Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ultimate freedom.

A friend of mine took his life this week.

He was in his mid-thirties. No one really realized that he was in that place.

Very few people that I've talked to about this seem to share my belief that it was his life to take, if he so chose.

Look, I think suicide is selfish, sure. But we all do selfish things every day, don't we? We order pizza instead of opening a can of generic beans and a can of corn. We pay extra for a car with air conditioning. We get higher thread count sheets because, dammit, it feels good. My obsession with better beverages (coffee, beer, and scotch) is almost legendary. We are selfish beings. That's not inhuman. In fact, it's the very essence of living a human life. And part of one's life is one's death.

We all have a debt to pay. No one escapes. How and when you pay it is ultimately your decision.

If I can't die peaceably in my bed at a very advanced age with a recently-finished book at my bedside, then I hope to die falling toward my vanquished foe. But I will ultimately make decisions about the manner and the timing of my death.

Don't be too quick to judge those who gave it all up. It was theirs first. As long as they don't endanger others with their actions, and don't shirk real responsibilities, then I'm okay with it, I guess, on a personal level.

Professionally, of course, I will do my duty to attempt to stop suicide when I can. That's the job.

My friend was single and had no kids. We remember his life this week. I'm sorry I didn't know that he was in such need. I would certainly have tried to help him.

But I'll respect his decision. I won't grieve that. I'll grieve that he got in the well that he felt he couldn't climb out of.

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At Saturday, March 14, 2009 1:08:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Everyone has their own prerogative.
My only argument is, well, nothing. You stated you had no idea. I personally believe that every suicide has a point that they tip over, someone can discover it, just a matter of how far out of reach they make it.
Basically, it can be caught, maybe not by you, but someone who went through the same thing.... like that happens everyday...

At Saturday, March 14, 2009 6:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well put. I tend to agree, and think you assessed it well. Does this have anything to do with the post just before it?

{word verification - therap... the rap. great, now I'm gonna have that rapping granny from the wedding singer in my head all day @ the gun show...)

At Saturday, March 14, 2009 8:28:00 AM, Blogger JD said...

Sorry to hear of your loss but I have to agree with you. We are a free people and that is the ultimate freedom to choose.

Keep the good memories. . . .

At Saturday, March 14, 2009 11:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a subject that causes me a lot of conflict. My father killed himself when I was 4, leaving my mother and two younger brothers. It is very selfish. However, I don't know what kind of pain he was living with so how can I really judge?

Hopefully he, and your friend, are at peace.

At Saturday, March 14, 2009 12:51:00 PM, Blogger Jay G said...


Sorry to hear of your loss. I know how difficult it is to lose a friend to the beast within - I've lost two close friends that way. Each time (the first I was 13) you beat yourself up wondering if there's anything you could have done.

But you can't.

It's such a tremendously personal decision; those that have made the choice won't let on, as they've cast the die already.

Mourn him, remember him in the good times, and let his extinguished light remind you just how precious life is.

My condolences.

At Sunday, March 15, 2009 2:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've saved three people by being in the right spot at the right time and I have lost one that I couldn't do anything more for because he wouldn't let anyone in to his problems.

If anyone can't understand what a suicidal person goes through to get to that point, how colorless and bleak that spot is to be in, I say good! because they have never been to that low point in their life. You cannot understand without having been there.

I do think that we do the wrong thing at funerals. Most funerals that I have been to are very, very somber in nature. I don't want that for me. I want laughter, I want funny stories, I want people laughing and celebrating my life not mourning my loss. It goes back to you writing that people are selfish. I think we are selfish at funerals and mourn for our loss instead of celebrating the one that we have lost.

At Sunday, March 15, 2009 8:54:00 AM, Blogger Dan O. said...

I agree with your statements and, as Jay G alluded to, those who are going to commit suicide don't usually threaten to over and over. Those are the ones who just want attention.

There are probably other signs that warn of those who will ultimately do the deed, but you won't stop someone who is determined because they will keep it to themselves to the end.

I believe it is our one true liberty that no one should infringe on.

That said, it is still the loss of a loved one and I offer my due condolences.

At Sunday, March 15, 2009 11:39:00 AM, Blogger misbeHaven said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Matt, and sorry that your friend felt that was his best choice, but I share your opinion it was indeed his choice.

At Sunday, March 15, 2009 7:24:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Ultimately he freed himself from this earthly world... Why? Who knows. And yes, we can only reach out to those who ask, we cannot be the saviour of all. Remember the good and go on with life.

I had an uncle, in his 90's in a nursing home and confined to a wheel chair for three years that was brought "home" for his birthday. After lunch and cake, the family helped him lay down to take a nap.

He got up, got a pistol out of the closet, went down a flight of stairs walked about 20 yards to his favorite rocker in the back yard and pulled the trigger. He had decided it was his time, and he did it his way...

At Wednesday, March 18, 2009 2:06:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

Shannon the gunsmith once said something that has really stuck with me...

Once upon a time, somebody walked into Guncraft (the indoor range that is now CCA), rented a Taurus, went out to lane 3, and gapped herself.

Guncraft management immediately began running in circles, trying to figure out how to teach the counter monkeys how to recognize potentially suicidal renters.

Shannon said: "Don't try looking for depressed people. They aren't depressed. By the time they get to the counter here, they're happy. They've made up their mind; they know what they're going to do, and they're looking forward to it..."

Sorry, Matt. :(


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