Chainsaw suicide advice

Ben Goldacre is distraught about a Telegraph piece on an epically dramatic suicide that reproduces details of the author’s methodology.

He argues that, because there’s evidence that gruesome and detailed coverage of suicides can contribute to raised suicide rates in the population, the media shouldn’t report on them.

My view is that this is bollocks: it works only if you think that a few extra deaths isn’t a trade-off worth making for great entertainment. And given the way society works, either you’re a pretty despicable puritan, or you do – whether you realise it or not – believe that said trade-off is worth making.

Otherwise you’d not only ban boxing (I’m aware that some idiots do want to ban boxing; fuck them, obviously), but also every other activity which is purely fun rather than ‘useful’ and which has the potential to kill people.

So as a result, and because the miserable sods at the Telegraph lack the courage of their convictions and so have taken the piece down, I’ve reproduced the ‘could be useful advice’ part here. Although I’ve anonymised, because it doesn’t matter in the slightest who the chap is, hence no reason to associate his family’s name with it:

[Mr X] tied the Black & Decker tool to a leg of a snooker table in his lounge, taped up the on-button and plugged it into a timer.

[Mr X], who had consumed a small quantity of alcohol but no drugs, then lay down under the snooker table face up and placed the chainsaw against his neck. A piece of the tool’s cardboard box initially cushioned the blades from his neck.

The hearing heard that the timer, which is usually used to turn lights on and off, was fixed to start up the chainsaw for 15 minutes.
When it activated, it sliced three-quarters through his neck and across into his right shoulder only stopping from a complete severing when his t-shirt was dragged into the blades.

That’s a pretty good effort. Lesson: don’t wear a t-shirt if you want to do a proper self-topping.

(as it happens, my dad knew someone who decapitated himself with a chainsaw accidentally. Surprisingly easy to do if you’re cutting above your shoulder height and at the limits of your reach, apparently…)

Finally, Ben’s piece is slightly personalised with a ‘I know the horrible effects of suicide and of media-reported violent death on the family’-ness. While as an anonymous blogger I’m asking you to take this on trust, I think it’s fair for me to make the point that I’m so fucking far ahead of Goldacre on that score it isn’t funny. So any Samaritanists, touchy-feely-ists, well-meaning-ists, etc who take issues with this piece on ‘you don’t understand the horrors of it all’ grounds can, with the best will in the world, go and fuck themselves.

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8 thoughts on “Chainsaw suicide advice

  1. Larry Teabag says:

    I’m so fucking far ahead of Goldacre on that score it isn’t funny

    Disagree.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

  3. A Samaritanist---ish says:

    I’m an ex-Samaritanist. (only stopped when I had kids and ran out of any spare time..) I don’t take any offence at all from this story. If the guy wanted to talk about it, he could have called samaritans. If he wanted to kill himself, that’s entirely a matter fro him and it’s his choice to affect those around him with his actions.

    Anyone who takes offence at his actions or it’s reporting is daft.

    RA

  4. Hang yourself.

    Of course I do mean you, PDF, but if you really, really want to die there’s no other way to do it – hanging will kill you goodstyle. Statistics speak – it’s quick, efficient, and if you do it properly there’s no way back.

    Anything involving wrists, cars or pills is inherently risky, ergo attention-seeking… Except tying a rope around your neck, getting into a car and driving off at full speed. I recommend that to as many people as I can.

    The other way is to climb up a very high building, then jump. Infallible – don’t listen to the bad press about quadraplegics.

  5. Falco says:

    “don’t listen to the bad press about quadraplegics.”

    Real fucker going for the second round though. Tequila, handguns and hookers, thats the way to do it.

  6. Larry Teabag says:

    Except tying a rope around your neck, getting into a car and driving off at full speed. I recommend that to as many people as I can.

    I just did this. Nothing. Not even bruising.

    I guess next time I should tie the other end to something.

  7. BS says:

    “it works only if you think that a few extra deaths isn’t a trade-off worth making for great entertainment.”

    A column in the telegraph explaining how to kill yourself with a chainsaw isn’t great entertainment. It’s mildly diverting but it’s hardly fucking circ du soleil. It’s not even x factor.

    Now an x factor style show in which people win awards for the most gruesome and inventive form of self-murder, that might work. The family of the bereaved wins a massive paid-for funeral party.

    Charlie Brooker was on about a similar thing, in terms of how reporting of high school massacres causes more high school massacres, and so the news avoid leading with the death count, and make it all sound as boring as possible. “And finally, some young people died in a high school today. Police told us how many but we forgot. Maybe ten or twenty. Some tedious bloke made them die with bullets he fired from a gun or something. And now the weather.” It’s not going to happen. A high school massacre is proper news, you can’t bury it under the carpet. Although sensible steps to avoid turning the murderous shit into a teen anti-hero pin-up might help.

    Reporting about war probably makes war more likely as well. You’re gonna propagate anything by giving it the oxygen of publicity. Let’s just report the world as a peaceful place full of fluffy rabbits and friendly neighbours, where the climate ain’t changing and there’s no poverty, and see if the media has the power to create a paradise on earth.

    Sorry, I’ve gone on a bit here.

  8. TinyMind says:

    At last someone has outed the saintly Ben (fucking arsehole) Goldacre.
    I stopped reading the sanctimonious twat ages ago, because he just gets right on my tits. Always going on about how he knows best and has a ‘duty’ to expose bad science and suchlike.
    Of course he’s a knob and can’t take criticism when someone happens to point out he’s talking bollocks or has his ‘facts’ wrong. I might just send him a link to here and ask he considers how best to top himself. Though no doubt he’s got access to plenty of drugs at the hospital and doesn’t need a chainsaw or rope & car.

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