Although the left has lost no time in dismissing the Hutton report as a pathetic whitewash, while simultaneously demanding to know why Lord Hutton didn’t enquire into questions totally outside his terms of reference (like why US/UK intelligence on Iraqi WMD capabilities was so wide of the mark), one thing Hutton has apparently achieved is to stop the lefties from claiming ad nauseum that Tony Blair, Geoff Hoon or former New Labour spin doctor Alisdair Campbell somehow “drove” Defence Ministry scientist David Kelly to commit suicide.
Unfortunately, some of the more knuckleheaded righties (conceivably a tautology, although my own right-ish tendencies prevent me from conceding that point ) have instantly adopted the left’s idiot logic and turned it against their own ideological enemies. The latest example is Paddy McGuinness who, in today’s SMH, has no difficulty concluding that “The BBC, in its overweening institutional arrogance, killed David Kelly.”
Well Paddy, as far as I know the evidence rather suggests that the only person who killed David Kelly was David Kelly himself.
The same is true of just about every other suicide in the history of the human race. No-one “drives” a person to commit suicide. It’s a decision made by the suicide him/herself and, except sometimes in the later stages of a terminal illness, it’s almost always an utterly selfish, immature, self-indulgent decision giving little consideration to the effects on loved ones left behind, and more often than not involving a tawdry attempt to impose a “guilt trip” and punish those the suicide has become convinced were the cause of his unhappiness.
That’s not to say that I haven’t momentarily entertained such notions myself a couple of times when in the trough of some life crisis, nor that I feel no sympathy whatever for the suffering and despair of a fellow human being who takes such a drastic step. But my sympathy is strictly limited. We don’t do anyone any favours by colluding in the suicide’s evasion of ultimate responsibility for his own actions, any more than by credulously applauding/excusing the well-heeled Aboriginal activist whose demands for “self-determination” (i.e. an open cheque account with no overdraft limit) are invariably accompanied by self-serving bullshit rhetoric about white oppression, or his remote community brother who believes everyone other than himself is responsible for his own alcohol and drug abuse and gross physical and sexual abuse of spouse and children.
The same problem arises with the defence lawyer whose standard tactic is always to paint his criminal offender client as a helpless victim deserving far more sympathy than the real victim whose rights that client callously violated. I have an old friend who now works as a forensic psychologist at Darwin Prison. Another friend once asked him if he had observed any common behavioural/attitudinal denominator in repeat criminal offenders. His answer coincided with my own observations: the most obvious and ubiquitous common factor is a complete inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions, allied with a kneejerk response of instantly looking for someone else(however unlikely) to blame for the offender’s own behaviour. One of the most eloquent, and funniest, evocations of the syndrome can be found in the song Gee Officer Krupke from Leonard Bernstein’s great musical West Side Story.
Whether dealing with suicide, crime, alcoholism, welfare sponging or any other anti-social activity, we should all avoid colluding in perpetrators’ evasion of responsibility for their own actions by granting their self-justifying excuses any legitimacy whatever.
There now, that should be enough to restore my heartless RWDB boofhead credentials with any readers who may have feared I’d lurched towards the soft-hearted, self-indulgent left during my recent blogging holiday.