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Checking Out April 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
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Wikipedia ~ The Death of Chatterton (in Public Domain)

I’ve known several people who chose to kill themselves.

From where I stood, they gave no outward indication of their plans before taking their own lives.

My Ethics professor in college taught class one day and hung herself that night.

Her decision to commit suicide surprised all of us.

She’d been laughing and joking with us the day before.

A fellow law student who seemed well adjusted, sane, and rational, entered the JAG Corps and killed himself soon thereafter.

I’m not convinced that either of them was mentally ill.

From my albeit limited perspective, they awoke to the realization that being here no longer interested them.  Or, perhaps, they just wanted to see what came next . . . without waiting around for the proverbial bus to hit them.

For those who value life above all else, suicide must seem odd . . . how could someone choose death over life?

I expect it’s similar to the way that some people choose ham over turkey, or vegetarian fare over meat.  Just a matter of personal preference.

For many people the negatives of being here outweigh any perceived benefit of staying put.  Since they’re no longer enjoying themselves, they decide to check out.  From Wikipedia:

* Over one million people commit suicide every year.

* There are an estimated 10 to 20 million attempted suicides every year.

* Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death worldwide.

* According to 2007 data, suicides in the U.S. outnumber homicides by nearly 2 to 1 and ranks as the 11th leading cause of death in the country.

* The Abrahamic religions consider suicide an offense towards God due to religious belief in the sanctity of life.

* The predominant view of modern medicine is that suicide is a mental health concern, associated with psychological factors such as the difficulty of coping with depression, inescapable suffering or fear, or other mental disorders and pressures.

I’m not convinced that there is an absolute correlation between suicide and mental illness.

Just the opposite.

I suspect that many who commit suicide are saner than the rest of us.

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?

Can you conceive of scenarios when committing suicide would be a rational act . . . rather than the product of mental illness?

Short on hope?  Read this and watch the video:  Life Without Limits

Related posts:  Suicide For All The WRONG Reasons * If I . . . *  A Serious Post (Intergalactic Writer) * A Canned Funeral (Cities of the Mind)

Comments»

1. Loreen Lee - April 27, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: (Taking bets on whether it is published).
In the period of the Romans suicide was considered a rational solution for what the Chinese call ‘loss of face’. Today it is considered in many instances to be another form of euthanasia.

From my own history I considered it when I was much younger, and reasoned it out that the actual carrying out of a suicide would be very difficult, (jumping off a bridge excepted) and the consequences that if one lived through a bullet or an overdose could leave one in a state of greater dependence, vulnerability of ill-health than what had initiated the thought of the suicide.

Also when I was younger, I got a call from a girl I knew, who sounded desperate and emotionally fraught. I didn’t know how to deal with it, and when I found she had hung herself during the night I felt very guilty. I’m glad today that there are hot-lines for people to talk to in times of crises.

I would disagree with you on the causes, as I think that even a viable upset can be characterized as a ‘mental “illness”, or at least a psychological impasse, very often caused by trauma or injury of some sort, or even a personality ‘disorder’, like a neurosis, or a ‘big ego’ to use your term.

In many cases, however, when there is thought to be no hope, suicide is thought to be a very rational way to end the ‘difficulty. In these cases, the person just need ‘ego support’. They may need someone to boost their self-concept, sense of self-esteem, their ‘ego’.

As I said before, we can infer a person’s intentions,or be close enough to a person to understand their ‘reasons’, but we cannot know, the ‘deeper’ motivation. The ‘personal self’ is ‘beyond’ the access of language.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I agree. We can know only ourselves. That’s why I don’t worry much about my reputation with others. 😎

He who trims himself to suit everyone else will soon whittle himself away. ~ Raymond Hull

But, reputations and ego concerns aside, I still see suicide as a sane, rational, logical decision to make . . . in many situations.

Pen - June 4, 2011

“But, reputations and ego concerns aside, I still see suicide as a sane, rational, logical decision to make…in many situations.”

-You have a point there. There are many people who spend a lot of time thinking–about the causes and consequences. But there are also many people who don’t spend that time to weigh pros and cons. Some suicides are moves of desperation or fear, and that decreases the chances that the decision was rational.

To answer the question in the actual post: yes, I can conceive of such a scenario. More than one, actually. I wrote a character who killed himself based on strategy in war.

nrhatch - June 4, 2011

While I believe that we should have a right to die with dignity . . . I don’t think that it should be made lightly.

As I said below (in response to Comment #30):

If someone wants to die . . . he/she should be permitted to do so without having to ask friends to shoot him/her.

“Doctor, I’m ready to go now.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I can no longer walk, or read, or watch TV, or hear, or taste my food, and the pain is unbearable. I lie here lie a lump of play doh day after day thinking about how miserable I am.”
“OK . . . there’s a 7 day waiting period with required counselling every day before we can schedule your death.”
“Fine. Sign me up.”

Counselling should be required for people who have decided “enough is enough.”

2. Lisa - April 27, 2011

This is one I’ll have to think about for a while.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Feel free to come back and share your thoughts after you’ve pondered for a bit. 💡

3. Loreen Lee - April 27, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: (Tossing my coin again)
In other words, who is to judge that what is characterized in many cases as a mental illness may not be a rational way to deal with certain life-situations. There should be no stigma associated with psychological trauma of any sort.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

You want everyone else to change . . . to remove the stigma. Why not just shrug off the stigma by changing yourself?

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

When we learn to shrug off the misguided and narrow-minded opinions of others, we FREE ourselves to be who we are and let our unique light shine . . . and we become far less likely to commit suicide for “all the wrong reasons.”

Loreen Lee - April 27, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: I am betting you won’t publish this!!!!
I was not talking about this as a personal issue, but (something the politically correct would be interested in) the general characterization or stereotype of the situation. That was what I was talking about with respect to the way the Irish were conceived in a former post. If you wish to take either as a personal issue, it does not matter to me. If I were concerned about your opinion of myself, I would not be posting these to the Time Out Box, grin grin.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Political correctness is over-rated. It is asking OTHERS to change so we don’t have to.

If we want to feel less like victims, we hold the keys:

https://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/this-that-the-other-thing/

4. gitikapartington - April 27, 2011

many times i am aware that life is tension and death is release. We are supposed to be frightened of three things, sex death and going mad, so on many people’s eyes suicide fits into two of those categories. Some people see it as cowardice, some people see it as a very brave act. I can understand it when in my dark moments as life has as much pain as joy, and for many peolle a lot more pain.but usually the pain and the dark places lift and the process of moving from night to day over and over is one of life’s most bittersweet things. ‘This too will pass’ is a motto I have kept close to my heart and when the spring arrives again, most of us are glad to be alive.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

This too shall pass is a good motto for temporary situations . . .

In contrast, someone who has a fatal illness, no quality of life, and is in constant physical pain may choose suicide as escape, but in their case it’s NOT going to get better.

It’s going to get worse.

They are choosing a permanent solution to a permanent problem, and I believe that society should assist them if they want to die.

Lisa - April 27, 2011

That’s what I was thinking about when I said I needed to think. Yes, when they know that life is not going to get better, especially in the case of fatal illness I do think it is may be the sane option. I think the problem lies when it happens because someone is unable to see or feel hope, when hope could exist, or when it is a spontaneous act of passion. Is it insanity? I don’t know. I know that, long ago, I thought about it briefly, but then my intellectual side said “No, that’s stupid. That’s not a solution.” Does that make me more sane than someone who recognizes that is the right solution for that individual? I don’t think so. What is sanity anyway?

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Good points, Lisa.

Who gets to define “sanity”? Most people would define it as compliance with a set of social mores for behavior . . . but what if society as a whole is “sick” with misguided values?

In that situation, the person who walks to the beat of a different drummer is probably the sanest banana in the bunch. 😀

Glad you decided to stick around.

5. Piglet in Portugal - April 27, 2011

Thought provoking topic…
Is suicide the cowards way out or does it take a certain amount of courage coupled with stupidity? Perhaps, people have a secret that no one else knows and they feel they can not share. This secret torments them, eating away at the very fibre of their being to the point where they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Unable to cope they can no longer face everyday life as it is a sham.

No one knows what’s in the mind of others – outward appearances can be deceptive. A smile and a positive attitude can cloak a deeper despair.
PiP

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

So true, PiP . . . the tears of a clown when no one’s around.

Many societies outlaw suicide and make it a crime because they want us to be “team players” rather than autonomous individuals.

If someone no longer wants to be here, can we label their actions as cowardly, courageous, or stupid without knowing more?

Piglet in Portugal - April 27, 2011

… until someone has reached the very depth of despair in their own lives to the point they feel totally lost and without hope…we can ask why but we will never understand. I don’t believe weak people commit suicide they just don’t want to be seen as failures or admit defeat to friends and family.
The mind is so powerful it is like a weapon that can work against us.
Someone I knew committed suicide recently; she was a strong and positive woman. What was going on in her life that was so awful behind the “mask” that she could not face her demons…I still ask myself why?
Nothing surprises me anymore…and if one of my friends confided they felt depressed or suicidal I would just let them talk…and talk and talk but say nothing.
the burning question then would be…what if they then commited suicide and I had not warned anyone…would I thne carry their guilt?
hmmmm ponderous.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

As I said to Duke, I don’t think that suicide always stems from “despair” or a desire to escape personal “demons.”

Some people just don’t want to be here any more ~ they don’t think life is all that it’s cracked up to be.

Maybe they are curious about what comes next ~ they’ve experienced all they want to experience here and are ready to move from this life to the next. They’re ready to see what’s waiting for them “beyond the veil.”

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

If someone I knew wanted to kill himself, my reaction would depend on the situation:

If they wanted to escape a “temporary” situation, I would suggest counseling and give them Crisis Hot Lines to call.

If they wanted to die due to a permanent debilitating condition that was going to get worse, not better . . . I would not try to change their mind.

6. 1959duke - April 27, 2011

Having fought that battle for years some insight. First its not about wanting to die. Its about wanting the pain to stop. Its a pain that unless you have been there it’s impossible to explain. One of the funny things is when people say to just snap out of it. If it was that easy then everyone would. You get very good at putting on a public face.I know there are experts that say there are signs you can see. I’m not sure about that one. You have to be real careful about depression versus someone wanting to kill themselves. To those who think its a cowards way out they need to think about that one again. Those people who stand around and say they are going to kill themselves there not. They want attention. If someone truly wants to kill themselves then they will go do it.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Good observations, Duke. In many cases, suicide is indeed a desire to escape physical and emotional pain.

But I’m not convinced that’s always the case.

Some people just don’t want to be here any more ~ just like some people don’t want to go to Jamaica on vacation.

Some people are curious about what comes next ~ they’ve experienced all they want to experience here and are ready to move from this life to the next.

Some people want to see what’s waiting for them “beyond the veil.”

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I also agree with your last statement:

If someone truly wants to kill themselves then they will go do it.

Sometimes people take their own lives with absolutely no warning or discernible signs to others. They don’t talk about their plans because they don’t want anyone to deprive them of their “right to die.”

7. Maggie - April 27, 2011

I heard somewhere that 90% of people who attempt suicide (whether they succeed or not) are mentally ill. I’m not sure I believe that because there are so many reasons people want to commit suicide. Some of those people may very well be mentally ill. But some other reasons for suicide can be seen as legitimate and logical – it’s all subjective…

Basically we shouldn’t label all suicidal people in the same way.

I could think forever about this topic. Interesting food for thought.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Thanks, Maggie. Excellent points.

I expect that the 90% figure is grossly inflated because people who value the “sanctity of life” CANNOT imagine any sane person holding a contrary opinion.

In other words, they are looking at the situation through the overlay of their own value system.

Since they value life and are rational . . . they assume that anyone who doesn’t is irrational or mentally ill. 😀

8. carldagostino - April 27, 2011

As an alcoholic in recovery I lament that fact that millions of people choose to kill themselves with the long, slow, debilitative process of addiction. They choose years of suffering.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

According to Wikipedia, there is also a correlation between cigarette smoking and suicide:

There have been various studies done showing a positive link between smoking, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

In a study conducted among nurses, those smoking between 1-24 cigarettes per day had twice the suicide risk; 25 cigarettes or more, 4 times the suicide risk, than those who had never smoked.

In a study of 300,000 male U.S. Army soldiers, a definitive link between suicide and smoking was observed with those smoking over a pack a day having twice the suicide rate of non-smokers.

NOTE: I DID NOT CLOSE THE COMMENTS ON THIS POST. I AM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY GOT CLOSED.

9. nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I think the problem is now fixed . . . using the quick edit button. Thanks, Suzi!

suzicate - April 27, 2011

You are welcome…a shame we had to go to such lengths when it is set within the system! Now to comment on your post. I know of one person who committed suicide because he was manic depressive and felt life was too painful. The other’s wife life him and he felt hopeless. As far as mental illness goes, I’m sure all of the people that killed themselves over the stock market were not mentally ill. I think some people either find it is the only way to relieve pain or they have no hope. Unless they leave a note or tell someone we don’t really know, and who are we to judge if we haven’t been in their shoes.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Good points, Suzi.

Sometimes it’s not the “present” they are trying to escape. Instead, they fear the uncertainty of the future. They are unable to face the “what ifs” of life:

* What if I’m always alone?
* What if the pain becomes unbearable?
* What if I run out of money?

And sometimes it’s just ennui or boredom. A constant feeling of “been there, done there, got the t-shirt.” In that case, it may stem from the personal realization that life’s not as wonderful as we’ve been led to believe.

10. Paula Tohline Calhoun - April 27, 2011

It appears to me so far from the tenor of the comments that the main reason for suicide, if not the only reason is loss of hope. Those who are bored with with this life and want to move beyond he veil might have hope that it’s better over there, but they have no hope that it can ever be better over here.

“Sanity” and “insanity” are not even really legal terns anymore, are they Nancy? (I’m really asking! Isn’t the question whether one knows right from wrong at the time of the crime, or whether they had any awareness, etc.? Maybe I watch too much Law & Order! :-d )

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Each time I’ve moved or switched jobs, it’s because, in part, I was convinced there was something “better suited” to my time and temperment to explore.

Why couldn’t some people feel the same way about leaving this life for the next? In that case, they aren’t leaving because of hopelessness or despair . . . they’re just checking out of “one hotel” to see what’s behind Door #2. 😀

As far as I know, temporary insanity is a defense to certain crimes.

States use different criteria for determining whether someone is “not guilty by reason of insanity” or other mental impairment, and whether they are sane enough to stand trial.

Paula Tohline Calhoun - April 27, 2011

The above comment of mine posted before I was finished, but to your point here: to be “checking out of this hotel” sounds rather like a huge lack of imagination. You certainly didn’t! You searched for other ways to spend your life here. I cannot imagine you doing such “checking out” based on what I read of your philosophy of life and living, just because you were curious about what comes next, before checking out everything else that was available here and now!

You seem to have far more curiousity about the world around you, and not enough time to even consider what waits for you in the next! 😀 (I mean that as a sincere compliment, BTW.)

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I hear you, but I’m not talking about me.

I’m exploring the idea that someone might want to commit suicide because they’ve experienced everything they want to experience in this life and are ready to travel beyond the limits of this world.

Some people enjoy traveling around the world ~ they want to see every exotic port of call from Mozambique to Zambia. They are curious about all the nooks and crannies of this world. They are not labeled as mentally ill for wanting to explore foreign ports.

Why can’t someone be equally or more curious about traveling to an even more exotic port of call . . . by dying?

11. Carol Ann Hoel - April 27, 2011

Suicide is an offense toward God, but for those trusting in Christ, whose sins are forgiven, it’s like any other sin – forgiven.

I don’t think suicide is proof of mental illness, but I think one’s mental state is not optimum at the time of suicide. I don’t think it’s a simple matter of preference after weighing one’s enjoyment of life, either. I think extreme disappointment and/or excruciating pain is at the core of most suicides. Suicide by someone we love hurts us to our very core, because we know our loved one was desperate to escape severe pain, emotional, mental or physical.

May your life be filled with peace and joy. May you never writhe in such torment as to choose death. I wish this for all of us. I’ve had my days when I wished to die, but I’ve never wished to hurt myself in any way. No ouch desired. I wanted God to lift me out of here quietly and take me to a better place. He chose not to. God was right. Better days were ahead of me. 🙂 Blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Wonderful points, Carol Ann. I expect that most suicides stem from a desire to escape past, present, or future circumstances.

In other cases, I suspect it’s not a “running away” . . . it’s a “running toward.” Maybe they’re anxious to meet their maker.

12. Rosa - April 27, 2011

Such a complex topic! There are so many reasons for suicide that I can understand; to end terminal suffering for example, or facing life in prison. But for the most part, I feel like there is no way to tell what is just around the corner in life- good or bad. I am just too curious what will happen next!

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Thanks, Rosa.

Like you, I am curious about what’s waiting around the next corner . . . both in this life and in the next. 🙂

13. Paula Tohline Calhoun - April 27, 2011

Shoot! That comment posted before I was done! Sorry! (There seem to be lots of ghosts in the machine at WP! I’ve replied in re our photo problems – still waiting for an answer, but it seems like we are not the only ones!)

To continue: Whether one person views hopelessness as sane or not is personal feeling or opinion. Hope is indeed ephemeral, and it is a subject not broached much these days, particularly among children. It is difficult – extremely difficult – to look upon or speak to a desperately ill child and tell them (or their parents) to have hope. Speaking to an adult in the same situation who has never led a life to that point that displayed any sort of hope or even a glimmer if it, it would also be almost an impossibility to speak to him/her about having hope.

I believe hope is available to everyone, but it has to be taken. I don’t believe that another person can give it to me unless I have taken hold on it first.

I’m one of those old-fashioned people who truly believes that there is a sanctity in life. That does not mean that there might not be very good reasons (at least in our own minds) for letting go of life. There are extraordinary stories of ordinary people during the Holocaust of WWII who willingly let go of their own lives in place of another. (This has probably been true in many other times and places.)There are I am certain other equally “sane” reasons.

All that being said, I really have a difficult time even considering suicide as anything other than a tragedy – at least on some level. Our families fail to be the support systems they are and were designed to be and become; our education of children is woefully inadequate; our medical knowledge fails, our own inability to share our feelings, and our stubborn insistence on stigmatising any number of behaviors or situations: these are all tragedies or tragedies in the making. Suicide seems at times to be incidental to those circumstances.

I’m also one of those people who believes that we are responsible to ourselves AND to one another. Taking care of myself is important so that I might also be able to offer the care I can to and for another, especially when their own abilities are on the wane. I am concerned for the feelings of others. Caring about the feelings of others does not mean that only hungry egos are being fed. It means that there is compassion and empathy, and not just sympathy – which in and of itself is rather cheap. I cannot divorce myself from how others feel. Because I do not want another person to feel hurt or pain (physically or emotionally) does not mean I have to compromise my own feelings or that I am considering first my own Ego and who I am in that person’s eyes. If that were true, God help me! My entire life would be nothing but flip-flopping around, as you have said, jumping around and through hoops trying to satisfy everyone, thereby satisfying no one – least of all myself.

I am considering those last few thoughts in light of speaking with someone who is contemplating suicide. Even if they do not carry through – and I believe Duke is right. If someone is going to do it, they will – I’m thinking right now (at least this far into my considerations) that the person is asking to be given hope – or reason to continue living. I would hope that I could offer them some ideas on how to find that – but whether they are willing to take hold, or even have the wherewithal to do so is up to that person. When I have tools to offer, I will; when I do not, I will direct them to others who may have the necessary tools. I received such an offer from someone many, many years ago. I chose to accept it and at the same time to hold on to my Mom’s saying that “This too shall pass.” Glad I did – the world would not have Zoë! 😀

NANCY!!! I wish you would not do these sorts of posts. . .they make me THINK! HOW DARE YOU! Now that I’ve composed the sort of book I was trying to keep from this week so that I might get other things done, I will stop and try to keep the keyboard silent – at least until I decide to read the reply(ies) to this comment. I can just hear you now, Nancy! 😀

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

All those tragedies you describe are part of the reason that I view suicide, in many cases, to be an act of sanity.

In this world:

* families fail to be a support system
* our education of children is inadequate
* our medical knowledge is deficient
* greed runs rampant
* environmental toxins fill our lives
* people seem unable to share honest feelings
* behaviors and situations are stigmatized

If someone has experienced all they want to experience here, and they’re curious about “what comes next,” why not check out and leave the rest of us to “unmeddle the mess”?

I don’t see that as an act of hopelessness or despair. I see it as an act of FAITH and HOPE ~ there is something BETTER out there and I’m going to find it.

14. Tilly Bud - April 27, 2011

I know of at least two suicides that were done in spite.

I’d agree that some are certainly done as rational decisions, but I wonder how much pain one would have to be in to conclude that it is the right thing to do.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

They took their own life out of spite? As in, “they’ll miss me when I’m gone”?

Or, “once I’m dead, I’ll come back and haunt you and your new girlfriend”?

Tilly Bud - April 27, 2011

As in: ‘So you want a divorce, do you?’ and ‘Call the police on me while I’m beating you up and look what I can do.’

I can’t agree with your reasoning that people check out because they’ve experienced all they want to in life; I just don’t see it.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I don’t expect that most people who kill themselves do so for that reason.

I’m just speculating that some may have.

They’ve seen everything they want to see, they’ve tasted everything they want to taste, they’ve explored everything they want to explore, and they’re ready to experience something entirely different.

15. Alannah Murphy - April 27, 2011

Touchy subject. Sometimes, I think it’s better to check out early, before we get old and frail…not that I’d consider it, but who knows. I respect anyone who has the guts to do it, if they’re terminally ill and want to avoid a horrible slow torturous death, but if it’s emotional pain they’re in, I would hope they would seek help, though everyone is master of their own domain, and free to choose their own destiny.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

It’s a touchy subject because it sits untouched so much. People have different views about life and death, so death is rarely a topic of conversation.

Perhaps we should talk about it. Death is part of the universal condition ~ we are ALL going to die.

I believe that the right to life should include the right to die with dignity. We should be able to schedule the timing of our own death, if we so desire . . . especially in cases of debilitating pain that erodes our quality of life.

16. viewfromtheside - April 27, 2011

as most people want to stay alive, those who want to kill themselves are then definitely in a different mental state. speaking from personal experience it is a very different place to be.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I wonder how often someone has taken their own life due to intellectual or spiritual curiosity about what happens after we die.

It’s not so much that they want to “escape” this world . . . they just see no compelling reason to stay and are curious about “what’s next.”

17. kateshrewsday - April 27, 2011

Endling life just seems so final.
I once got to the edge of life by accident, and the vaccum I saw made me backpedal like buggery.
Did think of Doc Sana’s brother who works with paraplegics who often ask for their lives to be ended soon after the accident. He talks to them and they trust him, and a year later they are glad they stuck with life.
Our choice is not in a position to be informed by what our future might be. `(Sorry, bit of a Tardis comment there)

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Someone who has just had a traumatic injury is apt to be afraid of what the future holds. Encouraging them to stick around for a bit makes sense to me. Many do change their minds and find a reason to keep living.

You say that ending life seems so final. I don’t view it that way. To me, death is part of the continuum of life. One door closes and another opens. I shed my bodily concerns to be born again in spirit.

For anyone who is ENJOYING themselves, it doesn’t make sense to leave . . . especially given the uncertainty about what comes next.

But for someone who has had their fill of adventures here, I can see it as a new frontier to visit. And a rational decision to make.

18. Loreen Lee - April 27, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: With respect to life after death, and for those who are not ‘religious’, or believe that suicide is always a transgression against the sanctity of life, perhaps Shakespeare should be given the last word:

poetry | prints | cine | home

William Shakespeare – To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1)

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
(Especially the next four lines)
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
(And of course the following lines…)
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. – Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I don’t believe that I will defer to Shakespeare (or Hamlet) on this issue . . . there’s been too much “water over the dam” since their demise.

19. nancycurteman - April 27, 2011

I can conceive of suicide in the instance of a terrible, painful disease. I can also see it if one suffers a terrible loss. I would, however, worry about the agony and pain that those left behind would experience.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Good points, Nancy. I expect that concern for loved ones stops many from making the attempt no matter how much pain they are in.

20. libraryscene - April 27, 2011

oml~ i just scanned all of these…there is not enough hours in the day, but a great, introspective post, Nancy…

I’ve known 2, perhaps 3 that committed suicide while still in their late 20s. Drugs and alcohol addiction were in play in all 3, in itself a sign of mental illness. That said, I think we are all a bit mentally ill, it is just to what extent.. but does it mean suicide is always done out of despair? No, as you’ve already pointed out. Think of that group in Cali (i think, and sorry if already mentioned) that had a spaceship to catch ~ there were at least 20??? mentally ill? Some, probably, but more so, done on a conviction of going to that next level and suicide was the vehicle.

Do I label suicide one way or another? Not really, but I do think that peeps should consider those they leave behind. I’ve seen suicide destroy those left behind…it just doesn’t seem right…

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Interesting points, LS. People who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol have impaired reasoning . . . not a good time to make life changing decisions.

You’re the first to mention “suicide pacts” in this thread. And, nope, no one brought up the spaceship they planned to catch.

We do not exist in isolation, except for the rare individual living on a deserted island. Our actions have consequences for others. But I’m not sure that their needs should always take precedence over our own.

If I had a fatal illness with constant pain and no quality of life, I would let my loved ones know of my decision, but I wouldn’t let them talk me out of it. I wouldn’t prolong my pain-filled life solely to prevent them from being sad about my slightly premature departure.

And if someone I loved wanted to die, and I felt they had carefully considered other options, I wouldn’t beg them to stay on my account ~ that would be selfish of me, to put my desire for their continued existence above their desire to journey on.

21. jelillie - April 27, 2011

“I’m not convinced that there is an absolute correlation between suicide and mental illness.

Just the opposite.

I suspect that many who commit suicide are saner than the rest of us.”

Now I recognize that we have wildly different perspectives on life. Even so I don’t generally disagree with you so violently. Is suicide always the result of mental illness? I believe it’s even deeper a form of spiritual illness. The true spirit lights the way. It doesn’t snuff itself out!

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Thanks, Jelillie. Honest disagreement makes for interesting conversations.

We probably have vastly different perspectives on this issue, in part, because I don’t think that it’s possible for Spirit to “snuff itself out.”

In a nutshell, I don’t believe that I’m a human being having a “spiritual experience.” I believe that I’m a spiritual being having a transitory human experience.

When my body dies, my Spirit will not die with it ~ it will just transform or morph into another plane of experience. That said, I’m not advocating that we all abandon Spaceship Earth just yet.

22. Cities of the Mind - April 27, 2011

The recent Arab Revolts were instigated by a vegetable peddler lighting himself on fire in the market after his cart was seized.

I suppose any time someone sacrifices their life for any cause, it could be considered a form of suicide–and justified in that context.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

I believe that’s called a Political Suicide, where the individual in question takes his own life to highlight a cause he believes to be more important than his own continued existence.

Another example would be a Hunger Strike by political prisoners.

23. jeanne - April 27, 2011

Whether someone decides to take their own life or dies of old age it is still a loss of a precious life and it is sad.

Is it concidered suicide when someone is diagnosed with cancer and they choose to NOT recieve chemo or radiation treatment? Just wondering what society thinks about that.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Saying good-bye to those we love is sad . . . sorrow is the price we pay for the joy of having known them in the first place.

I don’t believe that refusing medical treatment is considered “suicide” since the individual is not taking ACTIVE steps to hasten their death. They are just not taking steps to prolong life.

But in some cases “society” will still attempt to substitute its collective judgment for that of the individual in question ~ especially if its a parent making the decision for a child.

My grandfather stopped eating when he felt he’d been here long enough. I think other options should have been available to him.

24. estherlou - April 27, 2011

I’ve read that those who choose suicide, have gone through the depression, despair, the whatever that led up to this decision. After they decide to committ suicide, it is as if a weight is lifted off of them. They will be happy, or happy-go-lucky, never even showing any reason to kill themselves, because they have made the decision and now they are relieved. So, right before, the person will not exhibit any “bad vibes” to pick up on. By that time, they have decided and are done with the despair. You probably wouldn’t pick up on anything, because they are now past that.

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

Thanks, Esther. I’ve heard that too.

Life’s burdens and hardships can be weighty, indeed. And indecision may be the weightiest burden of all.

In that interlude between coming to a decision and acting on it, they may get a glimpse of what inner peace feels like . . . giving them a chance to change their minds and their plans, if they choose to do so.

25. therealsharon - April 27, 2011

This is a very tough topic for me. In the type of faith I was raised, we were taught that if you committed suicide, you would NOT go to heaven because you were taking your life BEFORE God had planned for you to go. It was considered an instant ticket to Hell.
That said, when I was younger, I was depressed a lot because of my weight and being made fun of at school and I thought about suicide a lot. I felt often that no one really cared and I was just fat and worthless and didn’t want to deal with the hurt anymore. The fear that committing suicide would cancel my way into Heaven scared me though and I think it did have a factor in my never going through with it. But I still got close to doing so and if my situation hadn’t changed when it did, I probably would have. I eventually was given depression pills from my doctor because I was so depressed. I still suffer from depression and I take medicine for it and even though I have thought about suicide in the recent years, I KNOW that I would never do it because I love my family and friends so much and I want to be around for them and be a better example.

I know for a fact that people can hide their depression or mental illness well. I did for many years and no one knew.
As for my Christian beliefs….I struggle with what I was taught as a kid about suicide. It’s hard for me to accept that someone in so much pain(physically, mentally OR emotionally) would be sentenced to hell for choosing to end their life. While I believe in God, I just have a huge issue with that and I don’t want to believe that could be true. Sometimes I wonder if that was said more to prevent suicide cause I know for a Christian, that’s a huge deterrence.
As for the argument of someone in so much pain with no hopes of it ever ending and then committing suicide…that’s a controversial idea. I mean, I could sit here and say that I still believe it’s wrong…but who am I to say that? Since I am not in that position, I can’t possibly understand that point of view. Who’s to say I might not be in that boat one day and want to choose that path? So I don’t feel right saying that it’s a wrong choice but I also don’t feel comfortable saying it’s right. It’s just a really difficult topic…you’re making me think HARD.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Wonderful thoughts, Sharon. Thanks for sharing . . . and THINKING. 😀

On the issue of Hell, you might be interested in this post ~ an excellent discussion by a retired Episcopal Bishop, John Shelby Spong, on how the church has used religion:

* to control the masses
* to create fear and guilt about a hell that doesn’t exist
* to keep us from growing up
* to encourage us to be ”born again” and remain “children”

https://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/god-is-not-a-christian-jew-or-moslem/

Religion is in the control business. And one of the best way to control people is through FEAR and GUILT.

I don’t believe in hell . . . just in life everlasting. For everyone. Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus. Our beliefs here are unrelated to where we go next.

That said, I believe that our Spirits came here for a purpose and that if we are still here we probably haven’t completed that purpose so we ought to think HARD before abandonning ship.

Thinking hard is what our brains are meant to do. Thinking for ourselves is important. Putting all the pieces together in a way that makes sense for us is tha path to freedom.

Once we learn to think HARD for ourselves, we no longer need to let others (the church, the media, society) do our thinking for us.

26. judithhb - April 28, 2011

Well I have just spent a long time reading first your blog and then the comments. I really haven’t given much thought to suicide and certainly not as it pertains to me. I have heard of a couple of cases of ‘assisted suicide’. I do sincerely believe that if I were in constant pain with no hope of real relief or if I were to be absolutely dependent on somebody for just living, I would not want to continue in that way. But I guess that one will never know until the time comes.
And I agree – I am a spiritual being on this life in this form for a short time only. I know this but wonder what awaits me when I leave here.
I have made judgment calls when somebody I know has taken their own life. In particular one woman whose husband died and her married daughter found her a couple of weeks later in the bed having taken an overdose. My judgment call was not so much against the wife but against the daughter. Maybe if she had spent time with her mother and helped her in her grieving this dramatic action would not have been taken. But who knows.
Thank you for this post. It has made me really think hard and has given rise to so many comments.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Suicide is so factually dependent that it has never occurred to me to judge anyone for the decision they made. Who I am to try and stand in their shoes?

The same goes for judging someone as negligent for “failing” to prevent suicide ~ people may claim that burden for themselves, but I’m certainly not going to place it around their shoulders by suggesting they somehow could have prevented someone else’s suicide.

I defended a Jail Suicide case in NC. The jailers were charged with failing to prevent a suicide by a young inmate. I argued to the jury that the jailers had no reason to know of his intended action. The jury agreed.

Even trained psychiatrists cannot predict the behavior of their patients.

27. Pseu - April 28, 2011

A friend of mine committed suicide and I believe she did it because she truly believed that the world didn’t need her: all to do with self worth.

She was a lively, life and soul of the party type on the surface.

She is still very missed.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

That’s sad, Pseu.

One of the reasons that I encourage readers to become and remain mindful of their thoughts is that we alone can see what is going on “below the surface.”

If we don’t stop the Ego in its tracks when it starts telling us lies . . . no one will. We can’t challenge the Ego when it says “you’re so stupid” or “you’re worthless” or “no one likes you” if we aren’t paying attention.

We need to tune in to our thoughts and say, “That’s NOT true” when our Inner Critic is overly judgmental. Once we reclaim the remote, we understand the true measure of our worth. Priceless.

28. Sandra Bell Kirchman - April 28, 2011

To put it a little differently, with the same meaning, I believe I am a soul with a physical body, not the other way around. I also believe that I am here to learn and grow through experiencing life here on this plane.

Although I don’t see suicide as “a sin,” I believe that checking out early is bypassing our responsibilities to ourselves, i.e., the learning isn’t finished at death…but it is easier and more effective with a physical body.

Like attracts like in the realm of the soul. When we no longer have a physical body to anchor ourselves, we drift off to where everyone else has the same blocks and bad habits that we ourselves do.

Many decades ago, I attempted suicide. I was in an abusive marriage and felt trapped in hell. I was sure there was no hope left in my life. People were convinced that I was mentally unbalanced and stuck me in the psychiatric ward to find out what was wrong with me.

Not to insult psychiatrists and psychotherapists, but it was a huge waste of time. I didn’t need pills and therapy and long, boring, unproductive talks. I needed help in finding my direction and perceiving ways I could go in life where I wouldn’t be so trapped and helpless. I came away convinced that the psychiatric staff had more problems than I did.

All the same, I was glad I hadn’t been successful because my life turned out to be fascinating, and I learned so much on a spiritual level that I have become quite a different person.

Mental illness? No, not really. Loss of hope? Absolutely. We lose hope for many reasons. And the ones whom you say, Nancy, are tired of their experience here and are in a hurry to take the next step…really, haven’t they just lost hope in the benefit of life on Earth?

The kindest thing we can do for these people is to help them find hope…if they are terminally ill, then the kindest things is to help them prepare for the transition. All of the foregoing, btw, is my opinion.

Very interesting topic, Nancy.

linda - April 28, 2011

I had a similiar experience as you did. It boggles my mind as to why one would think that people in that situation need to be hospitalized. They need real world help. This brings back very very sad memories for me. Glad we are both on the right track now.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Glad you’re on the “right track” too, Linda.

One of the problems with psychiatry historically is that it expected psychiatrists to fish around in the past for the root causes of a patient’s issues instead of teaching them how to reclaim the remote and become mindful of their thoughts so they could move more confidently into the future.

That is starting to change with cognitive behavioral therapies, including stress management techniques like meditation and visualization. East meets West. Be here now.

Sandra, you like being here. So you see someone who does not want to be here as “lacking in hope” for the benefit of life on Earth. I don’t see it quite that way.

If I went on a cruise and LOVED everything about the cruise ~ the meals, the pools, the excursions, etc. ~ at some point it would still feel like Groundhog’s Day (the movie). The sameness would get to me. I would want to get OFF the ship. Not because of a lack of hope . . . just because it no longer interested me.

I can see people feeling the same way about life here on Earth. That it’s been grand fun, but that they’ve had all the adventures and experiences they want to have and now they are ready to abandon ship.

Sandra Bell Kirchman - April 28, 2011

Linda, I guess the therapists in those days didn’t know any better, but honestly, after being submitted to their tender mercies, it’s a wonder I wasn’t more convinced than ever that I needed to check out. I’m glad I didn’t miss out on all the great things that have happened in my life since then, though.

Nancy, I think you are arguing about the RIGHT of someone to take their life. I totally agree. I think that poor woman who had to go to court for how many years to be allowed to commit assisted suicide went through another kind of hell that shouldn’t have happened.

However, the spiritual fall-out when someone does commit suicide, especially if they are bored with life, is enormous. We all do come here for a purpose, but many leave before they fulfill their life purpose, and that places a burden on the soul. It is not easy to reincarnate, and once we have this physical body, we need to hang on to it.

Our job here is to learn and grow, and share the wisdom we have with others. We need to look for the lessons in our every day life. Life is not a tragedy if we can learn from it. Every day is not boring, if we can find the lessons. We were meant to be happy. If we are not something is deeply wrong. Committing suicide will not change that. We take out of this life what we put into it, and what we gather along the way, whether it be wisdom or more blocks and bad habits. Best to work them out here, while in our physical body.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Our views of suicide are shaded by our beliefs:

* Based on your beliefs, it does not make sense to commit suicide before our work here is done. So you don’t see “boredom” as a reason to leave.

But for an atheist who doesn’t believe what you believe, boredom might be a rational reason to leave. If they are NOT enjoying life, they might feel compelled to stop consuming resources in order to leave those resources to people who are still enjoying the journey. I can see that as a logical decision to make based on the totality of THEIR beliefs.

* Based on Abrahamic beliefs, it’s a sin to commit suicide. Someone who views suicide as a sin would not feel that anyone has a right to second guess God.

But someone else might feel that committing suicide is part of their life purpose . . . in order to raise awareness of the need to allow people to die with dignity. I can see that being a logical decision based on the totality of THEIR beliefs.

I’m not trying to decide whether and when suicide is right or wrong. I’m looking more at the internal logic and rationality of the decision.

I can see rational and sane people (who hold different beliefs about the meaning of life than you do) feeling that ending their life makes sense.

For that reason, I don’t think that the decision to commit suicide is always the product of mental illness.

If someone feels the same way about life here on Earth as I would if stuck on a perpetual cruise to “nowhere,” it might be rational for them to choose to jump ship to see what’s next.

29. eof737 - April 28, 2011

Since this is a subject close to my heart, I will reserve making an elaborate comment. All I will add is that suicide and the reasons for it are as varied and complex as life itself.
There is a need for increased advocacy, and the more people get involved and learn about the issues on this subject, the greater our collective chance of seeing those stats come down if ever so slightly….
E

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Thanks, Eliz. I agree with you ~ the reasons people commit suicide are varied and complex.

Many stem from temporary situations that will change and improve over time. The more of these suicides we prevent, the better.

On the other hand, people who are in situations with no likelihood of improvement should be given the right to die with dignity.

We take our beloved pets and put them to sleep when the time is right . . . people should have the same option when the quality of their life no longer counterbalances the unrelenting pain.

30. linda - April 28, 2011

I completely understand suicide but I think I am too much of a chicken to ever do it. Unless maybe I was terminally ill and in very bad shape.

Not too long ago someone I know of asked someone close to me if they could just them. the person asking is very old and in a nursing home. He has almost no mind left. He is so very miserable yet had the presence of mind to know that would be his only escape. Of course the person close to me can not shoot him. He certainly feels his pain though. He helps in every way that he can to make this persons life bearable but there is only so much to be done. As the person close to me said, nowadays we live far too long.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

That’s the type of situation that really bothers me. Who are WE to insist that someone in that situation must stick it out just because society as a whole is afraid of death and dying and uncertainty?

If he wants to die . . . he should be permitted to do so without having to ask friends to shoot him.

“Doctor, I’m ready to go now.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I can no longer walk, or read, or watch TV, or hear, or taste my food, and the pain is unbearable. I lie here lie a lump of play doh day after day thinking about how miserable I am.”
“OK . . . there’s a 7 day waiting period with required counselling every day before we can schedule your death.”
“Fine. Sign me up.”

Options. To Die with Dignity.

31. granny1947 - April 28, 2011

Hi Nancy…wow …what a subject.
I would,possibly, think suicide if I was terminally ill and going to be a burden to my family.
For the most part I consider suicide to be one of the most selfish things one can do.
There is no thought for the people,left behind, who loved them.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

It’s been a fascinating topic for discussion ~ it’s been interesting to see varied viewpoints and differing perspectives on life, death, and the “hereafter.”

I don’t think I’m in a position to judge whether someone else’s decision to commit suicide is “selfish” or not. How could I know whether their pain at being here isn’t greater than my pain from “losing them”?

They might have given significant thought to the impact on others. They might be doing it for altruistic reasons, or to avoid “being a burden.” It’s not a judgment call I want to make.

32. Naomi - April 28, 2011

Deeply thought-provoking post, Nancy, as reflected in the overwhelmingly long comment thread. You’re right that this subject could do with more open conversation – and less judgement. Having lost three significant people in the past to suicide, I’ve accepted that I cannot know what their reasons were, but simply wish the best for their journeys.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Aah, beautiful summation, Naomi.

We cannot stand in someone else’s shoes nor understand fully the rationale behind their decision ~ that’s why I think it’s wrong to assume it’s “always” a product of mental illness.

Even if we don’t agree with the decision . . . we can agree that they had a right to make it. And we can wish them bon voyage and safe travels on their continued journey.

33. oldancestor - April 28, 2011

History is replete with groups or cultures who consider suicide to be noble. Feudal and imperial Japan, for example, and many of the islamic fundamentalist groups today.

There’s also a difference between having a death wish and being suicidal.

Interesting and provocative, Hatch. I hope you plan on sticking around a while. I enjoy your blog posts.

😉

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Whether or not suicide is “rational” is so dependent on the other beliefs we hold about life and death.

Social mores have much to do with our conditioning. We are “brainwashed” from birth.

FREEDOM entails looking around and beginning to THINK for ourselves.

And thanks, OA. I’m not planning to check out any time soon ~ life is terribly interesting most days. 😉

oldancestor - April 28, 2011

I plan to stick around long enough to get a novel published (I may end up in the record books as the world’s oldest man). If it sells, I’ll stick around a bit longer. If it tanks… well, there’s one sure-fire way to boost sales, but you can only do it once.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Good plan! 😉

34. Cindy - April 29, 2011

My father committed suicide. He had a deteriorating spinal condition and didn’t want it to get to the stage that my mother would have to nurse him. He was perfectly sane.

nrhatch - April 29, 2011

Thanks for sharing that, Cindy. Sounds like a sane response to a sad situation. 😦

35. CMSmith - April 29, 2011

Kind of a dark post. And the comment that ending your own life on this planet may be the sanest of all, to me seems a little out of character for you. Hmmm. Maybe I’m missing something.

nrhatch - April 29, 2011

I wrote this post to challenge the notion that suicide is “always” an irrational act stemming from mental health issues.

In many cases, suicide seems to be both a logical choice and a sane decision.

36. Chad - April 30, 2011

Young people should not be killing themselves, but I’m just fine with old people killing themselves. Nancy, I can also conceive of someone committing suicide out of a sense of completion or curiosity rather than hopelessness.
Incidentally, the real reason Christianity forbids suicide is pragmatic, not theological. Because self murder was once popular in the early Church as a quick way to the Kingdom, the leaders, not wishing to lose their flocks this way, began teaching that offing yourself is punishable by hell.
Nancy, if you still believe Earth is overpopulated, may I recommend the painless, foolproof suicide kit from Gladd Group? Remember me in the afterlife- and your will! Bon voyage

nrhatch - April 30, 2011

The Church is definitely in the control business.

I’m too “young” to kill myself, Chad. You’ll have to be patient. 😉

37. Loreen Lee - May 5, 2011

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William Melchert-Dinkel arrives at the Rice County Courthouse Wednesday, May 4, 2011 …
TORONTO – The family of an Ontario woman who committed suicide at the urging of an American online predator reacted with anger and confusion Wednesday as the man who encouraged her to take her life was sentenced to less than a year behind bars.
Nadia Kajouji’s brother and mother both decried the sentence handed down to William Melchert-Dinkel by a Minnesota judge, saying it didnt’ reflect the severity of his offences.
“You know how they say ‘the punishment fits the crime?’ It doesn’t have that feel on this one,” Marc Kajouji said in a telephone interview.
“If he had committed a credit card fraud and stole thousands, millions of dollars, would he have done more jail time? That’s the one thing I kind of find frustrating.”
Nadia Kajouji’s mother Deborah Chevalier, who had called for Melchert-Dinkel to be “punished to the full extent of the law,” said she was “disappointed” with the relatively light jail term.
Chevalier attended the sentencing hearing, where she delivered an emotional statement that drew tears from Melchert-Dinkel.
“When Nadia died, the best parts of me died with her,” Chevalier said. “What William Melchert-Dinkel did was vile, offensive and most importantly, illegal.”
Melchert-Dinkel, 48, was convicted in March of aiding in Nadia’s suicide as well as that of 32-year-old Mark Drybrough of Coventry, England.
Drybrough hanged himself in 2005 after receiving instructions from Melchert-Dinkel, including details on what kind of rope to purchase.
Kajouji, an 18-year-old student at Carleton University in Ottawa, jumped into a frozen river in 2008 after having several conversations with Melchert-Dinkel. Transcripts of their online chats revealed he tried to encourage Kajouji to hang herself as well.
Melchert-Dinkel posed as a suicidal female nurse in both cases, a tactic court documents show he used frequently.
Prosecutors said Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and addicted to seeking out potential victims online. They told court he would enter into false suicide pacts with his victims and offer detailed instructions on how people could take their own lives.
According to court documents, Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse from the southern Minnesota town of Faribault, told police he did it for the “thrill of the chase.” He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10, half of whom he believed killed themselves.
Defence lawyer Terry Watkins had argued Melchert-Dinkel’s actions didn’t cause his victims’ deaths and has said he plans to appeal the conviction on free speech grounds. At the sentencing hearing, he said his client suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Marc Kajouji disagreed.
“He could have easily encouraged life instead of encouraging death,” he said. “He was in a very unique situation, and he’s saying inevitably she would have taken her own life. Well, maybe if the tones of the conversation that he had the opportunity to have with her were different, that wouldn’t have been the case.”
Judge Thomas Neuville, who presided over the case alone, ruled that Melchert-Dinkel was directly involved in the suicides but was not the soul reason for their deaths.
He compared Melchert-Dinkel’s conduct to stalking in handing down the jail term, which was considerably less than the maximum 15 years he could have received for each count under a rarely used Minnesota law.
Neuville structured the sentence so that Melchert-Dinkel would serve an initial 320 days, then be freed. Over the next 10 years, he would have to serve two-day spells in jail on the anniversaries of his victims’ deaths.
If he violates the terms of his 15-year probation, he must serve 6.5 years in prison.
Marc Kajouji fears the sentence will not deter other online predators from committing similar offences, adding the outcome has motivated him to step up his activism in the field of suicide prevention.
“You can only have so many hush-hush conversations about suicide,” he said. “It’s got to be out in the open. Just like we were afraid to talk about civil rights and breast cancer and aids and many different things. If we don’t talk about it, it’s not going to change.”
– With files from the Associated Press

38. nrhatch - May 5, 2011

Thanks, LL. The last quote says it all:

“You can only have so many hush-hush conversations about suicide,” he said. “It’s got to be out in the open. Just like we were afraid to talk about civil rights and breast cancer and aids and many different things. If we don’t talk about it, it’s not going to change.”

Loreen Lee - May 5, 2011

Dear Time Out:
Just between you and me, that’s what I was attempting to do with the Irish file. These ‘stereotypes’, maybe all stereotypes are built out of past behavior, circumstance. If we are to enable people, including the Irish to live in the present, or as you say, the Now, we cannot re-enact stereotypes, which throw the individual or the group into the past. It may be a fun scenario for people who have not been involved in the trauma, for for those who have been, it conjures up memory, even though it may appear that they are happy-go-lucky and full of ‘blarney’ about it. But as far as I am concerned, the blarney was a very good method of dealing with oppression for the centuries after British take over of Ireland, but I believe that now it is possible to develop a self-esteem which is no longer based on putting one’s self and culture down, or in other words, ‘people pleasing’. You can help!!!!!!

nrhatch - May 5, 2011

Loreen ~

That is NOT what you were attempting to do and you know it. You were NOT trying to have an open discussion on the issue. You set out to DISAGREE with me about minutia (and became quite DISAGREEABLE in the process).

First, you started to argue with me about Corned Beef and Cabbage. When I pointed out the differences between where you’ve lived and where I’ve lived . . . even giving you links showing that ALL the restaurants around here advertise that dish on St. Paddy’s Day . . . you continued to ARGUE, insisting that I was WRONG and you were RIGHT. Saying, among other things: Please do some research to substantiate your perspective of the Irish.

Then, you turned your attention to another post intended to be light hearted and started to lambast me for calling the Irish WHORES and DRUNKS. I pointed out that nowhere in the article had I done that. That it was only YOUR perception of the situation that led to those images being created in your mind.

You then launched into a DIATRIBE about the history of IRISH oppression, engaging in more ad hominen attacks: * Leave the Irish alone and quit pretending you’re Irish. I think I am at least right to say you’re a ‘phoney Irish’!!!!

Of course, I had never claimed to be Irish at all.

By then, I had had enough. You were the ONLY one who had a problem with those posts. And here you are . . . 6 weeks later still trying to resurrect the issue with me.

Perhaps if you were not always chomping at the bit to argue, you would have time to read more accurately.

Just a thought . . .

39. frizztext - June 4, 2011
40. Yor Ryeter - June 5, 2011

This line: “without waiting around for the proverbial bus to hit them” made me answered there is a right time for everything…

On other point is this on our hand especially if life was given to us, do we have the right to end it?

My thoughts – http://wp.me/p1dJTS-lb

nrhatch - June 5, 2011

If someone gives me a “gift” that I no longer want . . . am I obligated to keep it?

If it comes with “strings attached,” it’s not really a GIFT ~ it’s an “obligation.”

Life is a gift to many and a painful ordeal and onerous burden for others. So, yes, I do feel that WE have the RIGHT to end our life when we choose to do so.


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