[MUSIC] [VIDEO] ‘GUN’ BY EMILIANA TORRINI: Talk about a heavy narrative. From BBC’s ‘Luther’ soundtrack. Artistically superb.

Every day I see you looking in
I’ll be the smoothest thing to touch your skin
You’re longing to be loved but you’re alone
And your longing makes you shiver to the bone

And no, your mamma told you nothing of importance
No, your daddy taught you nothing you could learn
You had your sister’s weighing on your pockets
And your priest, he tries so hard to get you turned

Maybe you’ve been living lonely
While your woman has a fellow on the side
Your kids keep telling jokes that ain’t that funny
And you’ve failed in everything that comes to mind

Now you see I’m only here to let you know
That I love you and I’ll never let you go
So take me in the hand and walk on by
For the life this has to offer twists inside

Now your woman has a fellow in your bed
You have to go, you have to move right in
And the ring on your finger would leave another scar
But the joke’s on her, she hasn’t seen it all

So you shuffled up close and you shot him in the face
And your woman looked on and your children, they embraced
And the candle’s still burning and the fire’s roaring fire
You moved right in, yeah, you moved right in

Stuck, you’re shaking, sweating, whining and regretting
You’re making a scene but it’s gonna get you caught
Meet me in the barrel and tell me that you love me
Yes, this is a kiss that I swear will blow your mind”

“A BRILLIANT schoolboy shot himself in the head after carefully calculating the benefits of life and deciding it was not worth living, an inquest was told yesterday.”

Written by LOUISE JURY 


A BRILLIANT schoolboy shot himself in the head after carefully calculating the benefits of life and deciding it was not worth living, an inquest was told yesterday.

Dario Iacoponi, 15, a pupil at the London Oratory in Fulham, west London, which is attended by Tony Blair’s two sons, Euan, 14, and Nicky, 12, kept a diary of his philosophical thoughts on life in the two months leading up to his death. The Oratory is one of the top Roman Catholic schools in the country.

After weighing up the pros and cons, he decided to commit suicide and planned it meticulously. He taught himself to use his father’s shotgun and worked out how to fire it with a wooden spoon. He then waited until neither of his parents was at home before carrying out the plan last month.

Dr John Burton, the West London Coroner, said it was clearly a considered process and Dario “came down on the side of suicide”. Continue reading

Dying to understand: How a collection of suicide notes is helping one psychologist unravel the mysteries behind suicide


“I see notes as a golden road to understanding suicide,” says Dr. Antoon Leenaars. He has a collection of more than 2,000 notes that he uses for his research.

Nick Brancaccio/Canwest News Service

“I see notes as a golden road to understanding suicide,” says Dr. Antoon Leenaars. He has a collection of more than 2,000 notes that he uses for his research.

Kathryn Blaze Carlson in Windsor,  National Post

Some are handwritten and erratic, some are typed and line-edited for grammar, and some are as banal as “Please return my library books.”

This collection of suicide notes, and there are more there than 2,000 originals and photocopies, are kept under lock in an undisclosed location somewhere in Windsor.

The precise whereabouts of the archive – the world’s largest collection of its kind – is known only to its custodian, a psychologist who has spent the past four decades studying the notes as if they were scientific clues to the suicidal mind.

“I see notes as a golden road to understanding suicide, a looking glass that reveals the worst kind of pain – the meta pain, an unbelievable pain, the pain of pain,” said Dr. Antoon Leenaars. “Suicide notes allow us to peer into the soul.”

Although Dr. Leenaars has safe-guarded and digitalized most of the collection, he has agreed to lug a six-inch thick pile of photocopied notes to his seventh-floor office on Ouellet Street, careful to avoid the day’s heavy rain.

His modest office overlooks a parking lot, and is lined with crammed bookshelves and framed prints by Vincent Van Gogh, the painter who famously died by suicide, and who, as it happens, was born near Dr. Leenaar’s hometown of Ulvenhout in the Netherlands.

On the floor near the bookshelf, in a bright blue tote, sits the stacked sample of notes. Dr. Leenaars, dressed in a navy suit and a turquoise Van Gogh tie, is seated in one of two pillowy sofa-chairs where his patients come to divulge their deepest thoughts.

Although much insight can be gleaned from these conversations, Dr. Leenaars said those who attempt are different from those who die by suicide – males, for example, kill themselves four times more often than females, but females attempt far more often than males.

And so, he said, the long-standing challenge in understanding suicide is the obvious one: The individual is no longer alive to explain their decision.

For Dr. Leenaars, the notes left behind are the next best avenue to predicting and preventing suicide, which he termed a “multidimensional malaise.”

In a fated combination of gutsy academic pursuit and personal intrigue, Dr. Leenaars was first introduced to the collection in the early 1970s by the man who would quickly become his mentor, the late Dr. Edwin Shneidman, who co-wrote the 1957 book Clues to Suicide and who is today regarded as the father of suicidology.

Some 70 years ago, Dr. Shneidman was investigating the suicides of two American soldiers and had visited the Los Angeles coroner’s office to obtain the relevant files. In one, he found a suicide note. In the other, he found no such document.

He mentioned this curious fact to the office secretary, who then proceeded to offer Dr. Shneidman her photocopied collection of 800 notes which she kept in a desk drawer out of what may have been somewhat of a natural compulsion, Dr. Leenaars explained.

“We’re all intrigued by life and death,” he said, adding that notes – some as brief as three poignant words or as verbose as 23 pages typed; some laden with coffee stains or evidence of tears – have since been collected from coroners offices and grieving families who want to assist his suicidology research. “Of course we want to know: Why did the person do it?”

That is precisely what Dr. Leenaars and his “academic father” sought to understand and, given that suicide is one of the leading causes of death among Canadian men and women from adolescence to middle age, any progress in that regard could prove life-saving.

“Suicide is not like copper or water, where all copper conducts electricity or all water freezes at zero degrees Celsius,” cautioned Dr. Leenaars, who, along with his psychologist daughter, recently returned from the American Association of Suicidology annual conference in, of all places, Walt Disney World.

Teenagers, Dr. Leenaars has learned, are not only less likely to leave notes in the first place – only eight in the sample of roughly 1,000 notes in the blue tote were written by teenagers – their minds are also more constricted. They tend to think in absolutes, often penning words such as “no one,” “everyone,” “only,” “always” and “never,” said Dr. Leenaars, a Brock University alumnus.

While suicide notes gathered from Canada and the United States are comparable, the epidemiology in these two countries is strikingly incomparable, especially when it comes to teenagers.

Continued on next page

“Canadians kill themselves more often than Americans, in fact teenaged males here kill themselves 50% more than their American counterparts,” said Dr. Leenaars, author of 13 books and dozens of articles on suicide.

Dr. Leenaars’ analysis also found that the elderly are far more decisive and clear-minded, at least in their writings. In fact, it was a note by an elderly woman that has resonated with Dr. Leenaars more than any other.

In search of the note, he carried the blue tote to an adjacent office and slipped the meticulously stacked pile onto his otherwise cluttered desk. Despite the chaotic array of file folders, papers, coffee mugs, stalled clocks, empty juice bottles and pictures of his three daughters, Dr. Leenaars was notably apprehensive to scatter the notes, instead collecting and then re-collecting the corners to straighten the edges.

He licked his index finger and parsed through the notes, stopping at the one written by the elderly woman: No. 58.

“Della, Im heartsick,” Dr. Leenaars read aloud, his Dutch accent slight but noticeable. “First grnma then Otto – then my home – my car – my eyesight – now my apartment. The last few days my sight is getting worse…. Alice & George: so long to two good friends. Mary.”

No. 58 was scored using the same methodology as the rest of the sample – not sentence-by-sentence, but rather concept-by-concept, Dr. Leenaars said.

There are a total of 35 concepts outlined in Dr. Leenaars’ Thematic Guide for Suicide Prediction which, since the late 1980s, has been used by upwards of 20 trained “judges” – psychologists and psychiatrists – who are working as researchers to advance the field of suicidology.

Among the numbered concepts in the Thematic Guide are No. 11, “S’s aggression has been turned inwards;” No. 7, “S reports a history of trauma;” and No. 6, “S is in a state of heightened disturbance (perturbation) and feels boxed in.”

Dr. Leenaars, who inherited and then expanded the global collection, tore a piece of lined paper and, with one finger tracing the list of concepts and the other bracing a black pen that struck monstrous commas, he scored Mary’s note: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 33.

Concept #15 – “S exhibits a serious disorder in adjustment” – is particularly encompassing, and is among the concepts Dr. Leenaars used to score the suicide notes of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain and Adolf Hitler.

The 15th concept has seven subsections denoting a different mental disorder, including schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression and manic-depression. The latter, Dr. Leenaars said, can reveal itself quite obviously in a note.

“Those with bipolar disorder actually tend to kill themselves when they’re in a state of mania,” he said. “Their notes are like a flowing stream of consciousness, their speech moves faster and faster and faster.”

Although mental illness is a prevalent factor in suicide, Dr. Leenaars said it is a “suicide myth” that all people who kill themselves are depressed.

“The cognitive constriction is the lethal aspect,” said Dr. Leenaars, the first past-president of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, and the only non-American to have served as president of the American Association of Suicidology. “It’s about the inability to cope with the unbearable pain.”

In fact, after a scientific “cluster” analysis based on the 35 concepts, Dr. Leenaars discovered that this “unbearable pain” is among the eight common traits that exist across suicide notes – no matter the gender, era or method used.

The other seven commonalities, in layman’s terms, are tunnel vision, ambiguities about life and death, psychological disorder, a weakened ego, a disturbance in a relationship or some other ideal like one’s health, rejection-aggression and a desire to escape.

“The study of the notes revealed that suicide has a complex history, ” said Dr. Leenaars, whose first experience with suicide came in Grade 11 when one of his classmates took his own life. “Oftentimes it’s a Romeo and Juliet issue where a person feels anguish over the loss of a loved one. A suicide can also be a murder in 180-degrees, a sort of ‘F— you.’ To write, ‘P.S.: Happy Father’s Day,’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ is certainly an act of aggression.”

Love, he went on, is among the most commonly used words.

His enumeration process might appear the work of a madman to all but him and his closest colleagues – of which there are only a handful in Canada – but his more recent work with suicide notes has revealed some important cross-cultural differences.

Dr. Leenaars and his co-researchers distinguish between “collective” and “individualistic” cultures, and have discovered that in collective countries, such as Turkey, there is more indirectness, hiding and lying in the suicide notes.

“In this culture, you are not allowed to be suicidal because it is an affront to Islam,” Dr. Leenaars said. “There are even greater taboos in collective cultures, so when we look at notes from these countries, there is much more ambivalence and secrecy.”

Analyses of notes from coroner’s offices in Russia or Lithuania reveal a tendency to direct anger at other people or the state, said Dr. Leenaars, who has collaborated with 150 colleagues in more than 35 countries.

Although his work has connected him with leading suicidologists around the world, his work in Canada can be quite lonely. Dr. Leenaars lamented that many Canadian stars in suicidology have left for countries such as the United States and Australia, or for other research fields altogether.

He said his research has never been funded by anyone in Canada, and pointed out that only 100 of the more than 2,000 notes come from Canadian coroner’s offices and families. Notes from the United States, meantime, account for upwards of half the collection.

“It’s a stigma even to study suicide,” Dr. Leenaars said. “It’s a sad statement, but it’s true. Suicidology in Canada is itself dying.”

National Post

Tribeca Film Explores Al Qaeda’s History And Culture

The New York Times

April 24, 2010

Filed at 5:18 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A new film by Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney takes viewers from Cairo to London on a search for the cultural and historical roots of al Qaeda and some of its motives behind its attack on the United States.

“My Trip to Al-Qaeda,” which debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, follows U.S. journalist Lawrence Wright’s worldwide exploration of the historical context of what formed and radicalized al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

“We know al Qaeda, we know the terror, we know the threat, but we really don’t know why, we don’t know how. And Larry’s personal journey made that understandable in a very low-key, compelling way,” Gibney told Reuters in an interview.

Adapted from Wright’s 2007 one-man play that was based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Looming Tower: al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” it shifts between Wright’s storytelling on stage and real-life interviews with Wright’s sources.

“The search for al Qaeda isn’t so simple, as to just say, who are these individuals? It’s where they come from. What is the context in which the terror was made manifest?” Gibney said.

The film begins with Wright in Cairo detailing the radicalization of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian surgeon who formed al Qaeda’s backbone. In 1984, al-Zawahiri left a Cairo jail after being tortured with electricity and wild dogs for three years, according to Wright. He was “hardened, resolute and bent on revenge,” the journalist said.

The film then shifts, explaining how bin Laden’s father, described as “a one-eyed illiterate Yemeni laborer,” rose to become Saudi Arabia’s biggest contractor.

But the younger bin Laden became disillusioned with Saudi Arabia, says Wright, who refers to a key moment when he was humiliated after being turned down by Saudi Arabia to protect its people when Kuwait was invaded by Saddam Hussein in 1990.

Instead, the Saudis turned to the United States and bin Laden’s “pride was hurt,” Wright says. The incident helped form al Qaeda’s early agenda to get U.S. troops out of the Middle East, according to the author. Later, al Qaeda is shown using humiliation in martyrdom tapes with participants chanting “we will not accept humiliation.”

Bin Laden is fueled by the historic event that occurred on September 11, 1683. On that date, Polish, Austrian and German forces broke the Ottoman siege of Vienna, marking the moment when Islam began a long retreat and “the Christian West regained its footing,” Wright said.

Gibney said, “It is interesting to find out how Osama bin Laden redefines himself as this great hero who is going to lead the Middle East to some kind of victory over the West.”

Many of the September 11 hijackers were from repressive societies with high unemployment rates, the film says, including Hani Hanjour. Wright says Hanjour’s brother stated he became radicalized only when he could not find a pilot job in Saudi Arabia and became depressed.

“Their own culture offered them no way to be powerful in the world, but al Qaeda could offer them glory,” Wright says.


Wright also details his personal journey and connections with al Qaeda.

A staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, he wrote the script for the 1998 Hollywood movie “The Siege” about a wave of terrorist bombings in New York. Wright said after the September 11 attacks, it became the most rented movie in the United States, making him “the first profiteer in the war on terror.”

He criticizes the United States’ own agenda and military reaction to the September 11 attacks and its scandals under the Bush administration on torture and illegal wiretapping.

Images of U.S. soldiers invading people’s homes in Baghdad and pictures of U.S. soldiers abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib in 2004 helped sway public perception in the Middle East.

“Torture by liberal democratic societies proves to jihadis that the West is hypocritical,” Gibney said. “It also gives terrorists a very powerful recruiting tool.”

Gibney also examined torture in his Oscar-winning film “Taxi to the Dark Side,” but he said he became enchanted with Wright’s own quest.

“I wanted to look at the other side. I wanted to look at how al Qaeda came to be,” he said.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Stacey Joyce)

[AUDIO] An audio recording made on November 18, 1978, at the Peoples Temple compound in Jonestown, Guyana immediately preceding and during the mass suicide or murder of over 900 members, recovered by the FBI after the mass suicide of the cult.


And now for something completely, disturbing.

Good to know genes like these, were not perpetuated.  What idiots.

They celebrate the murders at the airstrip, as deserving, and then say they are NOT committing suicide, but launching a revolution,

What the HELL is the difference, once you’re dead?  Where is the rationality?

It sounds much like any church service I’ve witnessed….

This issue isn’t so much the dude’s insanity, by how and why so many are so willing to follow…

The addictive nature of mass delusion is such a sad fact of humanity.  This is much like the Nazi hysteria that spread all throughout Europe in the 1930s.  The Nazis came so far, at such an incredible pace…in less than 15 years they had physically and mentally reshaped so much history, understanding and thought. Whither humanity? –rudhro

Continue reading

KFC Double Down Sandwich: Why Use A Bun When You Have Fried Chicken?

Huffington Post |  Adam J. Rose 04- 6-10

For Americans worried about what fast food restaurants are doing to their buns, KFC has a solution — eliminate them.

Those would be sandwich buns, which you won’t find on the chain’s new Double Down. Instead, you’ll find two slabs of fried chicken holding together two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. Evidently, no vegetables were harmed in the making of this sandwich.

On the off chance you’re feeling health conscious while ordering, you can opt for grilled chicken instead of the original recipe.

As reported by the Huffington Post last August, the sandwich was initially made available in two test markets — Rhode Island and Nebraska. KFC’s Double Down gamble paid off, and they’re rolling out the creation nationwide starting on April 12. Their decision was first announced on April 1, leading some to believe it was an April Fools’ joke. Turns out, the only gag involved was the reaction of vegans.

If you’re itchin’ for this chicken, there’s a countdown clock on KFC’s website, along with some surprising nutritional news. The grilled version has “only” 460 calories and 23 grams of fat, while the original recipe version has 540 calories and 32 grams of fat. That’s nowhere near some early speculation in the Vancouver Sunthat one sandwich might set you back 1228 calories. Still, it might be wise to run a few extra laps before crossing the road for this chicken.

In a press release about their latest culinary achievement, KFC posed the “obvious” question: what happens to all the buns? Surely that was the first thing that crossed consumers’ minds when they saw the Double Down. To satisfy your hunger for information, the chain says they will donate the “unneeded” bread, giving “both buns and funds to food banks across the country.” Ordering this sandwich could actually be good for somebody besides your local cardiologist.

It remains to be seen if Jim Gaffigan will incorporate the Double Down into a stand-up routine (see: BaconHot PocketsCinnabon and Waffle House). [As funcrusherplus points out in the comments, Patton Oswalt might have some fun with this — video contains NSFW expletives.]