A number of countries and states used to have laws against suicide (or do they still have them?
Someone should correct me on this), According to my brief research, I can’t provide supporting evidence for or against the truth of what I found - some countries still do have such laws.
According to what I read, they are principally countries with little or no separation between religion and the state. Regardless of the conditions under which it was introduced and is sustained, would someone please explain to me the point of a law against suicide?
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a law against attempted suicide. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either (more so if it’s classified as an offense punishable by death), but at least I can understand the purported rationale.
Nor am I talking about assisted suicides in which people suffering excruciatingly painful diseases, with little realistic prospect of a recovery, get other people to help them commit suicide because the sufferers are too physically weak to do it themselves.
I don’t want to get into a discussion of the morality or immorality of that. Argue about it among yourselves and let me know what conclusion you reach. I have my own opinion, but I don’t have any special insight that makes my opinion any more valid than yours.
Instead of attempted or assisted suicide, what I’m talking about is the laws against successfully committing suicide that apparently still exist in a few places.
Whether or not it was common back then than it is today is not an issue to me. All I want is someone to try and explain to me the logic behind a law against successful suicide, whether back then or now.
And, before I get flamed mercilessly, allow me to state categorically clear that I think that, with the possible exception of those people suffering horrible, physically excruciating, incurable diseases, the people who attempt suicide are probably mentally anguished people.
In fact, the definitions of “attempting suicide” and “mentally anguished” pretty much stipulate that.
I don’t enjoy paying taxes any more than anyone else does, but I have sympathy for these people and would be perfectly happy to have some of my tax money go to building and staffing mental hospitals that can help them.
I understand the Darwinian reason why we have strong taboos against suicide. He thinks that an aversion to suicide is required for the continuation of any species, which with all honesty, I find coherent.
So, yes, I understand why humans evolved to have a revulsion of suicide, but what’s the point of a law?
My brief research also showed me that a number of countries, as of April 2007 (according to Amnesty international) had abolished the death penalty for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes and other horribly heinous crimes, presumably because they thought it was too cruel and unusual a punishment.
Even the countries that retained the death penalty on the books had not carried out any executions for the previous 10 years or so. Again, my research wasn’t all that lengthy, so don’t expect me to state any figures here with precision.
So if capital punishment is considered to be the most severe of criminal penalties, what sentence could the state dish out that was any more severe than the ones suicide victims impose on themselves? What’s the judge going to say?
“Recognizing the seriousness of your crime, you leave me no choice but to impose the maximum penalty: twenty years to life, with time off for good behavior.
However, considering your current medical condition, namely deceased, I’m going to suspend your sentence and let you off with just the time you’ve already.” Uh, I don’t think so.
I perfectly understand the rationale for humans having a loathing for prospects of a suicidal act, but I don’t ever want to know whose judicious idea it was that a law against suicide (make no mistake, I don’t mean to talk about attempted suicide) be put in law books.