The display at Special Effects, a video and printing store in this northeast Ohio village, shows empty beer cans on the floor near an overturned table below dangling legs meant to look like a person who hanged himself. On a nearby table is a short, scrawled suicide letter on a piece of notebook paper — and another note that's lengthy and professionally printed. A sign reads, "Contemplating suicide? Let Special Effects give your suicide note that professional look."Now I can imagine people being reasonably upset by an advertisement like this -- for instance, parents or friends of a person who has committed suicide might justifiedly feel like Special Effects was being insufficiently sensitive to a difficult topic. But offending people who treat suicide seriously does not seem to be the complaint:
"We have to hope it reflects ignorance," said Michael F. Hogan. "When suicide takes almost 1,000 lives every year in Ohio — more than murder or HIV-AIDS — and when 20 percent of high school students think about suicide every year, we need messages encouraging life, not death."If the complaint is that impressionably youths will see the commercial and decide to kill themselves as a result, that's just silly.