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Suicide at Notre Dame a Warning to the West
Crisis Magazine ^ | June 18, 2013 | Marjorie Jeffrey

Posted on 06/18/2013 2:34:06 PM PDT by NYer

The mainstream American right has remained almost entirely silent about the recent suicide of the French historian, Dominique Venner. The reasons for this, I do not know—perhaps it is a squeamishness about the symbolism of his final act, or a lack of understanding of it. Perhaps it is a refusal to see what the people of France already see, and are rising up against.

Venner shot himself on the altar of the Cathedral of Notre Dame on May 21st, 2013. The image of this act ought to make us pause in awe. The American left immediately dismissed him as a discontented right-wing Catholic crank, simply angry at the recent legalization of gay marriage in his country. None of them examined his last article, or his suicide note, which tell a different story: and one which ought to be heeded by the rest of the West.

The Christian mind has long rejected the possibility of suicide as a good, ever since Augustine’s prominent discussion of it in the first book of The City of God. In Chapter 22 of that discussion, Augustine denies that men who commit suicide can ever be admired for their greatness of soul. Given that Augustine’s prime task was to write “against the pagans,” this line of argument is understandable; he wants to discourage any admiration of individual pagans. I would like to suggest that this restriction be revisited. A Christian may admire the heights of pagan virtue without condoning its sinful aspects. After all, Augustine’s firm condemnation of all things pagan cannot be entirely reconciled with the Thomistic embrace of pre-Christian Greek philosophy in the High Middle Ages. Admiring Venner’s cause is not the same as condoning his self-annihilation.

Just maybe, there is something we can learn from the spirit of his deed, if not from the deed itself. It certainly seems clear that Venner did not mean for men of the West to follow his example and commit mass suicide; he meant for it to shake them out of their malaise. It was a cri-du-cœur against the modern age.

Dominique Venner was, from my understanding, neither Catholic nor formally pagan: his spiritual life was found in a kind of reverence for the heritage of Europe; that heritage includes both pagan and Christian religion, and so he admired both. His suicide in the cathedral was a final act of respect, as well as a powerful setting for the message he intended to convey. He saw the cathedrals of Europe as artistic manifestations of the genius of his people. In his suicide note, “Reasons for a Voluntary Death,” he explained,

I am healthy in body and mind… However, in the evening of my life, facing immense dangers to my French and European homeland, I feel the duty to act as long as I still have strength. I believe it necessary to sacrifice myself to break the lethargy that plagues us. I give up what life remains to me in order to protest and to found. I chose a highly symbolic place, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, which I respect and admire: she was built by the genius of my ancestors on the site of cults still more ancient, recalling our immemorial origins. [Emphasis mine.]

Venner sees himself as the founder of something new, in defense of something old. This calls to mind another founding, born out of rape. That is the founding of the Roman Republic, which was inspired in large part by the suicide of a Roman woman, Lucretia. As recounted by Livy, the chaste and honorable Lucretia was forcibly raped, after much protestation, by Sextus Tarquinius, son of the king. After her rapist left, she immediately sent messages to her father and husband, begging them to come to her along with their close friends. When they arrived, they came to her chamber and found her weeping for her lost honor. She said to them,

“There are the marks of another man in your bed, Conlatinus. My body is greatly soiled, though my heart is still pure, as my death will prove. But give me your right hand in faith that you will not allow the guilty to escape. It was Sextus Tarquinius who returned our hospitality with enmity last night. With his sword in his hand, he came to take his pleasure for my unhappiness, but it will also be his sorrow if you are real men.” They promised her that they would pursue him, and they tried to appease her sorrow, saying that it was the soul that did wrong, and not the body, and because she had had no bad intention, she did no wrong. “It is your responsibility to see that he gets what he deserves,” she said, “I will absolve myself of blame, and I will not free myself from punishment. No woman shall use Lucretia as her example in dishonor.” Then she took up a knife which she had hidden beneath her robe, and plunged it into her heart, collapsing from her wound; she died there amid the cries of her husband and father.

This act inspired the revolution that overthrew the monarchy of Rome. It may be worth noting that it was this revolution and founding that also inspired the founders of the American regime. But the Roman founding was born out of suicide and shame—not the shame of Lucretia, but the shaming of her husband and father by the horrible acts done to her. So too, Dominique Venner’s suicide mirrors of the suicide of the West, and is meant to shame us.

The final piece that he wrote on his personal blog, “The May 26 Protests and Heidegger,” gives a clearer explanation of his death than does his suicide letter. It contains a warning and a call to arms. He addresses this warning to the French anti-gay marriage protesters, who, in his opinion, have addressed their rightful indignation at the wrong thing. Venner himself expressed horror at the notion of “gay marriage,” but his objection to the culture of relativism goes deeper than that. He relates the words of an Algerian blogger,

“In any case,” he said, “in 15 years the Islamists will be in power in France and will remove this law.” Not to please us, we suspect, but because it is contrary to Sharia (Islamic law).

This is the only superficially common point between the European tradition (that respects women) and Islam (which does not respect them). But the bald assertion of the Algerian is chilling. These consequences will be far greater and more catastrophic then the detestable Taubira law.

Ultimately, the objections of the May 26th protesters will be moot. Gay marriage is a smaller symptom of the disease. In the end, the suicide of Europe will result in conquest by Islam. He continues, “The May 26 protestors cannot ignore this reality. Their struggle cannot be limited to the rejection of gay marriage. The ‘great replacement’ of the population of France and Europe, denounced by the writer Renaud Camus, is a far more catastrophic danger for the future.”

“Polite street protests,” as he puts it, are not enough. He calls for “real intellectual and moral reform,” which ought to begin as quickly as possible. And it is here that Dominique Venner tells us (what he hopes will be) the meaning of his death:

It certainly will require new, spectacular, and symbolic gestures to stir our somnolence, shake our anesthetized consciousness, and awaken the memory of our origins. We are entering a time when words must be authenticated by deeds.

What does Venner’s revolt mean for Americans? We are not as far down the suicidal road as is Europe. We have more time, but just a little. His warning should be a source of reflection for us, just as much as it is for France and for Europe.

His final published words were these:

We should also remember, as brilliantly formulated by Heidegger in Being and Time, that the essence of man is in his existence and not in “another world.” It is here and now that our destiny is played out until the last second. And this final second is as important as the rest of a lifetime. That is why you must be yourself until the last moment. It is by deciding, truly willing one’s destiny, that one conquers nothingness. And there is no escape from this requirement, because we only have this life, in which it is our duty to be fully ourselves—or to be nothing.

Of course, this is not what Christians believe. Our home is not this world. But that does not mean we can renounce our duty to care for the good, the true, and the beautiful in this world. Those of us who do not join monasteries are called to care for the political and the highest civilizational things. Dominique Venner, historian and former soldier, sought to found a new resistance to the collapse of European civilization. Whatever civilizational Christians think of his means, we ought to admire his end.


TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: catholic; dominiquevenner; france; homosexualagenda; islamists; marriage; sharia; suicide; venner
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1 posted on 06/18/2013 2:34:06 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 06/18/2013 2:34:26 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Who is the mainstream American Right?


3 posted on 06/18/2013 2:36:14 PM PDT by Arm_Bears (Refuse; Resist; Rebel; Revolt!)
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To: NYer

People commit suicide everyday, each is tragic in its own right......the person who kills themselves is not inherently special they are disturbed.
Why would nay media cover the act? (Yes, I read the article)


4 posted on 06/18/2013 2:40:47 PM PDT by svcw (If you are dead when your heart stops, why aren't you alive when it starts.)
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To: NYer

BFL


5 posted on 06/18/2013 2:43:36 PM PDT by huldah1776
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To: NYer

Respectfully this article is a bunch of bologna meant to make the author sound enlightened. The beauty of Notre Dame cathedral rests not in its design but in its intent to glorify God.

It appears this unfortunate soul had a messiah complex and felt himself somehow an improvement upon the sacrifice of the holy mass. God himself is offered as the perfect sacrifice upon which this man showed no humility or respect for the son of man. This was an evil act... that mocks the true sacrifice made on cavalry.


6 posted on 06/18/2013 2:47:35 PM PDT by longfellowsmuse (last of the living nomads)
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To: NYer

Awesome article. The West Had better wake up before we loose our civilization to these animals.


7 posted on 06/18/2013 2:53:15 PM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: NYer

He sure can’t change his mind now...


8 posted on 06/18/2013 2:53:55 PM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: Arm_Bears

John McCain...


9 posted on 06/18/2013 2:55:07 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: NYer

I don’t see anything in Scripture that authorizes us to kill ourselves because of the sinful world around us. We are instead instructed to pray, do what we can about the situation to the extent it is proper for believers to do so (e.g., publicly assert God’s position on the matter), but ultimately leave it to God.


10 posted on 06/18/2013 2:56:05 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: NYer

Suicide is ALWAYS a SELFISH ACT!! God will deal with him.


11 posted on 06/18/2013 3:00:02 PM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion.....the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: kaehurowing

We leave things to God; the Moslems take it upon themselves to do what they believe to be the will of Allah.


12 posted on 06/18/2013 3:00:34 PM PDT by Excellence (9/11 was an act of faith.)
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To: NYer

Sounds like something is wrong with the reasoning faculty of this man.


13 posted on 06/18/2013 3:01:28 PM PDT by I want the USA back (If I Pi$$ed off just one liberal today my mission has been accomplished.)
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To: longfellowsmuse

Cavalry.... lol.. no, really, I actually laughed out loud.


14 posted on 06/18/2013 3:06:14 PM PDT by webheart (King of the Passive Voice)
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To: svcw

Good grief,,I wanted to puke by the second paragraph! What sanctimonius horse puckey!


15 posted on 06/18/2013 3:10:35 PM PDT by austinaero
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To: austinaero

It’s all about him dontchya know


16 posted on 06/18/2013 3:11:25 PM PDT by austinaero
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To: svcw

It is the core of the disturbance that must be examined. Christ, it must be acknowledged, acceded to his own death. He was murdered by the state. He died that others might live and live eternally. From a completely secular standpoint, Venner’s death is no different. He died that the culture he loved might survive.


17 posted on 06/18/2013 3:11:59 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: NYer

If he wore the robes of a Buddhist monk and somehow involved fire in this, maybe it would be iconic, rather than ignored.


18 posted on 06/18/2013 3:18:22 PM PDT by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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To: NYer

This is what gets me about Free Republic. An obviously intelligent man commits an act of extreme sacrifice to draw attention to a problem, and we have people arguing over everything but the point of the story. Why? Why did he take his own life? This is the point to ponder. Some of the people on Free Republic could have been at the celebration where Jesus turned the water into wine, and they would have complained about the vintage and given everyone a dissertation on their knowledge of how the weather affects wine.


19 posted on 06/18/2013 3:24:45 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: NYer

The best way to die is to parachute into the Middle East and start preaching The Gospel.


20 posted on 06/18/2013 3:24:54 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: kaehurowing

Amen
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.


21 posted on 06/18/2013 3:26:47 PM PDT by ThisLittleLightofMine
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: austinaero

Well put.


23 posted on 06/18/2013 3:34:39 PM PDT by svcw (If you are dead when your heart stops, why aren't you alive when it starts.)
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To: NYer

I’m sorry about the fella, but despair is a sin. No matter how bad things are socio-politically, we can receive Faith, Hope, and Love through the Holy Spirit, and we can live Faith, Hope, and Love in any circumstances.


24 posted on 06/18/2013 3:37:45 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Does Bill have a job yet?)
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To: webheart

I just love it when freepers would rather play games of gotcha over typos...than engage in meaningful dialogue...

I do suppose however that sending Jesus to pay for our sins was actually akin to sending in the cavalry...only the sacrifice occurred at calvary!


25 posted on 06/18/2013 3:37:51 PM PDT by longfellowsmuse (last of the living nomads)
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To: blueunicorn6

Great article, thoughtless, ignorant comments.


26 posted on 06/18/2013 3:44:42 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: NYer

Venner’s death will have but one reaction — Muslims will be high-fiving each other.

Venner did not accomplish what he had hoped for. Sadly enough, he will be forgotten tomorrow.


27 posted on 06/18/2013 3:45:39 PM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not say whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: Louis Foxwell

He loved Christianity merely as a cultural idea. Which means he missed the point of Christ entirely.


28 posted on 06/18/2013 3:46:39 PM PDT by TradicalRC (Conservatism is primarily a Christian movement.)
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To: webheart

When I read that, I had a sudden image of the Lord on horseback...then had to quickly repent of impious and blasphemous thoughts.


29 posted on 06/18/2013 3:47:57 PM PDT by stormhill (Guns Save Lives!)
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To: blueunicorn6

Yep. There are many who would rather a holy temple be used for satanic rites than burned to prevent its abuse.


30 posted on 06/18/2013 3:51:49 PM PDT by null and void (Republicans create the tools of opression, and the democrats gleefully use them!)
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To: null and void

Make that “be permanently turned over for satanic rites”, rather that “used”. Used implies that it could be recaptured.


31 posted on 06/18/2013 3:55:00 PM PDT by null and void (Republicans create the tools of opression, and the democrats gleefully use them!)
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To: NYer; All

I am living in France.
I heard about his suicide, and immediatley questioned anyone’s claim to “a culture”.

So, picture Notre Dame, in Paris.
Pretty much takes up the entire skyline, based off what angle you are viewing it from, right?

Now...picture a mosque, BIGGER than Notre Dame, being built directly adjacent to it...like it or not, that’s what’s gonna happen...look it up.

I don’t support or endorse suicide, at all, but they guy’s got a point, OK? An affront to history is an affront to history.


32 posted on 06/18/2013 3:57:04 PM PDT by baltodog (R.I.P. Balto: 2001(?) - 2005)
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To: NYer

To me, there was instantly and undercurrent to this story that wasn’t covered at all.

Either this man had homosexual children who were being led astray or a homosexual wife who was choosing to live with another woman rather than with him.

Very sad story.


33 posted on 06/18/2013 4:00:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

Why did you post this? The article has faulty thinking from beginning to end.


34 posted on 06/18/2013 4:01:11 PM PDT by LovedSinner
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To: Salvation
and undercurrent
35 posted on 06/18/2013 4:05:51 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: blueunicorn6

**they would have complained about the vintage and given everyone a dissertation on their knowledge of how the weather affects wine.**

LOL! So true.


36 posted on 06/18/2013 4:15:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

1. He was French.

2. What kind of arrogance would one possess to comit such an act of sacrilege and force his act on the rest of us?

Bad enough he took his own life but, as far as I’m concerned good riddance


37 posted on 06/18/2013 4:15:38 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: NYer; wideawake
So this Venner didn't believe in chrstianity, or even in European paganism, but merely honored them because they were the creation of "his people?" I can't think of a greater example of hollow self- and ancestor-worship.

The Right, especially the "Palaeo" Right, is full of this type of subjective ethnolatry. Venner's words show that, like any liberal atheist, his ideals were mere groundless constructs of his own mind and his own choosing.

Unfortunately, it is ingrained into us to think of various ethno-cultures creating various religions from their own unique worldviews and that this conflict is the heart of everything that happens on earth. Not to sound like a liberal, but in reality we really are a single race, descended from Adam and Eve, with a single Objective Moral Code from the One True Objective G-d. What we need is not the triumph of this civilization or that one, but for all mankind to commit to G-d and His Laws.

38 posted on 06/18/2013 4:40:14 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: TradicalRC
He loved Christianity merely as a cultural idea. Which means he missed the point of Christ entirely.

European Rightwingery in a nutshell!

And we have a lot of "civilizationist" palaeocons here in the US who are just like them.

39 posted on 06/18/2013 4:46:32 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Revolting cat!

I shudder for France and pray for Paris. Sparks come in many ways.


40 posted on 06/18/2013 4:46:46 PM PDT by Domestic Church (AMDG ...)
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To: NYer

File it under “Suicide of the West.”

It’s a very long book.


41 posted on 06/18/2013 4:58:26 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: svcw

Yeah, I didn’t get past the first paragraph:

“The mainstream American right has remained almost entirely silent about the recent suicide of the French historian, Dominique Venner. The reasons for this, I do not know—perhaps it is a squeamishness . . . or a lack of understanding . . . Perhaps it is a refusal . . .”

Why are these the only options? Maybe it was meaningless and trivial.

Sorry, but suicides occur every day. Ignoring them is not a vast right-wing conspiracy.


42 posted on 06/18/2013 5:15:49 PM PDT by Chad N. Freud (FR is the modern equivalent of the Committees of Correspondence. Let other analogies arise.)
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To: svcw

“Venner shot himself . . . . The image of this act ought to make us pause in awe.”

Are your freaking kidding me?

I now rest my case.


43 posted on 06/18/2013 5:16:50 PM PDT by Chad N. Freud (FR is the modern equivalent of the Committees of Correspondence. Let other analogies arise.)
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To: TradicalRC

Yes, he missed the pointy of Christ entirely. He did not accept Him as his personal savior.


44 posted on 06/18/2013 5:56:53 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: blueunicorn6

Nicely put. By “finest” do you suppose the guests were referring to the vintage or the orchard?


46 posted on 06/18/2013 6:02:27 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: All

If a luminary in this country were to kill themselves to draw attention to the twin evils of abortion and homosexuality do you suppose we would get the same glib commentary that has infected this thread?


47 posted on 06/18/2013 6:09:52 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: NYer
Thanks for posting this.

I have been running a short series by Venner following this tragedy:

The reasons for a voluntary death
The revolt of the mothers
“Man must sacrifice his life” – interview with Dominique Venner
The Century 1914

I think, his death, while a sin was also a heroic act; we ought to at least learn about his thinking and heed his warning, as after Europe falls, we are next.

48 posted on 06/18/2013 6:11:19 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Perhaps we would, to answer your question, because as the Left often points out, American conservatives (at least, many here) don’t value thinkers and philosophers such as Dominique Venner.

Just trying to live down to the stereotypes, that’s all.


49 posted on 06/18/2013 6:15:25 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: blueunicorn6

Your post 19 was on the real subject. For some reason Freepers just want to ventilate about their views on suicide. Summary: it’s never appropriate in their minds.


50 posted on 06/18/2013 6:17:29 PM PDT by OldPossum
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