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Final act is played out in public.


THERE is no way to excuse the behaviour of the rabble who taunted a man before he plunged 100ft to his death from a multi-storey car park in Birmingham.

A boy is said to have encouraged the troubled soul to "jump" from the building in Moat Lane, Digbeth. A crowd of 25 hurled similarly abusive sentiments at the young man.

He fell to the ground following a four-hour standoff with the police. There is no suggestion of foul play.

A police investigation will reveal if there were contributory factors, such as drugs or alcohol, or if fragile mental health played a role.

In the absence of stimulants, we can assume the man took his own life, or at the very least was reckless about his own safety and wellbeing.

It is regrettable that the final moments of his troubled life were tarnished not only by emotional turmoil, but by the foul abuse of strangers.

And yet is it right to have total sympathy with a man who appears to have been intent on committing suicide in a very public place? There are plenty of methods a determined man (and statistically they tend to be men) can use to take his life without causing psychological harm to the emergency services. For it is they who are left, quite literally, to pick up the pieces.

It is best not to think about the scene that confronted ambulance workers, police officers and possibly undertakers who were called to the scene in Digbeth.

Of course, the selfish impulse for a public death is the same one that compels the unhinged to throw themselves in front of speeding trains.

Fortunately, such cases are relatively rare. But such circumstances must, if anything, compound the grief of relatives and friends who are left to cope in the wake of a suicide.

For some people, suicide is the only way out - but they shouldn't expect the rest of us to have to witness the act and its aftermath.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 17, 2012
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