Thursday, June 02, 2005

Meanwhile, in the land of Oz...
For those of you who don't know, Australia is considering legislation that would make discussion of suicide methodology via the internet a crime. One of it's main proponents, Senator Brian Harradine, is quite vocal in his support of the proposed law, claiming:

the bill under consideration educate[s] society that there is value in the life of every human being, and that special care should be provided to those who are vulnerable for any number of reasons.

Given that adolescents who are identified as homosexuals have a higher rate of suicide than the general population of that age bracket, and given Harradine's record of persecuting homosexuals, i have to wonder how sincere he is about finding value in the life of every human; some of the ideas that can be logically inferred from the combination of his words and actions are, to say the least, disturbing.

What is particularly puzzling is this: if Harradine is convinced that the people of Australia should provide assistance to "vulnerable" people, then why waste money on the creation and enforcement of a law that does absolutely nothing to provide the type of support these people apparently need? This law makes no provisions for treating depression, though Harradine repeatedly points to depression as a causal factor of suicide, nor does it do anything else than criminalize people for what amounts to what Orwell would call a "thought crime". It will make mere possession of descriptions of means to suicide a crime even if the person possessing it has no intention of disseminating the information and even though suicide per se is not a crime in Australia.

I plan to write more on this topic later.

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