Economy, murder-suicides might be linked, says Examiner
This summer, the D.C. area has been defined by two stories: the plunging economy and murder-suicides. But could there be a correlation between the two? There may be, if you believe a spurious article in yesterday's Examiner.
First, the evidence. Last week, Margaret Jensvold of Kensington fatally shot her 13-year-old son, then herself. In a suicide note, she wrote that "debt is bleeding me." The AP reports:
Although family members said they were stunned by the killings, they also said Jensvold had become increasingly strained by financial pressure and by anguished fights with the county public school system over the special-needs education of her son, who had an autism spectrum disorder.
And on Sunday, an Anne Arundel man shot and killed his wife and her twin teenagers, then himself. He had lost his job and "was struggling under mounting debt of more than $10,000," reports the Examiner.
Financial hardship has not been mentioned in regard to another recent murder-suicide. So we have three recent murder-suicides in the region (by the newspaper's own count) and the perpetrator in two of them was struggling with money, among other things. That's not a trend. But it was enough, apparently, to call up psychiatrist David Reiss for a choice quote: "All the stresses that we're going through as a country — the economic insecurity — is taking people already on the edge and pushing them over."
Look, we're not denying that money trouble can lead to murder-suicides. Sometimes the trouble is related to larger economic forces — increased interest rates, say, or company layoffs — and sometimes the relationship is less clear. Yes, our faltering economy is taking a psychological toll, but let's not jump to the conclusion — based on two cases — that it's causing a "rash" in murder-suicides.
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