Dead People Server

When a Death Is Due to Personal Stupidity

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It's been happening again. College students drinking themselves to death. In the alt.obituaries newsgroup, after discussing one of the more public cases, at least one person decried the insensitivity of the posters.

Sorry, but anyone dumb enough to drink that much alcohol all at once doesn't deserve our sympathy. Stupid behavior is only a tragedy when it causes another person's death, not the perpetrator himself.

If someone puts a gun to someone's head and forces him to drink himself to death, then it would be a tragedy. I doubt that happened. At least really stupid behavior is self-limiting (and, hopefully, just to that particular individual).

Here in Pittsburgh, at least two college students died in November 2000 in drinking/drug-related bouts of stupidity. One kid fell off his bunk bed after drinking too much and died in a coma after two weeks. Another kid died mysteriously in his apartment. Of course it's sad for their parents and their friends, but why were these kids making such enormously bad choices?

Until we start calling a spade a spade, this stupid behavior will continue. That's why on Dead People Server, deaths caused by stupidity are called just that.

Over 150 people tried to go skiing in Austria on a Saturday. Almost all of them died in a tragic train fire. That is an enormous tragedy. Thousands of people die in unrest in Israel, Palestine, Angola, Northern Ireland... These are all tragedies, no matter which side the victim is on. But a person drinking or drugging himself or herself to death is merely evolution in action.

It's your life. It's your choice.

Now some people might observe, "What right does a not-completely-healthy middle aged woman have to be such a judgemental bitch?" Mere luck, and I freely admit it. I drank too much at times when I was younger. I eat too much chocolate now and I eschew exercise, though I now walk quite a bit more than I did when I had a regular desk job. Some of my fat ancestors lived to their 80s or 90s, and some died in their 70s. One died in her 50s of diabetes at a time when diabetes could not be treated. Obesity doesn't seem to effect longevity in my family as much as type 2 diabetes.

So whether I die in my 60s due to diabetic shock or in my 80s from a stroke, it won't be a tragedy. But don't you think there is a difference between too much chocolate causing an old person to die versus too much alcohol causing a young person to die?