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Opening Arguments

Unless it's something in the water

There is really nothing here, but that hasn't stopped the non-story from getting publicity all over the country, including in a national magazine:

It was one of 15 suicides in Vanderburgh County this year, with two more deaths under investigation considered likely suicides.

The unusually high number -- nearly triple what the Southwestern Indiana county saw by this time last year -- has left families grieving and county officials baffled.

As everyone keeps saying, there is no explanation -- no layoffs, no natural disaster, no big catastrophe or anything else to make large numbers of people depressed or suicidal. If there's no pattern, there is no identifiable problem that can be "solved," so there's no story. Things that happen over time can be wrestled into yearly averages, but within those averages are both clusters of high incidence and episodes where nothing much is happening. But we love stories about numbers, even when we don't quite understand them.

Posted in: Hoosier lore