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COMMENTARY · 23rd April 2013
Merv Ritchie
Not to be cruel and unsympathetic to the families of those who took their lives, but suicide is a cowards way out. There is not an ounce of reason or logic that applies to anyone who decides to take their own life to avoid more shame or ridicule. Only those who have been completely failed by our society, their families and our collective education systems attempt this or do it. It is idiotic, shameful and demonstrates a complete lack of character.

I must confess I too considered this stupid action after the cruel woman who was the incubator for my children used her womanly wiles and family money to remove these two beautiful children from my daily routine. I too devised numerous schemes in my head. My most pleasing was to fabricate rebar ‘U’-shaped stakes, kidnap the cruel creature along with her complicit mother, duct-taping their mouths and zap strapping their wrists and ankles. I knew where there were two extremely large ant hills and I imagined staking them down on top and pouring syrup over them letting the ants torture them as they tortured my soul.

While wailing, gut wrenching, spiritually raw writhing and crying, lying on my back on the grass in front of the cabin I built on the hill in the Shuswap community of Celista I knew I would simply go get my rifle and point it to my neck and head and just pull the trigger. A friend of mine had done it earlier in the year and a guy who hired me in Yellowknife did the same thing. I suppose it was thinking about the non-impact on society both of them had, which had me determine that wasn’t an effective solution. When, hours later I climbed back to my cabin I called my friend Shawn to come and collect my guns.

Finally I went to my doctor, Dr. Sonmor in Salmon Arm. He knew the black widow had my children, he was our family doctor. I had also described how she beat the kids and destroyed furniture, flipping out frequently and how I couldn’t deal with the pain of her now having the kids without me being present to protect them.

He had the answer and it should be prescribed reading in all educational facilities. It saved me and it saved the mother of my children. It is an opportunity to save many of us who feel persecuted by anyone or anything.

I still have some angst towards this doctor who did not take a stand against the abuse of my children but I thank him for directing me to this book by a Mayan Elder and author don Miguel Ruiz

Following is a short and concise summary of the Book “The Four Agreements”. Our children and many adults have no sense of self confidence or sense of self. This is the tragedy. Facebook, Twitter and all other social media are just tools and games. Reality is you, your life, your family, your spiritual entity.

I have little sympathy except for the fact that we have not taught everyone these simply rules of life and interaction. Kill yourself if you wish, but don’t expect me to come and wallow in self pity and proclaim some blame on someone else for making you do it. Like I do here, my role is to prevent someone else from being a coward, not to play into the blame game our governments and media wish to do.

If you who are reading this now wish to help, read the words below, attempt to understand and internalize the concepts, then teach them to your children. It might save someone from being eaten alive by ants sometime in the future or a child from feeling insecure and helpless. It just might save a few lives. One would be worth it.

Be Impeccable with Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Impeccable means “without sin” and a sin is something you do or believe that goes against yourself. It means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others. It means not rejecting yourself. To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.”

Regarding the word, the rules of “action-reaction” apply. What you put out energetically will return to you. Proper use of the word creates proper use of energy, putting out love and gratitude perpetuates the same in the universe. The converse is also true.

Impeccability starts at home. Be impeccable with yourself and that will reflect in your life and your relationships with others. This agreement can help change thousands of other agreements, especially ones that create fear instead of love.

Don't Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

We take things personally when we agree with what others have said. If we didn't agree, the things that others say would not affect us emotionally. If we did not care about what others think about us, their words or behavior could not affect us.

Even if someone yells at you, gossips about you, harms you or yours, it still is not about you! Their actions and words are based on what they believe in their personal dream.

Our personal “Book of Law” and belief system makes us feel safe. When people have beliefs that are different from our own, we get scared, defend ourselves, and impose our point of view on others. If someone gets angry with us it is because our belief system is challenging their belief system and they get scared. They need to defend their point of view. Why become angry, create conflict, and expend energy arguing when you are aware of this?

Don't Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

When we make assumptions it is because we believe we know what others are thinking and feeling. We believe we know their point of view, their dream. We forget that our beliefs are just our point of view based on our belief system and personal experiences and have nothing to do with what others think and feel.

We make the assumption that everybody judges us, abuses us, victimizes us, and blames us the way we do ourselves. As a result we reject ourselves before others have the chance to reject us. When we think this way, it becomes difficult to be ourselves in the world.

Take action and be clear to others about what you want or do not want; do not gossip and make assumptions about things others tell you. Respect other points of view and avoid arguing just to be right. Respect yourself and be honest with yourself. Stop expecting the people around you to know what is in your head.

Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Doing your best means enjoying the action without expecting a reward. The pleasure comes from doing what you like in life and having fun, not from how much you get paid. Enjoy the path traveled and the destination will take care of itself.

Living in the moment and releasing the past helps us to do the best we can in the moment. It allows us to be fully alive right now, enjoying what is present, not worrying about the past or the future.

Have patience with yourself. Take action. Practice forgiveness. If you do your best always, transformation will happen as a matter of course.

in Agreement
Comment by Catherine on 28th April 2013
I am in total agreement with Merv, Maggiejo and Paul.

What could've happen to these people who thought they had no way out? An intolerant society???

Maybe Mr Dickinson needs to consider being on the receiving end of his comments.
It's heroic
Comment by <3 on 26th April 2013
I believe suicide is anything but cowardly. Being able to take your own life is something out of this world. In my eyes its almost heroic. Knowing that your life is about to end, that your heart is not going to beat anymore, you will never speak or see anything again, the moment you take your last breath in this chaotic world we call home? It's amazing. I don't find it cowardly at all.
Comment by Paul Repstock on 26th April 2013
Nicely said Maggiejoe!
All of us have somehow been touched, or hammered, by another person who chose to commit suicide. We can only hope that Mr. Dickinson has a different agenda to what he says. Suicide is a desperate and sad place to end.
If society was a kinder organism, people would not end in such a position.
In Merv's defense...
Comment by maggiejo johnson on 25th April 2013
As Merv indicated in his opening statement...he started with how he did not mean to be cruel and unsympathetic with what he was about to print. He was speaking from his OWN personal experience(s) and hats off to him for sharing such deep personal disclosures to us - his readers. I applaud him for that.

That being said...I respectfully disagree with the comments that suicide is the cowardly way out. These people are normally victims who receive no assistance and are shunned by Society if God forbid they are not 'normal' . And requesting assistance? Good luck with that!

People who commit suicide do so as they feel like they have no other option. They are tired. They may be ashamed of acts they have committed, or are suffering in a grave manner whether in mental illness or for other reasons unbeknownst to their family members...or are of the nature where they believe they no longer see a sliver of hope in their future. Many living family members innocently suffer for years never knowing the 'why' about it all...and are often judged (yet again) by Society when they say..."Oh...there's the lady whose son killed himself!" We really need to smarten up people and knock off all the judgements!

Considering suicide is a pretty precarious state to be in. Perhaps those considering suicide may think they are acting 'bravely' by relieving Society of their burden so we don't have to tend to them if they stayed alive (aka; euthenasia and suicide).

I applaud Merv for bringing this issue to the forefont. No one ELSE publishes their dark personal experiences in such a detailed public forum.

In regards to how the 'cruel woman' added more suffering to Merv by withholding his children from him? I was just watching an episode on Television about how men always get the shorter end of the stick in regards to custody and don't have any say in abortion or adoption issues. It is apparent Merv loves his children and would never find his own offspring a nuisance, and to be deprived of his the degree he didn't feel he could live without noble. But ending one's life as a result is not; hence his cry for help for a friend to come and take all guns out of his possession during his deepest darkest moments when he was without his children. He was suffering that much knowing his children were stripped of common practice is the woman always 'wins'.

In Merv's personal suffering, he read the book 'The Four Agreements' which for him may have saved his life and he is now attempting to share that information in efforts to aide anyone else in that regard. If we time take to re-read that all...we may suddenly see how we can better ourselves so that there is never a time we may want to point that gun at our own heads.

I for one am glad that Merv didn't end his life.

My condolences to anyone who has lost a close one due to suicide.
bullies and suicide
Comment by diane somerville on 25th April 2013
I am totally upset by what you,ve written. I who am still in terrible grief over death of my son, self caused,due to years of living with how it felt to be physically and sexually abused by step dads, left in his care. I had no idea at first,he never said a word. Then my 2nd husband who was a closet bi-sexual tried to turn my son into one. He dead at 38,heart breaking don,t you dare tell me he is a coward. He was a victum to male predetors. My cousin lost her son ,self caused different reason. She struggles daily with grief also. Her son was not a coward either. A victum of a poor medical system. How could you write such an article? Its wrong,it hurts!
At David
Comment by Terry on 24th April 2013
Why would you discriminate against the mentally ill ? If you're going to open the door then open the bloody door . There is also the question of method . I for one think being blown up would be lacking enough drama for some . How about you ? Do you have an age limit in mind ?
Society's views on suicide must change
Comment by david dickinson on 24th April 2013
In today's world, which is leaner and meaner than when I was younger, we need to recognize the need for change. Suicide should no longer be considered a crime, under prescribed circumstances. We shouldn't allow a few high profile news stories to blind us to the truth for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, for whom suicide would be an honourable way out. I'm talking about the poor, the disabled, and the elderly. The regulations would only require that persons who wants to off themselves must be certified by two medical doctors that they are of sound mind and not suffering from a mental condition which would affect their ability to make a rational, informed choice. Why should poor people who want to kill themselves be seen as cowards? Every poor person who offs him or herself is doing society a great favour. One less person on welfare means more money in taxpayers pockets. Similarly, people in jail, seniors in long care homes, and severely disabled people would only be helping society if they were permitted to legally kill themselves. I'm not saying we should murder those who are less fortunate. I mean people should have the option to do the deed, providing they are not mentally ill. By legalizing suicide, we can reduce the number of people on welfare, collecting disability benefits, in jail, and in long care homes. I'm sure that those who believe in reducing taxes no matter what the human consequences (i.e. BC Liberals and federal Conservatives) would be fully in favour of my modest proposal.
Don't forget
Comment by Terry on 24th April 2013
Socrates he went out on principal . I don't think he was a coward .
Comment by CC on 24th April 2013
This story horrified me. No one knows what goes on in any one person's mind. No one. In the recent case of the young girl that killed herself after posting her message on Facebook: the police did nothing, she was further traumatized by the bullies and by new individuals. She was ostracized. She was just a kid trying to discover who she was in this world but never got there. There will always be cases of suicide where the person had no one to help them, support them, help them understand how to muddle through the healing. Added to that is the situation of mental illness - whether simple depression (which can be so extreme that no one can understand in the least until they themselves have walked that road) or schizophrenic. No one can judge another for taking their own life - and to label them as cowards is cruel. Merv I found this article harsh and terrifying. We need those who are contemplating suicide that there is always somewhere to turn and if no one steps forth for them to keep trying and trying and trying. Because one day the sun will shine again - maybe not as strong as we'd like but it will start to shine.
Regards, CC.
Comment by Paul Repstock on 24th April 2013
The reason few people want to accept this is that our entire social structure rejects the individual. We are taught from birth to see ourselves only in the context of society. There is even a stigma attached to any action or thought which ignores the demands of society. "Anti-Social", is about the worst lable that can be applied to a person. The mindless adherence to social norms and demands, cause "normal" people to attack anyone who does not conform.
Humanity has been endowed with reason and emotion, but never developed the maturity to handle them.
The previous commenters ignored the "second agreement"; they took Merv's article "Personally". They interpreted his words in their own context, not in the general sense in which those words were meant.
Yes. Bullies are cowards, and victims in some way are also cowards. All of us are cowards to some degree. If we all steadfastly defended what is right, there would be little oportunty for bullying. But if that were the case, the abuse cycle would be broken and the broken minds which spawn bullying would not develop.
I think Mr. Ritchie should rewrite his article and reread the book, because his personal pain caused him to make judgements he was not entitled to.

The victims are not cowards
Comment by Shelby on 23rd April 2013
While you don't specifically state that your story is referencing the gang rapes of teenage girls who committed suicide as a direct result of the trauma of rape, the resultant and constant bullying and the ineptitude of authority figures in their communities, it seems as though that is who you are alluding to.

While I agree that youth need to be taught resilience and fortitude, victimized youth deserve support. The issues are not as simple as it may seem on the surface and the failure of society, peers, family, schools and law enforcement add a complicating dimension.

Blaming the victim for some failure of fortitude is simply cruel, compounding the viciousness of the initial rapes and overlooks the failures of our society. The bullies are cowards. The victims are simply overwhelmed and felt isolated and were being repeatedly victimized. Social media has taken harassment to a new level, spreading vile behavior further and more publicly than before. No suicide is not the answer, a more compassionate and responsible society is.

I agree that the Four Agreements are valuable and relevant to helping us all live together, but I take strong issue with labeling the victims as cowards. These are serious cases, which I hope are rare. Labeling rapists cowards. I'm okay with that. 😌

bullies and suicide
Comment by diane somerville on 23rd April 2013
I feel bullied reading your very unkind words. Your problems and thoughts of killing are cowardly. I still being a grieving mother of an unfair death of my son, my cousin grieving the loss of hers too. We certainly do not think of our sons as cowards. I feel like slapping you!