Category Archives: Suicide

Anti-Suicide Fanaticism

Every once in a while, the subject of suicide comes up and it just leaves me shaking my head.  It was in response to someone who is a member of a gun club.  Some young woman went to the club, rented a gun for the range and promptly used it to kill herself.  And, of course, there was the typical cries of “tragic!” and, as usual, I was the only one to point out that people didn’t know the whole story, maybe the woman had a perfectly good reason for wanting to die.

And that’s where the crazies came out of the woodwork.

These people believe that, by definition, anyone who doesn’t want to live is insane.  And I don’t just mean people who want to kill themselves, I mean anyone who doesn’t cling to life desperately at every turn.  These people are fanatics.  They never want to die.  They want to live forever and they think that everyone else has to want that too and if you don’t, you’re nuts.

Well count me among the insane then because I have no interest in living beyond the time that I still enjoy life.

I honestly don’t know why I do this, but I started making a case that not wanting to live is not necessarily insanity.  Oh sure, there are people who are clinically depressed, there are people who are emotionally distraught and those people can be helped.  But what about people like Brittany Maynard, the woman in the news a couple of years ago with terminal brain cancer who moved to Oregon specifically so that she could undergo doctor-assisted suicide?  Was she insane?  Well, according to these fanatics, yes she was. Because even though she was in agony and faced a long, painful death, there could have been a cure right around the corner and by killing herself, she violated her “right to life.”  Well what about her quality of life?  What about her happiness at living?  Nope, none of that matters, just being alive.

You can’t bring up the topic of suicide without these people stampeding all over the place.  They don’t actually care about suicidal people, they are terrified of death and project that terror onto everyone else.  If anyone is allowed to die, if anyone has any control over their own death, then they feel that someone is coming to get them.  It’s a bizarre kind of paranoia that infects the majority of people to some degree, but some to an absurd degree, such that death becomes the ultimate fear if allowed to exist at all.  It’s not really worth talking to these people because they are incapable of having a rational discussion on the subject.  So once I identify the crazies, I just stop talking to them.  They don’t stop trying to talk to me, they don’t stop trying to force their fears on everyone else, but I simply cannot be bothered to try to hold an intellectual conversation with people whose intellect is completely offline in these discussions.  The same is true of the hyper-religious.  Emotions get in the way of rationality and without rationality, what’s the point?

The Fallacy of Fighting Suicide

cassandra-c-opedCassandra C., a 17-year old girl in Connecticut, is being forced by the courts to go through chemotherapy, even though she doesn’t want to go through chemotherapy, even if not doing so will kill her. Now some have argued that her reasons for rejecting treatment are irrational and suicidal, a sure sign that she’s got mental problems and she and her mother should not be allowed to pursue other options, but I’m not going to argue for this specific case, I’m going to use it as a means to examine, once again, the wholly irrational terror that suicide represents for most people in America.

I’m not going to say, in this specific case, that the girl ought to be helped to commit suicide, she isn’t an adult and legally, she doesn’t have the right to make those life decisions.  I do, however, object to the idea that she is being forced to go through uncomfortable chemo that she doesn’t want, just because people in the government, people who are terrified of death, think that keeping her alive at all costs is a good thing.  Even among liberals who typically argue for body autonomy, they’re still saying that anyone who ever says they want to die, or who follows another treatment option than the norm, they should be declared irrational, at least momentarily insane, and have their bodily autonomy removed until they adopt a more “mainstream” belief.

Doesn’t all of this just demonstrate the complete and utter fear that people have regarding death, to the point that they have to simply declare any desire to die, for any reason, to be irrational?  That’s really where the problem lies, not with the person who simply doesn’t wish to go on living, but with the majority of society who is terrified to let anyone die, simply because it might get in the way of their overwhelming fear of death.

Personally, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business if someone else chooses to live or die.  I don’t think there should be any psychological counseling to see if the person is really insane, as most people already assume beforehand.  The only person who is really affected here is the person who wants to die, and since they’re going to be dead, it isn’t like they can regret their decision later on.  Actions have consequences, people who want to die should be allowed to die.  Those that don’t like the idea shouldn’t do it.  It’s really that simple.  It all comes down to irrational fear and that’s nothing to be proud of.