrupt our gorgeous HOME.


    I realize this is tongue and cheek, but having lived and worked there for a year here are some of the realities that tourists don't walk away with:

    (1) Almost every beach on Oahu is nicer than the one in Waikiki. yet that's the one that draws the most tourists.

    (2) There is racism on the island. "Careful with visiting that area; there are plenty of locals" is a warning I heard too often. But by the same token, a white can be made to feel like an outsider by some of their indigenous people.

    (3) Because of its great weather, Honolulu has its share of homeless people. They are cleared from Honolulu's core to some extent, so they hang out just along the edges of the most heavily tourist-frequented areas.

    (4) Some of the military people who reside there are the nicest people I've met and completely shattered my prejudices against the US army and navy. For months, we had pot luck lunches every Sunday with some retirees. Somebody I worked with was also ex-military (and also ex-CIA, as I found out accidentally when I borrowed his laptop!)
    Clearly, the author is a moron, admitting absence of a visit to the islands with a strong opinion of how racist the locals are. You (author) have no clue what your talking about. The comment directly under your article kinda puts you in your place using actual statistics... All the islands are paradise, I imagine the author is jealous or just not intelligent. If you are a tourist, just use you head. If you are too stupid to use your head when in a place where others call it home, then you should expect the treatment you deserve. Where I live, we will clown on you whether or not your a tourist, we will smash you if you act a fool. NOW ALL YOU KNOW HOW THINGS WORK, ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, LOL, you all crack me up!!

    Hank
    All the islands are paradise, I imagine the author is jealous or just not intelligent.
    I am not sure of your logic.  It's like saying there was never any racism in the southern US, or in Europe, unless I visited and actually experienced racism.  What is your explanation for all of the miserable people offing themselves?
    Where I live, we will clown on you whether or not your a tourist, we will smash you if you act a fool.
    Sounds lovely.  You basically proved my point.  I bet outsiders are these deserving clowns a lot more than your 'friends' are.