Permanent Vacation

A recent study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine states that simply living in Las Vegas—or vacationing there—increases your risk of suicide almost two-fold. At first glance it doesn't seem that surprising. You can narrate the story: a compulsive gambler checks in at Caesar's Palace, bets the farm, loses the farm—loses everything. Out of options, money and excuses the gambler hangs him or herself. Not that different from the archetypal desperate CEO that jumps out of his 50th floor corner office to his death...

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But that's actually probably not the case. A few days ago, NPR interviewed the Clark County coroner. He said the majority of suicides aren't impulse decisions made by down-on-their-luck gamblers, but carefully planned vacations with suicide worked into the itinerary long before they pass through Vegas city limits. Here, straight from his mouth (as told to NPR):

"They came here with the idea of making their last kind of 'hooray,' and then they took their lives. And they did it so that they wouldn't be doing that at home where their family members would find them; they were going to another location."

So what about us? In Southern California, you're apparently most likely to kill yourself if you live in Nevada-Adjacent Inyo County—A massive mountainous territory (bigger than Delaware) home to Lone Pine, Bishop, Big Pine, and—according to the Sierra Wave News—home to the unsolved murder of Karl Stubbs, suspected by local officials to be the first murder committed by the Manson Family.

[Bleak Las Vegas photo taken by Flickr user Marionzetta and used under a Creative Commons license]

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