Thursday, September 10, 2009

Symbolic gestures - who are they for?

It seems that every day is something-or-another day. Where does one go to apply for a day to recognise, celebrate or navel-gaze over something? Whoever is running the application office has cocked up because today has been double allocated.

Today is Michigan Fire Services Awareness Day.

But it is also International Suicide Prevention Day. Sorry. I know this is a desperately sad and serious business. But is lighting a candle going to make a blind bit of difference?

The World Health Organisation says;

We are hoping this activity will bring light into the world and increase awareness of the good work so many people do in preventing suicide.

Which reminds me of a message God (or someone acting on his behalf) sent me yesterday. "Due to the recession, there will be no light at the end of the tunnel."

I suppose that is why people kill themselves. The light at the end of their tunnel has gone out.

In 1969 there were 278 deaths from suicide - a rate of 10 per 100,000 people

Today the rate is 13.2 per 100,000.

There is a two day suicide prevention conference going on in Wellington right now. A lot of people are making a living out of other people dying. But not much is changing.


Opinionated Libertarimum said...

Too right.

I've been reluctant to voice this out loud anymore (it's a surprisingly unpopular view), but I've often thought lighting a candle would have as much impact as coloured loopy ribbons. But the symbolic gesture makes people feel good, and so the symbolism continues but nothing changes.

brian_smaller said...

I must be callous and cruel, because in the rarest of cases I just don't care about people who commit suicide. Saying that there has never been one in my family in my lifetime.

I have known people who have killed themselves and I think candles wouldn't have made much difference to their decision.

They all had loving families, or kids that needed them or mates that they could have talked to. They chose another option.

The ones I do feel for are the people who face choice of death in a World Trade Centre type scenario - jump or burn.

Sus said...

I blame the Americans. They love this shit. They even go so far as to announce "[American Idol contestant - insert name here] Day" in the contestant's hometown.

Re these specific events, it all smacks of doing something to be seen to be doing something. Again.

And dare I say that attending that two-day tearfest would be enough to ...

Anonymous said...

i suspect the true rate of suicide especially among the young is not known.

My Grandfather committed suicide. He couldnt handle Nana bonking the next door neighbour. but my point is , his demise was described on the death certificate as "heart failure."

If people want to off themselves, I suggest its better to let them go find happy elsewhere.


brian_smaller said...

Dirk - I tend to agree. Who is to say that they have made the wrong choice.