Tuesday, November 9

I'm Sorry, But Suicide Is the Coward's Way

"Seems like every time you turn around
There's another hard-luck story that you're gonna hear
And there's really nothing anyone can say . . . "
- from Black Diamond Bay, by Bob Dylan

Judging by the way the investigation's going, it appears increasingly likely that Saturday's rail crash - killing at least seven people - was caused by a guy who had decided to commit suicide, by parking his car on an unguarded railtrack crossing and awaiting the next 100mph train to come along.

The link is to a series of articles in today's Times on the incidence of suicides, (which are actually on the decline in the world), what lies behind them, and the ethics of such action.

I had this out over an email or two with the author Toby Lott, after he wrote an article - similar in tone to the approach in the Times - earlier this year, calling for some deeper understanding of motives blah blah.

To which I replied: bollocks.

Pure yarbles.

Life's a piece of shit: get on with it. Let's face the music, and dance.

Before last weekend's events I had decided that in almost all cases, suicide is the coward's way out. Now, I'm even more righteous about it. I feel sorrow for the family and friends this guy left behind, but to me he behaved like a selfish, idiotic cunt.

He was a coward.

The exceptional case where suicide is fine by me? Where someone is completely alone in this world - no family, no friends, no one - and whose death would go completely unremarked. In other words, the exceptional case is the death that hurts nobody else. If that be so, go ahead, fuck off.

But anyone who kills themselves when there are loved ones left behind is making the ultimate selfish gesture, the ultimate cry for attention. We can't stop them doing it, but please, spare me the violins.

Let's get to it: it's no surprise to me that most suicides are committed (like most other crimes) by young men: the ultimate "me, me, me" gender and age group. Fact jacked. I've been one. (Some might say I still am one - and incorrigibly so. Selfish: yes; a coward: no.) I've known of some who have killed themselves . . . and I've been made aware of the emotional carnage they've left in their wake.

And I'm sorry, but there's no fucking excuse for it.

Now, at one point in the Times this argument is put:

"It would be both futile and cruel to chide those immured in despair (I do not refer to those suffering from a painful fatal illness) for being inconsiderate of others . . . the bleak depression that leads them to suicide maroons them beyond reason."

To which I say: bollocks.

Yet more yarbles.

So the murderer who pleads diminished responsibilty due to, say, a
temporary bout of madness is beyond rebuke by the rest of normal society? Not in my world.

I feel that suicide is one aspect of life and death where there's too much understanding given, and way too much cachet is given to the 'tortured soul' syndrome that nurtures and sullies the legends of the likes of Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain, both of whom were parents when they needlessly killed themselves. Shame on them. That doesn't mean we shouldn't admire their work* (I do), but they acted like cowards.

The same Times article also has this snippet:

" . . . there are suicides that affect others in smaller, more darkly comic ways. When someone stands on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, preparing to leap, traffic can wait for hours. This happens often enough that motorists now respond angrily, resenting the inconvenience and urging some poor soul to jump."

I'm with the motorists.

* As always, judgement of the art must be kept separate from the life of the atrist: if Hitler had been a talented painter, it would have to be admitted; and his work would have to be admired, if it merited being shown, and be bought and sold, like that of all the others. Of course, I could argue that his death is the exceptional case personified, but I think that he too (and for that matter, Eva Braun) died like a coward.


posted by DD @ 11:42 


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