R Scott Whitley

Monday, June 13, 2005

Suicide and other bad stuff...you're probably closer than you think...

I was reading this article about an upcoming book by Nick Hornby called "A Long Way Down" and it got me to thinking about stuff that I'm interested in and stuff that I like to write. The book is about group suicide and the article touches on some of the depression and suicidal issues Hornby has had in the past and of course there is the ever present "outrage" that something like this could be written and at all be taken as funny.

I'm fascinated by death, suicide, and murder. I think the reason I am is that we are all so very close to all those things and we don't realize it. Life is a fragile thing and it can end very quickly...I mean you hear all the time of people having clots in their brains kill them...just doing nothing. I'm not really talking about that kind of death though...but the precarious position our existence is always in is part of why the other fascinates me. See, most everybody is so close to doing something horrible and they don't realize it. I don't know of anybody who hasn't at least in passing contemplated suicide or been angry enough to want to hurt somebody else (not kill...just hurt). The problem is that it only takes a tiny, tiny step over the line of "what you do now" to put you in "what you could do".

The physical act of most suicides is so simple that most of the "fear" you over come is regarding pain. The build up of courage could be very short term...and once there...you're there. Same goes with murder. I talked with a close friend of mine who was a cop for many years and he interviewed alot of people who had done horrible things. The one thing he said was that these people generally weren't that different than anyone else. Someone who has done something horrible takes the same small steps we all do in all actions. If you are buying a car you can't afford you have to build up the courage to do so...buyer's remorse just doesn't carry the price tag that murder or suicide does.

I just think the outrage is misplaced. There are folks out there who see societal stereotypes...like from movies...criminals as bumbling fools, or murders as psychiotic wild-eyed serial killers, or victims of suicide as depressed, very sick people who most people could see it coming. I just don't think they are, and that's why I enjoy writing it. I enjoy exploring the tiny steps a personality can take to reach, what hindsight views as, a sick end.

Now I believe their are bad people in this world...no doubt. I just don't think that people should think these folks get to where they are any differently than any of us have. We reach where we are through tiny steps...and then when we are there, we are there. The next step could end a life.

Night folks.


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