On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was heavily criticized on Twitter for introducing new “suicide prevention acts” to the U.S. Congress. The lawmaker noted that suicide rates are rising amid the coronavirus pandemic and the economic contraction it caused. Critics argued that Schumer should simply tackle those economic and public health issues rather than the ambiguous problem of suicide itself.
On Saturday, Schumer shared the story of a U.S. military veteran in the Rochester, New York area who was counting on the increased unemployment assistance provided by the CARES Act. When this veteran lost his emergency aid and fell behind on bills, he committed suicide. “I have no doubt that there are more Americans out there who are going through this same struggle,” Schumer said. However, the suicide prevention measures he wanted to offer those people drew a lot of criticism on Twitter.
“The House has passed a number of bills to get suicide prevention funding, and new resources out to communities,” Schumer said. “I’m going to ask that we go into a legislative session to consider four of those House-passed bills.”
For one thing, critics doubted whether the Republican-majority Senate would pass any of the bills Schumer was promoting, given the other legislation they’ve shot down in the last few months. For another, they argued that this was “a band aid on a gaping chest wound,” and that passing a stimulus check bill would be more efficient and effective. Here is a look at how Twitter responded to Schumer’s push for “suicide prevention” this weekend.
i’ve lost two immediate family members to suicide and chuck schumer can either fight to give people the money they need to live or get fucked
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) October 25, 2020
Plenty of Americans with firsthand experience with suicide were put off by Schumer’s rhetoric on suicide this weekend. They thought that he was missing the point of his own story when it comes to suicide prevention.
“Now when people feel suicidal from loss of income and crushing debt, trained mental health officers will force them into compulsory 72-hour observation, at the end of which they will be billed for this service.”
Way to keep your finger on the pulse of the public good, Chuckles.
— COVIDeodrome (@Jezzerat) October 25, 2020
Many commenters were also skeptical of adding suicide prevention programs that could come at a cost, without addressing the systemic issues at the core of the problem. They doubted whether Schumer’s solutions were really that high of a priority.
@SenSchumer @GOP @realDonaldTrump @SpeakerPelosi Forget A New Judge….. Pass A Stimulus Asap. We know none of you care but pass a stimulus or go through what we are oh you’re rich. Rich should suffer too. Shouldn’t get votes for jobs you’re not doing. And you know you failed.
— Pamela (@missesp10) October 24, 2020
he needed MONEY, not SUICIDE…
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