We rode over to the cemetery — a real Boot Hill — to see Carlos’s grave.
Carlos died by drowning, a very rare thing in a very dry country. It was ruled an ‘accident’ by the police. But it didn’t look like an accident to us. It looked like suicide. The footprints showed that he walked around the reservoir to the deep end — the only place he could have drowned. His cell phone was placed on the ground. Then, the feet came together…and disappeared. There were no other footprints.
What would make Carlos — a simple field hand — want to kill himself? Nobody wants to ask.
We have our suspicions. They would surprise no one. Jealousy. Hate. Betrayal. Desperation. Talking to his wife, we had the strong sense that she knows something that she’s not telling us. But there is no point in going any further with this; the heart has its stories…often best left untold.
Our beat is money. But on its own, money is worthless. It is the heart, with its wants and needs, its vanities and mysteries, that gives money meaning. So, today, we will dig a bit further into the mush and muscle, in the hopes that we might learn something.
No sooner had we absorbed news of Carlos’s death than another death came our way. An old friend, in Switzerland, committed suicide. This was a death of an entirely different sort. Premeditated. Assisted. Sanctioned by the government.
Here’s the report (from a family member):
‘Marie got in touch with an organization called “Exit”. Normally, they help terminally ill people kill themselves. But they will also do it for people who are severely depressed.
‘Marie had cut herself off from her two children. I think it was over money. She had become a recluse. And she was very unhappy.
‘She called me about a month ago to say that she had contacted the Exit people and was planning to commit suicide. I didn’t know what to do. Or how to take it. She could be melodramatic. And very emotional. I figured she was just telling me how depressed she was. I knew she was taking antidepressants. I thought she had it under control.
‘Then, she called to say she had a date — about a week ahead. She seemed very determined. Calm. Her mind was made up.
‘Apparently, the Exit group did interviews with family and friends to make sure that she was in her right mind and was unlikely to ever recover from her depression. Then, they came to her apartment, along with a policeman as a witness; they gave her a pill.
‘I heard from her friend, who must have been with her, that she was smoking a cigarette, calmly and even making jokes. Then, she took the pill, fell asleep and died.
‘Rest in peace.’
Another family member reported that the end was ‘serene’…and that ‘it was what she wanted’.
But the news left others deeply disturbed. One offered a comment:
‘Rest in peace? What kind of peace is that? She was obviously at war with her own children…and it tormented her…drove her crazy…so crazy that either she wanted to escape by killing herself…
‘…or wanted to torment them by removing all possibility of a reconciliation. Either way, it was the wrong thing to do. Not just “wrong” like a mistake…but wrong — sinful…selfish and mean.’
‘That’s what is wrong with our whole modern world’, she continued.
‘It has lost its soul. Imagine, people who come to your house…give you a pill…and watch you die. What’s wrong with these people? Didn’t anyone try to stop her? Didn’t anyone try to save her? Suppose you saw someone getting ready to jump off a bridge? Would you just say “oh well, that’s their business”? And didn’t it occur to anyone that killing people — even people who say they want to be killed — is wrong?
‘Look…I have no idea whether Marie should live or die. But neither do they. It’s one thing when people suddenly shoot themselves and there’s nothing you can do about it. But coming to her apartment with a pill?
‘This is so disappointing…and so sad. These people think they can make life or death decisions based on interviews and psychological profiles. How did they know what was really in her heart…or what Marie’s suicide would do to her children…or her friends? Why did they think she had any choice in the matter? She didn’t choose to be born; who gave her the right to choose to die? Those are things we shouldn’t decide for ourselves. How did they know whether she was meant to live or die…
‘…or whether she might some day see a burning bush…and get down on her knees to beg forgiveness…beg her children and her god…to take that iron corset off her heart and let her live?
‘I find it just overwhelmingly sad…crushingly sad…as if there really were no God at all…no real grace or beauty…no hope of redemption…
‘…as if we were now all at the mercy of soulless technicians with their crackpot theories on their power trips…with their charts and graphs…telling us the planet can only be 1.5 degrees warmer…or that we should have 2% inflation, not more, not less…and telling us when we can go a restaurant…and giving children vaccines that they don’t need…and censuring what we say…and insisting that we put their medicines into our bodies…
‘…you’re always going on about the Fed monkeying with interest rates and printing fake money…and I guess that’s part of it too…they think they can control everything and everybody…
‘…and now, they think they have the right to tell us who can die…and when.
For The Daily Reckoning Australia