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.

6 comments:

  1. I agree; live simply (or die) so that others may simply live. There's even a hot line for people wanting to talk rather than do.

    The problem perhaps, is that people don't think straight all the time. Drunks do some crazy shit. There was a boy here in NC that got drunk, called the cops, and got them to kill him for him...after a car chase and what not.

    Neither here nor there. But I get your point(s). It's always at the worst time, it seems, when someone else's problems suddenly become yours!

    Unless it's one of my kids, then by all means, stop traffic and talk the poor bastards down!

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  2. p.s. Rockmelt tells me when you post, so technically, I'm *not* stalking you.

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  3. Rockmelt is handy like that. I have subscribed to your blog on Reader, so I guess that makes us quits. :)

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  4. Emotional and mental disorders can't be viewed from a rational point of view. So obviously you have full license. Just kidding. Its odd. Some people, like my brother years ago, have no hesitation. His suicide was also very unexpected. It stuns me still at times even after nearly 20 years. Are there really people who have absolutely no intentions of jumping?

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  5. @rx7sins: While it is impossible to know what people's intentions really are, I think there are people who go through with it and those who don't. And those who do, are more likely to just go ahead and jump. They don't want to be stopped.

    You are absolutely right, and there is no way to ask a person who is going through a lot of emotional anguish to act rationally. I am more annoyed by the assertion that suicide is "selfish" and that people should live on for the sake of "those who love them." That is about as ridiculous in my mind as "staying together for the kids."

    So while I admit that the dude on the bridge might have thought he would jump, his choice of the venue and the time shows that at least subconsciously he wanted to be stopped.

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  6. The problem is humans continue to treat themselves as if they are an endangered species even though the global population exceeds 6.5 billion on a planet that can accomodate 2-2.5 billion in balance with the rest of nature. 5000 years ago humans, their domesticated animals accounted for .03 of earth surface vertibrates, today it is 98%. So let the fuckers jump.

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