Saturday, November 17, 2007

Suicide and religion.

As most of you know, I've been dealing with the death of someone very close to me. This person, after returning from Iraq, simply could not deal with life anymore. On another site that I often post to, a friend of mine made a post about the high suicide rate in returning soldiers. Now,...most people were very empathetic and agreed that, politics aside, it's a travesty that so many of our soldiers are having a difficult time adjusting to life after war. But... there's always a few conservative, religious extremists who have to jump in the conversation and say really stupid shit. I'll give you a prime example of what I'm talking about.

"In the numerous depressed and suicidal people that I have personally come into
contact with ... they have all had one main thing in common ... no personal
faith in God which gives them no hope of things improving, no power greater than
themselves, no life purpose, no reason to continue or try harder, no one that
really understands or can help. The reality is that the only person responsible
for suicide is the one who did the deed. Blame cannot be placed on anyone or
anything else- that is simply a defense mechanism trying to point the finger at
anyone other than the one who died so needlessly."


*boggle* It's hard to believe that something as complicated as suicide could be reduced to being an issue of belief in a deity or faith in a religion. Yet...here it is. My first instinct was to reply and say, "Well...if you know a sufficient number of suicides to be able to have a sample size large enough to make generalizations, then maybe you ought to examine what the heck you're doing to prevent their suicides?!" The comment (quoted above) really pissed me off because, I'm going to assume that, a majority of people who commit suicide are actually religious. Why do I assume that? Well... because, demographically, theists are more prevalent than atheists. So, we would expect, in a random sample of suicides, to find that the decedent was a theist. This is yet another example of how, in order to keep religion/faith looking pristine, believers will put all of the negative reflections of religion into a category wherein it is, somehow, above association. You know...like, "Pedophile priests aren't living by Christian standards, so they're not really Christian and can't be used against Christianity." or "Real Christians don't have abortions." The Catholic Church has a nifty way of avoiding a high suicide demographic, since: if you commit suicide, you are no longer in communion with the Church and therefore aren't counted in the roles. An easy way to have a group avoid blame or responsibility is to make it so their behaviors automatically disqualify them from the faith/religion. An example: A good Christian would never bomb a federal building with hundreds of innocent men, women, and children inside...therefore, the fact that Timothy McVeigh was a self-professed Christian doesn't count.

The quote above sickens me and pisses me off because it's dangerous. Dangerously stupid!
For one, if belief in a deity or faith/religion was all that was needed to help severely depressed and desperate people, then you'd think we'd see less attempts at suicide. I do concede that people who commit suicide often seem to have reached a point of helplessness and despair...but, that's not the same thing as having a lack of belief in a deity or spirituality. Think of all of the people who request physician assisted suicide! Are all of those people accepting of death because they have tossed their faith under a bus? Or, are they people who've accepted that death would end their pain and the suffering of their family/friends?

This argument/quote pisses me off. What kind of arrogant asshat would, in someones time of grief or in the midst of a national epidemic, make such a bullshit comment? I believe it's the same sort of person who would say, "All patriots support the war in Iraq!" or "The soldiers who are unhappy must have pre-existing mental problems." And,...I wasn't wrong. As this same person also said this:

"Yet, I contend there is no way of proving these same people did not have
problems before the military- it was just the pressure that made their problems
show up."


How the fuck is this something to feel reassured about? Basically, this person is saying that our military isn't conducting thorough enough evaluations and sending people with a tendency to be depressed or anxious into a war zone with a weapon! If someone who suffers immense depression under pressure, I would argue that they should not be allowed to serve in the military.

She also says:
"People hide things, lie, and generally try to fake their way in and then there
are also those that simply do not know they have issues."

Ahhhhh... the Christian tradition of blaming the victim. Because, eighteen year old boys and girls, entering into the military are manipulative and psychologically savvy enough to "fake their way in"? Right.

*sigh* Such bullshit...

29 comments:

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

The type of person who makes the comment above is the one that is long on talk and short on walk and who hasn't been within a continent's distance of a violent conflict.

Betsy said...

The one and only person I knew who committed suicide was one of the "pillars" of our church when I was a teenager. He was a very "godly" man with a large family and great kids and often spoke in church. One morning his three year old daughter found him dangling from a rafter in the barn. Not a single person knew he was having problems.

Hound Doggy said...

This is one of the larger problems that I have with religion...that is that it is easy to blame any number of problems on lack of faith instead of having to deal with the very cold and very hard reality of the situation.
A girl in my mom's church put herself on the prayer chain so that she might do better on an exam the next day. So instead of getting off the phone and putting her nose in the book she asks the genie for a wish.
It sounds like this person who made this comment is not strong enough to deal with suicide so she has to explain it away easily...
"Well, I guess they weren't strong in their faith". That way the reason is explained to her and she can move on to making cookies or something.

sick.

steelcobra said...

Ah, the No-True-Scotsman fallacy. Often used to claim that Hitler was an Atheist, even though he was a devout catholic who thought he was doing the "Lords work" and had the Pope and several Cardinals at his birthday parties.

Military service has different effects on different people. Some can handle the stress, some can't. And until they actually put a psychologist in the Military Entrance Processing Stations to figure out who's more suited to a desk job, that isn't going to change. But right now, all you do is a physical exam, pick your job, run through the Underwear Olympics (doing stupid exercises, including walking on your knees), and sign the contract.

And the thing is, the Army takes suicide very seriously and works to get soldiers help immediattly. The problem is when they are medically chaptered out and fall through the cracks of the VA. Which is not a new problem.

So glad I picked an MOS that pays well in the civilian sector...

Kat said...

It does in fact make me very very sick to hear that so and so only needed more faith to keep from killing themselves.

The people I also know who attempted suicide had a feeling that it was their only option because they were made to believe having something wrong with you was your fault for not letting "g-d" into your heart fully.

trefoil said...

Tom Cruise believes you can cure depression with vitamins. This whack-job believes that you can cure depression with religion. I'll put my psychic powers to the test and guess that the person you quoted, much like Tom Cruise, has no medical training.

Perhaps for people like Tom Cruise and the idiot you quoted, the reality of depression is more than they can handle. Maybe attempting to support someone dealing with depression has proven in the past to be more than this type of person can handle and it just became easier to blame the person suffering with the depression.

That's my effort to try to understand the willful ignorance of people like that. Of course, this is all said with the assumption that the individual you quoted didn't know about your recent loss and that you were reading that board. If he/she knew and still responded with that asinine remark, then my only explanation is that the person is a callous, self-righteous asshole, devoid of any semblance empathy.

I'm very sorry for your loss, PM.

evolveintobirds said...

I first considered committing suicide when I was only 10 years old. I can say unequivocally that my worst struggles with severe depression and suicidal thought was when I was a theist. It's frustrating to pray constantly and never be delivered from something so debilitating. There are so many suicides in my family that I have already spoken to my kids about the genetic predisposition they carry. People who talk that way just don't understand.

Vamp DiVerL said...

125 military people a *WEEK* kill themselves, can you imagine that? I heard that last night on the news. It stunned me. so how many people kill themselves, in general, in a week. WOW! PM is right, percentage wise, they have to be Christian...but they haven't TRULY accepted him as their saviour, blah.

They also said they *have* lowered their standards on recruiting lately, in order to get more people to join for these surges.

Hubby said, "Great...here's a gun, point it THAT way... now shoot...".

Scary!

Joe said...

Yep, that's the answer to all life's problems, faith in the sky daddy. *Joe shaking his head sadly*

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Possum Momma,

I am so sorry to hear about this terrible loss for you and for his family, too. There are no words to take the pain away.

Unfortunately, our veterans are not receiving the best and most regular care that we ought to be giving them for PTSD. It is extremely frustrating to read the comments of people who assume that to get PTSD, a person must have been unbalanced emotionally or psychologically before the trauma. PTSD is actually a very common outcome of trauma--and the more prolonged the trauma, the more serious the PTSD may become. It is the result of a 'learned' motor response that does not even get to the frontal lobes, so the idea that PTSD and a resulting suicide could be caused by the lack of faith is ridiculous! Grrr! Anyone who makes such a statement has no empathy or compassion. I think they do this to talk themselves into believing that this could not possible happen to them. I really dislike this kind of smugness.

But I go on too much. Again, I am so, sorry for the loss of such a person from among us. Death at an early age like his is such a final, difficult thing.

Quinn said...

Since the dust up elsewhere occurred, I've been thinking about why the Arsewipe would make such a comment. Given Arsewipe's own recent loss, this may be a way to reconcile that loss with strong beliefs. In other words, one can't blame god ('cause he would never do something awful!) but, as humans must do, blame has to be attached to someone. So the victim becomes the guilty party.

For some, because mental illness isn't contagious, can't be cured with antibiotics or saline drips, doesn't cause a rash or fever, doesn't produce physical scars or blistered skin--obviously it isn't a "real" disease. All one needs to overcome this pseudo illness is willpower, gumption--or a belief in a higher power.

Unless a person has experienced it first hand or at very close range, it is almost impossible to grasp the finer points of mental illness. Even then, understanding may still be elusive. Certainly to someone who has blinders on, it would seem to be no more than the inherent weakness of humans.

For those with the illness, it's all too real and all they want to do is stop the pain of living.

Even if it means causing mental anguish to their loved ones.

What I couldn't say elsewhere is that I see a correlation between the high rate of suicide and the high rate of desertion. These soldiers just want out, away from the pain. They want it to stop, and they will find it, one way or another.

All the warmest thoughts...

Phred said...

"In the numerous depressed and suicidal people that I have personally come into contact with ... they have all had one main thing in common ... no personal
faith in God which gives them no hope of things improving, no power greater than themselves, no life purpose, no reason to continue or try harder, no one that really understands or can help. The reality is that the only person responsible for suicide is the one who did the deed. Blame cannot be placed on anyone or anything else- that is simply a defense mechanism trying to point the finger at
anyone other than the one who died so needlessly."

In my opinion, that is the most assinine, jackass statement one can make. It shows complete ignorance.

My guess is very little experience with suicide, and an eagerness to explain it - thus the huge leap of conclusion. (A great way to stay fit!)

The implication that you need god to be happy in the first place is laughable. Lack of faith = lack of hope? *BOGGLED* right there with you, PM.

It's not JUST the lack of understanding and compassion that is so glaring. It's the SHEER STUPIDITY of this person that shines through!!!!!!

hill billy said...

the person who said that needs to be tied to a fire ant mound and covered in sugar.

i'm so sorry for your loss.

mental illness strikes all facets of society, believers and nonbelievers. it is a disease that for the most part has no cure. to say that they are to blame themselves......

that person's a jackass, asswipe, nutcase, idiot, could go on and on...

hugs to you.

Minivan mom said...

The same type of people who told my good friend who lost her baby daughter to AML that she just needed to "pray harder" to save her daughter.

I'm sorry for your loss.

peep bunny said...

"In the numerous depressed and suicidal people that I have personally come into
contact with ... they have all had one main thing in common ... no personal
faith in God which gives them no hope of things improving, no power greater than
themselves, no life purpose, no reason to continue or try harder, no one that
really understands or can help.


What a HUGE load of goat shit.

I've struggled with depression on and off since I was a teen. Over the last several years I have had numerous days where I truly believed the rest of my family would be better off without me in their lives. Whether or not I believed in God, or any other such higher power, NEVER once came into my mind during those episodes. What has kept me from actually committing suicide is my children and my desire to see them grow up and graduate from high school and college, get married, have their own children... just remaining a part of their lives and not wanting to desert them.

If the dipshit who made that ridiculously rude remark knew you were in mourning when s/he made it, then that person is extremely callous and has absolutely NO sense of compassion. I'd like to ask that idiot if s/he truly believes making cruel comments like that is what Jesus would do, because s/he certainly doesn't seem very Christian to me.

PossumMomma, I'm truly sorry for your family's loss.

N 'Man O' Rage' R said...

My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Going by this article on the 1978 Jonestown suicides, faith in the christian big daddy doesnt stop you from taking your own life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/18/newsid_2540000/2540209.stm

276 children too!! Did they even know why?

It's a sad world we live in. People like Dawkins, Porco, Possum momma, Abbie at ERV and many others give me hope. But then incidents like the ones reported by the Angry Astronomer on his blog make me think that we are fighting a losing battle.

The Cat in the Hat said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Possummomma. I am also horrified that anyone could say something so heartless to you in your time of grief. The person you lost was ill; does this so-called Christian believe that lack of faith in God can be blamed for any illness? Her ridiculously misguided attempts at "witnessing" will no doubt turn more people away from Christianity than they attract. I don't expect she gets that though.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Apparently, the person who I quoted is upset that her words have been placed in this blog. You know what? Tough.
1) The only person who knows they are your words are the people who were already offended by your words. Your name wasn't put here. It's one opinion versus others. Not one person versus another. Your words are your opinion. Your opinion is something that is completely uncompassionate and hypocritical.

2) I copied and pasted your words exactly as they are. I did not shred them to pieces and repost them to malign you. THAT is the difference.

You have the ability to remain perfectly anonymous. If you would prefer for me to give a citation for your "work", then I'll be happy to edit the post to include your name and e-mail address so that people might contact you personally to discuss this matter.

AquaMom said...

Faith is simple. It's the simple answer. Got a test? Pray. Short of cash? Pray. Feeling down? Pray. Simple.

Mental illness is complex. Despite years of research we still don't know how to adequately diagnose and treat most mental illness. Its complicated and, in my experience, some simple people of faith don't want to think complicated thoughts...

It's not about God or faith or whether your friends and family love you - it's a biochemically induced hopelessness that surpasses all rational thought. The cognitive dissonances that result in suicide can be treated, but only if the symptoms are recognized and treated.

Your loved one's friends and family, and your loved one himself, for that matter, recognized symptoms. He tried to be treated, but the military that took his years of service did not help him in a timely way. I'm so pissed off at this administration for not anticipating all the horrid repercussions of this poorly thought-out war.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and I'm immensely irritated that someone would "poke the grizzly" and then come back and say she's being mistreated :-(

Maybe she should pray about it.

Christine said...

I am very very sorry about your loss. PTSD is horrible to suffer from and I am sorry that so many soldiers are falling through the cracks. I have no idea how faith even entered the conversation seeing that mental disorders affect both religious and non-religious people. It's not like atheists/agnostics get cherry-picked for it.

You know what they say...if you can't stand the heat....

shiraz said...

I think aquamom said it better than I ever could, so I won't try. I will add that as someone who has attempted suicide before - it has nothing to do with a lack of faith. It has everything to do with an overwhelming feeling of despair and emptiness.

And I am going to leave it at that, and try not to dwell on someone else's stupidity and hatred. The person who made those comments does not deserve my time.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I think it's quite telling that the person who said all of these quoted statements is now crying foul. You know what? It's NOT ABOUT YOU, F. This isn't an attack on you. It's an attack on the mentality. What you said could, and has been, said by others who feel the same as you and I would have the same reaction because the IDEA is overly generalized and simple. It's a horrible thing to say...not because you're Christian or you...but, because it's just a tactless and uncompassionate thing to say. Despite your cries to the peanut gallery, this isn't about any past drama or YOU. If one of my friends had said this, I would've been just as pissed off. So, don't flatter yourself by imagining that this blog entry is some attempt to piss you off. What you said is a symptom of the bigger problem - arrogance and religious excuses in the face of a problem that's so complex. When people are discussing the loss of returned soldiers, it's a damn shame when someone decides they have to judge all of those who have died. Who are you to judge their religious devotion or beliefs? It betrays your real motive- which was not to comfort, but to rub salt in a fresh wound and avoid the real issue. It's much easier to blame a dead person's lack of faith for their suicide than it is to question the horrific nature of the situation they faced (and the horrible treatment they got when they returned to this nation). Trying to insinuate that they're faithless or deficient does NOTHING to help the problem or the grief.

How would you feel if, in the week following the suicide of your loved one, someone would've said, "If only he had realized that the judgemental religious baloney was pointless and without merit. It's my experience that people who commit suicide are lacking in a realistic vision of life." ?? Or, what if a Muslim suggested that your brother's suicide (a year ago) was the result of his lack of belief in Allah or his stubborn resistance to the teachings of Islam?

You'd be pissed. And, rightfully so. And, despite our issues, I'd have handed that person a can of whoop ass for saying something so fucked up to you in your grief.

It's a pity that you couldn't be human and reserve your self-righteous judgement for a time when the issue really WAS how religious belief might play into suicide. I'd have agreed with you 100% if your comment was in that context. But, in the thread as it was, your comment was totally uncalled for and I think you know that.

Andrew said...

Iraq War Vet here. There are plenty of places I could go to get help if I needed it. In fact, my commander (from Minnesota) called me (in Texas) every couple of weeks after we redeployed to see how things were going. Not to mention the week long briefings and counseling when I demobilized. There were also 30/60/90 day family counseling conferences.

If the soldier in question didn't raise his hand, call the VA for free professional counseling (the $300/hr kid), or tell the truth when someone asked if he was ok, then I don't see how ANYONE could have helped him.

Contrary to popular, civilian opinion, what pushes people to suicide is not seeing death and killing, its re-assimilation into American society. What happens to your relationships after being away from your friends and family for two years is depressing. I was a different person, and they don't always understand that. I also have a tendency to trivialize other people's issues and emotions considering that what soldiers go through is a bit more serious than who is dating whom, etc... Friends have moved on (sometimes literally). You basically have to start over, and some veterans don't understand that this passes with a little work.

I am not saying that the suicide was this soldier's fault. I don't know anything about him. I am just saying that he was the only one who could have helped himself because everything he needed was there. There is nothing else we could have done.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Andrew, I wouldn't deny your experience, but from having several Iraq War vets that I know on-line, I would say your experience of getting help readily is less common than it should be. I've had tales (from the people they happened to) of repeatedly screwed up meds, horror show psychiatrists using methods for treating PTSD that I with only a bachelor's and no clinical experience, know are completely fucked up, having a vet with agoraphobia given a hearing 300 miles away to defend her disability status, and on, and on, and on.

I'm glad to hear that at least some vets are getting the help and treatment they need. But unless lots of people, who as far as I know don't know each other, are all lying to me, it's far from a universal experience.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Andrew said...
Iraq War Vet here. There are plenty of places I could go to get help if I needed it. In fact, my commander (from Minnesota) called me (in Texas) every couple of weeks after we redeployed to see how things were going.

I'm glad someone checked in on you. Your expereince should be the norm. Unfortunately, I don't think that it is.
Not to mention the week long briefings and counseling when I demobilized.
Well, if you're still in the military when you return, I have no doubt that there's this sort of help available. Aaron was medically discharged a year ago. As far as the military was concerned, he was second in line to men who were still enlisted or serving.
There were also 30/60/90 day family counseling conferences.
IF you're still in... I have no doubt that this is true. Aaron was NOT IN. But, that doesn't make him any less deserving or less of a veteran. His thirty day, post discharge conference went about like this - I know because I was there - "So, Aaron. How do you think you're handling things?" And, before Aaron could answer, the guy went on and on about other men who were having the same experience...unfortunately, he didn't actually listen to what Aaron was saying. He was so quick to get on to the next guy that the psychiatrist he saw did. not. listen.


If the soldier in question didn't raise his hand, call the VA for free professional counseling (the $300/hr kid), or tell the truth when someone asked if he was ok, then I don't see how ANYONE could have helped him.
Wow. Presumptuous much? You sound like someone I know.
Aaron called anyone and everyone who MIGHT be able to help. And, we, his family and friends, did the same. I, personally, spent countless hours TRYING to get him the help he needed through civilian channels when it appeared that the VA wasn't going to do their job. His wife contacted everyone and Buddha within military channels. When the VA shrink told him, after ten minutes, that he'd see him again...IN TWO MONTHS (despite Aaron having said in the ten minutes- "I don't know if I can do this any more."), I honestly think he lost hope in the system. We rallied every resource we could. I'm sure that if the government had wanted him back in the field again, he would've gotten all the help he needed. But, you know, since they'd already taken his happiness and soul away... maybe they figured, "Hey! Why bother?"

Contrary to popular, civilian opinion, what pushes people to suicide is not seeing death and killing, its re-assimilation into American society.
I agree. So, why didn't anyone (in the VA) give two shits when he couldn't sit in traffic for fear of someone detonating an IED? Why didn't someone tell his wife that hearing nail and staple guns MIGHT set off some sort of anxiety attack? Why didn't they say, "You know what... he may not do well when he sees an Arab in the car next to him."?
What happens to your relationships after being away from your friends and family for two years is depressing. I was a different person, and they don't always understand that.
There was nothing depressing about his family life. What depressed him was that he didn't know how to re-enter life and *do* life without the military. When he went to work in the private sector, no one prepared him for what it would mean to be a surgical nurse and face the gore and trauma again. We all knew he'd changed. And, we understood it. We TRIED to get him help. It's unfortunate that we were ignored. And, if you think we were the only ones who experienced this, I can give you the names of some family members who had the exact same experience we did. In fact, you could probably google "returned Iraq veteran" and find a few blogs.
I also have a tendency to trivialize other people's issues and emotions considering that what soldiers go through is a bit more serious than who is dating whom, etc... Friends have moved on (sometimes literally).
I understand. It's got to be enormously difficult. I'm glad that you're dealing with it well.

You basically have to start over, and some veterans don't understand that this passes with a little work.
Wow. Condescending much? How can you trivialize another person's experiences? You weren't Aaron. You have no idea what he saw or who he was...but, you feel qualified to judge whether or not he "worked" for his sanity? He was out and asking for help FOR A YEAR. I know people who can't wait in line thirty minutes for movie tickets...a year is a long time.

I am not saying that the suicide was this soldier's fault.
You're not saying it, but you're implying that he; didn't work hard enough to get over it; no one helped him; and the military has no blame.
I don't know anything about him.
EXACTLY.
I am just saying that he was the only one who could have helped himself because everything he needed was there.
Have you been reading?
BULLSHIT!!!! Everything may have "been there", but the access wasn't "there". Just because the VA hangs up a sign in the ward that says "Psychiatry" doesn't mean they have enough appointments or decent staff.
There is nothing else we could have done.
Who's we? You? How do you know this? How do YOU know what was or wasn't done? How do YOU know how he was treated? You don't. You have YOUR experience to go off of and that's all. It's working great for you. COOL! I'm glad. It actually makes me immensely happy to know that you're okay and getting the help you require to be healthy and happy. My Aaron, and many others, did not and are not getting what THEY need, despite your claims.

AquaMom said...

Part of going to war is providing for the physical, mental, and emotional health of returning soldiers, whether they choose to remain in the military or not.

A country that can't care for the needs of their soldiers should not be going into war.

Yet another example of the crappy "planning" (in quotes because I think there was very little to no actual planning) that started this fiasco. :-(

ShadesOfGrey said...

I don't want to sound like a cliche, but there are as many reasons for suicides as there are people who commit suicides. To reduce the "cause" down to one, especially the erroneous one of religiosity, is to trivialize a very sad affair and is of no use to either those who have died or those who are planning on commiting suicide.

I hope your hurt won't be exacerbated by thoughtless remarks, P-Momma.

Amber de Katt said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, pmomma, and my sympathies go to you and to his family.

As for that... that... BS about "lack of religion" or whatever being the cause of your friend's suicide.... GAH! Into the garbage heap with that dreck.

I had my nervous breakdown, in my 20's, when I was at the height of my Christian faith. And my 2nd depression (not an actual breakdown, but debilitating nonetheless), a decade later while I was still in the midst of my Christian beliefs, and working at Promise Keepers, no less.

In fact, it was my Christianity that, if not actually caused my breakdown, at least catalized it. And you know what I was told? That I was being oppressed by demons! (And these weren't even "fringe" Christians and Christian teachings, this was mainstream evangelicalism.) So now my panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, crippling fatigue, etc were my fault because "I'd given Satan a foothold into my life" and I didn't have enough faith to pray the demons away! (Complete with "supporting" Bible verses to back that argument up.)

Seven-plus months of this hell, each time (at least the second depression didn't come with any "oppressive demons" talk...). And you know what helped me beat it, both times? Counseling (secular counseling... covered by insurance the first time, and paid for in part by my dad the second time), and proper medication. And I am able to maintain because of the medication.

If I hadn't been able to get the help I needed, I probably would have ended up like your friend. And I wasn't even a wartime military veteran afflicted with PTSD -- I was just a (comparatively) garden-variety clinical depressive.

Andrew said...

I originally wrote a long reply to your post, but found myself being more and more aggressive in response to your aggressiveness. I thought better of it and threw it out the window.

When I read your original post and saw a tragic suicide being blamed on the military (albeit implied blame), I felt compelled to respond. There were holes in your logic which I tried to politely push my fingers through in defense of my employer. I realize that this was a mistake. I should have just left it alone. But my reasoning was that this is an Atheist blog, PM talks about reason and logic all the time, can’t she detach herself from this issue too.?

The blame-game has already been played out in your mind on this one, and there is no changing that. I think this guy could have gotten help in one way or another, and it’s a shame that he didn’t.

Aaron may have been truly unable to help himself, and for implying blame on his part, I am sorry. But that doesn’t make the military the de facto guilty party. Mental illness is a complicated and inherently unstable issue.

------------
As for your behavior… I am not a troll. I have read and contributed to your blog comments for a while now (even in Iraq). So please, don’t treat me like one your creationuts. I was just trying to defend what I saw as unwarranted, anti-military views in your discussion, and the tone and rudeness of your response was utterly uncalled for.

It is not fun being on the opposite side of the ring from you, PM. I can now honestly tell you that you come across as emotional to this side of the ring and your arguments are then easily dismissed (subconsciously) on those grounds. Maybe that is why you have such problems with trolls. They are looking for a fight, and you give them one… you also play into atheist stereotypes in the process.