Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

An International Dialogue on the Recent Tragedy of an English Nurse’s Suicide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 9, 2012

Over the past year, I have established friendship with a young man whom is an Irish resident. We share several common interests, among them our religious faith – we are both Catholic – and the creative arts – he is an active musician, while my musical talents & skills have taken a respite.

Recently, on his FaceBook page, he had shared a news story, which was in response to the news of the tragedy of the suicide of the English Nurse who had been involved in an international prank, and later found to have committed suicide.

While the volume of dialogue was principally between he and I, there were other respondents, some of whom were situated on the opposite side of the globe, in the Southern hemisphere, in Australia, where the prank originated.

As I returned to the post to read the other responses, it occurred to me that they were civil in tenor, and it was that aspect of the dialogue which was perhaps the most enjoyable, and which – as I perceive it – has remained sorely absent in many so-called online “forums.” The lack of civility has also taken a toll in politics, even on a worldwide basis. And that loss of civility is wholly and entirely regrettable.

So, it is because of the presence of civility – which is an acknowledgement of respect for another person, even though there may be vastly differing perspectives – that I wish to share the dialogue. For respect of others’ privacy, and because their identities are not germane to the topic, their names are redacted.

Young Irish Male: ‎Female 1, we were just talking about pranksters last week and how pranks really can destroy a persons life. This is just one example. Very sad story.

Nurse who took Kate prank call at hospital found dead
www.independent.ie
KATE Middleton said she was deeply saddened yesterday by the apparent suicide of a nurse who fell victim to a hoax during her stay in hospital.

Female 1: Oh i know..isn’t that just terrible! I put a video on just last week…i don’t know if it was real or not but it showed a woman getting pranked in her home and scared and she ran outside real fast and ran into the road and got hit by a car. This is soooo sad and will hopefully put an end to some of the stupid pranks that get done so often that can hurt people. <><

Me: I’ll have to disagree with you on this one, Young Irish Male. Here’s why: Suicide is a solitary act. By making someone else responsible for another’s actions is treading upon very treacherously dangerous ground. Those who commit suicide do so without consultation. And yet, it is consultation about their thoughts & feelings that they have failed to share with others. Perhaps more than anything suicide demonstrates one’s failure to honestly, openly & voluntarily communicate what they’re thinking & how they’re feeling emotionally. They are emotionally isolated. And that is not a sign of good mental health nor of mental stability.

Granted, this is a tragic and grossly misfortunate turn of events, which – as you infer – should cause us all to seriously examine how we treat others. Yet it is simultaneously a call for introspective self-examination. For as the poet said, “No man is an island.”

Male 1: {Addressing Me,} is it possible to share responsibility, though? Ultimate responsibility does fall on the one committing suicide, but others can be responsible for it as well.

Female 1: All our actions affect people. Especially ones done without the thought of consequences. There are fun and harmless pranks but then there are people pushing the line into the danger zone of decency and responsibility. This one did that. It was a serious event going on(pregnancy of Kate) and the privacy they desired and deserve and this ‘prank’ hurt someone. So deeply that they decided themselves to commit murder. Like Alexander says….in other words…no man is an island.

Female 1: i mean commit suicide..which is murder..of oneself.

YIM: {Addressing Me} good point, but you have missed one major step in this process. When we sin, it is us who have sinned this is granted, for example Adam and eve were blaming the serpent for their disobedience much to the dislike of God. But at the same time we must recognize that the Devil played an ”influence” upon their actions. This is why you often hear people say ”He is under the influence of the evil one”. And when we play a vital role as humans leading someone else into sin, we also commit the same gravity of that sin. We confess this in the confessional such sins as leading others into sin which is in itself a sin and a grave one depending upon the sin we led them into. This is why the church excommunicates all those who participate in the helping of someone getting an abortion for example : driving them to the abortion clinic. Do you see where I am coming from now Me?

Me: While I understand your position, I must say that I genuinely wonder if the greater point – that being, that in a very real sense, one must bear responsibility for one’s own actions – is being overlooked. To illustrate, what if a student were to make a low score upon an examination, and consequently, were to commit suicide – would we blame the teacher? As I understand it, the scenario which you present would say “yes, we would blame someone else.” While I concur philosophically with your perspective (which acknowledges that to some degree, we are our brothers’ keeper), and yet, it seems to me that there is a point of junction for these two thoughts. Where do you think that might be?

YIM: Yes but the teacher didn’t lead the student into sin because the teacher did not play a psychological trick or lie upon the student that him into that sin. The teacher simply did his job and a suicide as a result of that would have other influences involved to be looked at such as the psychological influences involved that perhaps led to student to commit that suicide. One could think of the pressure his parents put upon him to pass etc etc. Therefore there is an obvious sharing in the responsability of someone commiting and action as suicide as long as those factors that led to the suicide are obvious and in the case of this story above the influences that led this woman to decide for herself to commit this sin is obvious.

YIM: remember we are not blaming the people for the action but they are to blame for their own behaviour that played a part in leading a person down that route.

Me: Granted, the comparison is flawed, yet behaviors based upon thoughts – which thoughts in this case apparently led one to commit suicide (we do not know why she committed suicide, she could have been clinically depressed, we do not know) – were themselves faulty. Agreed? The point at which one’s thoughts begin to implode – as they apparently did, resulting in the tragedy of suicide (it could have resulted in other tragedy, or loss of life, such as murder/suicide, though it did not) – would it still be appropriate to place blame upon the comedian as a target? Shall we also shoot the messenger?

YIM: {Addressing Me}, a messenger who brings good or bad news is nothing compared to the abuse of using a person for the rest of our entertainment. We must realize that in the present world we live in, we have departed the colliseum of using people for bloody entertainment to the present day and age of using people now for our psychological laughs. Depending upon the Joke of a comedian or prank involved, it can heighten someones inclination to commit suicide. It would be a wonderful world if everyone was able to understand that old saying that words never hurt us, but we need to acknowledge that not everyone in the world applies themselve to this way of thinking, for this reason we should know better when we play pranks on someone we don’t know. Depending upon the gravity of the joke or prank involved, it is deemed an abuse and sin to use people for our entertainment. It was an abuse back in the roman empire and it still is today only it has changed its face a little. For example, Jerry springer and all those chat shows that put people and their problems on the stage so people can laugh at them under the disguise that they are somehow ”counselling” them when really they are not but making matters worse.

Me: In the scenario of making light of, or humor from one’s actions has been, and continues to be part and parcel of humor. We see it historically in the “court jester,” in late-night comedians, and in jokes, stories and other light hearted anecdotes from all cultures and societies the world over. So, in a very real way, people have always, and very likely always will be used for entertainment. We simply MUST laugh at ourselves, for if we do not, we are very sick individuals, indeed.

What we do not know is why that Nurse committed suicide. The assumption being made is that she committed suicide as a direct result of the actions of another – those actions being interpreted as bully, or abusive behavior. In my opinion, they were not. The woman may have been naïve – I would strongly presume so, having heard the exchange/dialogue – since she clearly did not recognize the voice as being an imposter, nor did she defer to her superior/supervisor in the matter. The “bottom line” is that we do not know why she committed suicide, and it is a mistake to conclusively assert that the actions of a third-rate radio comedienne were directly responsible for a suicide. For if she were truly responsible, why not charge her with murder, or at the very least, manslaughter?

YIM: Indeed we need to laugh at ourselves just as we must eat in order to live, but as we know there is a tendency sometimes to overeat and enter into the deadly sin of gluttony. In the area of comedy there is a tendency to go overboard and these presenters did just that.

Me: In America, we have HIPAA – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – which governs communications concerning one’s healthcare, and which has guidelines, and exceedingly stringent penalties (civil & fiscal) for violations of the same. While one cannot say that such a thing could not have happened here, it’s extremely unlikely that it could have.

Female 2: Can I just say as an Australian that I was deeply disturbed when the original call was broadcast on T.V. here and seen to be “amusing” I felt it was a total humiliation of the people caring for Katherine who would take their responsibilities to the

Female 2: royal family very seriously. We may not concur with the level of respect or solemnity with with the royal family is treated, but we are not English and this needs to be taken into account. I, for one, feel disgusted with these D.J.’s attempt at humour…there will always be a victim when a prank is being played and people need to realize this. Now this must be realized in the most horrific way….with the suicide of a woman belittled and humiliated by the actions of people she didn’t even know halfway around the world. How dare they! Put her in that position just for the sake of a laugh. I don’t care if she should have used some other protocol to vet the call or if they never believed they would get through to the nurse. NO EXCUSES! These people need to take responsibility for their actions and we need to stop feeding of the pain/humiliation of others in order to get our “fix” of humour/entertainment. It is different if an incident occurs accidentally and is amusing, but this was deliberate and these people need to accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness.

Female 1: In the U.K. here the newpaper journalists are being taken to task for their criminal actions against people that if ‘normal’ people did would be arrested but they just get a pat on the hand..like listening in on conversations and then making news out of it. Following people…stalking….and getting people killed like Princess Diana. So these kind of people need to be put right. What if someone had a heart attack? What if she was repremanded so fiercely that she felt afraid for her future and livelihood as she has children? These Australian pair did not THINK about how they were affecting people and for THAT they shall be responsible for. Their actions as well as for the woman who killed herself. We all are and we all are connected. Nothing we do or say goes unheeded or unnoticed or the reprucussions of are not felt by many. I am hurt because of this as are most people who have heard of it. So many more were hurt in this incident than meets the eye. I feel pain from it too.

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