Saturday, January 31, 2009

Suicide's more tragic truth

"Ervin Antonio Lupoe, a recently unemployed X-ray technician, killed his wife, Ana, and their five children then took his own life in a grisly murder-suicide in Los Angeles Tuesday. Lupoe and his wife had both recently lost their jobs and the killings are said to have been part of a suicide pack by the couple.

Lupoe and his wife Ana were both employed by Kaiser Permanente at the West Los Angeles Medical Center. Their layoffs were not part of cost cutting measures in response to the economic downturn but rather due to allegations of misconduct.

Kaiser Permanente had no further comment on the details but confirmed that both Ervin Lupone and his wife Ana Lupone were fired and that the company is "deeply saddened" by the tragic events." -
I was first left speechless upon reading this news that has struck a global reach a couple of days ago. It is nerve wracking and heart wrenching to say the least, but you can't help but think and try to comprehend that there is a human capacity and logic that could make people result to suicide. It's a torn feeling of trying to understand and trying to condemn the act. At the end, this matter is still of personal choice. Desperation, frustration, anxiety, hurt, can affect us differently and some just made the personal decision to give up.

At first, I thought this was primarily caused by the Economic crisis. With all the layoffs happening especially in the Western Countries, people who have had a strong culture and comfort to easily earn and access money, were suddenly left in a situation that robs them of that financial power. Egos tarnished and their characters may not be used to this kind of hardship, might instantly leave them in a sordid state. But apparently, the Lupoe couple according to the report wasn't laid off because of the Economic crisis, but was fired due to misconduct. But regardless of the reason, any loss or source of income somehow led them to the same path of suicide.

This rising cause of suicides is now beginning to alarm the States and generally catch the attention of the global community. Money is a powerful aspect in everyone's lives and the lack and absence of it might push people to the brink. As I try to read various suicides and reports about investment bankers who kill themselves, fall into massive depression in this crisis, or adults who killed or even considered killing their own children before they can even think of poverty, really says a lot about ones strength and community. To end a life because of money greatly illustrates how the material things and pride outweigh priceless things such as good human relationships, alternatives and faith in self and community. To end ones life is to admit defeat. To end ones life is to generates a quick escape. To end ones life disregards the matter of hope, faith and even a chance to make things better.

Considering suicide because of los of security, sense of direction or loss of a loved one, just shows how emotions and twisted psychosis suddenly take reign in human lives. If humans were ultimately designed to immediately troubleshoot and be strategic, instead of surrendering to heightened emotions in getting over their fears in this world, then I believe suicides would be limited to heroic deeds and not of desperate acts of escape. But the fact remains that we are humans. We respond to fears with overwhelming emotions. Everyone has a different threshold and way of"keeping it together." We have different ways and capacities to rear our psychosis to the positive light. Others are stronger and more strategic, unfortunately others are not.

I also have different reactions to a man who kills himself versus a man who kills himself and others who were not capable enough to do it and go through the intricate process of deciding or accepting their fate. If Ervin Lupoe and his wife killed themselves due to their own desperate situations, then as adults they have decided to throw in the towel and escape. I may feel sorry for them that they chose that. I will see them as selfish for leaving their children without their proper guidance and support, which they should be providing in the first place. They may have deprived their children of material comfort, but at least if they left their children alive. They will give them a chance to survive "on their own"probably with the help of the government, of a good Samaritan or of a particular organization. Killing himself and his wife including all of their children, who are not capable enough to think things through and give up on a "jaded" life they did not create nor had a chance to fix for themselves, is unforgivable to me.

They might be parents of these kids and as long as they were staying in their roof, they may have had to make lots of decisions for them. But one thing they should never ever consider is taking their children's lives. Even if they agreed to it, there were lots of sugarcoating and coaxing involved. They are kids. They may have so many opportunities to survive this world and be successful in life. The couple robbed them of that chance. It may not be the ideal life that their parents planned for them, but it's certainly considered more humane and more acceptable to just leave them be and let other adults, who are willing and who are more capable, to provide them with that chance no matter how paltry it may be. Same goes for a banker in San Fernando Valley CA who killed himself, his wife, three children and mother in law.

I might have a harder time comprehending suicide. I might not agree with it, but at the end I am not the one who has to deal with the powerful emotions. I might try as hard as I can to inject sense and obstruct the act, but once a suicide is done, it all falls down to the person's own decision and capacity to do it. My heart will grow numb.

But to have someone commit suicide and to make that decision for other people, especially for kids who can't even properly decide, understand their emotions nor be given a chance to fight for their own lives, just make me sick. That for me is harder to understand and forgive. Suicide may be regretful, but to extend that act to selfless kids and to the unwilling are just plainly murder. Instead of me feeling numb and regret with the suicide, it's replaced with an honest feeling that I hope that those who initiated the suicide will not be able to escape after all that dramatic effort. I sincerely hope that they go to a place where suffering is doubled and tripled without any means of suicide, just like ATLAS, just like in limbo.

Suicide is always spurred by a decision pushed by intense emotions and negative perceptions in life. This is where the value of community and positive relationships come in. It is a call to build a strong support system in life besides the happiness and security that material things provide. It is then that we surround ourselves with positive people to influence us in building a stronger character to survive life's ongoing tragedies. Without any of this, our emotions will continue to overpower our senses and no one is there to fight it off with us.

Suicide may be unthinkable to some, and others might have thought about it. I'm not a hypocrite. In rough times when I cried like a baby and tried to punish myself for something bad that I did, the thought of suicide passed my mind. But the thing is, I know I couldn't muster enough decency to do it. Not adhering to suicide for me is not a lack of courage. It's a matter of showing off that I still have a choice, that I still have a chance to make things better.

If suicide for heartaches, desperation and minor human tragedies take a lot of courage and guts, well what do you think of people who still chose to continue life? Isn't that more courageous? And what of those people who were robbed of that choice? Isn't that more tragic than suicide?

There are five angels in Heaven and it is just a real tragedy.
Janice Hahn - Los Angeles City Council @ (pertaining to the the 5 children of Mr. and Mrs. Lupoe. TO Mr. and mrs. Lupoe, is heaven still applicable?)

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