Suicide is painless...

Friday, October 07, 2005
There's an old joke among psychiatrists that goes

It's not paranoia when they're really out to get you.

But one endeavors, for all that, not to be paranoid.

And in this spirit one's heart goes out to David Boren, former Oklahoma Democratic senator and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, now the President of the University of Oklahoma, as he tries not to jump to any conclusions about any Sooners who might strap volatile explosives like triacetone triperoxide (TATP), called "Mother of Satan" on Islamist websites, to their bodies and self-detonate, or perhaps accidentally detonate, after being turned away from a crowded football stadium because they did not want their backpacks inspected by security and they had converted to Islam and had recently tried to purchase ammonium nitrate but could not explain to the vendor why they wanted one of the key ingredients of the kind of bomb that had destroyed the Murrah Building and...

Well, you get the idea.

It is important not to jump to conclusions. One wishes not to appear to be hysterical, and all.

And this principle applies a fortiori to our assessment of a great American newspaper when it buries the story of an exquisitely precise and articulate statement on the war we are fighting, from our famously tongue-tied and inarticulate President, in two pages of carping about his failures to properly prosecute that war, on the same day that subways in the very city where that paper's reporters write are under heightened terror alert, and during the week immediately following what may have been the first attempted Palestinian-style "suicide bombing" in the United States.

One does not want to blow things out of proportion. One wishes to remain cool.

Just keep your focus on the president, and his failures.

That could never be a preparation for a kind of suicide.


chuck said...

There is a good reason to wait: initial 'facts' are often incorrect. But if the rumors in OK all turn out to be true, well then, it ain't paranoia. 'Course, I do have my suspicions as to what the final conclusions will be.

Rick Ballard said...

"I'm only trying to say that Amity is a summer town. We need summer dollars. Now, if the people can't swim here, they'll be glad to swim at the beaches of Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Long Island..."

"Excuse me, but what are you talking about? Didn't they catch the shark this afternoon? It was on the Cape station news."

"They caught a shark, not the shark. Big difference. I could've proved it this afternoon, by cutting that one open and examining his stomach contents. Also, his bite was too small."

"Fellows, let's be reasonable, huh? This is not the time or the place to perform some kind of a half-assed autopsy on a fish... And I'm not going to stand here and see that thing cut open and see that little Kintner boy spill out all over the dock."

Mayor Vaughn, I'd like you to meet Pres. Boren.

Syl said...


Jamie Irons said...


I agree that one needs to be cautious. But if you read Boren's actual words (see below) they actually belie his supposed downplaying of the possibility that this was not a suicide. Immediately after a paragraph assuring us that "law eforcement officials ... have found no evidence of a conspiracy," in somewhat of a non sequitur he proceeds to say:

"In fact,national law enforcement statistics compiled [sic] report that we have a low per capita crime rate."

Why "crime rate," and how do these statistics shed any light on a "suicide" that was "tragic"?

We [paranoid] psychiatrists are always drawing [sometimes erroneous] conclusions about what a person really thinks when he indulges in such a versprechen (misspeaking).

RogerA said...

Jamie--great post, and when you get a chance can you tell me how to do that fancy stuff like putting my picture and that of my doggies on blogger? I will see your dog and raise him/her two great danes, sofie and sasha.

Rick: I dont know if you are aware but it was precisely the Amity's mayors attitudes that affected the 2001 Washington DC anthrax episode, and Nagin's late decision to evacuate the city of NOLA. Mayor Williams of DC NEVER issued a public health emergency in light of demonstrated Anthrax thus forcing the public health system to respond in a totally ad hoc fashion--Why? wouldnt want to limit tourism; and when the investigations are completed about the NOLA fiasco, we will find Mayor Nagin was more concerned about tourism in the French quarter than he was with saving the kiesters of his citizens.

And ultimately, this whole bureaucratic concern about being wrong is the achilles heel of our public health response system--its a very serious problem and the result of political timidity, is to delay our response and it costs untold thousands of lives (potentially)

Jamie Irons said...


You wrote:

... and when you get a chance can you tell me how to do that fancy stuff like putting my picture and that of my doggies on blogger?

I had to kind of blunder around to get it to work. At first I tried the software Blogger plugs but couldn't get it to work right, so I just uploaded a photo to the same place (same server) that hosts my little web site and copied the URL ( into the Blogger "Dashboard" "Edit Profile" page.

That seems to work.

Knucklehead said...

If y'all aren't nice to me I'll put my picture on here.

RogerA said...

Knuck--where did you get that pic of my second ex wife?

terrye said...


hubba hubba.

I have relatives in Okla and after what Tim McVeigh did they are already plenty paranoid.

terrye said...



After I ran screaming from my little duthcman I decided I would live a gypsy life.

Jamie Irons said...


I have 11 (eleven!) comments.

Look out, InstaPundit!

(Of course, most of the comments are about pictures of Jabba the Hut, and three of them are from me, but still...)


Rick Ballard said...

"We [paranoid] psychiatrists are always drawing [sometimes erroneous] conclusions about what a person really thinks when he indulges in such a versprechen (misspeaking)."

Hmmm... is the use of both curved and square parens within a single statement indicative of a multiple personality disorder or is it just a marker for simple schizophrenia? Further study seems warranted, there may be a monograph in this.

RogerA said...

Terrye: practice makes perfect with respect to wives--plus I never wanted to live in sin.
Jamie: any person who posts pictures of themselves and their dogs is OK--and your dog is beautiful: his/her name is?
what was it that Mark Twain said: I only hope I can be person my dog expects me to be?--what is it about unconditional love.

Jamie Irons said...


The different parentheses styles come from too much fiddling around with Mathematica! (But they also indicate [IMHO] a deeply disturbed mind!)



You're very kind to draw such conclusions about me from the picture. Actually Reva (an Anatolian shepherd, I am told) is the dog of one of my neighbors, but since I regularly take her along on my hikes on the mountain I live on, we are quite close.


And now we're up to fourteen (!) comments, and only four of them from me!

It's alive! My thread is alive!!

//Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein.