America

O Parlamento 2008 / The Parliament 2008
Creative Commons License photo credit: Adriano Aurelio Araujo

To the citizens of the United States of America, In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. (Except Utah, which she does not fancy.) Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable David Cameron, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

  1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium”. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour’, skipping the letter ‘U’ is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter ‘Z’ (pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’) and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise”. You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh is pronounced ‘burra’ e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you can’t cope with correct pronunciation.Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary”. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed”. There will be no more ‘bleeps’ in the Jerry Springer show. If you’re not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn’t have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won’t have to use bad language as often.
  2. There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize”.
  3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents – Scottish dramas such as “Taggart” will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we’re talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is “Devon”. If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become “shires” e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.
  4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as “Men Behaving Badly” or “Red Dwarf” will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can’t cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.
  5. You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.
  6. You should stop playing American “football”. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2013. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the ‘World Series’ for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls’ game called “rounders” which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
  7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don’t believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called “Indecisive Day”.
  9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
  10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren’t even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps”. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.
  11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.
  12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer”, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager”. The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”, with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.
  13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or “Gasoline” as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2013) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices  (roughly $12/US gallon – get used to it).
  14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.
  15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy. Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).
  16. Last but not the least, and for heaven’s sake…..it’s Nuclear as in “clear” NOT Nucular. Thank you for your co-operation and have a great day.

A suicide note. Feel free to read

Goa Sunset
Creative Commons License photo credit: Koshyk

I came across this letter, and thought I would share it with you all. I found it a very compelling read and a deep insight into the mind of a marvelous man.

I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions, but I assume I’ll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision. Maybe it’s true that anyone who does this is insane by definition, but I can at least explain my reasoning. I considered not writing any of this because of how personal it is, but I like tying up loose ends and don’t want people to wonder why I did this. Since I’ve never spoken to anyone about what happened to me, people would likely draw the wrong conclusions.

My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly. This has affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a distinct situation. In kindergarten I couldn’t use the bathroom and would stand petrified whenever I needed to, which started a trend of awkward and unexplained social behavior. The damage that was done to my body still prevents me from using the bathroom normally, but now it’s less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me.

This darkness followed me as I grew up. I remember spending hours playing with legos, having my world consist of me and a box of cold, plastic blocks. Just waiting for everything to end. It’s the same thing I do now, but instead of legos it’s surfing the web or reading or listening to a baseball game. Most of my life has been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up.

At times growing up I would feel inconsolable rage, but I never connected this to what happened until puberty. I was able to keep the darkness at bay for a few hours at a time by doing things that required intense concentration, but it would always come back. Programming appealed to me for this reason. I was never particularly fond of computers or mathematically inclined, but the temporary peace it would provide was like a drug. But the darkness always returned and built up something like a tolerance, because programming has become less and less of a refuge.

The darkness is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I’m trapped in a contaminated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can’t concentrate on anything else. It manifests itself in hours of eating or staying up for days at a time or sleeping for sixteen hours straight or week long programming binges or constantly going to the gym. I’m exhausted from feeling like this every hour of every day.

Three to four nights a week I have nightmares about what happened. It makes me avoid sleep and constantly tired, because sleeping with what feels like hours of nightmares is not restful. I wake up sweaty and furious. I’m reminded every morning of what was done to me and the control it has over my life.

I’ve never been able to stop thinking about what happened to me and this hampered my social interactions. I would be angry and lost in thought and then be interrupted by someone saying “Hi” or making small talk, unable to understand why I seemed cold and distant. I walked around, viewing the outside world from a distant portal behind my eyes, unable to perform normal human niceties. I wondered what it would be like to take to other people without what happened constantly on my mind, and I wondered if other people had similar experiences that they were better able to mask.

Alcohol was also something that let me escape the darkness. It would always find me later, though, and it was always angry that I managed to escape and it made me pay. Many of the irresponsible things I did were the result of the darkness. Obviously I’m responsible for every decision and action, including this one, but there are reasons why things happen the way they do.

Alcohol and other drugs provided a way to ignore the realities of my situation. It was easy to spend the night drinking and forget that I had no future to look forward to. I never liked what alcohol did to me, but it was better than facing my existence honestly. I haven’t touched alcohol or any other drug in over seven months (and no drugs or alcohol will be involved when I do this) and this has forced me to evaluate my life in an honest and clear way. There’s no future here. The darkness will always be with me.

I used to think if I solved some problem or achieved some goal, maybe he would leave. It was comforting to identify tangible issues as the source of my problems instead of something that I’ll never be able to change. I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did made a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling. I’m not sure why I ever thought that would change anything.

I didn’t realize how deep a hold he had on me and my life until my first relationship. I stupidly assumed that no matter how the darkness affected me personally, my romantic relationships would somehow be separated and protected. Growing up I viewed my future relationships as a possible escape from this thing that haunts me every day, but I began to realize how entangled it was with every aspect of my life and how it is never going to release me. Instead of being an escape, relationships and romantic contact with other people only intensified everything about him that I couldn’t stand. I will never be able to have a relationship in which he is not the focus, affecting every aspect of my romantic interactions.

Relationships always started out fine and I’d be able to ignore him for a few weeks. But as we got closer emotionally the darkness would return and every night it’d be me, her and the darkness in a black and gruesome threesome. He would surround me and penetrate me and the more we did the more intense it became. It made me hate being touched, because as long as we were separated I could view her like an outsider viewing something good and kind and untainted. Once we touched, the darkness would envelope her too and take her over and the evil inside me would surround her. I always felt like I was infecting anyone I was with.

Relationships didn’t work. No one I dated was the right match, and I thought that maybe if I found the right person it would overwhelm him. Part of me knew that finding the right person wouldn’t help, so I became interested in girls who obviously had no interest in me. For a while I thought I was gay. I convinced myself that it wasn’t the darkness at all, but rather my orientation, because this would give me control over why things didn’t feel “right”. The fact that the darkness affected sexual matters most intensely made this idea make some sense and I convinced myself of this for a number of years, starting in college after my first relationship ended. I told people I was gay (at Trinity, not at Princeton), even though I wasn’t attracted to men and kept finding myself interested in girls. Because if being gay wasn’t the answer, then what was? People thought I was avoiding my orientation, but I was actually avoiding the truth, which is that while I’m straight, I will never be content with anyone. I know now that the darkness will never leave.

Last spring I met someone who was unlike anyone else I’d ever met. Someone who showed me just how well two people could get along and how much I could care about another human being. Someone I know I could be with and love for the rest of my life, if I weren’t so fucked up. Amazingly, she liked me. She liked the shell of the man the darkness had left behind. But it didn’t matter because I couldn’t be alone with her. It was never just the two of us, it was always the three of us: her, me and the darkness. The closer we got, the more intensely I’d feel the darkness, like some evil mirror of my emotions. All the closeness we had and I loved was complemented by agony that I couldn’t stand, from him. I realized that I would never be able to give her, or anyone, all of me or only me. She could never have me without the darkness and evil inside me. I could never have just her, without the darkness being a part of all of our interactions. I will never be able to be at peace or content or in a healthy relationship. I realized the futility of the romantic part of my life. If I had never met her, I would have realized this as soon as I met someone else who I meshed similarly well with. It’s likely that things wouldn’t have worked out with her and we would have broken up (with our relationship ending, like the majority of relationships do) even if I didn’t have this problem, since we only dated for a short time. But I will face exactly the same problems with the darkness with anyone else. Despite my hopes, love and compatability is not enough. Nothing is enough. There’s no way I can fix this or even push the darkness down far enough to make a relationship or any type of intimacy feasible.

So I watched as things fell apart between us. I had put an explicit time limit on our relationship, since I knew it couldn’t last because of the darkness and didn’t want to hold her back, and this caused a variety of problems. She was put in an unnatural situation that she never should have been a part of. It must have been very hard for her, not knowing what was actually going on with me, but this is not something I’ve ever been able to talk about with anyone. Losing her was very hard for me as well. Not because of her (I got over our relationship relatively quickly), but because of the realization that I would never have another relationship and because it signified the last true, exclusive personal connection I could ever have. This wasn’t apparent to other people, because I could never talk about the real reasons for my sadness. I was very sad in the summer and fall, but it was not because of her, it was because I will never escape the darkness with anyone. She was so loving and kind to me and gave me everything I could have asked for under the circumstances. I’ll never forget how much happiness she brought me in those briefs moments when I could ignore the darkness. I had originally planned to kill myself last winter but never got around to it. (Parts of this letter were written over a year ago, other parts days before doing this.) It was wrong of me to involve myself in her life if this were a possibility and I should have just left her alone, even though we only dated for a few months and things ended a long time ago. She’s just one more person in a long list of people I’ve hurt.

I could spend pages talking about the other relationships I’ve had that were ruined because of my problems and my confusion related to the darkness. I’ve hurt so many great people because of who I am and my inability to experience what needs to be experienced. All I can say is that I tried to be honest with people about what I thought was true.

I’ve spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time.

I’ve told different people a lot of things, but I’ve never told anyone about what happened to me, ever, for obvious reasons. It took me a while to realize that no matter how close you are to someone or how much they claim to love you, people simply cannot keep secrets. I learned this a few years ago when I thought I was gay and told people. The more harmful the secret, the juicier the gossip and the more likely you are to be betrayed. People don’t care about their word or what they’ve promised, they just do whatever the fuck they want and justify it later. It feels incredibly lonely to realize you can never share something with someone and have it be between just the two of you. I don’t blame anyone in particular, I guess it’s just how people are. Even if I felt like this is something I could have shared, I have no interest in being part of a friendship or relationship where the other person views me as the damaged and contaminated person that I am. So even if I were able to trust someone, I probably would not have told them about what happened to me. At this point I simply don’t care who knows.

I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don’t know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I’m capable of.

So I’ve realized I will never escape the darkness or misery associated with it and I have a responsibility to stop myself from physically harming others.

I’m just a broken, miserable shell of a human being. Being molested has defined me as a person and shaped me as a human being and it has made me the monster I am and there’s nothing I can do to escape it. I don’t know any other existence. I don’t know what life feels like where I’m apart from any of this. I actively despise the person I am. I just feel fundamentally broken, almost non-human. I feel like an animal that woke up one day in a human body, trying to make sense of a foreign world, living among creatures it doesn’t understand and can’t connect with.

I have accepted that the darkness will never allow me to be in a relationship. I will never go to sleep with someone in my arms, feeling the comfort of their hands around me. I will never know what uncontimated intimacy is like. I will never have an exclusive bond with someone, someone who can be the recipient of all the love I have to give. I will never have children, and I wanted to be a father so badly. I think I would have made a good dad. And even if I had fought through the darkness and married and had children all while being unable to feel intimacy, I could have never done that if suicide were a possibility. I did try to minimize pain, although I know that this decision will hurt many of you. If this hurts you, I hope that you can at least forget about me quickly.

There’s no point in identifying who molested me, so I’m just going to leave it at that. I doubt the word of a dead guy with no evidence about something that happened over twenty years ago would have much sway.

You may wonder why I didn’t just talk to a professional about this. I’ve seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I’m positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was. And I have no interest in talking about being raped as a child, both because I know it wouldn’t help and because I have no confidence it would remain secret. I know the legal and practical limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, growing up in a house where we’d hear stories about the various mental illnesses of famous people, stories that were passed down through generations. All it takes is one doctor who thinks my story is interesting enough to share or a doctor who thinks it’s her right or responsibility to contact the authorities and have me identify the molestor (justifying her decision by telling herself that someone else might be in danger). All it takes is a single doctor who violates my trust, just like the “friends” who I told I was gay did, and everything would be made public and I’d be forced to live in a world where people would know how fucked up I am. And yes, I realize this indicates that I have severe trust issues, but they’re based on a large number of experiences with people who have shown a profound disrespect for their word and the privacy of others.

People say suicide is selfish. I think it’s selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won’t feel sad for a week or two. Suicide may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it’s also a permanent solution to a ~23 year-old problem that grows more intense and overwhelming every day.

Some people are just dealt bad hands in this life. I know many people have it worse than I do, and maybe I’m just not a strong person, but I really did try to deal with this. I’ve tried to deal with this every day for the last 23 years and I just can’t fucking take it anymore.

I often wonder what life must be like for other people. People who can feel the love from others and give it back unadulterated, people who can experience sex as an intimate and joyous experience, people who can experience the colors and happenings of this world without constant misery. I wonder who I’d be if things had been different or if I were a stronger person. It sounds pretty great.

I’m prepared for death. I’m prepared for the pain and I am ready to no longer exist. Thanks to the strictness of New Jersey gun laws this will probably be much more painful than it needs to be, but what can you do. My only fear at this point is messing something up and surviving.

—-

I’d also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they’re dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

“I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist.” – George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molesters go to Heaven (as long as they were “saved” at some point), that’s your choice, but it’s fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she’s Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation. I could list hundreds of other examples, but it’s tiring.

Since being kicked out, I’ve interacted with them in relatively normal ways. I talk to them on the phone like nothing happened. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I like pretending I have a family. Maybe I like having people I can talk to about what’s been going on in my life. Whatever the reason, it’s not real and it feels like a sham. I should have never allowed this reconnection to happen.

I wrote the above a while ago, and I do feel like that much of the time. At other times, though, I feel less hateful. I know my parents honestly believe the crap they believe in. I know that my mom, at least, loved me very much and tried her best. One reason I put this off for so long is because I know how much pain it will cause her. She has been sad since she found out I wasn’t “saved”, since she believes I’m going to Hell, which is not a sadness for which I am responsible. That was never going to change, and presumably she believes the state of my physical body is much less important than the state of my soul. Still, I cannot intellectually justify this decision, knowing how much it will hurt her. Maybe my ability to take my own life, knowing how much pain it will cause, shows that I am a monster who doesn’t deserve to live. All I know is that I can’t deal with this pain any longer and I’m am truly sorry I couldn’t wait until my family and everyone I knew died so this could be done without hurting anyone. For years I’ve wished that I’d be hit by a bus or die while saving a baby from drowning so my death might be more acceptable, but I was never so lucky.

 

To those of you who have shown me love, thank you for putting up with all my shittiness and moodiness and arbitrariness. I was never the person I wanted to be. Maybe without the darkness I would have been a better person, maybe not. I did try to be a good person, but I realize I never got very far.

I’m sorry for the pain this causes. I really do wish I had another option. I hope this letter explains why I needed to do this. If you can’t understand this decision, I hope you can at least forgive me.

Bill Zeller

Could this be your family?

A non-elected family of doubtful genealogy are given a life of luxury, housed in palaces and palatial houses.  No rents or mortgage repayments.   They don’t seem to have proper jobs or professions.  Sorry, one of them serves in the higher echelons of the military in England and seems to get promoted on what does not seem like merit.   They are constantly on our TV channels and now we have to endure the whole performance of  another wedding in their family.

I wonder how long this one will last.

Whole theatres are given over for their enjoyment, whole cathedrals even.  They are given status far above film stars, sports people or politicians.  If one of the little darlings should sneeze, we can be sure that we will hear of it quite soon after.

Chauffeur-driven Rolls Royces.  Holidays to the most idyllic places in the world.  Not just body guards, but a whole army of well paid soldiers, carrying arms all over their home town and beyond.  An array of servants to do all their bidding, even servants doing her bidding over 15,000km  from home,  well some of the homes anyway.

Let me know if you can guess what family I am referring to.

People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile - Lee Mildon
Creative Commons License photo credit: flickrohit

Clifford Tucker – is this justice?

Clifford Tucker, born in England, came to Australia when he was six years old.  He has, in the past, been a violent type of person not many would care to go for a beer with.  He also suffers from mental health problems.  He once tried to kill a policeman, amongst other crimes, and has served time in prison for them. He has paid the penalty.  He says he has not commited a violent crime for ten years.

Now, this government has deported Mr. Tucker – who should be a free man able to spend his life freely with his wife and children.  In this free country, they give the reason for his deportation is that he is of “bad character”.  How many people are there in Australia with a bad character? How about we start with Australia’s serial killers, gangsters and fraudsters.  Mr. Tucker’s crimes are far less serious than those of these people, although still very serious.  One reason and one reason alone separates them.  That is, Mr.Tucker never obtained a certificate to say he is an Australian.

This matter is worse than the case of England sending its convicts to Australia.  The deportation of those wretched souls was the punishment.  They did not serve a lengthy jail term before they were deported to the other side of the world because they were of “bad character”.  The deportation was their sentence.

Surely, once the sentence has been served, then the person should be able to live a normal life like any one of us.  If one of us gets nabbed for, say, speeding, we pay a fine and forget it.  Imagine six months later, there is a knock on the door and a policeman says I don’t like you, you are of bad character and therefore we are going to impound your vehicle now, in addition to the fine you have already paid.  I am pretty sure we would see the injustice of that and yet this is the same way Mr. Tucker is being treated.

Furthermore, if he applies, and is successful, in obtaining an Australian visa, or citizenship he will then also be charged for the jail term and the deportation costs (the cost of airfare for himself and the three guards who accompanied him, reported to be around $14,000).  This man will then have been punished three times for the same crime. Prison, deportation and a heavy fine. Is this Sanity? Or overkill?

Suicide

The saddest thing that can happen to an individual is suicide.  It diversely affects people who are close to the victim and to anyone who  came into contact with the person, even the people who may try hard to help them.  People usually need to find a scapegoat. However I find  that in the majority of cases, once the decision has been made, not much could have been done to save them,  not by the family, friends or even the medical profession. The reasons can seem slight to other people and not worth even thinking about yet the same thoughts in another person can be catastrophic.  Suicide can be a welcome relief for the person as it does release them from the thing they cannot get away from by using conventional methods.  I was once told  “there is always another way” but that is not correct, sometimes for the person concerned it is the only way that they can see.

Suicide, to the person left behind  is probably the worst feeling they will ever feel.  However it does help to think that great person can now rest their mind and escape from the torture they were feeling.  After all, don’t we all seek peace in our lives.  Yes it might seem extreme however if the person made that decision we have to respect it as we respect the person. Shouldering guilt will not help anyone, indeed it could harm someone, so we must try and seek peace whilst we are here and live our lives as they would want us to. I have heard people say “that’s taking the easy way out”.  Believe me it is not.  I believe the person to have been very strong and true to themselves right to the end. As in any situation the sooner that you can forgive the better.  Forgive them, yes of course, but just as important forgive yourself,  as there is no blame. Forgive all.

Regardless of what I have said, the people left behind will be devastated.

If you are the person contemplating suicide find someone to talk to.  There are groups who can help disentangle things and might even come up with something you haven’t thought of.  You can only gain by seeking someone to chat to.

Try chatting to a family member, a partner, a pastor, a mate or a group like Lifeline or SANE.  This might sound daft, but even a pet can listen and give comfort. Try taking a look at this link, to see that you are not alone in feeling as bad as you do and you can get help.

If it would help, you can send a comment to say how you feel here.

For support and information about depression, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE helpline on 1800 187 263.

Is this of help to anyone? It’s a long road

I have been to a lot of funerals in my life.  The least sad was the funeral of an elderly gentleman of 93 years of age.  A piano tuner, who had been blind all his life, at the end was taken peacefully.  The saddest funeral was that of a young officer cadet in the army who, for some unknown reason to us,  ended his own life by suicide.  Even though he was a  happy person, or so it seemed to those around him, had a young child, a beautiful wife and a very promising career in the armed forces, he still believed his only option, good or bad, was to end his time on earth.  The Chaplain had counselled him on many ocassions and still did not know the reason. Since then, I surely know that there is no blame in most suicide cases.

Every single one of us has a breaking point.  Perhaps at the moment you and I are feeling good about ourselves, but our breaking point could be behind a door we just haven’t come to yet.

Blame has never cured anyone, but if we all do our best to help people where we can it could improve all our lives. No blame on the victim, no blame on friends or family, no blame on professionals who might have tried to help.

Some years ago, a close friend of mine called at my front door and asked if he could borrow $2.00.  Knowing him well, I knew it would be a gift not a loan as I handed him the money.  In the early hours of the morning I received a phone call from the local hospital.  A nurse told me that Peter* had taken over 100 aspirin and had just had his stomach washed out.  He had asked her to phone me.  I could not work out why he said to phone me – why not his wife, mother or father.  I drove straight to the hospital and found Peter lying in a bed,  not looking too good but awake.  I just sat and chatted with him.  When he laughed at something I had said, a nurse popped her head around the curtain and said that she couldn’t believe it, “such a change in him”.  I then asked him where he had got the aspirin from.  “I bought them with the $2.00 you gave me” to which I replied “Yeah, gave!”.  He saw the funny side and laughed.  He went on to explain why he had asked for me.  He said he felt the others would be ashamed of him.  I remember clearly that I felt a twinge of sadness at that remark, as it is never something to be ashamed of.

Perhaps the best bit of advice to a person close to someone who may be suicidal is to find something that they like doing and give it a try.  In Peter’s case it was laughing – which we all need to do but a suicidal person can’t.  So, try and get a smile, and then a laugh and it should help to release the endorphins needed to fight their current frame of mind.

I would like to say that Peter is still alive and laughing.  But sadly he started taking so-called recreational drugs and the power of these drugs overtook the understanding of himself.   He died 20 years after the aspirin incident of an overdose.  Whether this was purposely or accidentally was never discovered, but all the same it killed him.

I do believe however, that part of the reason he had life for that extra 20 years was for that one laugh.

*Not his real name.

Trevor Cologne “You are not at risk”

Trevor Cologne
Trevor Cologne

It is some years ago that I was introduced to Trevor, he seemed a very happy, confident and decent person.  Obviously he hit some bad times more recently and things got so bad for him that he started slashing his wrists to enable him to get into a mental institution for help.  However the “sympathetic” doctors and nurses just took the easy option and fixed the gaping wounds and sent him on his way.

Now I don’t know if you have ever been into a mental institution.  I visited someone in one some years ago and it was not a place anyone would consider staying in unless they were extremely down in their mental state.  Now if I, as a lay person can state this, then why, why, why could the trained professionals at the  hospital in Adelaide not see that this man was ill, not just physically harmed but depressed to the extreme.

This should be a country that looks after its people, not let them die for the sake of a bit of help and a few dollars of medical fees.   Some argue against euthanasia, yet a man who wanted to live and tried to seek help was allowed to die.  If a person begging for help cant be given it, then this has turned into a country of extreme indifference to another persons plight.

Trevor, according to news reports was allowed to see a psychiatrist only once every three weeks.  Why was this?  If someone needs help, surely in this country we can let them talk to a professional as often as needed.

They go on to say he saw not one but  four doctors on one visit, four qualified people who might have saved this mans life, did not.  In my opinion doctors who have taken the Hippocratic oath to try and save life, failed miserably on this occasion.  If I employed a gardener and he did not see that my prized plant needed help and he let it die I would fire him on the spot.  These people however, will not be sacked.  They will keep their extremely high salaries and will carry on saying they have taken an oath to try and save peoples lives.  Well if this is saving people, then doctor, please don’t save me.

The people of Adelaide demand a coronial inquiry into why this man was not given adequate help when he so desperately pleaded for it.  They say that he “was not at risk”.  Mr Cologne was a very intelligent man and if he said to a doctor I feel I need to be in a mental institution then he should have been admitted and then assessed, not just told you are not at risk.  The man is now dead and they  offered  him the words “you are not at risk”.  If anyone would like to add a comment about Trevor then please do.

29/11/2011.                  Has anyone got any updated information on this article? They would be most welcome.

For support and information about depression, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE helpline on 1800 187 263.

Australia needs to grow

The Widowmaker
Creative Commons License photo credit: aussiegall

Australian politicians are constantly moaning about “boat people” arriving uninvited in Australia.  Australia has a population of less than 23 million.  If this country wants to stay a first world country then it needs more people.  Britain has over 62 million people, America over 311 million, China well over a billion, Japan nearly 130 million,  Indonesia 237 million, Russia nearly 143 million, Nauru has 10,000.  South Korea has double Australia’s population.  Australia has less people than Thailand.

Australia cannot even start to compete.  As a country’s population grows so does the infrastructure.  The people who arrive, far from taking jobs as some people say, in the longer term actually provide more employment.  All the services grow in line with an increasing population.  The increased population increases the revenue going to the government, which in turn can then provide better health care, education – overall infrastructure – and the load is shared over more people.  Instead of 23 million people paying into the government coffers you could have say 100 million or 200 million paying into the government collecting bowl making this a vastly wealthier and stronger country.

Locking refugees and the non invited up is cruel and does a huge disservice to Australia.  Australia should be surging forward, not clinging to the past of a select few in this vast but empty land.  The skilled and future moguls are locked up or sent back.  Australia is being given gold and throwing it back.  It is absurd for this to be happening to what could one day be a powerful country instead of just a foil of Britain and America.

Britain and America have the population to provide goods for themselves, unlike Australia having to buy from larger populated countries like China, Thailand and South Korea.

Foley’s folly

Adelaide SA Kevin Foley, the trouble finder, has found it again.  This time in a night spot in the city, in a toilet with two well dressed men, he gets himself assaulted.  Again.  When asked about it he said they were in a disabled toilet, yet none of them seem to be disabled.  He stated that his head was pushed into the wall above the urinal.  After consulting various “experts” on disabled toilets, I find that you do not get urinals in disabled toilets.  A bit odd.

Mike “Schwarzenegger” Rann has body guards when he goes anywhere.  Mr Foley, for a reason known only to himself, has not requested any protection.  Mr Rann has likened himself to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I am sorry Mr Rann, but I don’t think Arnie would take this sort of treatment to his lieutenant.

It should be safe for anyone to go anywhere and be safe from physical abuse.  But Mr Foley has to answer for his own decision to go where he chooses.   Of course  he can go around the city late at night.  After the first time of getting hurt, most would get the message but he chose to carry on his night life ways.  Only a fool  goes back for more punishment.

The moral of the story –  “once bitten twice shy”.  A fair politician he is, but a wise man? Not really.  Mr Rann has shown he is no “Schwarzenegger” and Mr Foley has shown he is not the tough guy he thought he was.

A little tip for Mr Foley –  either take some boxing lessons or eat and drink at home late at night.   Leave the night life to the young, tough and trendy.   It’s slipper time.

Felted Clogs and Potholder
Creative Commons License photo credit: noricum

Burning beliefs

KKK
Creative Commons License photo credit: Arete13

US President Barack Obama has quite rightly condemned an American pastor’s burning of the Koran, after violent protests.

The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.

It led to the death of 17 in Afghanistan. Obviously he is correct in stating this however we must see the hypocrisy in his statement.  He preaches for the right of all religions to worship safely, while simultaneously US forces kill and maim soldiers and civilians including the children who worship a different god to him.

If we accept that the Pastor is guilty of incitement to murder,  surely we must see the acts that Obama is guilty of.  War crimes?