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A recent case of attempted suicide in Chicago which has created a great deal of amusement, was that of a German tailor who, while actually engaged in drowning himself, was forced to cease by a policeman who threatened to shoot him. It has been assumed, though wrongly, that this suicide was a sham one. The fact is however, that suicide is often the result of an obsession (imperative conception) which may seize on any mind when the unity of the will is destroyed by conditions of depression resulting from mental stress, or from any of the ordinary somatic diseases, and may pass into an imperative act or not in proportion as the unity of the will is involved.
The obsession may involve simply the question of suicide, or the question of suicide and its method. In the first case the method will be determined by its ease of accomplishment, or
SUICIDE AND ITS MEANS. JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(3):130–131. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440030034005
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