One of the most fascinating things about doing this show for the past 20 years is how certain topics seem to overtake the narrative in waves. For example, of the last 15 shows we’ve done, we’ve done an entire segment on “scares in the air,” AKA airline screw-ups, in 14 of them. It’s a seemingly never-ending source of material.
Sadly, the other topic that has come up way too often recently has been suicide. Whether it be Chris Cornell’s high profile death, suicidal listeners calling for help, or moronic, uninformed, untrained know-it-alls telling us how wrong we are for handling such in exactly the way we’ve been trained to, the topic has been a hot-button issue.
One thing that really gets under a lot of peoples’ skin is my assertion that suicide is a cowardly act. As I’ve made clear, contemplating suicide is not cowardly…going through with it is, as all you do is transfer your pain to the people that love you most. There is nothing about that to be sympathized with. We should, as a society, castigate anyone who engages in such behavior. Period. Those who claim that such an opinion ignores and demeans mental illness are ignorant fools who refuse to acknowledge that 2 people can suffer the exact same hardships and only one of them kills themself…and rather than applauding the survivor, we mourn for the coward.
Ooops, there’s that judgmental word again. I just had the audacity to express my opinion again. An opinion formed from 30 years of dealing first hand with friends, employees, loved ones, and acquaintances taking various steps towards suicide. An opinion formed after hours of training with police officers, suicide prevention experts, therapists, and negotiation experts, many of whom agree with me that it is cowardly.
But, we live in a PC world so I must amend my remarks. After some soul searching, I’ve realized that maybe cowardly is the wrong word. And I’d like to take this time and space to thank my motivation for this revelation, Raymond Reddington, from the TV show “The Blacklist:”
“Have you ever seen the aftermath of a suicide bombing…I have. June 29, 2003. I was meeting two associates at the Marouche restaurant in Tel Aviv. As my car was pulling up, a 20-year-old Palestinian named Ghazi Safar entered the restaurant and detonated a vest wired with C4…The shock wave knocked me flat, blew out my eardrums. I couldn’t hear. The smoke… It was like being underwater. I went inside. A nightmare. Blood. Parts of people. You could tell where Safar was standing when the vest blew. It was like a perfect circle of death. There was almost nothing left of the people closest to him. 17 dead, 46 injured. Blown to pieces. The closer they were to the bomber, the more horrific the effect…That’s every suicide. Every single one. An act of terror perpetrated against everyone who’s ever known you… Everyone who’s ever loved you. The people closest to you… the ones who cherish you… are the ones who suffer the most pain, the most damage. Why would you do that? Why would you do that to people who love you?”
There we go…I officially adjust my opinion. Suicide is not cowardly, it’s terrorism perpetrated on the people closest to you. I’m glad we came to this compromise.