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The Forum > Article Comments > Suicide: Longing for a consistent approach > Comments

Suicide: Longing for a consistent approach : Comments

By Paul Russell, published 22/10/2012

We need to reject the subtle and not-so-subtle messages that suicides are all right.

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there are some issues that are, for wont of a better term, 'intrinsically evil, such as torture, rape, prostitution, human trafficking, slavery, character assassination, drug addiction, pornography, kinghitting strangers in the public domain, and, yes, abortion and suicide.

if the above statement has left few readers at this point, it shows how easily and how casually ethics has become divorced from 'choice', as if that were all that really mattered. Legal injecting rooms, legalised brothels, changing vocabulary like 'sex worker' from 'prostitute' or 'compassionate release' from assisted suicide show how people generally are becoming desensitised to moral matters.

Suicide matters because the intentional self murder of an individual diminishes us all, and if that doesn't matter, then John Donne's bell will one day toll for you, but no one else will hear it.
Posted by SHRODE, Monday, 22 October 2012 11:30:57 AM
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Ok, but if we take the approach that it's a good thing that suicide is decriminalised, "my life, my choice" etc, then does that mean that people who are more resolved and who carry out their plans successfully should be granted that right, or even encouraged to do the deed, whereas someone who is slightly more ambivalent, and whom can be found teetering on the edge of a cliff, incapacitated by indecision, is subject to the full force of prevention efforts?

I just think this debate is so much more complex than the writer portrays. It's easy and uncontroversial to take a public health approach... but this is never going to be sufficiently engaging because there are other more primary issues intrinsically associated, for example whether life has any inherent, subjective or objective value, and whether we can trust ourselves to accurately interpret othersí thoughts and intentions.

To take a personal example, back in the late-90s when I was 16-19ish, and when I suspected and feared that life was meaningless and happiness impossible, I came pretty damn close to topping myself (and Iíll note here that nobody at the time asked me whether I was ok. They just told me what a twat I was for getting myself in that predicament in the first place, then left me to my own devices). I suppose what got me through was the thought of how my committing suicide would affect my family.

But here I am still here, now totally convinced that life *is* meaningless and happiness impossible. The reason I donít think about killing myself now is because I just donít care anymore, and simply content myself with scraping any fleetingly pleasurable experience off my shoe as I trudge along through it all. But to what end? How could anyone possibly say that this is a preferable outcome than if I had died at 16 with my innocence, dignity, and faith in the sanctity of life intact?

Basically, I would argue, that to advocate against suicide is ultimately nothing but selfishness, emanating from half-baked belief systems and lack of intellectual courage.
Posted by Sam Jandwich, Monday, 22 October 2012 11:35:54 AM
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PRAY TO "THE" VIRGIN!
Posted by lockhartlofty, Monday, 22 October 2012 11:58:36 AM
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Paul: This is why I found it objectionable in the extreme that SBS television should choose to show a pro-suicide documentary on the evening of the 23rd of September Ė less than two weeks after World Suicide Prevention Day.

Before I get into the suicide, let me answer the above dilemma. Have you ever notices how the Media, TV or Newspaper, will do a story on, say, a dad who is doing a wonderful job raising his children on his own. On the same page, above & below, is a report on a rapist & a paedophile. Or, a story on a Nudist Beach or Club/Resort sandwiched in with a story on rapists & paedophiles. Media seems to do this all the time. Itís the same with suicides. They say itís not intentional.
I donít think you can dump all suicides into one type. There are many reasons for people committing suicide. Terminal illness is only one reason. Mental illness is another which can be categorized even further. Many mental illnesses can be helped but some canít. Bad hair days, debt, loss, helplessness, etc. These types are preventable with counselling. Other types of clinical mental illness are not dealt with as easily.

I know Iíll get lambasted for this, but, some people with Mental Illnesses are better off if left to suicide. Self cleansing of the Gene Pool, if you like. Itís not Politically Correct & a lot of people have an ďI donít want to knowĒ attitude. There is an awful lot of energy & money from family, friends & Governments wasted keeping these people alive.
Posted by Jayb, Monday, 22 October 2012 12:38:14 PM
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Terminal Illness, are we keeping these people alive because it makes us feel good or for the betterment of the patient. The former I think. We are the ones who donít wish to let go, in the case of family. Possibly money, in the case of the medical profession, in spite of their claim of the Hypocrite Oath. (Purposely misspelt) If these people are at a point where they are ready to go. Who are we to refuse them that wish? Do we really have that Right? These people wish to end their constant pain & suffering. Analogy; Hang of a bar with your feet of the ground for as long as you can, at some point you will have to just let go. Should someone tie you to that bar so you canít let go. Would you consider that to be torture? Would you keep someone alive, who is in constant pain & suffering, because you canít bear to see them go? Would you call that torture?
Posted by Jayb, Monday, 22 October 2012 12:38:35 PM
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Paul: I wonder at what effect the seemingly constant attempts at legalising euthanasia have in this respect Ė not to mention the macabre media grandstanding on suicide by the likes of Philip Nitschke which seems to pass without criticism in our national media.

Is it Nitschkes fault. The Media is always looking for stories they know will sell papers. They drag a story up until it gets to a useby date then they find another story. If a story doesn't raise sales the Media will drop it fast.

You claim of Nitchke grandstanding in front of the Media shows your bias. Here is a problem that's on the "Taboo" list so we'll make out that anyone in favour is the "bad guy."
Posted by Jayb, Monday, 22 October 2012 12:51:24 PM
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