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Hagedorn’s response to suicide is ‘appalling’

To the editor:

I attended a Minnesota U.S. Representative Jim Hagedorn Town Hall meeting in Winona in early September. I’ve been haunted ever since by his response to a citizen who was asking if he was aware of the relationship between gun ownership and suicide. Mr. Hagedorn’s response was that he believed that “people who commit suicide go to hell.”

Why I’m haunted by that response is that as a Vietnam combat veteran I have had friends that committed suicide after returning from that war. Approximately 20 veterans commit suicide each day. The rate of suicide for our returning military veterans has been at or above that rate for at least the last 10 years and they are all “going to hell?” They’re all bad people of some kind?

Any suicide either by a veteran or by a troubled friend or relative is a terrible loss. It’s incredibly important that we have a representative who cares not only about our returning veterans, but the families of suicide victims as well. Writing them all off as “going to hell” is appalling and beyond cruel!

Kevin Kelleher

Houston, Minn.

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