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Suicide, Domestic Violence and Terrorism – The Cost

Suicide. ‘The terrorism of self’

Why is it that people so devalue their lives that they would choose to end it? In a land so abundant in its economic largesse why does government not extend more of a compassionate hand in the pursuit of saving those unable to save themselves?

The answer to the first question is to be found deep in the labyrinth, the complexity, of the individual’s mind. The second I suggest is because there are fewer political points to be scored.

Power trumps the welfare of the people. Five hundred million spent on terrorism will buy more votes than the same amount spent on preventing suicide.

We know, according to the latest ABS research that deaths by suicide have reached a ten-year peak. That 7 deaths by suicide occur every day in Australia. In 2012, 1,901 males (16.8 per 100,000) and 634 females (5.6 per 100,000) died by suicide. Three out of five deaths are male and if you are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, the suicide rate is 2.5 times higher for males and 3.4 times higher for females.

Almost twice as many people die of suicide as transport deaths. And for every completed suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt. That’s around 200 attempts per day. More than one new attempt in Australia every 10 minutes.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44.

The consequences of suicide are not just that one person is dead. That a precious life has ended. It is also a tragedy of grievous proportions for the people left behind. There is no single reason to explain why some individuals are pre disposed to taking their own lives. Even identifying conditions of risk does not, in itself, always result in prevention.

One thing however, is certain. That is the outstanding work done by the many welfare institutions who work in the field.

Total deaths by suicide in 2012 = 2535

Domestic Violence or Intimate partner terrorism.

Australia reputedly has the highest rate of Domestic Violence in the developed world. The ‘’why’’ of this is as varied and uncertain as the reason for suicide? Again many factors come into play. Culture, a male sense of superiority and even religious upbringing. One thing is certain, that being that it has a horrendous effect on family and society.

Studies show that half a million Australian women had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months. More than a million women had experienced physical or sexual assault by their male current or ex-partner since the age of 15.

64% of women who experienced physical assault and 81.1% of women who experienced sexual assault still did not report it to police. The proportion of women aged between 18 and 34 who reported experiencing physical violence has decreased but the proportion of women who reported experiencing physical violence after 45 increased over the same period. The percentage of women who reported that their children had witnessed partner-related violence either from a current or ex-partner was lower than in1996.

The majority of violence against men is committed by other men. Of men who reported that they had experienced physical violence in the 12 months before the survey, 73.7% said that the perpetrator was a male.

The most revealing fact however is that it is now estimated that two women each week will die as a result of domestic violence. It is also estimated that 40% of police work is related to domestic violence. The cost in human life is a tragedy of momentous proportion.

Australian of the year Rosie Batty has made a genuine impact on the problem by highlighting government inaction. The Prime Minister, and Minister for Women has, while singing her praises, responded by withdrawing government financial support to agencies in the field.

At the last COAG Meeting the sates agreed to put in an extra 15million to address the problem. They made similar decisions at the previous meeting and the one before that.

Estimated Deaths from Domestic Violence 2015 = 730

Deaths by Terrorist Activity.

When using the language of terrorism, in my mind is a 9/11 or a suicide bomber – a car bomb. Not a couple of confused kids with a sword and a knife.

So without playing down the importance of vigilance, I am trying, in this piece to bring some perspective to the government’s alarmist language when talking about deaths by terrorism and deaths by other causes.

To do this I am using ABS stats on deaths by terrorist activity for the period 1978-2014 in which 113 Australians lost their lives. Yes that’s right. In 36 years 113 people have died from terrorism.

So this year 730 will die from Domestic Violence and around 2500 will take their own lives.

In February this year the Prime Minister announced a new anti-terrorism policy including a National coordinator to clamp down on religious hatred and amendments to the citizens act. In doing so he affronted Muslim leaders in the full knowledge that they were bending over backwards to confront the problem.

He set about defining terrorism as a national threat of gigantic proportion using disproportional scare language calculated  to shore up his support base in the same manner as ‘’Stop the boats’’

And at the same time as declaring Australia’s economy in a crisis almost beyond repair, he managed to find $632 million to pour into counter terrorism agencies. Then on top of that an additional $500 million PA to send troops to train the Iraq army. Something I thought we had been doing for 10 years. Slow learners perhaps.

So a billion dollars was found, our privacy violated through the retention of meta data all for the cause of fighting a perception that terrorists were lurking in every shadow on every street corner.

Tony Abbott set about, in the manner in which we have become accustomed, to frighten the shit out of people. Alarmist, persistently provocative and sensational language is something he defaults to when he is in trouble.

Raids, involving hundreds of police are tipped off to the press. Sensational headlines entice a non-thinking public. Little information is provided under the guise of necessitous secrecy and we are asked to trust an untrustworthy leader without question. We have never had a more secretive government that I can remember.

While he was using this inflammatory language to seduce the population thousands of Australians seeking help for mental health problems faced growing uncertainty because federal funding for hundreds of contracts has not been guaranteed after June 30.

Seventy mental health groups, including Mental Health Australia, Headspace, and the Black Dog Institute, have written an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Sussan Ley. Seeking clarification of future funding.

It seems that it is one thing to, at the drop of a hat, find $500 million to train foreign soldiers in a far off land and $632million for ASIO to fight a terrorist threat that has resulted in 113 deaths in 36 years but, at the same time, cut funding for Suicide and Domestic violence that will combined, probably result in the deaths of around 3500 Australians this year this year.

The Government is guilty of portraying terrorism as a major cause of loss of life when in fact more people have lost their lives by falling of ladders. At the same time the murder of women and children is normalised.

In writing this I am not trying to trivialise the threat of terrorism. I am just trying to place it in proper context. And that context is that it ranks very low as a threat compared to other challenges like domestic violence, suicide, workplace deaths, the road toll or preventable diseases.

At the moment, our focus is on the one that doesn’t regularly kill Australians.

But then, life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceived to be.

 

 

32 comments

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  1. eli nes

    beauty john, this has long been a beef of mine that has been met with ‘irrelevant’ ‘what good would those stats do and often real aggression, Perhaps it is irrelevant????
    The religion of the suicides, the synagogue/church’mosque/ they attend?
    As for the afternoon man he announced $600 million for counter terrorism and $1 million for muslim youth support. Cure has vote power prevention zero.
    I broached the $600 m for terror then last week another $600 for WA at the club and did get one bite the coalition is no better than labor but labor left a disastrous debt.
    As for women? check the churchetc’s thoughts???

  2. Kaye Lee

    A study led by the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre (PGRTC) at the University of Melbourne, with researchers from Monash and Flinders Universities, found that over half the people presenting at gambling counseling services in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania reported family violence in the previous 12 months. Gambling has also been directly linked by Victoria’s coroner to hundreds of suicides.

    Which makes one ask why, as one of his very first actions, our then Social Security Minister repealed the gambling reform laws.

    We also know alcohol is a large factor in domestic violence and that binge drinking amongst footballers is a huge problem so it was just peachy to see our PM skol a beer with the boys the other night.

  3. bobrafto

    As this article appeared in my inbox, my housemate and his ex were seated at the dining room table going thru family photos for the funeral service of their son who committed suicide on the weekend.

    As far as perceptions go, it appears to me that the AFP is in cahoots with the govt. in regards in raising the fear of terrorism. Now with the new data retention laws, could the AFP be morphing as the SS equivalent of Hitler’s Germany?

    The new laws if my memory serves me correct is that the AFP can make you disappear for 14 days, if one is released, one is not allowed to talk about the detention without the fear of going to jail. Whistle blowers face 1o years jail.

    They ave vays to not make you talk.

    Be careful now folks there’s a bit of an epidemic called Abbott Fearitis doing the rounds.

  4. hughwebster2014

    I Quite agree, the Abbott Government are only thinking about numbers and money NOT about people. Please vote them out !!!!!

  5. bobrafto

    Eli Nes

    but labor left a disastrous debt.

    Eli if you have disastrous debt do you think your bank would lend you some cash, and what sort of credit rating would you have? I would say the banks would say NO and as for your credit rating, your name would have a red flag attached to it.

    Labor left behind a AAA credit rating and in all honesty are you saying that a AAA credit rating translates to disastrous debt?

  6. kerri

    Excellent article John Lord! Really puts the whole issue of fear and death in perspective. How contriving and manipulative this government is and how immoral and cruel to put terrorism and it’s highly unlikely effects on the Australian populace ahead of domestic violence. I firmly believe that Abbott and co regard domestic violence as a poor persons problem. Women who make bad choices suffer the consequences. A bit like you can’t stop the homeless from choosing to be homeless. Or ebola is a black man’s problem or Aboriginal settlements are a lifestyle choice. These ignorant, arrogant, morally bereft pigs see the greater Australian populace as pieces in a giant game of get rich quick and social issues as a personal problem to be solved by the individual. We will never have a great country while these hopeless, derelict egotists are in power. Their aim is to drive minority groups to extinction. They most likely regard suicide as a bonus.

  7. diannaart

    Thanks for this analysis, John.

  8. Jexpat

    Well, this just goes to show the depths of depravity in Australian “mainstream journalism,” replete with trumpeting of Abbott’s beer and the histrionic “they’ll attack us on Anzack day” cries.

    It’s tough to out pathetic the Americans in this regard- but outdo them we surely have.

  9. Jaq

    I too will be attending a funeral for a friend’s partner who gassed herself in her car. We are in shock,and my friend in a complete mystery as to why. She said there was “no joy left”. How can we have joy in a country that has become so cruel with a government who does things for no reason, and a lunatic running the show who has absolutely no compassion or care for those he is supposed to be guiding? We are all up in arms but we need to do something. This suicide number will continue to get worse, as people become more scared for the future, and I can’t help feeling that his answer would be” good riddance. Less people to think about.”.

  10. Kyran

    What I find most galling about the statistics is the stark contrast of the inevitable impact on society and the opposing political reaction.

    With all of the anti terror legislation and de radicalisation plans, at huge cost (dollars and freedoms), there is next to no mention that most of the raids conducted are inspired by ‘tip off’s’ from within effected communities. All of those dollars have little, if any, impact in preventing terrorism. They benefit only in investigative hindsight.

    The issues with the greatest impact on society, suicide and domestic violence, receive little more than lip service.

    The ‘communication breakdown’ between the courts and Vicpol in the Batty case are yet to be addressed. There are new reports available on a near daily basis on the disparity of wages and opportunity for women in Australia, which demonstrate we are going backwards. I have heard the Chair of Beyond Blue, Kennett, on at least two occasions being interviewed where he accepts reduced funding as an economic reality. He forgets his obligation to insist that a reduction in funding has costs beyond comprehension.

    My hope for now is that this shambles masquerading as government has demonstrated, without regard for anything other than political expediency, this is an unequal society. Whilst they continue to extol the virtues of inequality, they remind the majority, on a daily basis, of what we as a society could be.

    There was an old newspaper adage, “If it bleed’s, it lead’s”. Your comment “Sensational headlines entice a non-thinking public.” seems to be an adaptation of that. That was for bygone days when the reader had no empathy for the subject of the story. These days, most of us know people effected by domestic violence, suicide and self harm. The headlines are no longer impersonal or abstract. They become a reminder of what we can be. To bobrafto and Jaq, I can only wish you and your friends well. Thank you for the read, Mr Lord. Take care (Sorry, ranted longer than I thought)

  11. stephentardrew

    Great article as usual John. I thoroughly concur with the ridiculous and unwarranted false equivalence between the dangers of DV, suicide and the small threat of terrorism. It is a political, not sociological, construct meant to achieve one result. To make us live in concocted fear believing that only the dysfunctional greed infested government can save you from this monstrous manufactured fear.

    Having worked in the health and welfare sector for years I can honestly say the system is just pathetic. We still have not gotten over the victim blame mentality with suicide when the psych evidence demonstrates that people who commit suicide are legitimately depressed caught in a cycle of true despair an horror. Unless you have directly witnessed or experienced the type of soul destroying psychic blackness of this deep well of grief and impending doom you will find it hard to understand. The idea that people commit suicide as a payback has been thoroughly debunked. Poverty inequality racism, bullying, sexism, domestic violence represent much higher percentage of suicides. So there is a direct causal link that is either environmental, biochemical or some complex mix of both. Mental health issues rest at the very heart of suicide, depression and domestic violence. Inequality and physical as well as emotional impoverishment are prime indicators.

    The wait list at health are often so long that the person suffering moderate difficulties may well be much worse by the time hey receive help or be so frustrated or depressed as to not attend when an appointment comes up. I have also seen overstressed mental health and support staff acting inappropriately due to the stressors brought on by limitation of resources and the consumer approach to case management. Years ago clients went from, just that, clients to consumers with the subsequent problem with this type of labeling. Workers are often bound by unrealistic performance indicators.

    There are many more contributing failures to appropriate intervention and assistance and we need to realise that some people, though they can go into remission, may never be cured. Therefore long term assistance is often required which is more often than not denied to patients.

    Blame the victim is the mendacious strategy of those who really do not care.

  12. mars08

    … Blame the victim is the mendacious strategy of those who really do not care…

    Exactly. Mental health problems are still seem, by many, as a sign of an individual’s weakness and refusal to “harden up”. And it rarely impacts on anyone apart from the sufferer and their immediate family.

    In todays Australia there’s no political points to be scored in pandering to weaklings.

  13. eli nes

    sorry bobrafto the point was that rather than simply saying ‘labor’s debt crisis’ at least one redneck now says hockey is as bad as labor. Any sensible person knows the coalition lied about the debt but to the other 60% it is the most enduring lie the coalition has ie since gough.
    I was patting my back having this golfing engineer(unfortunately dad was in the RAAF )admit equality. That is more than laborites just repeating there is no crisis without using the waste of the coalition including howard’s profligacy and 600m here and every where/

  14. RosemaryJ36

    Are we ripe for revolution?

  15. philgorman2014

    Thank you for a timely reminder John.

    Any adult who is not outraged, anxious or depressed must be a politician, a one percenter, or someone who has no idea what is going on.

  16. Choppa

    Mate you have your numbers very wrong…and you reveal your error yourself:

    “The most revealing fact however is that it is now estimated that two women each week will die as a result of domestic violence.”

    2 each week….tthat adds up to 104 if it keeps pace to whats happened so far this year. You have calculated 2 every day to get your 730. Australia registers around 250 murders + homicides every year, of which most are male. Domestic violence is usually defined by being hur by someone you know

    It’s a terrible outcome either way. However those who are counting at the moment clearly state that they include all deaths of women to violence, not just domestic violence (maybe 2/3 are related to domestic violence though, but as this year shows, that could be your sister, your brother or your father, not just your partner / ex partner). Therefore your statement is even more incorrect.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/destroy-the-joint/counting-dead-women-australia-2015-we-count-every-single-violent-death-of-women-/864722893575456

    Interestingly – of the 17 women that were actually killed by their partner where the perpetrator is named (17 of the 19 women who were killed by their partner have their partner named) – 9 of those charged with their murders were foreigners. You can question me all you want on that – but you can research it yourself. That’s over 50%.

    19 / 16 * 52 = not really close to 730. THe issues are still shocking, however if you want to use “alarmist”, “sensationalist” then finish with:

    “But then. Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceived to be”

    you may want to avoid being alarmist and sensationalist such that people dont perceive things to be orders of magnitude worse than they actually are.

  17. Kaye Lee

    The federal government’s plan to eliminate domestic violence is being funded to the tune of $100 million over four years. That’s less than half of what they’re spending on religious school chaplains. Even this meagre contribution is being undermined. Since 2013, the government has slashed nearly $300 million from services that assist women fleeing domestic violence – services that are already chronically under-resourced and dangerously overstretched.

    Last year, 66,326 domestic violence incidents were reported in Queensland – a 13% increase since 2012. In Victoria, police were called out to 65,393 domestic violence incidents in 2013–14 – twice as many as in 2009–10. Of those, almost 30,000 were serious enough for police to press charges.

    Last year, two days after Batty’s son Luke was murdered by his father at a public cricket practice, Abbott was asked if the death would spur a rethink on funding for the under-resourced sector. The prime minister demurred. “I’m not sure that every tragedy requires a change of policy.”

    Based on recent Australian crime statistics, if the current rate of domestic violence deaths for 2015 persists, those 104 women will make up approximately half of all homicide victims in Australia this year.

  18. John Lord

    Yes Choppa thanks for picking me up on that.

  19. Möbius Ecko

    Choppa a right winger lecturing on being alarmist, now there’s a twist or projection for you.

    Your link is only 2015 figures to date, which you go onto project as an annual amount. Not very sound.

    The two women a week figure came from early this year when 13 women were killed in only seven weeks and then projected to a whole year if the rate continued, which it hasn’t. The same thing you have done.

    Then there’s the problem that only women are mentioned, not men or children. Men also suffer from domestic violence at a high level, and the perpetrators are again mostly Australian males.

    Something for everyone to ponder: MISINFORMATION ABOUT FAMILY VIOLENCE

    Then you had to bring out your racist bent in pointing out the foreigners without context.

  20. Awabakal

    ” Poverty inequality racism, bullying, sexism, domestic violence represent much higher percentage of suicides. So there is a direct causal link that is either environmental, biochemical or some complex mix of both. Mental health issues rest at the very heart of suicide, depression and domestic violence. Inequality and physical as well as emotional impoverishment are prime indicators.” Which all amounts to the spiraling, noisy, deep vortex that is not going to end and therefore ’tis better not to continue on this planet.

    It is a real shame that the proximity to suicide cannot be detected by professionals throughout society and remedial retreat centres are not available throughout Australia.

    I knew of an aboriginal fellow who could not control his mind at the loss of his wife and children to a domestic separation, who pleaded in the afternoon with the Aboriginal Corporation for assistance, who went to a hospital at 11pm for assistance, who was given sedatives to help him sleep, who took his life during that night by rope.

    I have known many suicidals.

    All it needed was for someone to recognise the pain of torment and desperation.

    Does anyone on the overhead tier of government care?

  21. John Lord

    Yes möbius that was also my source.

  22. iggy648

    In 8 years working as a Psychologist in a private practice, I got to talk to a lot of clients presenting with sadness or anger issues. In the following, when I talk about “sadness”, I’d guess (without actually going back to case files and counting), it would represent roughly 80% women and 20% men. Likewise “anger” would represent roughly 80% men and 20% women. The point is that neither is exclusive to either gender.

    Typically a person in the “sad” group would present with a statement like “I find myself suddenly bursting into tears and I don’t know why. And sometimes I just can’t stop myself. It’s not so bad at home, but when it happens at work, it’s really embarrassing. I don’t understand what’s happening. “

    Typically a person in the “angry” group would present with “I find myself suddenly getting angry with the kids (or my partner) for no reason at all. I love them (him/her) dearly but I just suddenly get the urge to yell at them or hit them for no reason, or over something really trivial. I don’t understand what’s happening”.

    To a “sad” person, the approach I took was to say “OK, try and imagine that feeling now”, give them a minute to try and recall the feeling, then say “Now, think back, when was the first time you can recall feeling like that?” Almost always, they would say something like “Yes, I remember. It was when I was a kid, probably about X years old and….” …and follow with a description of some period in their life when they had felt (lonely/hurt/belittled/left out/unloved/different/etc.). The descriptions included periods when they had been sexually/physically/emotionally abused, neglected etc. or felt in some way left out or different from the other kids at school or in the neighbourhood.

    To an “angry” person, the approach I took was to say “OK, it’s very rare for someone to be angry just out of the blue. Almost always, there is some other feeling that occurs just before the feeling of anger. It might be a feeling of hurt, belittlement, put down, unloved or something like that. I’d like you to go home and over the next week, whenever you find yourself getting angry, stop for a second and think about what you were feeling just before you got angry.” When they came back the next week they would almost always say something like “Yes, you were right, just before I got angry, I was feeling (belittled/unvalued/hurt/etc.). Then I would say to them “OK, try and imagine that feeling now”,…. (cut and paste the rest from above).

    Almost without exception it turned out that BOTH of these (initially) inexplicable responses had their genesis in some hurtful childhood experiences, which seem to have remained unresolved over their lifetimes so far. Most of these people had successfully got on with their lives without thinking of these childhood events, until they suddenly started to manifest themselves in sadness or anger.
    Hypothesis: Since the “sad” people were in fact able to cry, (and since crying is a normal and healthy response to sadness), I suggest they were, in a sense, the luckier group. The other group, who did not cry, (I’m guessing here really), tried to mask their sadness by getting angry. I think for people who have been taught from childhood that crying is a weakness, anger is an easier emotion to tolerate in themselves. Indeed, sadness is an emotion that you HAVE to cope with yourself, whereas you can put anger “over there” on another person. Unfortunately, the nearest other person is usually a loved one.

    Once we reached the stage where we recognised the genesis of the problem, the treatment for both the “sad” group and the “angry” group became essentially the same. First question was “have you ever talked about this to anyone about this. How about your partner? Have you told (her/him) about what happened?” The answer, as you might guess, was almost universally “No”. When partners are told, they are, again, almost universally compassionate and understanding. (And that comes from feedback).
    The second part is to acknowledge that they are still, in some sense, living with the hurt child that they once were. The solution that I have used is to encourage them to talk to their “little hurt child” themselves. I typically asked them to imagine their small self sitting in the chair next to them and imagine what they would say to them to give them the support and comfort that they perhaps should have received but didn’t. I would suggest something like “OK little Freddie, I know you’re hurting now, but it’s OK, you’re going to grow up to be a loving father and…. “ etc. They were encouraged to take this idea and practice in private whenever they had the chance (e.g. go and sit in the car at the beach by yourself).

    In cases where people had been abused as kids, and not carried out abuse themselves, I would point out what they had often not acknowledged themselves, that they had made an enormous contribution to their, and future, family members by breaking the chain of abuse.

    I acknowledge that the clients that I saw were a “filtered” group of “sad” and “angry” people, in that they were those who chose to get help, i.e. they were motivated to some extent to “fix” things. However, I believe that if we could get this kind of message to more “unmotivated” or “unaware” people, we might make a small but not insignificant dent in some forms of family violence.
    The main observation that I’d like to point out, I think, is that the difference between the “sad” people and the “angry” people seems to be that the sad people were able to cry. I wonder if the preponderance of men in the “angry” group is because of our bizarre national insistence that “real men don’t cry”. Maybe we should be teaching in schools that it is normal to cry when you are sad. Not crying when you are sad is abnormal.

    Another observation I’d make is that the predominant feeling among the “angry” group was bewilderment. They really don’t understand why they are getting angry. I’d like to see many more come in from the cold and get help. That won’t happen unless we encourage them to seek help and tell them where to get it. (This should preferably be available anonymously). I personally don’t think that will happen if we continue to refer to them as cowards and bullies. (To all cowards and bullies who are beating up your partners: You are invited to a free talk at the community centre on Wednesday to discuss why you are a piece of shit!) They are people who need help. No one wakes up one morning age thirteen and says “I know what I want to be when I grow up … (an alcohol abuser/ a drug addict/ a spouse beater/ …). There’s always a reason.

    My tuppence.

  23. Kyran

    iggy648, thank you for your tuppence. The juxtaposition of sad and angry as results of child hood experience does not surprise me. My suggestion would be the inherent character of a child will define, from the same experience, whether the child becomes sad or angry. Whilst my lack of formal qualification to comment is evident, my experiences in life are, equally, evident.
    There was a story on a 5 year old child, on the ABC, this week. It’s one of those ‘annoying’ refugee stories. The child’s lawyer was on the Drum, trying to make a case for not sending the child back to Nauru. I can only presume he was using the media in the absence of any legal remedies, which our alleged government has, largely, removed.
    It came to mind when reading your post, in the context of the article “Suicide, Domestic violence and Terrorism”. And the near post script, “The Cost”. Merely one story in support of your post and my hope that that child’s character will help. What of the future?
    May all of the god’s ask “What if she were white?” “What if she were male?” I am sure our alleged government will not ask! From much of my reading, she does cry. Apparently, on her own. When the chain of abuse is systemic, it is merely a chain. Take care

  24. Kaye Lee

    I also would like to thank iggy for their contribution.

    I remember a couple of kids, brother and sister, that I taught. Their mother had had many children to different partners (she couldn’t recall how many) and had given most of them up but these two she would keep for a while, then put in foster care, and then get them back and then give them up again, depending on the current partner or her own circumstances. The kids showed no emotion at all. I remember the school counsellor coming to me and saying that the girl had been kicked out of her (very religious) foster home and was there any way that I could take her temporarily as we got on ok. My husband agreed but before we could organise it her mother decided to take her back again. I was transferred soon after and I have always wondered how those two kids, in whom I could see so much potential, got on.

  25. Kyran

    Ms Lee, there was a book (going back a few decades) called “Bless the Beasts and the Children”. My take out from that was that the strong, wether it be emotional, psychological or physical strength, had a duty to protect the weak, regardless of how they were portrayed, betrayed or displayed. An old prayer went along the lines of (feel free to correct) “Give me the strength to fight, the peace to accept, and the wisdom to know the difference.”. Take care

  26. Kaye Lee

    My father always said “Give me the courage to change what I can and the strength to endure what I can’t” – he even wrote in in my autograph book – so your comment made me smile Kyran.

  27. mark delmege

    Was he AA Kaye Lee?

  28. corvus boreus

    I went to AA, both as a legal repercussion of my own indiscretion, and as a result of accepting the reality of my own addiction.
    I did not stay beyond merest necessity.
    The message of personal helplessness and reliance upon divinity for any solution to the problem seemed a bit too much like religious predation upon the situationally vulnerable.
    If I thought submissive devotion to a deity was a solution to my alcoholism I would convert to Islam, which forbids rather than encourages it’s consumption.

  29. Kaye Lee

    No he wasn’t AA though he sure enjoyed a beer and could have been considered a candidate through lifestyle habit rather than quantity. I rarely saw him drunk and if he was, he was on his way to bed. I never saw an aggressive action from him but he went to the pub every day after work. Having said that, he also never had a sick day off work in the decades of his employment as a teacher. He was a quotation junkie and whilst I didn’t truly appreciate that during his life, I find his words echoing in my ears more and more.

  30. Annie B

    Great article John – … puts so much into correct perspective. …. Pity the government can’t realise perspectives, as they should be. …. A way out of control bunch of pretend politicians, are they.

    ……….

    To Kyran and Kaye Lee :

    The words to the AA ( and Al-Anon for family / friends of alcoholics ) invocation are, as far as I know :

    ” Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The Courage to change the things I can,
    And the Wisdom to know the difference ”

    ………..

    To Kyran …. you mentioned an old newspaper saying ” If it bleeds, it leads”. etc… and then
    “That was for bygone days when the reader had no empathy for the subject of the story. “

    That mantra is still very much to the fore in all media today. … Have a journalist friend who confirmed that, but she is a journo ( as distinct from a reporter ) … and hates the expression. …

    Our TV news has ‘headline’ stories about tragedy of one kind or another, accidents, fires, explosions – the list is too long. … Just last night showing in close up a deep and ugly cut on a mans’ face made by a knife in an attack — repeated the image about 4 times. ( Channel 9 – who else ). ….

    Our newspapers still scream headlines that denote tragedy – and there’s all kinds of tragedies, ‘bleeding’ can also be the distress and frailty of a family who has lost a child – whatever shocks, horrifies or even produces tears – will do.

    TV news is a disgrace – they don’t care that children are around at the time the news is on ( and so many families do tune in ) …. and those kids see all this shock horror stuff. …. Yes, I know – families should switch the damned news off if they don’t want their kids exposed to it … but I wonder how many do. … I haven’t seen evidence of it yet.

  31. Pingback: Tragic events - likelihood vs reality l NobleOak Blog

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