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Society and Suicide

            Acting on a tip, Israeli troops raided a west bank village near the boundary with Israel. As they closed in, they were repelled by an explosion which, surprisingly, only slightly wounded an officer. The suicide bomber this time was Sabih Saud, a 16 year-old boy. "Sabih was believed to be the youngest of the more than 100 Palestinian suicide bombers who have died during the past three years of Middle East violence for a common cause" (The Miami Herald). His father expressed that Sabih was an impressionable but happy and healthy boy who had no business being a martyr. Though frequently associated with individual desperation or mental disturbance, suicide can often have social causations. .
             Émile Durkheim, the social philosopher who produced the first true sociological research, studies suicide as a socially influenced phenomenon. He concluded that there were three distinct types of suicide. The first was Anomic Suicide which results from a sense of feeling disconnected for society's values. The Suicide rate rises during times of rapid social change and economic crises named Chronic Economic Anomie. Durkheim identified this type with the ongoing industrial revolution, which eroded traditional social regulators and often failed to replace them. Acute Domestic anomie which is sudden changes on the micro-social level such as widowhood or loss of a child also fall into the first classification. The pressures of social whirl winding chaos can prove too much for an otherwise stable person to bear. .
             Altruistic Suicide, according to Durkheim's study, is self-annihilation for the sake of the group. It derives from a very high level of group solidarity, an overinvolvement with others. The individual is so tied to a certain set of goals that he or she is willing to die for the sake of their community. Altruistic Suicide, such as suicide bombers, has been much more on the forefront since September eleventh.