Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Culture of suicide

Yet another young girl kills herself. Not only is this tragic, it is monstrous, and must be condemned and stigmatised.

Elsewhere we are told the public wants to change the law over assisted suicide. In fact, not quite. The poll I saw on the front of Metro revealed people would consider helping a relative die. I expect if the poll had also asked if people were happy for their relatives to be starved to death in hospital, they would have said no. Allowing people to off their relatives for their own good is not a wise idea. This is a moral question with no general answer. If someone wants to help another person die, let them take their chances in a court. If it really was a pitiful matter, then the jury should be merciful.


thematrixhasyou said...

alright trooper?

seems to me like you're comparing someone whos been bullied into suicide to somone who is terminally ill and needs assitance. they are not the same come on trooper!

also whats the starved to death in hospital got to do with anything? if someone asked me if I'd consider assisted suicide I'd think they were talking about the way they do it in the foward thinking countries, which is peaceful.

either i'm confused by your post or you're confused on this point. which is it!?

Trooper Thompson said...

Dear Matrix,

forgive my tardiness, I've been on holiday.

The post was intended to draw together two aspects of suicide both of which are prevalent. Firstly a young girl kills herself because of bullying. Secondly assisted suicide.

In the first case, what I am rebelling against is the way these sadly common cases are portrayed as tragedies, where all the blame falls on the bullies and none on the one who commits suicide. Hard though it may seem, I think our society needs to be far more disapproving of the act of suicide, not just see it as a tragedy. It is a very wicked thing to do, to take your own life when you are young and have everything to live for. The way these cases are reported only encourages others to follow suit. Suicide is self-murder, and the murder of a young girl is a monstrous act, even when it is by her own hand.

The second point is about assisted suicide, which, as you note, is a different matter, but nevertheless is related. I do not wish to see the law changed, and I certainly don't want the law changed by judges. The notion that, because the DPP has chosen not to prosecute a number of cases does not mean the law should be dropped. If someone wants to help a relative die, let them face a jury. If they really believe its for the good of a loved-one, then the threat of prosecution will not stop them.

The remark about starving old people to death in hospital was made because euthanasia is going on right now. Assisted suicide is a form of euthanasia too.

There is nothing forward-thinking in killing off old people. It is, rather, a barbaric practice, and a sign of a society that has lost its moral bearings.

I hope this helps to clarify matters. I don't think I'm confused, although you may not share my views.

thematrixhasyou said...

hope you had a nice break trooper.

can you post a link about this starving people to death i'd be interested. I think I must be mistakng what you mean for the lethal medicine euthanasia which i can't see a problem with. I think that a persons life is up to them and not a judge. If I was terminally ill and wanted a friend or relative to come with me to my final destination, that choice should be mine.

As for suicide when there's nothing wrong with you... I think if the person still wants to do it after counselling and ensuring they're not crazy and not doing it for a reason that they can overcome, then yeah it's up to them not anyone else. I agree that general suicide such as your example is wrong though and better support should be available, maybe a more pro-active solution.

Thanks for the posts though trooper, i enjoy reading the posts i agree with and being challenged on the ones I don't. A good way to learn.. well for me anyway. cheers

Trooper Thompson said...

I had a great time away, thanks for asking, and thanks for your encouragement. You're very free to disagree. Oftentimes, without dispute, arguments and ideas don't really get fleshed out.

As for starving old people to death, here's the first one I came to, from the Independent 1999:

"Campaigners for the elderly demanded yesterday that the Government set up an inquiry into claims that patients are being starved to death.

Campaigners for the elderly demanded yesterday that the Government set up an inquiry into claims that patients are being starved to death.

The charity Age Concern said growing allegations of "involuntary euthanasia", in which food and drink is withheld from patients who are not terminally ill, indicated a loss of confidence among the elderly in the NHS.

Police have received scores of reports of patients dying in suspicious circumstances. "

You say: "I think that a persons life is up to them and not a judge." Indeed it is, but if you're found next to a dead body and tell the cops they wanted you to do it, they really do need to ask you some further questions. There will always be a conflict between laws and what is right in particular circumstances (especially I would say in England). For instance, if a man rapes a woman and the woman's family kill the man. Personally, like most people I expect), I wouldn't have a problem with this, seeing as the son of a bitch in this banal example had it coming, but I wouldn't say the law should be change to allow killing of rapists, rather I would wish either a jury to let the perpetrators walk, or the judge go easy on them, due to the extenuating circumstances.

Regarding suicide of a young, healthy person, you say: "it's up to them not anyone else."

This may well be, but it's an incredibly self-centred view. It's a terrible thing to do to one's family, and the point I'm trying to make is that this aspect of it should be emphasised more than making it merely a tragedy of which the perpetrator is a victim. Many young people will go through hard and harrowing times, but suicide should not be seen as an option. The thought must be shunned, and if young people didn't believe, no doubt at the moment correctly, that a big fuss would be made over them in the event of their self-murder, maybe some of them wouldn't do it.

thematrixhasyou said...

I agree with what you're saying. I think in the end I was confused because I thought you were talking about euthenasia of the terminally ill who are currently appearing on the TV going to a judge. i think if the patient is terminally ill and has seen phyciatrists, signed all the forms that they want out etc and have the support of their family then that is fine and the law should allow for medical professionals to make that call. That's the only change I would agree with.

The healthy person one is selfish no doubt, but maybe that's the reason people won't blame them publicly as the family had already gone through enough... it's a tough one!

Thanks for the link, i've never seen that before. i'll keep a better eye out.

Trooper Thompson said...

I wouldn't want to see that change in the law, on a 'thin end of the wedge' type argument.

As I understand it, people have brought it into court because they want to go ahead with assisted suicide, and want the prior reassurance that the one left behind won't be prosecuted. I don't think they should have this reassurance.

thematrixhasyou said...

'thin end of the wedge' - are you suggesting more people go in front of a judge for assisting a non terminally ill relative than a terminally ill relative? I had a quick search for the stats on that and couldn't find anything.. where did you get that information?

I think my disagreement with your original post is because I thought the type I put earlier was very much the fat end of the wedge.

I'm interested in this now, i'll try and find some info. cheers trooper.