Miscellany — From the December 2015 issue

Getting to the End

Gambling and suicide in Atlantic City

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From 1993 to 1999, there were at least nineteen suicides in Atlantic City. At first glance, that’s not too bad: Las Vegas has a much higher rate. Geography clouds the data, however. One third of the entire population of the United States lives within a day’s drive of Atlantic City. A man who junkets in, blows his wad, rides home, and blows his head off becomes another city’s statistic.

At five o’clock in the evening on August 17, 1999, a man jumped off the seventh floor of the Trump Plaza resort. He landed near the porte cochere. There were no witnesses. An investigation over the next few days by police and reporters filled in the blanks. Philip Martinetti, a thirty-six-year-old lawyer from Naples, Florida, had been in Atlantic City for four days, and lost what was described first as a “substantial sum of money,” then “$80,000,” then “$87,000.” There were tennis courts on the roof from which he had leaped, and he landed on a street called Columbia Place. A number of the story’s background details were supplied by his wife, who called from Florida when her husband failed to return home on schedule.

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