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tv   Washington Journal Stephen Rodrick  CSPAN  August 1, 2019 2:03pm-2:32pm EDT

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eastern, and author talks about his first-hand account of the far right movement and its origin in his latest book, the new right. >> there is no agreement across the subculture other than who the enemy is. there are those that favor the authoritarian police state, there are those who are anarchists, there are those who are internationalist. those who are america first, very proud americans who want to get the country back. you will have little agreement other than who you are against. >> watch tv every weekend on c-span2. it is our spotlight on magazine segment on washington journal. joining us from los angeles is a senior staff writer with rolling stone, stephen rodrick with an extensive piece in the magazine.
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epidemic fueled by guns, poverty and isolation has swept across the west with middle age men dying in record numbers. thank you for being here this morning. tell us what prompted you to investigate and write the story. guest: thank you for having me. there is ad it was suicide epidemic across all demographics. that is something my editor and i talked about and the more we dug into it we realized the worst of it was among middle-age men and as someone who is a member of the demographic, i became intrigued and fascinated about why this was an just started investigating it from there. host: let's give our viewers a snapshot from your extensive piece of rolling stone. men in the u.s. average 22 suicides per 100,000 people with those ages of 45-64 representing
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the fastest growing group. per are up from 20.8 100,000 and 19 eddie nine to 30.1 and 2017. the states with the highest rates are montana and alaska, all roughly double the national rate. and idaho are also in the top six. what is causing the geographic element of these suicide rates? guest: i think all of these -- these are states -- speaking about the stereotypes up, men are cowboy being men states. you have that, you have the
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isolation, which middle-aged men tend to fall into the older they get and it is worse in rural areas. you have the accessibility to guns. many of the states that are in the top five or six have the highest gun ownership rates of anywhere in the country. as i bluntly put in the story, if you take pills or you hang yourself, something can go wrong. if you put a gun to your head, the chances of success are much higher. orther it is mental health distance from rapid care if you have harmed yourself is tremendous. wyoming, in the entire giant state, there are only 70 or 80 psychiatrists registered to counsel in that state. there is a dearth of services
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for people who are in trouble. on top of that, it is still where you see in other parts of the country, people are more open to talking about mental health issues. i think to some degree in the mountain west and rural areas, it is somewhat of a taboo. host: you cover the story by traveling 2000 miles. have you ever driven that distance before for any reason, much less to cover a story? guest: i have driven through many of the states. i am a navy brat so i do a lot of traveling. i have been across the country eight or nine times and i did think the best way to approach this and get a sense of the communities was to drive through them rather than fly in and pop in for a day or two. host: one of the men featured in your piece is toby, who committed suicide and north
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dakota last year. how is he typical of the menu further reported on in the piece? guest: he had a lot of characteristics. he had a traumatic childhood, his mother died early, he had an abusive father who also died early. he was a bit of a loner and he ended up in north dakota, chai had written a story about ready years ago, it is an oil boom town. of ant up there in pursuit higher paying job. as often happens with men in these situations, he isolated himself and in this case he was literally living in a warehouse and a trailer. from friday at 6:00 until monday morning, he was in a giant warehouse living in a trailer by himself. was he had ap fascination, which does not
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necessarily lead to this kind of demise, but he had a fascination with guns. he bought a couple for sport shooting. faced the darkness, he had the means in front of him. , combination of mental illness or at least oppression, isolation and access to firearms. host: we are talking about the rise in suicide rates in the u.s. and a rolling stone story about suicide rates among men. to2) 748-8000 is the number call us if you are in the eastern and central time zones. is the number to call if you're in the mountain or pacific time zones. i want to read a bit from your reporting, wrote that ernest hemingway suffered from many of the trademark maladies of the middle-aged male victim.
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he endured mental illness, possibly bipolar, and his family tree had suicides that continued all the way to his granddaughter. was really killed hemingway something that killed men today, macho fantasy of a man who needs no one but himself. you use the term cowboy up. what do you interpret that as? guest: a motto out in the mountain west, particularly in wyoming, an idea of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps no matter what life throws at you. you are a net on a miss man, you can handle anything and you don't ask for help. menously that can lead some to great difficulty. people like toby, he had friends that would help him but he so isolated himself and was so embarrassed about the problems he was having that he did not reach out to anyone.
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that is more of a problem in the mountain west than other regions of the country. host: i did not know ernest of suicideied alone by shotgun but he was only 61 when he killed himself. guest: he lived with oppression and had been hospitalized at the mayo clinic just a few months before he shot himself. he had been dealing with this for a long time. misconceptions about suicide is it is the cowards' way out. for a lot of people commit suicide, it is just to end the pain. i think someone like ernest hemingway just reached his limit and could not take the pain anymore. host: was his age typical of what we are seeing in male suicides today? atst: i was looking mostly 45-65 and he totally falls into that range, the area where depending on where you are in
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your life, your kids may be grown-up or your career might have stagnated. this nowyou do reach what? stage in your life. can get through that the rest of your life is much happier. host: without giving away the full story of your reporting, you said you are 52, you write about yourself and your struggles in this piece, how are things going today? guest: i am doing good. i have a five-year-old and anytime i find myself in that kind of dark hole, i spend a few minutes with him and he inspires me to keep pushing on. host: the title of the piece is all-american despair, it is in rolling stone, our guest is the author of the piece stephen roderick joining us from l.a. we welcome your calls and comments.
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we go to gary from indiana. caller: good morning. i am glad to hear you are doing better. you're talking about that guy living in the warehouse, by contrast let's look at mr. elton john. you being in rolling stone, you are probably aware of his story. he took 60 units of value him and his stomach when he was at the peak of his career. he told his family i am going to die in two hours and jumped in the pool. later he was playing at dodger stadium. it also happens to famous people. anyone who all that, is out there on the cusp of killing themselves, i guarantee you if you wake up on the other
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side -- you will go from frying pan to the fire. it is no way out. it is a dead-end trap. if there is a voice in your head saying kill yourself and you will get rid of all your problems, it is not that simple. suicide is not worth it. please listen to me. i am speaking for god himself. guest: i would agree. a fate would have it, i did story on elton john a couple years ago obviously he was at a different age. i also talk about this in the story, i talk about anthony bourdain and robin williams and their problems with depression and suicide. it is not limited to people who are suffering economically. things suicide awareness advocates were telling me is to not try to pin this on one thing.
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it can be a combination of things. elton john was facing the overwhelming fame he was dealing with at 24, 25 and probably some inherent depression. i mentioned in the story both robin williams and anthony bourdain and they on the outside had what looked like great lives. they were both struggling with inner demons and it really can hit anybody. host: here is trent from louisiana. i am shellshocked because the subject is so massive in my life and others around me. 61, it has hit me all my psychiatric element seem to be changing. you go deep on what you
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hope in people who find the spiritual, the theological and at the end of the day, do you have some belief in mercy and goodness? i am struggling. live in a secular, materialistic society, when the physicians of all the media are secular and materialistic, at , there is noe day hope being given to us. the world tends to close in on you. -- iss my real question all the media needs to be more open theologically, intellectually to discuss where our real hope is coming. echoed. similar feeling
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guest: it is one of the things, and i will be the first to admit that i have a lot of great feedback on the story and one of the criticism i got was that i did not spend a lot of time on the issue of faith. what i would say is faith is it is the aspect of building a community. you can build a community through your church, through philosophy, or through your friends or serving in your son's boy scout true. it is the loss of community which is one of the things that is driving this epidemic. if you can get that community from church, then god bless. if you get from somewhere else, and that is great too. that is what i find and as a writer, one of my problems is it
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is a very solitary profession. you can easily isolate yourself. the more you isolate yourself and if you have a proclivity towards depression or one of these things, then you really can find yourself in a deep hole. piece reports on the proliferation of gun ownership in many of the states but also, the absence of gun loss and gun stores, the resistance from gun stores to carry gun loss -- gun locks. why is there resistance to using the gun locks are making them available? guest: to put it bluntly, if you own a gun store, the last thing you want to do the last thing you want to do is if you want to boost sales is put a box of gun locks suggesting oh, things go badly. this pistol i am buying for shooting or the shotgun that i am buying to go out and hunt rabbits, i may turn on myself,
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and i just do not think from a cost-benefit business point of view that the gun shop owners are thinking, i really do not want that to be the association sitting there on the counter when i'm trying to make a sale. host: sharon is up next calling from cleveland. though ahead -- go ahead. caller: good morning. i want to piggyback on what some of the early callers said about the country seems to be becoming more secular. i am 57 and i recently had some health issues and i am also very close to my church members. i have not felt one moment of my church because of family really embracing me in addition to friends from work and family, of course. i just wanted to piggyback on what some of the other callers said.
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i think it is important to have some type of community. host: we will hear from mike in arizona. you are on. caller: hello. 67 years old. jobs ind the loss of this country going back starting in from the 1970's and moving up. i am from southern california. it started with the mexican invasion in southern california and that gradually got worse and worse and worse. we lost our jobs in the late 1970's to the mexican invasion, and then, we lost our jobs to china. held almost helpless without having decent jobs, the kind of jobs that we used it to have previously. what do you think that men are going to do? without jobs, jobs are what they live for. host: go ahead.
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not get into the immigration issue because -- but i think there is an important point to be made there. one of the things you see in the mountain west is that some of the jobs have gone away. the other thing to realize is that some of the jobs being done up there whether it is working for the railroad are working for ranch hands or rustling cattle, it takes a tremendous, tremendous beating on your body. by the time you are 45 or 50, your body, you may be on workers comp or you may have arthritis, or you may no longer be able to do the things that you did in or working on a ranch that you could do in your 20's or 30's. and then when you hit that limitation of what you can do, then the walls can come crashing in. not just financially but also, what am i going to do for the
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rest of my life now that i cannot do what i love because my body cannot take it anymore. host: the piece is "all-american despair." the writer of the piece joining us from los angeles. about 10 more minutes for your calls, for those of you in the eastern and central time zones (202) 748-8000, mountain pacific time zones, (202) 748-8001. you write in the piece about resources to fight suicide saying that wyoming, the suicide rate has risen for the past 55 years. the resources are often underfunded. 2018, naomi had the opportunity to increase its tax on cigarettes by the dollar. those funds could have been used for the mental health resources. according to wyoming's tribune eagle, it was not brought to the vote because the legislature check out early because the house speaker wanted to attend a
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football game. guest: it is a couple of things at work here. traditionally, rural and western lowat -- loathe to increase taxes, but when you make that choice, and you look at the revenue that could have been made by taking that $.60 cigarette tax to $1.50. it is hiring more psychiatric nurses, it is funding hotlines, you are making a choice not to help take care of people, and it gets back to -- circle back to the cowboy up thing, there are people in the states at her like your problems are your problems, and there is no role for the state of play, and i personally think that is a big mistake. host: how much of the rise in suicides, particularly among men is due to affects of the terry
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service, ptsd? guest: there is a lot of that net could be its own 10,000 word story. it is one of those things that a couple of the people i talked to who had served and came back, one person who made it in the story but we really did not talk about this part of it. he lives in cheyenne. is skype beingth to a rotating -- skype two rotating psychologists. not telling your back story over and over again is really key. it is a tremendous, tremendous issue, and as a of these veterans in this group of 40 and 50-year-old men, i think it will become a bigger problem. host: here is brady next up in detroit. good morning.
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caller: thank you for the subject. my heart goes out to these people who are suffering from this and the epidemic as well as andopiates -- on opiates, people suffering from depression. my son hung himself in the garage when he was 16, about 18 years ago, so i know without a doubt that when someone tells you that i want to kill myself, how they are feeling and they really need to be listened to and that is a problem that we do not have enough support or enough hotlines, or congress. congress beingf elected and not doing the things they need to do. both democrats and republicans, i just thought it was supposed to be congress and doing what they need for the people because there is definitely an epidemic
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is reallyion and it getting rough and tough here for people. especially men, just like the jobs. i am 63 years old and it is hard to get back into the work field. it is like you are lost. thoughts? guest: first of all, brady. i am so sorry for your loss. i sat in on some counseling women who lostnd children and it is just unfathomable tragedy. that this seems to theory, iy, or in will put the gun issue and gun availability aside, in theory, in terms of funding hotlines and public service announcements and stuff like this, this seemingly
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should be a no-brainer that does not have a republican or democratic component, it should have been something that we do to help people that need it. you'veou mentioned that have covered other stories for rolling stone. could you have anticipated this, the reaction to this story we have people like the caller and other people after reading the story on the street or elsewhere to start telling you their own story in terms of suicide family? have been magazine writing for 20 to 25 years and this is the story that i got the most feedback on. people have tracked me down through email or twitter or whatever to tell me their stories, and it is heartbreaking. morekes you realize even than when i was writing the story what a tremendous problem this is. you are never going to completely eradicate suicide as
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a mental health issue. there is so much more we could be doing. ont: let's go first to stan staten island in new york. caller: i just want to agree with what he said about the community. communityf years ago, and families live together, and everybody was in close proximity, and then there was a book about how everybody is moving away. without question, the point about community is extremely important because we have lost the notion of community. it does play a role because if you do not have a strong community where everybody is in close proximity to basically be there to help each other, it does exacerbate the problem. host: is there anything more you would like to say about that? guest: i would just agree getting back to my own
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situation. of community i have, a lot it is through parents and men and women that i meet there my son's school. that was not the intention why we had a child, but it does provide you community and whether it is that, or a church group, or you are volunteering to do something like meals on wheels. i have a friend in started groupng, just a kayaking and joined a kayaking group down in the pacific ocean and she met a community with that. the community can literally be anything but it is really important to have one. host: let's hear from cindy and st. joseph, minnesota. caller: good morning. groups can help, but only if you basically look at the the good works that they do. acts. relies on our own i believe very much that when
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man seems to think that he can take care of himself and he does not need god, we basically start to falter. god is goodness. , somethingfrom sin that a lot of us do and it is so easy to do today. we need to repent. people come from satan. in the slumps, give theirtually lives away they ask our lord to forgive their offenses. but also, that they have faith that they know the power of god to restore you back to where he wants you to be. this is something that the world, the church is today, nobody is doing this. that is cindy in minnesota. -- >> that is cindy and minnesota. what is the suicide rate among women in that area? why isn't it as high as men? what is the difference you
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found? --the rate is significantly significantly but nowhere near the men partial rate. i hate to harp on this, and i realize it probably angers a significant amount of your viewership, is that men have more access to guns. think gun for sports and hunting is totally fine, but the access to guns, and many of these states don't have any limitation if someone has a mental health problem. you can still go and get a gun. with women, not that there are not a lot of women who don't love to shoot, but it is not as prevalent in the culture as it is with men. from losis joining us angeles this morning. -- our guest is joining us from los angeles this morning.

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