2011-01-16

Jump already


It seems like everybody on the intartubes is either talking about suicide or committing one these days, so I thought I'd chime in.

Earlier this week, a wannabe "suicide" dude was sitting on a bridge railing, threatening to jump, so the authorities closed off the bridge during rush hour to talk the idiot down.

As to be expected from a dramatic standoff, the dude did not jump and let himself be talked down by the police officers. But even after he was long taken to a cozy psychiatry department somewhere, the chaos he has caused by disrupting peak traffic continued.

Thousands of people lost hours of their lives. A conservative estimate of only 100,000 people losing an hour each in traffic jams gives us 11.5 years lost collectively. A great trade indeed. Instead of taking his own life, the dude nickel-and-dimed a whole bunch of people out of theirs.

I say, you want to jump, jump. If you want help, go talk to someone and don't be an asshole.

I have been thinking about moral aspects and implications of suicide for a long time, and my view is that suicide is an acceptable solution to an individual's problems. I do not think that everyone should be forced to continue on if the suffering is too hard. Suffering can be mental or physical. If it hurts, it hurts, and outsiders can't objectively judge another's experience.

The narcissistic pseudo-suicides who in reality want to be "talked down" are just discrediting those who actually make a rational choice and trivialize it by making people think that everyone can be "helped," and that help equals life.

As I am writing up this post, I expect some people's reaction to be "OMG, Alex, but you are so wrong! Life is good!" As if this conversation is about whether life is good. And as if every life was good.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wish the Dumbarton Bridge dude had actually jumped, I just wish he found a more rational way to get attention and help.

Since that's exactly what we ask of people who are planning to actually kill themselves: to be considerate of the impact their death will have on others. So why wouldn't it be reasonable to ask pretend suicides to consider the pain and disruption they are causing too?

I do realize that all of this ranting on my part is gratuitous and not really constructive. But I feel strongly enough about this issue to share my thoughts here with you. Comments are open.