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April 25, 2007 5:57 PM   Subscribe

"If you can save one life - change two people's minds then you will have done something in life." Noel Martin plans to commit suicide 11 years after a neo-nazi attack left him paralyzed.
posted by oneirodynia (60 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Most neonazis in east germany are the loosers of the reunification: uneducated and jobless. It's a huge shame for germany.
posted by homodigitalis at 6:02 PM on April 25, 2007


He has a son. Good god, grow some fucking balls.
posted by fire&wings at 6:17 PM on April 25, 2007


fire&wings balls are showing.
posted by stbalbach at 6:23 PM on April 25, 2007


And here we go...
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2007


This man's life is a horrible, horrible tragedy. I don't think anyone can sufficiently put themselves in his shoes and say what they would or would not do, let alone make moral judgments concerning his decision to die.
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2007


Neo-Nazis are already celebrating the imminent death of the man they despise in their Internet forums.

Wouldn't it be worth it to stay alive just to spite them?
posted by Soliloquy at 6:27 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


..or die a martyr and live on larger than life.
posted by stbalbach at 6:31 PM on April 25, 2007


He has a 29 year old son. It's not like it's a fucking toddler.

Let him have some semblance of control if not over the way he's forced to live his life, then the way he dies. God.
posted by mckenney at 6:34 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The story makes me sick with doubt and sorrow: it's enough to make me long for an afterlife (a feeling I don't acknowledge at nearly any other time) for this man's sake. But there's no one to ask, as far as I know. You can't fault someone for wanting to be rid of a life in which he can't feel anyone's touch; but I can't even begin to imagine giving up utterly on the possibility that tomorrow might get better. Hearing his story makes me realize how clinically I talk about depression and heartsickness; that emptiness is unfathomable to me. The failure of my own imagination scares me - never mind that it's a blessing of sorts.

Christ.
posted by waxbanks at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


Where is the comfort in taking control of your death when you can live? What credible person announces the date of their suicide? It's a load of nonsense which will achieve and highlight nothing that a sparsely attended demonstration outside a grey building somewhere in Germany couldn't for him.

Attention seeking crap. Live and fight your cause or die with dignity in private.
posted by fire&wings at 6:40 PM on April 25, 2007


Judgments on whether or not this man chooses to end his life totally aside? I'm sorry, but to flippantly yell that an innocent man who's been paralyzed for life by a hate crime and clearly lives every day of his life in constant torture to "grow some fucking balls"? Is really, really, really, really, really, really a disgusting show of immaturity and a poor display. Just a totally horrific and profoundly insensitive comment in & of itself. I just had to say that. YMMV.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:46 PM on April 25, 2007 [14 favorites]


Where is the comfort in taking control of your death when you can live?

Where is the comfort in living in misery?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:50 PM on April 25, 2007


At what point do the people who explained to me at length how we have to tolerate Nazis and they aren't really a threat and all that chime in on this post?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:50 PM on April 25, 2007


What kind of "credible person" tells a quadriplegic to get some "balls"? The real "attention seeking crap" here is pretty obvious.
posted by stbalbach at 6:53 PM on April 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


You have no freedoms in life unless you also have the freedom to choose death. Thank god for the swiss. I may need that cocktail myself someday. As for what this might mean for neo-nazis, I think he addressed that quite well:

The right-wing extremists may well celebrate his death as a late triumph, but Noel Martin takes a very different view. "I have some bad news for those people," Martin says. He raises his head and his voice as if he were preparing to give a speech: "Of the 6 billion people in the world, 5 billion are people of color. Sooner or later they'll all mix." He grins. "Who knows? Maybe the children of these Nazis will marry a black man or a black woman one day?"

He likes the idea. The Nazis are running out of time -- with or without Noel Martin.

posted by a_day_late at 6:54 PM on April 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


A profile in true courage. He's already done a great deal with a tragic life and now his death too will serve to reaffirm his principles.
posted by nixerman at 7:02 PM on April 25, 2007


die with dignity in private

I don't think that it's undignified for him to choose to be public with his suicide; after all, he hasn't lived privately with the other repercussions of the attack made on him, so it seems that he's well justified in publicizing this, its ultimate outcome.
posted by tentacle at 7:03 PM on April 25, 2007


Well said tentacle.

Attention seeking crap. Live and fight your cause or die with dignity in private.

wtf?

"the federal government wants to introduce his case into a nationwide campaign"

He fought the cause for a decade after having been victimised by psycho monsters and he's still fighting the cause, even as he just lost his main caretaker, his wife, to cancer.
posted by nickyskye at 7:10 PM on April 25, 2007


Stop being an internet dickass, fire&wings.
posted by boo_radley at 7:19 PM on April 25, 2007


Technically this man can't commit suicide-he can only give consent to someone else killing him.

With all his health issues it would be both merciful and ironic if God chose to take him before then.
posted by konolia at 7:20 PM on April 25, 2007


The judge who only gave those pricks five to eight needs to be strapped to a wheelchair and rolled into that granite marker at freeway speeds.
posted by notsnot at 7:22 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where is the comfort in taking control of your death when you can live?

Alright, so you're volunteering to live a life where you cannot do even the smallest thing for yourself? Where you are quite literally taken care of the way we care for babies? Please, come over, I'll be happy to paralyze you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:24 PM on April 25, 2007


Why should this man disappear in silence just to make things more comfortable and palatable for you? That whole "die with dignity in private while I enjoy life" judgment is bullshit, which is EXACTLY why people are responding so well to this.

Someday you, like most of us, will quite probably have to face YOUR OWN body failing you for whatever reason. Let's just see how easily you find your dignity and hold your head up high when that day comes. Might not be the piece of cake you seem to think.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:24 PM on April 25, 2007


.

Just fucking .

That's the closest I've come to tears in a while.
posted by lalochezia at 7:34 PM on April 25, 2007


Technically this man can't commit suicide-he can only give consent to someone else killing him.

IIRC, he will drink a cocktail through a straw. He is giving consent for someone to kill him much the same way one who chooses to be inebriated gives consent to a bartender.

With all his health issues it would be both merciful and ironic if God chose to take him before then.

Merciful for who? He makes it clear that he has plans for the time leading up to his last day, so how is if merciful if he cannot carry them out? As for irony, it's overrated.
posted by a_day_late at 7:36 PM on April 25, 2007


I worded something wrong... I was talking about how he feels the man should "die with dignity in private" because he doesn't have the balls to enjoy life... so when I said "while I enjoy life" I was talking about fire&wings.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:36 PM on April 25, 2007


notsnot, you may be interested in these remarks by Justice O'Connor. I know you were being facetious, but advocating violence against judges is one of the more despicable ways a citizen can help destabilize his country.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:42 PM on April 25, 2007


What terrible life has had. Completely paralyzed because of a viscious act, his wife who used to take care of him dying of cance, I can't imagine it. I wish him peace.

Anyone who calls him a coward for wanting to die is an idiot.
posted by justkevin at 7:44 PM on April 25, 2007


Technically this man can't commit suicide-he can only give consent to someone else killing him.

"Assisted suicide".

More about Dignitas.
posted by nickyskye at 7:45 PM on April 25, 2007


Where is the comfort in taking control of your death when you can live?

If I was alive, but couldn't do anything meaningful or by myself, and I'd tried for 10 years to see if I could find something to live for, then an end to my existence would be a comfort.

What credible person announces the date of their suicide?

You're begging the question. Nothing about a person anouncing his own deathday makes that person not credible.

It's a load of nonsense which will achieve and highlight nothing that a sparsely attended demonstration outside a grey building somewhere in Germany couldn't for him.

It will achieve him being dead. No amount of protesting can do that.

Attention seeking crap. Live and fight your cause or die with dignity in private.

Fight what cause?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:49 PM on April 25, 2007


The judge who only gave those pricks five to eight needs to be strapped to a wheelchair and rolled into that granite marker at freeway speeds.

Well, with any luck, the prison dentist might be able to transplant some negro gums into them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:55 PM on April 25, 2007


lalochezia: That's the closest I've come to tears in a while.

I imagine that the profanity provided the emotional release to bring you back from the brink...?

posted by UbuRoivas at 8:01 PM on April 25, 2007


Someday you, like most of us, will quite probably have to face YOUR OWN body failing you for whatever reason.

I'm 43 years old and I'm coping with a couple of medical conditions that mainly cause me discomfort or slightly limit certain things I can do. It's incredible how much something small can become a major part of your life. I don't want to be a 70 year old man who can't talk about anything but his bowel movements, but I've come to see how that happens.
posted by dhartung at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2007


I was being facetious - actually, they oughta do ito the perps. Then merely make the judge wipe their quadriplegic asses for a while. "A little silly racism"...fuck you.
posted by notsnot at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2007


Well I feel an extreme amount of empathy for this guy.

As for the question of euthanasia as a matter of public discourse (should it be legal? is it moral?) up until now I thought Vellaman's paper - that i can't fucking find right now - on euthanasia was the final word - it is impossible to "rationally" end your life - a typical neo-kantian retort, in the tradition of that "that thought makes no sense". One rejects the notion that suicide can be judged by the "benefits" it creates, or the "harms" he avoids side-stepping a superficial debate that certainly, during the Schiavo episode, was an issue mindlessly, and endlessly exploited by media pundits all over the globe for the purpose of generating revenue.

But this is something more sick and twisted about this. as an emotional being, the first thing that pops up in my head in the so-called outsider theory apparent in many of clint eastwood's movies, most notably million dollar baby.

well i found the paper. a right to self-termination.

second thing that came into my head was solsbury hill.
posted by phaedon at 8:10 PM on April 25, 2007


Sorry to hear that dhartung.

I've had to take care of aging parents & was bedridden from a back injury a few years ago. Once you experience things firsthand it gives you a great deal of insightful empathy for what others go through. I will never again be quite so flippant to judge or insult other people who are desperately struggling with failing bodies. There but by the grace of God go I... and frankly, all of us.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:15 PM on April 25, 2007


be both merciful and ironic if God chose to take him before then.

Mercy AND irony? What a fucked up thing to say. Thanks but NO thanks.

Why would anybody want to trust in an ironic god?

Seems to me if the nature of god is "interfering" or ironic ...well... that sort of god has proven to be excessively cruel and capricious with Noel Martin.

If there is an interfering god so far that god is guilty of: Sicking nazis on him. Giving his wife cancer. Crippling him. Torturing him with horrible health.

Taking control of your OWN destiny and believing in a non-interfering god seems like a far more prudent and less insane choice.

I hope this man finds rest from his suffering and finds dignity and comfort in his last days on this planet.
posted by tkchrist at 8:29 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good for him--it's his life to do what he wants with. He's already done far more good than most of us do. I'm glad he was here--and I thank him.
posted by amberglow at 8:31 PM on April 25, 2007


*The judge who only gave those pricks five to eight needs to be strapped to a wheelchair and rolled into that granite marker at freeway speeds.

Well, with any luck, the prison dentist might be able to transplant some negro gums into them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:55 PM on April 25*


"Negro Gums"?

....And the irony of reading a racist comment while discussing the misery of a man suffering from the hateful actions of racists?

That's irony, right? Meta-irony.....
posted by anitanita at 8:41 PM on April 25, 2007


(it was a reference to an incident in the TV series, Oz, in which a member of the aryan brotherhood had some gums transplanted from a person-of-colour, thus rendering him racially impure in the eyes of his erstwhile brothers, whereby he ended up having to suck dick for protection)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:55 PM on April 25, 2007


Right, now I remember why I never ever ever watched the show "Oz". Sweet god, sounds like the worst show in the history of televsion (I mean, besides "Princes of Malibu").
23skidoo: If I was alive, but couldn't do anything meaningful or by myself, and I'd tried for 10 years to see if I could find something to live for, then an end to my existence would be a comfort.
I completely agree, but to play devil's advocate can't all suicides be justified in this way? The terms you use, severely depressed people would describe themselves and their lives that way- even if they have a fully mobile body.
23skidoo: You're begging the question. Nothing about a person anouncing his own deathday makes that person not credible.
Holy crap, that may be the first time in Internet history someone has correctly used the phrase "begging the question".
posted by hincandenza at 9:48 PM on April 25, 2007


(And you're very close to begging the question yourself, with your circular logic of "never having watched Oz i've nevertheless come up with an opinion that it's terrible, which justifies my not watching it". I can't say I'm a big fan, but it had a surreal / absurdist tinge to it, as in the incident above, which made it an ok choice for late monday nights.../derail)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:15 PM on April 25, 2007


With all his health issues it would be both merciful and ironic if God chose to take him before then.

Not nearly as ironic as a loving God allowing a neo-Nazi to paralyze him for life, but I guess you get thrown into the world with the Jehova you've got, not the Jehova you want.

Also, fire&wings: fuck off, slug. Telling a man who has no sensation below his neck via some internet forum from behind the comfort of your keyboard to "grow some balls" isn't nearly as edgy as you'd like to believe.

Grow a heart, asshole.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:16 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Uh, nice try Ubu- what circular logic? I said I've never watched it because I had an idea what it was about, and your comment only confirmed that I'm glad I didn't watch it. I mean really! I think my recent posting history surely makes clear why I wouldn't enjoy a show like Oz, and even find it repulsive and offensive- however surreal/absurdist you may find it on a Monday night.
posted by hincandenza at 10:25 PM on April 25, 2007


For a man to choose to die requires balls, just as it requires some balls (or, if you prefer, fortitude, but 'balls' is a lovely monosylable, and we all know what we mean) to risk one's life. Sure, sometimes the opposite is true, but who can judge for another?
posted by Goofyy at 10:26 PM on April 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I love how much of the moral judgment in this thread is about this guy and his choice to end his life, and so little on the people who committed the act or the justice system that decided his life was worth 5-8 years in prison.

Of course, if he had simply died, he wouldn't be newsworthy at all.
posted by yeloson at 12:06 AM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The saddest part to me is that he thinks he is going to an afterlife. It is like garnishing a tragedy with a scam.
posted by srboisvert at 12:59 AM on April 26, 2007


Really? Not the fact that his attackers got off with a (relative) slap on the wrist? Not that his wife died of cancer during the decade he's spent completely paralyzed. Not that all of this has driven him to the point of not wanting to live anymore? The saddest part is that he believes in an afterlife?
posted by the other side at 2:13 AM on April 26, 2007


He was paralysed by a bunch of ignorant scum for being black and still never let himself be consumed with hatred - none of us here has any right to comment on his 'balls'.

This thread is a little nauseating.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:45 AM on April 26, 2007


The german justice system is different from the american one. Five to seven years is not a "slap on the wrist", but the average sentence for attempted manslaughter.
Unfortunatly we don't have a hate crime law for cases like this, I would have liked to see them put away for good.

I met Noel Martin on some occasions, and I was very impressed how he took it on him to go to all these demonstrations and events even if he barely had the strength to remain sitting in his wheelchair. At one demonstration, (the alternative/leftist gay pride in berlin, I was very happy to see him there) he had some sort of seizure, and it looked very serious. I wasn't sure if he was self-destructive or just very brave to still do all this. Later I learned about his decision to end his life on his next birthday.

I know that the proper method would be "flag & move on", but christ, fire&wings, you are such a giant asshole, I wish I could punch you right now.
posted by kolophon at 3:48 AM on April 26, 2007


I completely agree, but to play devil's advocate can't all suicides be justified in this way? The terms you use, severely depressed people would describe themselves and their lives that way- even if they have a fully mobile body.

Sure, many people who contemplate suicide see their situations as unchangeable. But there are things you can try to change depression: meds, therapy, removing negative stimuli from your life. Here, there ain't no medication, no therapy, no nothing at all that is going to be able to make this man have a life where he doesn't have to rely on someone to do every single thing for him.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:07 AM on April 26, 2007


At what point do the people who explained to me at length how we have to tolerate Nazis and they aren't really a threat and all that chime in on this post?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:50 PM on April 25 [+]
[!]


I'm a day late but I'll bite. Neo-Nazis are no more dangerous (and probably less so) than, say, MS-13 who are notorius for decapitating people.
posted by MikeMc at 6:45 AM on April 26, 2007


I note with interest that most of the people I see advocating sentiments like "grow a pair of balls", on a routine basis, are ablebodied.

The disabled know better. They know, in intimate terms, what it is to have every moment of your life be a struggle. And, sooner or later, every one of them wearies. Some choose not to fight that fight any longer, because the quality of their life is wretched. Some choose to "fight on" and stick around, and the quality of their life continues to be wretched.

I have a simple challenge for anyone who'd deride this guy: spend a week "paralyzed". Spend a week being entirely unable to perform even the simplest task under your own volition. Spend a week bedridden, or wheelchair-bound. Involve your family, and see how many are willing to stick out that week with you.

At the end of that week, you will stand up, and walk away from the experience. And, as you do, consider that this man doesn't have that option: the best he has to look forward to is more of the same, day in and day out, until he dies.

This man did not choose to be assaulted: he didn't know, that morning, that that day would be the very last one in which he walked on his own. That that day would be the very last one in which he could tie his own shoes, or brush his teeth.

He is choosing the time of his own death, and choosing it so as to make a statement to the troglodytes that inflicted this upon him without warning. If it were me, I'd hope to be as strong as he's been.
posted by scrump at 8:36 AM on April 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


Involve your family, and see how many are willing to stick out that week with you.-scrump

How friends and family react to disability has a huge impact on the individual and his/her quality of life. I remember a few years back ABC aired a show on Jessica Parks "the armless cheerleader". It was clear that not only her family but her classmates accepted her. The respect of family and friends was, most likely, key in Jessica developing a positive outlook. Her attitude then contributed to her popularity at school.

That same week, however, a 12 year old girl in Colorado had to leave public school because she was getting death threats after she was diagnosed with cancer ( I have tried to find the link to this article, but it has long since vanished). To cope with physical disability (as I do every day) is often frustrating and depressing, but for me what often makes my life miserable is how other treat me based on the disability.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:43 AM on April 26, 2007


Hey, joe lisboa, having spent a great portion of my life thus far caring for people with similar if not worse states of incapacitation, who have handled their own situations with far greater dignity and humility than this jumped up dickhead, I have every right to comment on his attention seeking and cowardly suicidal behaviour.

Now fuck off and get a clue before lecturing other people, self righteous cunt.
posted by fire&wings at 5:31 PM on April 27, 2007


Hey, joe lisboa, having spent a great portion of my life thus far caring for people with similar if not worse states of incapacitation, who have handled their own situations with far greater dignity and humility than this jumped up dickhead, I have every right to comment on his attention seeking and cowardly suicidal behaviour.
Shorter fire&wings: "Some of my best friends are black disabled!"
posted by scrump at 5:39 PM on April 27, 2007


It doesn't matter if fire&wings thinks it's cowardly or not--it's not his life.

We can all talk and judge, but it's not our life and we can't know how he feels or what he wants except thru his words. It's his choice, and it's right for him--i hope i'm able to have control over the end of mine as well.
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on April 27, 2007


Now fuck off and get a clue before lecturing other people, self righteous cunt.

That's so rich, I don't even have the words. But I do wonder: is there a co-pay for the meds to treat your messianic complex or what? Pot-kettle-stones-glasshouses = not worth my time. Later.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:42 PM on April 29, 2007


fire&wings: "who have handled their own situations with far greater dignity and humility"

Hm. Apparently not a speck of that dignity or humility managed to rub off on you.
posted by the other side at 1:25 PM on May 18, 2007


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