If you have been following mainstream religion-news coverage in recent decades, like quite a few GetReligion readers (and all of our writers), then you know the byline of Hanna Rosin, who once covered the beat for The Washington Post. If you have followed her work since then, both in her books and in The Atlantic, you know that her interest in topics linked to religion, culture and family life remains strong and her skills as a reporter and word stylist are unquestioned.
In recent days, several GetReligion readers have sent me URLs to her new Atlantic cover story on "The Silicon Valley Suicides."
One of the messages perfectly captured the message in the others: "See any ghosts in this one?"
This is a stunning story and it was worth reading to the very end. That said, I found it amazingly haunted and free of the moral and religious depth usually found in Rosin's work.
Ghosts? Totally haunted.
The story opens with the story of the suicide of at popular athlete and super-achieving student named Cameron Lee, the kind of normal young man who went out of his way to join friends for morning donuts and make people feel at home.
You need to read this one long passage to grasp the tone of Rosin's piece:
That morning the school district’s superintendent, Glenn “Max” McGee, called Kim Diorio, the principal of the system’s other public high school, Palo Alto High, to warn her, “This is going to hit everyone really hard.” McGee was new to the district that year, but he’d known the history when he took the job. The 10-year suicide rate for the two high schools is between four and five times the national average. Starting in the spring of 2009 and stretching over nine months, three Gunn students, one incoming freshman, and one recent graduate had put themselves in front of an oncoming Caltrain. Another recent graduate had hung himself. While the intervening years had been quieter, they had not been comforting.