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Questions remain after a life cut short by suicide

By Charlie Koenig

Editor, Gazette-Journal

My big brother Jim would have turned 61 yesterday.

Would have, I said. But he didn’t.

He’ll forever be 59. That was his age, when, on the evening of March 12, 2022, he walked into his Manhattan law office, locked the door, took out a 9mm handgun and ended his life.

Suicide is all-too-common and so seldom addressed. In 2021, 48,183 people in the U.S. died by suicide—that is one death every 11 minutes. If death rates like this had resulted from any other cause, it would send waves of shock and demands for action through society. But suicide carries with it a stigma; those most affected by it tend to downplay the cause, perhaps out of embarrassment. While it might be socially acceptable to say “My brother lost his battle with cancer,” saying “My brother lost his battle with himself” somehow doesn’t seem quite right.

Friends and family of loved ones lost to suicide often look for explanations; they rack their memories for signs o...

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