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I started to do a monthly wrap-up in 2011, but as you can see, I never got past January. I also attempted to summarize the data monthly on Twitter, but I missed quite a few months, although I still have the data.
After the bloodbath of January 2010, with no less than 80 cases of murder/suicide reported, I was expecting a similar result for 2011, but it was not to pass.
January 2011's count on the 31st was a mere 61, about 2% less than one would expect on an average 31 day month. Of course, one month bleeds into the next—2011's first murder/suicide was actually 2010's last—so by the 1st of February the last news of January rolled in, making it an average month after all.
This is a very predictable crime. There are going to be at least two a day, on average. You can bet on it. Although we all would like to think it matters, the economy only plays a small part in these tragedies. Good times or bad times, it just happens.
For some reason during January there was a lot of talk about "double suicide", especially in regards to old folks. I had to disagree in at least one case, but there were three or four "double suicide" stories I passed up on because there were just no details. Perhaps those stories kept the numbers down.
The most intriguing story of the month was the "Coffee Clash" article, the culmination of a decade-old missing person case with revenge killing overtones.
There were two jumpers reported, which, in my experience, is rare.
Charcoal (carbon monoxide poisoning) also made a double showing in January, along with three fires.
Two cats and a dog were lateral casualties, and one hungry kitty tipped off neighbors to the tragedy next door.
At least ten kids were orphaned. They were the lucky ones. Five were killed by their parents (2 moms, 1 dad).
January's "Get Over It" award has to go to the news organizations in and around Bordentown, NJ. This story and numerous follow-ups have flooded the news for the entire month. Chances are this trend will go on for several weeks, if not months. Some stories have legs.
January's "Flash From The Past" concerns last Fall's murder/suicide in Gastonia, NC. A Gastonia funeral home worker had lifted a credit card from one of the bodies and on January 8th committed suicide after being arrested for identity theft.
There were the usual clutch of old folks checking out, as well as lovers and ex-lovers. Motel 6 and WalMart made the news, SWAT teams took a break for a change, bodies were found in a cemetery (good place for them when you think about it) and at least one teen made a desperate, final act.
In the months to come I will continue to do a monthly wrap-up, hopefully with better stats.