Ranger Up Talks Suicide: Animal Suicide

Updated: September 12, 2015


By J.E. McCollough

Did you know animals sometimes commit suicide? Look it up. Google it. Cats can become so depressed they refuse to eat until they starve. Dogs can do the same, or sometimes drown themselves. Scorpions can sting themselves to death, stabbing themselves in the back with their own stinger until they’re dead.

Sure, most of the evidence is anecdotal. There aren’t too many studies done on animal suicide. Edmund Ramsden conducted one of the very few and he said something pretty interesting:

“You begin to challenge the definition of suicide. The body and mind are so damaged by stress and so it leads to self destruction. It’s not necessarily even a choice,” Ramsden told Discovery News. “It becomes reversed, in a sense,” said Ramsden. Animal and human suicides are no longer seen as willful acts but as responses to conditions.”

A body and mind so damaged by stress it leads to self destruction. Sounds familiar. Sounds like combat. Sounds like the snap of bullets flying by your face. Sounds like your humvee engine as you press the gas driving by something that might, just might, be another IED. But isn’t, this time. Sounds like the whine of an artillery round as it goes overheard. Like the thump of a rocket when it lands near your hooch, shaking the walls and blowing the door open.

Sounds like that gurgle from a dying Iraqi’s throat, blowing bubbles in his own blood.

Sounds like tears from your buddy, trapped in a burning Humvee.

I get it. I understand. I’ve had those thoughts, I’ve tasted gunmetal and my own tears. I think sometimes we self destruct. Just like animals. And it’s natural, our minds and our bodies can’t always handle that level of stress.

Unlike animals though, we can sometimes see to the other side of the stress we’re living in. An animal lives purely in the now, there is no such thing as the future. For us, we live in the future. For us, the now is only the stepping stone to what can be.

So, when you’re sitting on your couch at 2 am with a 9mm in your hand, remembering that burning Humvee. When the darkness is sitting on your shoulders and you taste gunmetal in your mouth. When all you can think about are the shitty things you’ve done to yourself, to the people who love you, to people you’ll never meet again.

Think. Remember.

You’re not an animal.





  1. Jo

    September 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    ‘It’s not necessarily even a choice” I couldn’t have said it better. That’s exactly what happened with my father I believe. He was so damaged that he could not see any other way out. I knew my father very well. Had he seen any other possible way he would of taken it. But for some reason, in the early morning hours of that June 4th – he could not see any other way, no other choice. He thought he was doing the only thing possible and reasonable given his situation.

  2. Larry

    September 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Holy shit that was poignant. I have walked right up to that line a few times myself and still feel that will be the way I go out. So far I have been able to step back from that line. Sometimes the loathing, pain, and fear of the future are almost to much to bear that it drags you to the very edge of life and death.

    • J.E.

      September 12, 2013 at 1:04 am

      Larry, anytime you get to the edge, hit me up: [email protected]

      Or any of the guys on the rhinoden.


  3. A.G.

    September 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Incredibly moving.

  4. L. V. d C.

    September 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

    This entire series is truly amazing! Thank you.

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