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I have no intention of killing myself or my neighbor so no worries.

Stories like Re:Zero and Summertime Render have characters which go back in time or somehow benefit every time they die. Assassins also need to kill themselves when caught. A common way to do such a thing is to have a deadly poison in their mouth to bite when necessary. However, I'm thinking of cases where the person in question is unprepared for such an act.

I've seen in some manga/anime that biting one's tongue is a quick and easy way to die but I've looked around the internet and found many people surviving biting their tongue off, even though there does seem to be some ways and cases biting off the tongue can kill someone.

Ideally, it should be quick and highly likely to work like the commonly portrayed tongue biting. I'd also like to not rely on the environment too much, so jumping off a building and drowning are less desirable. If possible, I'd like something that can work when restrained or locked in a small room. Methods hard to detect/stop are also preferred.

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  • $\begingroup$ Tongue biting won't do it. Though I'd be interested if you linked that claim to its source! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    May 6 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ "may lead to unethical thinking" -- wow, we'll be burning books next. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    May 9 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ @imtaar How should we handle possibly legally/morally sensitive topics?. I do think it's a worldbuilding question, as displayed with the Re:Zero example, and I personally think about Groundhog Day and Source Code movies, and "12 minutes" video game. In any case, if you wanted to suicide, you're generally not constrained by having no preparation. It's not something you do "on a whim", it's generally an escalation of sad events :/. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 12 at 1:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena This doesn't look like a worldbuilding question to me. To be a worldbuilding question you'd need to be fleshing out some fact of a fictional world. As written it's asking about the actions of a motivated individual in a world exactly like our own. So more of a character's capabilities, to solve a character problem, than a question about the world that the character lives in. You wouldn't ask for ways a character could solve their math homework on this site, or look for a job, or solve any other character driven problem. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 12 at 1:57
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings [...] The main issue here is an apparent lack of worldbuilding context, since it's very "real-world". But like I said, I doubt most people in the real-world would choose to kill themselves without any tool or preparation (including cliffs as... uh, "tools"). That just doesn't really match the psychological conditions to trigger that desire. But it's much more likely to happen in time-travelling fictional worlds. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 12 at 2:27

2 Answers 2

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A sufficiently determined person with a minimum of physical conditioning should be able to tear out their own carotid arteries or jugular veins -- either one of which would result in bleeding out in a minute or so. Obviously, this will not work if the character is restrained, but it depends not at all on the environment, tools, or even grown-out nails. A certain minimum level of strength is required -- but most adults in normal health ought to be able to manage it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Beat me to it. My answer was either the Jugular in the neck or femoral artery in the thigh. I would add there are 4 major arteries int he neck. just a little research ....practice? Could make the process fairly easy. $\endgroup$
    – Gillgamesh
    May 6 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but the (superficial?) carotids are right under the skin, easy to access, easy to locate. Jugulars are superficial also, but without a pulse they're a little harder to locate, especially on your own neck. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    May 6 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly, I don't think so!! Someone with no particular preparation and "minimum physical conditioning" is NOT going to be able to "tear out their own carotid arteries". Your skin is extremely tough and the fibrous tissues underneath are difficult to tear through. The muscles of your neck will be nearly impossible to get through. Last but not least, even with reasonable finger nails, the person will be in such agony and for such a long period of time long before they ever get to a relatively important vessel that no amount of ordinary determination is going to allow them to continue. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    May 6 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Even if such person has a kitchen knife or a proper dagger, it'll be slow going unless they prepare and study the anatomy and work out where their own vessels lie! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    May 6 at 18:06
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Snapping your own Neck

This has a couple of notable down-sides, but it will get the job done (no anatomy lessons needed!)


So how would you do this?

Think of the stretches kids do in school before PE. Whether they call them 'overhead stretches' or 'rainbows', most of them have some sort of stretch where they put one arm over their head, grab on to their other elbow, and make this sort of formation:

enter image description here

To snap your own neck, you would have to do something similar, but with a couple of differences. You would remove the right arm in the stretch from the equation altogether, and have your left arm grab the top of your head instead. Then, with your right arm, you'd grab the cleft of your chin, and twist in a counterclockwise direction until your neck bone snaps.

(If you are right handed, you would invert everything: which hand goes on what part of your head, as well as the direction you twist in.)


This can also be done (difficultly) with one arm...

... but only if your person is both very, very strong and very, very flexible. Allow me to clarify:

  • By very flexible, I mean bordering on double-jointed. You're going to be doing a lot of rainbows before you can carry this out.
  • By very strong, I mean almost superhuman. I'm pretty sure Superman would have trouble pulling this off.

It's a lot to ask of someone who's not prepared to do this, but if they managed to meet both criterion, they could reach around their neck, grab their own chin, and pull until it snaps.


The Pros

  • It accomplishes the goal.
  • It can be done (for the most part) without preparation.
  • No environmental requirements.
  • Likely to work, especially if the victim doesn't want to survive.

The Cons

  • Requires at least one arm to be free (but two are preferable).
  • It is a slow death, as the actual killer here is by suffocation.
  • It is an extremely painful death (from both the broken neck and the air blockage).
  • If there is even moderate surveillance, someone is going to notice that something's up.

This is all in theory here. In practice, the victim would probably bite their tongue during the process, just to speed things up.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have seen this in movies. But I have no reason to believe it is either physically or psychologically possible. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    May 12 at 11:41

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