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This review is from: The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines (Paperback)
Loren Coleman's "The Copycat Effect" is a well researched and compelling account of how media accounts of suicide trigger off further deaths. Coleman, a well known and respected authority on suicides and the author of "Suicide Clusters" goes into exhaustive detail and carefully documents the phenomenon of copycat suicides, giving examples from Ancient World up to the Kurt Cobain, Columbine and "The Deerhunter".
After reading the extensive documentation that Coleman provides there can be no further doubt of the existence of the suicide copycat effect. What is interesting about Coleman's account is that he never descends into a polemic about media violence and it is clear that the media does not "cause" violence, but rather triggers off these occurrences in susceptible individuals.
The most intriguing part of "The Copycat Effect" is the penultimate chapter where Coleman begins to explore what he calls the magnetism of milieu and moment, delving into why certain places and times attract suicides. This "twilight language" once elucidated has the potential to explain why hundreds of people have completed suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge while ignoring the Bay Bridge and why suicides take place on particular dates.