The Murder of Oneself

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

This is where life ends and social judgement commences. Society cannot admit that it is against freedom of expression (suicide is, after all, a statement). It never could. It always preferred to castrepparttar suicides inrepparttar 132650 role of criminals (and, therefore, bereft of any or many civil rights). According to still prevailing views,repparttar 132651 suicide violates unwritten contracts with himself, with others (society) and, many might add, with God (or with Nature with a capital N). Thomas Aquinas said that suicide was not only unnatural (organisms strive to survive, not to self annihilate) but it also adversely affectsrepparttar 132652 community and violates God's property rights. The latter argument is interesting: God is supposed to ownrepparttar 132653 soul and it is a gift (in Jewish writings, a deposit) torepparttar 132654 individual. A suicide, therefore, has to do withrepparttar 132655 abuse or misuse of God's possessions, temporarily lodged in a corporeal mansion. This implies that suicide affectsrepparttar 132656 eternal, immutable soul. Aquinas refrains from elaborating exactly how a distinctly physical and material act altersrepparttar 132657 structure and / orrepparttar 132658 properties of something as ethereal asrepparttar 132659 soul. Hundreds of years later, Blackstone,repparttar 132660 codifier of British Law, concurred. The state, according to this juridical mind, has a right to prevent and to punish for suicide and for attempted suicide. Suicide is self-murder, he wrote, and, therefore, a grave felony. In certain countries, this still isrepparttar 132661 case. In Israel, for instance, a soldier is considered to be "army property" and any attempted suicide is severely punished as being "attempt at corrupting army possessions". Indeed, this is paternalism at its worst,repparttar 132662 kind that objectifies its subjects. People are treated as possessions in this malignant mutation of benevolence. Such paternalism acts against adults expressing fully informed consent. It is an explicit threat to autonomy, freedom and privacy. Rational, fully competent adults should be spared this form of state intervention. It served as a magnificent tool forrepparttar 132663 suppression of dissidence in places like Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Mostly, it tends to breed "victimless crimes". Gamblers, homosexuals, communists, suicides repparttar 132664 list is long. All have been "protected from themselves" by Big Brothers in disguise. Wherever humans possess a right there is a correlative obligation not to act in a way that will preventrepparttar 132665 exercise of such right, whether actively (preventing it), or passively (reporting it). In many cases, not only is suicide consented to by a competent adult (in full possession of his faculties) it also increases utility both forrepparttar 132666 individual involved and for society. The only exception is, of course, where minors or incompetent adults (the mentally retarded,repparttar 132667 mentally insane, etc.) are involved. Then a paternalistic obligation seems to exist. I userepparttar 132668 cautious term "seems" because life is such a basic and deep set phenomenon that evenrepparttar 132669 incompetents can fully gauge its significance and make "informed" decisions, in my view. In any case, no one is better able to evaluaterepparttar 132670 quality of life (andrepparttar 132671 ensuing justifications of a suicide) of a mentally incompetent person than that person himself.

The paternalists claim that no competent adult will ever decide to commit suicide. No one in "his right mind" will elect this option. This contention is, of course, obliterated both by history and by psychology. But a derivative argument seems to be more forceful. Some people whose suicides were prevented felt very happy that they were. They felt elated to haverepparttar 132672 gift of life back. Isn't this sufficient a reason to intervene? Absolutely, not. All of us are engaged in making irreversible decisions. For some of these decisions, we are likely to pay very dearly. Is this a reason to stop us from making them? Shouldrepparttar 132673 state be allowed to prevent a couple from marrying because of genetic incompatibility? Should an overpopulated country institute forced abortions? Should smoking be banned forrepparttar 132674 higher risk groups? The answers seem to be clear and negative. There is a double moral standard when it comes to suicide. People are permitted to destroy their lives only in certain prescribed ways.

And ifrepparttar 132675 very notion of suicide is immoral, even criminal why stop at individuals? Why not applyrepparttar 132676 same prohibition to political organizations (such asrepparttar 132677 Yugoslav Federation orrepparttar 132678 USSR or East Germany or Czechoslovakia, to mention four recent examples)? To groups of people? To institutions, corporations, funds, not for profit organizations, international organizations and so on? This fast deteriorates torepparttar 132679 land of absurdities, long inhabited byrepparttar 132680 opponents of suicide.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at


Written by Joan Bramsch

Continued from page 1

Whenrepparttar government fell in December 1989, Ceausescu was overthrown and executed.

The misery didn't die with him.

Even braced for conditions she had heard were common atrepparttar 132647 orphanages, Simon had to steady herself atrepparttar 132648 odor blasting into her nostrils. The heat concentratedrepparttar 132649 stench of diapers, changed -- if at all -- once a day. It happened like this: children with sticky legs sat stacked on trays like loaves of bread, changed in one fell swoop.

More thanrepparttar 132650 smell, what struck her about this particular orphanage wasrepparttar 132651 silence. Wards of tiny creatures stared blankly through bars in cribs, or rocked, rocked, rocked on filthy bare pads. Children with bloated bellies and babies crawling with lice had learned not to cry. Rarely would their screams move a caretaker to dab at their tears.

Simon deliveredrepparttar 132652 care packages torepparttar 132653 Spitalul Children's Hospital and several orphanages. Atrepparttar 132654 orphanages, children buzzed about her as if she wererepparttar 132655 queen bee. One child swooped down on a pink bunny, wetting its fur with kisses.

Simon returned home to Orlando, changed. She knew what she had to do.


In late October 1990, Simon again was bound for Romania.

She and her husband, Paul, in their early 40s atrepparttar 132656 time, had tried and failed to adopt children inrepparttar 132657 states. Five times,repparttar 132658 same thing. It was as ifrepparttar 132659 children were ice -- whenrepparttar 132660 Simons believed they were grasping something solid,repparttar 132661 children slipped like water through their fingers.

On her first trip to Romania, Simon became smitten with a 2-year-old named Ana and startedrepparttar 132662 adoption paperwork.

But soon her optimism faded likerepparttar 132663 black-and-white snapshot ofrepparttar 132664 brown-haired little girl.

Simon foundrepparttar 132665 red tape virtually impenetrable. Each court appearance brought disappointment and more frustration. Each judge she appeared before had his own rules for signing off onrepparttar 132666 adoption. That she spoke little Romanian didn't help.

Complicating matters, Simon was under a deadline: She had been in Romania for several weeks and with an airlines strike looming, she was booked onrepparttar 132667 last flight out of Bucharest before Christmas.

At least she had tried, she thought.

As one door seemed to slam shut, another opened. An interpreter, aware of her dead-ends with Ana, told her about a slight boy at Orphanage No. 4.

Simon visitedrepparttar 132668 place. The building was old, frigid. Inside there were no toys. Outside packs of wild dogs roamed. The children slept in military cots. They shared a bathroom with rusty showers and two sinks.

After a while, Simon andrepparttar 132669 boy she came to meet were brought together, two strangers inrepparttar 132670 strangest of places. His father was dead and his mother was poor. His aunts, uncles, and cousins lived in a commune outside of Bucharest.

The child, in a sweater, long stockings, and knitted pants, reactedrepparttar 132671 only way he could: he ran as fast as he could over to Simon, snaked his arms around just under her waist and squeezed.

Withinrepparttar 132672 week,repparttar 132673 boy she called Nick was gorging on chocolates on a flight bound for Orlando.

Nick was miles away from speaking English, save forrepparttar 132674 words, "chocolate" and "Mickey." And this: Her son could say mama.


After a while, whenrepparttar 132675 newness rubbed away,repparttar 132676 Simons confronted some unpleasant realities.

An institutionalized child -- one who had been warehoused virtually all his life without an encouraging word, without love -- was going to bear scars.

The first night he spent in his room, Nick strippedrepparttar 132677 sheets and ignoredrepparttar 132678 pillow -- luxuries he had never had. He spent nights hauntingrepparttar 132679 hallway, snacking on bowls of sugar.

Precious few things came naturally to him. He knew how to march and salute --repparttar 132680 orphans were groomed to be crack soldiers -- and when placed in a bathtub, Nick would grab a cloth and buffrepparttar 132681 chrome.

Since he had never seen a toy, he had to learn how to play.

Since he was rarely allowed to venture beyondrepparttar 132682 crib, he had to learn to explore. Once at school, teachers found Nick under a school bus, weaving his fingers throughrepparttar 132683 tire treads. <

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE: eens/backpack.shtml ------------------ >News story THE ORLANDO SENTINEL and may not be republished without permission.

Darryl E. Owens Features Writer The Orlando Sentinel 633 North Orange Avenue Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 420-5095 Fax: (407) 420-5457

COME FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP, TOO. :) eens/backpack.shtml

JOAN BRAMSCH is a family person, educator, writer and E-publisher. Her articles appear internationally in print and online. Six of her best-selling adult novels - near one million copies - have worldwide distribution. Her Empowered Parenting Ezine serves 1000 parents around the globe.

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