This weekend, I got the chance to read Edward Glaeser's book Triumph of the City. Glaeser is basically a liberal neoliberal, trained, like the infamous Chicago Boys, at the University of Chicago (the worst place to study economics). My economic thinking draws heavily from Marx and, particularly, contemporary Italian post-Marxism and David Harvey's urbanism.
Glaeser and I, however, have this agreement: city life is much better than rural life. I also agree with his contempt for those who romanticize country life and try to relocate its useless values to the urban realm (we don't need cars, we don't need religion, we don't need guns; we do need birth control, we do need public transportation, we need to respect and protect the rights of men who enjoy sucking the cocks of other men or who believe Mecca is a holy place).
The point of this post: If you don't think rural life is so bad, then read this passage from Triumph of the City:
The suicide rate for younger New Yorkers is about 56 percent of the national average, which reflects the fact that suicides are more common in rural areas. The death rates from suicide in Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming are more than 2.5 times higher than those in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. While some of this effect may reflect the loneliness that can come from geographical isolation, my work with David Cutler and Karen Norberg on youth suicide also points to the fact that gun ownership is about four times as high in small towns as in big cities.I'm inclined to believe that "geographical isolation" and gun ownership is a lethal combination.
The majority' of suicides among younger people involve firearms, and many studies find that suicides are more common when firearms are more common, a fact that is a little odd because guns are hardly the only means of killing oneself. Hunting is the strongest predictor of gun ownership in the United States, which explains why youth suicides rise significantly with the number of hunting licenses in a county.