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Aus. Gov't Considers Fines for Online Suicide Info 674

downundarob writes "The Australian federal government is once again showing its cluelessness regarding the workings of the Internet. The short article tells us how, under legislation to be introduced this week, corporations would be fined up to AU$500,000 and individuals AU$100,000 if they use the Internet to incite or promote suicide methods. In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide."
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Aus. Gov't Considers Fines for Online Suicide Info

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:37AM (#11886107)
    Step 2: Fines for slashdot.
    • Thats not funny. I just got fined for telling someone to FOAD.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is great! Now we will end the scourge of suicide forever. Funny no-one thought of this before.
  • Fines ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:38AM (#11886115) Journal
    Some people actually want to commit suicide a quiet way. I had a deep depression last winter and actively looked for such info but could not find some.
    If I were to look again, I think I'd offer one $ more than the fine amount to the one who'd help me.
    • Re:Fines ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rathehun ( 818491 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:44AM (#11886149) Homepage
      I think you should seek some profesional help. While I realise that I am an anonyomous entity on one of the internets largest discussion sites and have no idea of your personal problems, I believe that there is no situation in which suicide is a good option.

      Please do get in touch with someone who can help, friends, family. If you feel comfortable revealing your address on /., then I'm sure that someone can direct you to a good psychiatrist in the area.

      • Re:Fines ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by temojen ( 678985 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:35AM (#11886357) Journal
        I believe that there is no situation in which suicide is a good option.

        Suicide is a permanent solution to suffering, but it also stops love, joy, etc.

        The time when suicide is a good option is when you are absolutely sure the suffering is permanent and no amount of love or joy can mitigate it. Depression is not one of those times; depression is temporary. A painful, debilitating, degenerative, permanent medical condition may cause suicide to be a good option. Only the person herself can make that decision.

        • Re:Fines ? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by l-ascorbic ( 200822 )
          A painful, debilitating, degenerative, permanent medical condition may cause suicide to be a good option

          Ah, so a condition such as depression then?

        • Re:Fines ? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drsquare ( 530038 )
          Suicide is a permanent solution to suffering, but it also stops love, joy, etc.

          People depressed enough to commit suicide generally don't have any love or joy in their lives, and no prospect of it. Depression isn't a temporary thing, it lasts for years, decades. When you've been completely miserable for years and years, without a single enjoyable memory or anything to look forward to, no friends, no relationships, no ambitions or expectations, then you can make an intelligent prediction that your life is n
          • Re:Fines ? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

            Emotions aren't rational, they're chemical. As immensely stupid as it might sound, if you're not eating properly, sleeping well, and getting exercise, that might be a good place to start.

            You should probably mention your feelings to a therapist. The social stigma regarding mental illness is horrible, but you shouldn't let that stop you if you're not happy and you think something's wrong. They can also help with permanent chemical imbalances which are part of clinical depression.

            It's hard to make that

    • Re:Fines ? (Score:3, Funny)

      by JPriest ( 547211 )
      Hi, I am from Australia, I am trying to pay someone to help me kill myself but the money is in an account in the US that I don't have access to. I will give you 10% to help me recover the money.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:18AM (#11886294)
      If you need ideas on how to kill yourself, then you don't really want to die. As a Roman Empire era judge said to someone convicted of the capital crime of being a Christian because he refused to deny he was one, "I have better things to do than help you commit suicide. Are there not cliffs enough in the world for you to do that without me?" (paraphrased)
      • by gilesjuk ( 604902 )
        These sites aren't about ideas, these bring together people who have suicidal thoughts. They discuss these thoughts and it can eventually develop into a group suicide.

        People with suicidal thoughts need to speak to someone who can show them the good things in their life and can help them solve all their problems, they don't need to be speaking to someone who talks them into it.
    • details (Score:3, Informative)

      by mirko ( 198274 )
      Given the replies and personal email I got, I wanted to specify something :

      I wrote "I had" becase it's over.
      I'm cured.
      I was having a bad time: I lost a job which I actually hated, and I also considered changing my life.

      I then had the following strategy : Waiting until the temperature would fall below -10C and sleep naked in my balcony.
      The cold came... but too late.

      I did not want to end it abruptly because I am married with a delicious woman and I wanted it to look like an accident.

      Finally, I decided to
      • Re:details (Score:5, Insightful)

        by anethema ( 99553 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:53AM (#11886424) Homepage
        My sister killed herself last year (almost to the day).

        If she wasnt already dead I'd kill her for the pain and suffering she has cause me and especially my parents (and of course the rest of the family)

        Suicide is never an option, unless maybe you are some hermit who no one loves. Nothing would be worth doing that to your wife. It would ruin her life forever.

        I realize you're cured but you dont really seem to grasp how much it affects the people around you.

        My parents are fucked up, my grades have gone to shit, and the whole family seems to just be permanently melancholie.

        My advice to anyone contemplating suicide..DONT. Nothing is worth ruining the lives of your loved ones.
        • Re:details (Score:4, Insightful)

          by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @05:45AM (#11886610)
          "My advice to anyone contemplating suicide..DONT. Nothing is worth ruining the lives of your loved ones."

          Yes, thats exactly the sort of moral blackmail that holds our society together.
        • Re:details (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drsquare ( 530038 )
          So you're saying that you should live a life of constant misery so your selfish relatives can have a better life? I notice in your entire post you don't once mention the suffering your sister went through before she killed herself. Did you even consider that? Or are you more concerned with your own well-being?

          It seems your family weren't there for her when she was alive, but now you're criticising her? You're saying that she should stay alive and suffer for your sake, but you don't have to do anything for
        • by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john.lamar @ g m> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @09:00AM (#11887406) Homepage Journal
          I'm now 24 and have suffered with Bipolar [] Disorder [] (Rapid Cycling, or Ultra-Ultra-Rapid Cycling Bipolar according to this page []) since I was about 13 or 14 and officially diagnosed at 16 years old. As a consequence of my illness, which includes episodes of depression, I dropped out of school and seriously messed up.

          I lost all of my friends and ruined relationships I thought would, and might have, lasted forever and have pretty much retreated from the world. For about two years I went through a severe depressed episode, the whole time almost getting help here and there. I truely thought all things were lost and started to slowly kill myself with any type of controlled substance I could get my hands on.

          Ok, that was a severe exaggeration, but I was binging on everything. I started to do stupid (fun) things that would later set me up for a lot of trouble until something changed. I didn't get help, I just had a conversion. It happened to be a religious conversion but it wasn't religion that saved me. Well, I went through three religions before I settled on one I liked and incorporated everything else I learned.

          During all of this I realized on the side that I was going to face bad days. I was going to be depressed and that my life wasn't going to end up the way I had always dreamed (which is a understatement-I barely function). But you know, I realized that hurting everyone else was pretty petty considering if I waited it out I would feel better some day. My chance of feeling like that forever was zero; so why not just say "Fuck it" and move on?

          Not only is suicide the worst way to treat depression it is never the answer to any problem. Drugs, crime, shame, anything.... it's happened to someone before, lots of people. Some of them made it out. Shit, even if you are on crack - smoke that and say fuck it and live. You won't get a chance to do it again. I'm not even going to get on a high horse and tell you to quit the pipe - that is something to live for, it's a start.

          I'll feel like no one if you don't mod this up, of course. And if you have any empathy [] and would like to help my situation support mental health parity in the insurance industry (which would help afflicted minors in the transition to adulthood). Please also oppose cuts to the nations Medicaid system at a time when it's imperative it reach out more to mentally ill citizens [].
  • deterrant (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:38AM (#11886117)
    they should instate the death penalty for suicides. that should have a deterrant effect.
    • they say it is the only crime, if successfuly violated, will never be prosecuted.
    • they should instate the death penalty for suicides

      Done. / [].

      From story: ...Initially, Alvarez intended to commit suicide, police said, but he changed his mind. He exited his sport utility vehicle and watched as the Metrolink train hit it, derailed, ran into a northbound Metrolink commuter train and crashed into a parked Union Pacific train, police said .... charged with 11 counts of murder .... Prosecutor: No decision yet on whether to pursue death penal

    • Re:deterrant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @05:11AM (#11886484) Homepage Journal
      The opposite of the evil situation where people who have recieved the death penalty are prevented from commiting suicide, because only the state gets to decide time and means of death of the person. The ultimate in fascist control. "You are a thing. We control you totally, life and death".

      My own opinion is that people should have the right to decide what to do with their own lives, and that includes deciding how to die.

      However, I still find suicide to be the ultimately selfish act. I was on a ski trip a few years back. One guy who came along (aquaintance of an aquaintance) talked a lot about having been depressed and still occasionally considering suicide. His closest friend on the trip said "Ok, but you will leave your children without a father, and emotionally devastated. Also consider what an example you are setting for them. You will show them that suicide is an acceptable situation when they are depressed. Consider that first."

      The guy became very silent after that. I felt sorry for him of course. While true, the guilt might have been another emotional burden for him.
  • teenagers.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:39AM (#11886123) Homepage
    This just in..

    High school girl arrested for telling her boyfriend to 'drink bleach and die'

    If this were Fark, we'd need an 'Aussie' tag.
    • Re:teenagers.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by rush22 ( 772737 )
      If this were Fark...

      Hmmm... Let's see:

      "Wacky News?" check.
      Flamebait headline?... check.
      Single link to short article?... check.
      Trolling?... check.

  • This is ironic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:39AM (#11886126)
    seeing as the Internet is a major contributing factor to depression and suicide nowadays.
  • Imagine being fined committing suicide. Give you more incentive to jump wouldn't it?
  • by PxM ( 855264 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:41AM (#11886133)
    ... the First Amendmentment gives us. As much as I despise some the the conservative laws in the US, I'm still proud of the fact that we support freedom of speech in some of the most extreme cases.

    In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide.
    Suicide and sedition: the only crimes where those who suceed aren't prosecuted.

    Free iPod? Try a free Mac Mini []
    Or a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox []
    Wired article as proof []
    • I wouldn't go that far with the first ammendment. There have been books publish that basicaly give outline on how to kill people and get away with it. Some also describe ways to commit other crimes. There also have been civil lawsuites that have found the author or publisher liable for damages when a reader decided to try out the crime.

      There is a thin line between the protection the first ammendment gives and the amount of right guarentied to a citizen. It generaly fluctuates with the sediment of the peop
    • I'm still proud of the fact that we support freedom of speech in some of the most extreme cases.

      Yes, like white supremacist groups inciting their members to murder [] judges and their families?

      We all value free speech but the rest of the world thinks the US takes free speech too far (and remember, the US doesn't have the best record for civil liberties for non-whites, or racial harmony, so preaching that free speech trumps everything else seems, well strange).

    • How about the patriot Act?
      How about Churchill from CU?
      As to other rights, I am amazed that Gov. Owens who fights against Quota's for race (Cool), is pushing to have Quota's at Universities based on Political Belief. Worse, he wants the Colorado Universities to only extend tenure to those who profess a conservative belief. And had the republicans controlled the colorado congress, they would have passed that.
    • Does the First Amendmentment cover yelling "Jump!" on a crowded ledge?
  • by Engineer Andy ( 761400 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:41AM (#11886136) Journal
    Governments everywhere legislate what is and what is not objectionable material. This is just part of australia saying that this is material that they do not want published in australian websites. Your views may differ as to whether it is right to or not, but it is not unreasonable for governments to object to sites showing how to do illegal things.

    Different in terms of why it is objectionable, but the same reasons lie behind why governments legislate against kiddy pr0n, pull down sites with bomb making instructions, incitements for hatred (in many countries).

  • They can sue [], hosting the most suicidal entries known to man.

    "Justice Minister Chris Ellison says the laws ... will not hinder free speech"

    Well I'm sorry, but I don't think you can take down a site that says "Life sucks, kill yourself" without violating free speech.
  • where's something poisonous when you need it.
  • A .sig I often use contains the word: Die! Die! Die!!
  • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:47AM (#11886165) Homepage Journal
    Good thing Maddox doesn't live in Australia. Afterall, I think his sucicide ideas are the best:

    How to kill yourself like a man []
  • Suicide jokes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adepali ( 749748 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:48AM (#11886169) Homepage
    Before posting any more 'funny' jokes, try reading the article first: The law is about those inciting or promoting suicide, not those committing it. It also sounds perfectly sensible to me, why should any psycho be free to push desperate people kill themselves in the name of free speech? Depression needs careful approach and support, not some idiot advising you to suicide.
    • Oh piss off (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goldcd ( 587052 ) *
      I really loathe laws that are to 'protect the vulnerable - not me you understand'.
      People objecting to pornography, violence on TV. Sex education in schools etc etc. It's always to protect other people from corruption. Who are these mythical people, with cheese for brains? Nobody ever demands it's removal to protect themselves.
      "Think of the children" blah blah
  • Goofy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:58AM (#11886219) Journal
    In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide.
    This is true in most U.S. states, too. And it always struck me as goofy. What are you going to do to me if I commit suicide, huh?
  • by vyrus128 ( 747164 ) <> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:00AM (#11886227) Homepage
    "... illegal to commit, or attempt to commit, suicide."

    I can see it now...

    Police: "We know you're in there! Come out with your hands in the air!"
    Body: <doesn't move>
    Police: "Just because you're dead, don't think the law doesn't apply to you!"
  • In Australia, is it illegal to go up to someone and incite them to commit suicide?
  • by applegoddess ( 768530 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:10AM (#11886261) Homepage
    argh, why can't people leave others alone? If they feel miserable enough to consider suicide, then respect their decision. you don't always know the whole story behind it, so just automatically saying "oh dont kill yourself, get professional help" goes in one ear and out the other. Seriously, I just ignore the default-talking-out-of-suicide talks because they're unbelievably redundant and irritating. Save yourself the trouble.

    When I go through my suicidal phases, what helps most is talking to close friends who have dealt with similar issues, especially if they listen to you ranting (which really feels good). Not $random_person telling me it's a bad idea, blah blah.

    Sorry for ranting.
    • uh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cryptnotic ( 154382 ) *
      If you've gotten a few of those talks through your life, maybe you do have a problem. Your average person doesn't get those kind of talks, ever. Your average person also doesn't burden their friends with those kind of things. And your average person doesn't have "suicidal phases". Consider keeping a log of how often you feel frustrated with life and want to end it all. You might discover that you're spending 25% of your life being seriously depressed. Even if you don't kill yourself, that's the kind o
  • by mlmitton ( 610008 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:14AM (#11886278)
    I've long battled depression, and have tried to committ suicide. I can tell you that the information I found on the Internet made me feel far more comfortable with the prospects of killing myself. I knew enough to know that a gun to the head could leave you alive and a vegetable. I knew that slitting your wrists was very difficult, with a good chance that you'd slice tendons and ruin your hand. I knew that OTC medicines are very difficult--you throw up or fall asleep long before you can ingest a lethal dose.

    What I didn't know is what methods would assuredly kill me. Or, if they wouldn't necessarily kill me, leave me without lasting harm. The Internet told me. There are all kinds of websites out there talking about the various suicide methods, with recommendations. You can easily order Final Exit, or even find the text online.

    Moreover, the Internet provides knowledge for where to obtain lethal substances, and substances that put you in a state making it easier to kill yourself.

    I am quite confident that I would never have attempted suicide if I didn't have access to the Internet. The method I chose would not have even occurred to me if I hadn't read about it online. Indeed, it was the most recommended method on the net, and I wouldn't have thought it.

    So I think it's obvious that the Internet lowers the bar to committing suicide.

    But that said, it's ridiculous to consider sensoring this information. There are the obvious free speech issues which I'm sure other people here will discuss. What I want to note, however, is that for me, research suicide options was also therapeutic. People think how terrible it is that someone would contemplate suicide, but they don't realize how much thinking about it can relieve the pain that you're in. I could lose all control of my thought processes, spiarling downward, but when I started imagining shooting myself, I felt *better*. In this way, the research I did on suicide was also soothing. Instead of curling up in a ball on the floor, I could focus my mind on this subject, and this subject alone, and I would calm down and feel relief.

    So it's a two-edged sword. The knowledge I gained on the Internet did enable my attempt. But being able to research that material made me feel better, better than I would have otherwise.

    Final disclaimer: All happy people are more or less the same, but all depressed people are depressed in their own way. So this is my experience only. (Yes, I've been doing well for some time--thanks for asking!)

  • "The short article tells us how, under legislation to be introduced this week"

    that says to me that it's just legislation that will be introduced and hasn't become a law yet.

    not that i claim any familiarity with the australian system of government, but here in the states when new legislation is introduced it's not that amazing, it's if it passes in the house and senate and passes the president's veto power that it becomes law...
    can anyone shed further light?
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:35AM (#11886355) Homepage Journal
    Why is Steve Irwin still a free man?

    And if there's one thing that guy's taught us, it's that Australia is full of critters that will happily kill you if you just piss them off a little. It's probably much easier to kill yourself off there than it is here in the states (Although we also have our share of poisonous nasties.) Most of the methods you can find on the internet are much more pedestrian than "Walk down to the local river, get a drink and be eaten by a crocodile." Now THAT's a great way to go, eh? Just make sure it gets you by the head and not by a leg or something...

  • not clueless... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nilbog ( 732352 )
    Australia is not clueless about how the internet works. Clueless would be to pass a law banning such content, a law they could never possibly enforce.

    They are just saying their citizens and coporations should not be promoting the material. It is not a difficult law to enforce. If company X is selling pills to kill yourself with, and providing instructions on how to use them, Australia will fine them.

  • I understand the need to outlaw suicide so its never a state endorsed, but there are times when suicide is better than enduring pain.

    I heard a comment from someone the other day, saying how if the state endorsed it, people would ask the elderly who are a burden to commit suicide. I suppose if its financial and the family is hurting, but damn...

    On cases of cancer and such, if I was dieing and in pain, and with the outlaw of drugs that could help, one could be tempted...

    Now imagine you need to commit suici
  • Your right to die? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blanks ( 108019 )
    When did people lose the right to not live any longer? This topic has allways seemed silly to me, if someone wants to die let them. If they can't do it them selves for some reason, there should be some way they can ask for assitance.

    Ones right to live is the same right to die.
  • Responsiblity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hetkp ( 866220 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:48AM (#11886402)
    Great idea. Because of the amazing way the internet works (information only the learned nerds trully understand,) no one needs to take any responsibility for anything on the net. Great thinking here guys. As for whether death is a good way to solve unhappiness? I guess the happy and unhappy would have different views on this so I'm not sticking my nose into this one, suffice it to say that if the Australian's are happy with a law stating suicide is illegal, then this legislation is nothing more but a natural extension to that law. For those of you less learned in ways of lands beyond the US. There is no automatic guarantee of freedom of speech in Australia (much like Britain.) As such, discussion about the benefits and pitfalls of freedom of speech is best reserved for elsewhere.
  • by jaani ( 525877 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:55AM (#11886431) Homepage
    From the story ouline:
    In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide.
    This is incorrect. In the statutes governing criminal offences in each of the six states and two territories of Australia, it is - to my knowledge - not illegal to commit or attempt to commit suicide. Though it was once illegal in some jurisdictions, such laws were repealed well over half a century ago (mostly on the basis of policy roughly informed by the libertarian doctrines other users here seem to be espousing). See, for example, the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), which provides, inter alia:
    6A. Suicide no longer a crime

    The rule of law whereby it is a crime for a
    person to commit or to attempt to commit
    suicide is hereby abrogated.
    So while it might be fun to poke fun at the frequently conservative and sometimes ridiculous legislators of our respective countries, please do some basic fact-checking first. (For reference, all Australian Commonwealth [ie, Federal] and State legislation can be found at: Then again, this is Slashdot... :-)
  • AUD value plummets after a sudden influx of USD due to the recently-approved suicide fines...
  • Sometimes I wonder what exactly some folks are thinking, "Gee, lets make a feel good law that will look like we are actually doing something useful instead of fucking off all day and playing golf" (perhaps surfing in Australia? I'm ignorant)

    It is incredible to see some of these people say, with a straight face, that such and such a law won't hinder free speech when it is kinda obvious. Let's take a quick look at this.
    1. I am able to post x online without being fined.
    2. If I post x online, I get fined.
  • by HelloNewman ( 866222 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @05:09AM (#11886476)
    Timothy says "In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide." Not true. Sure we'd try to stop you, like all civilised cultures. But if you don't succeed, it's not an offence - just sad. IMHO, Australia has more freedom than America to live our life as we choose. We don't have to act as christians just to fit in with the majority.
  • i.e. will they have to start prohibiting access to things like A Practical Guide to Suicide [] (probably the most level-headed discussion of it I've ever seen, regardless of who backs it)?
  • ... and it is only illegal to attempt suicide in one jurisdiction (of reltively small population - around 200 000)

    from []

    "In all jurisdictions, suicide is no longer a crime and, except in the Northern Territory, the crime of attempted suicide has also been abolished. It is, however, still an offence for a person to assist another person to commit suicide or to attempt to commit suicide"
  • Just wait, and I predict the problem will go away.


    One ticket to Hull now please ...

  • Résumé (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eromsnidm'> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:42AM (#11888208) Homepage Journal

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren't lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smell awful;
    You might as well live.

    --Dorothy Parker, 1926.
  • by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eromsnidm'> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:07AM (#11888488) Homepage Journal

    I wonder how much of this action in AU is related to JP suicide clubs []?

    "In Japan, the internet has been blamed for a spate of group suicides which appear to have been arranged in online chat rooms."

    It appears that often the people facilitating these suicides are in fact sadists, who have no intention themselves of carrying through a suicide, but instead derive perverse pleasure from being instrumental in the death of another. If a similar phenomenon exists in AU, it would give the authorities an opportunity to intervene--and based on the text of TFA, this appears closer to their intent.
  • Morbid curiosity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:35PM (#11891240)
    In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide.

    Would some ausie enlighten me on how the former crime is prosecuted. Do they have special coffins with metal bars or something?
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:00PM (#11891559) Homepage
    In Australia it is illegal to commit, or attempt to commit suicide

    So is it a capital offense to attempt to commit suicide? Does such an attempt automatically get you the death penalty?

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky