Suicide By Ambulance?

In the US they have a name for those people who take a gun and menace the public hoping the police will be forced to shoot them: Suicide By Cop. I wonder if the recent tragic accident in Sydney of a woman stepping into the path of an ambulance is a new phenomena, Suicide By Ambo?

One wonders if she were deaf, blind, drugged, drunk or just unlucky and not paying attention? Or did she do it on purpose? I know train drivers are often on stress leave because people deliberately leap in front of their trains. It is a fairly sure way of getting the job done although nothing is certain nowadays (as the man who jumped off the 39th floor of a building in New York found out).

I have always felt suicide to be selfish, not painless as the theme to M.A.S.H. claims. But as the song says, the choice is up to you, take it or leave it.

Some suicides go to great lengths to make sure they don’t leave a mess for others to clean up. Too many simply don’t care and they have no thought for the trauma they will cause loved ones, emergency service workers, whoever finds their corpse or the drivers of trains, buses and trucks. And now ambulances.

If it were a suicide, we have to wonder why? Why do so many of our citizens feel the need to opt out well before their time? Teen suicide is a major problem, particularly in the rural areas of our country.  Experts say suicide is really a cry for help and usually not the first time the victim has attempted it. Our poor record of treating the mentally ill, more as criminals than patients, often is a factor in suicide. Suicides are not reported in the media except for murder-suicides where the murderer takes their own life, all too often after killing their own family members.

I was told the reason for the media blackout is to prevent copy-cat suicides or encouraging others to kill themselves after reading about it in the newspapers or hearing it on the radio. I have news for the media, it is not making any difference, is it? People still do it just as they still smoke cigarettes even without cigarettes being advertised on television since 1976 and in other media for more than a decade. Nowadays you can’t even see a pack on the shelf yet it hasn’t stopped smokers, nor has the massive tax hikes to the price. Nor does keeping quiet stop people committing suicide.

I think we need to report each and every suicide. We need to give the reasons as best we can find them and do so in words that discourage rather than encourage. We could show others feeling depressed enough to want to die that there are options, people they can talk to, light at the end of the tunnel.

On the other hand, surely the right to die is the last human right ‘They’ can take from us. It is already illegal, I’m surprised they don;t make it a capital offence. We refuse the terminally ill the right to die with dignity and insist they suffer on, I won’t call it living. I think we have it all wrong. We need to help those who want to die to do so with dignity and free of pain. Anyone who wants to suicide can go through the process and in doing so I am sure we would provide a safety net that would catch so many of those who currently fall through societies cracks. We would assist the terminally ill to pass on peacefully and everyone involved, from staff to patients to relatives would be better off.

Of course to do that we need a radical rethink of our attitudes to death, euthanasia and life. Maybe one day.

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide…. I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying)….” Albert Camus, “The Myth Of Sisyphus” 1942, Libraire Gallimard, Paris.

If you or someone you know seems cut off, alone, desperate and suicidal, PLEASE talk to some one. Get help.

Lifeline  13 11 14

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