Archive for suicide

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Robin Williams

The world lost a real treasure yesterday. Robin Williams gave us the gift of countless verses, of howls of hilarity, gleeful giggles and even snort-inducing snickers. For the laughs, I'll be forever grateful.

But he also had the ability to get truly serious, and to bring us to tears. His performances in Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire and even the under-appreciated Jumanji are among my favorites. But there were so many more thought-provoking, risk-taking roles (What Dreams May Come comes to mind) that made up the wealth of work he'll leave behind and insure that, to those of us who never had the privilege of meeting him, he'll live on forever.

I've battled depression since adolescence. I talk about it occasionally on the show because we need to remove the stigma associated with it. I know that Robin Williams battled those demons and, with them, drug addiction - a deadly combination. I only hope that he can now rest in peace.

Today, during our "Gliberal Goddesses" segment, GottaLaff, Amy Simon and I talked about the genius that was Robin Williams. I, as a fan; Amy, as an improv artist who met him once; and Laffy as someone who worked with him in an improv group in LA before he shot to stardom as our favorite Alien, Mork from the planet Ork.

In the first hour, after sharing my thoughts about our collective loss, I spoke about the madness unfolding in Ferguson, MO, where a town is grieving its own tragic loss of an 18 year old at the hands of one who should have been protecting him.

Instead, in what's looking more and more like murder and a cover-up, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown. Of the two stories that have emerged about the shooting, the one told by Dorin Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time, is the more credible.

“Me and my friend was walking down the street in the middle of the street. And we wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all. … A police officer squad car pulled up and when he pulled up these were his exact words: ‘Get the F on the sidewalk.’ … He reversed his … car in a manner to where it almost hit us. … He tried to brush his door open but he was so close to us that it ricocheted off us and it bounced back to him, and I guess that, you know, got him a little upset. And at that time ... he didn’t get out the car, he just reached his arm out the window and grabbed my friend around his neck and … as he was trying to choke my friend, he was trying to get away, and the officer then reached out and he grabbed his arm to pull him into the car. … His weapon was drawn and he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot,’ and in the same moment the first shot went off. And we looked at him, he was shot, and there was blood coming from him, and we took off running, and as we took off running, I ducked and hid for my life because I was afraid for my life … . My friend kept running and he told me to keep running because he feared for me, too. So, as he was running, the officer was trying to get out of the car and once he got out the car he pursued my friend, but his weapon was drawn. Now, he didn’t see any weapon drawn at him or anything like that. I was going for no weapon. His weapon was already drawn when he got out the car. He shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air and he started to get down but the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and he fired several more shots, and my friend died. He didn’t say anything to him, he just stood over and was shooting.”

Dorian Johnson spoke with Chris Hayes last night on MSNBC's All In:

The police- via St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar- are pushing a different story.

“Yesterday about noon in the 2900 block of Canfield, a Ferguson police officer had an encounter with two individuals on the street. In fact, one of those individuals … allegedly pushed the police officer back into the car where he physically assaulted the police officer. It is our understanding at this point in the investigation that within the police car there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon. There was at least one shot fired within the car. After that the officer went back, came back out of the car, he exited his vehicle, and there was a shooting that occurred where the officer in fact shot the subject, and … they were fatal injuries. The entire scene from approximately the car door to the shooting is about 35 feet. There were shell casings recovered, the shell casings are all matched to one weapon, that’s the officer’s weapon. There were more than a few shell casings recovered. I cannot say at this time how many times the subject was struck by gunfire. It’s hard to know, it was more than just a couple but I don’t think it was many more than that.”

Protests and clashes between police and protesters continue, as police have still not released the identity of the officer who shot Michael Brown. This is far from over.

This morning, I spoke with George Sheldon, candidate for Attorney General of Florida.  I asked him about the situation in Ferguson and the seeming rise in police militarization and violence, as well as Florida's Stand Your Ground law. The primary is two weeks from today.

We'll be back tomorrow with Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars, and whatever else the day brings. Stay safe and hug your loved ones, and I'll talk to you tomorrow, radio or not...

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Young Master Chef Lost to Guns and Mental Illness, Melissa Harris-Perry Notes

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Master Chef finalist, fan favorite and troubled Chicago student Josh Marks lost his life and dreams to suicide, in the tragic intersection of mental illness and the shockingly normal high availability of guns.

It's probably more difficult to get good weed in Chicago than a firearm, if anything in that cute Ted movie can be believed.

MasterChef Finale Image Courtesy ClickClaque.com

MasterChef Finale Image Courtesy ClickClaque.com

Melissa Harris-Perry did an amazing piece on Josh Marks … the charismatic African American contestant from Chicago that won American hearts with his chaffy chops and fighting spirit. The hubs and I watched, and rooted for him. [We're oddly Gordon Ramsey fans but it Twas before Chef Graham lost like half of himself if you've caught Master Chef.]

The easy access to guns in the street … Chicago has so much gun violence … there are so many gun loopholes that the supply is always there … or they can go over the [state] border."

Tragically, this gun availability here led to suicide. CNN highlights from reporting on Marks (last and successful try) late 2013 suicide.

It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," his lawyer, Lisa Butler, said Sunday. "He was a jewel with so much talent to offer this world. But, in his state of mind, he turned to the streets for a gun and easily got it."

Marks, 26, died from a gunshot wound to his head. His death has been ruled a suicide, a spokesman for the Cook County, Illinois, medical examiner said Sunday.

The NRA has framed the question as one about 'strangers' said expert Eugene O'Donnell, and he showed why that gun-fondling fantasy is balderdash.

"Do we not care about suicide?," pled Melissa.

Bryan Smith who wrote a great piece on the story for Chicago Magazine, was there to discuss, below, as was 'Law and Order of the Mind' segment expert Eugene O'Donnell joined the discussion following revelations that Marks had both prior attempts at suicide and time at Cook's County Jail - from his nearby troubled term at college. And guns were no problem at all to obtain.

The 'vacuum of fear' theme was spot on, especially when this discussion is framed in politics, social stigma and racism.

Ironically, the writers of Law and Order and House of Cards add more to the human dignity questions at the heart of this conversation than the Know Nothing Do Nothing Congress and gridlocked D.C. with SCROTUS and Open Carry gun nuts running amok.

Maybe 'Scandal' can take a stab in Season 4. No doubt Ms. Shonda Rhimes would give the pitiable Congress a hand in common sense, reality and dignity of purpose. Calling Olivia Pope!

scandal-memes-olivia-pope-6In the meantime we have Melissa Harris-Perry's coverage to the sad story of one more life lost too young to mental illness, and over-availabilty of guns for either homicide or suicide tragedies … and where those volatile and violent issues intersect.

 

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Women have abortion rights, so why can't men rape them? asked now apologetic GOP lawmaker.

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gay rights keep your elephant out of my bedroom smaller

Laffy Note: Apparently David Garber and I both decided to post about this pathetic excuse for a human being, and for good reason. It happens. Two writers, two different takes on the same topic.

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Republican Maine State Rep. Lawrence Lockman says he's sorry for appalling statements he made in the '80s and '90s about women's and gay rights, rape, abortion, AIDS, sodomy, and progressives.

It is now 2014. Do the math, State Rep. Reprehensible (R- Busted), because your "mea culpa" is a tad overdue.

Via  the Morning Sentinel:

In a 1995 letter in the Sun Journal in Lewiston, a reader quoted a press statement by Lockman, then part of the Pro Life Education Association, saying, “If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

This Moment of WTF brought to you by "rape doesn't result in anyone's death" and "rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom," among other things. By the way, does this genius understand that men get raped, too?

So now he's apologizing, just as some Republicans are currently walking back, tempering, or avoiding their own controversial positions on similar issues with an eye toward future elections.

But that's not why Lockman hung his head, shuffled his feet, and mumbled his regrets about something he put out there years ago. Nope, he issued his apology because Progressive blogger Mike Tipping revived them in a very public way in a recent post. Call it a Tipping Point. Local Democrats demanded the State Rep's resignation.

So basically, he was sorry that his earlier vile remarks were rediscovered and spotlighted.

Lockman attributed his bigoted, ignorant, misogynistic idiocy to being "passionate about his beliefs" and declared that he holds " no animosity toward anyone by virtue of their gender or sexual orientation." Sure. Anything you say, Lawrence. I'm passionate, too, about exposing you, an elected official, who has displayed a jaw-dropping lack of judgment, sensitivity, awareness, and basic knowledge on the taxpayer's dime.

Mike Tipping has much more, including:

“In the overwhelming majority of cases, people are dying because of their addiction to sodomy,” Lockman wrote in a 1987 letter to the editor to the Lewiston Daily Sunarguing against funding for AIDS education. “They are dying because progressive, enlightened, tolerant people in politics and in medicine have assured the public that the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted, depraved crime against humanity.”

frustrated17

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GOP Maine Representative Hits New Low In Suggesting It's Okay To Rape Women

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If you can't beat abortion legislation, rape the women. That's a loose translation of the inflammatory remarks made by Maine state Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst). Via Raw Story:

If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman?” Lockman said. “At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

"Rape doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death?" Whoa there, Mr. Representative. Are you kidding? Some things like psychological scarring and permanent physical damage result that can be far worse than death. And suicides by rape victims are statistically significant according to Suicide.org.

-Rape has long-term emotional consequences that can lead to suicide.
-It is quite common for rape victims to suffer from depression.
-And untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.
-About 33% of rape victims have suicidal thoughts.
-About 13% of rape victims will attempt suicide.
-Suicide attempts may occur years after the rape.

Reality calling Rep. Lockman. Please come in. It's as if this Neanderthal is saying, if I can't stop you from getting an abortion, then you can't stop me from raping you. If you get pregnant, you have the legal way to get rid of the fetus. So tough noogies.

Rep. Lockman should be under a psychologist's care. He's not safe out on the streets and certainly not safe sitting in the state capital as a voting member of the Maine legislature. He's not just a one issue nutjob, anti-abortion. Here's a bit more about him:

In one of the quotes posted on the blog, Lockman falsely suggested HIV and AIDS could be spread by bed sheets and mosquitos, and he also said the progressive movement helped spread the virus by claiming “the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted and depraved crime against humanity.”

“[Lockman is a] disturbed individual who holds some of the most abhorrent beliefs ever heard from a public official in Maine,” said Ben Grant, the state’s Democratic Party chairman in a statement Tuesday.

More and more these wackadoos are coming to light. And they aren't all made of the same whole cloth. But they seem to all have on thing in common -- they're Republicans. As we saw in Arizona with their recent smokescreen anti-gay law (vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer), the right wing, evangelical fraction is still out there, and still active.

Their old ideas just won't die. Perhaps like the old soldiers of Gen. MacArthur's day, over time they will just fade away.

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