Copycat

Apparently the hanging of Saddam Hussein has sparked some sort of international insanity, with people getting all riled up and throwing beer bottles and each other and hanging themselves from bunk beds. Oh, yes. At last count I think I took note of four “copycat suicides” being reported in the press, one of which appears to have been an accident.

An accident? How do you hang yourself accidentally? Well, apparently you watch what amounts to a snuff film on national television and you decide to try it out, just to see what it’s like, not understanding the divide between television and reality, and then you die. Oh, and your parents try to sue the national television station for airing video of Saddam’s hanging, arguing that it drove your child to it.

I have a few responses to Saddam’s death. I mean, one, I really am opposed to capital punishment, even of evil dictators who might conceivably deserve it. I would much rather see life imprisonment, preferably in a little pink jumper with flowers on it. I feel that this would be more satisfying to us all, personally.

I really strongly disapprove of the global airing of the execution video. It’s a snuff film, and the media outlets which aired it, or bits from it, or still shots…should be ashamed of themselves. It really is a disgusting thing to ponder, that we only show the face of “evil people” dead and not nice upstanding citizens like President Ford. The dead cannot give their consent to be photographed, or for millions of cable viewers to watch them swinging from a rope. Personally, I think capital punishment is disgusting, so therefore I think that videos of capital punishment in action are also disgusting. Whether people want to accept it or not, Saddam Hussein was a person, and I fail to see how watching a video of someone dying benefits society in any way, shape, or form.

The alacrity with which the video was distributed and viewed alarms me, quite frankly. And adds confirmation to my theory that most of us are bloodthirsty demons whether we want to admit it or not.

Finally, I think all of this press coverage over “copycat suicides” is silly. How many people kill themselves by hanging every day? A regrettably large number, I’m sure. Yet the media has chosen to focus on suicide by hanging because of the Saddam video, arguing that the video spurred people to commit suicide. (The same video that these press agencies gleefully aired…) I suspect that most people who commit suicide are not influenced by external factors, and that as a society we could benefit from suicide education and prevention, not media sensationalism.

Must be a slow news week.

[Saddam]
[suicide]