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I love obscure mysteries, the ones you’ve never heard of, the ones no one pays attention to. The grisly, the evil, the just downright mind-boggling weird. The first one is about a ghost ship, only ghost were not the only thing on board…

The Ourang Medan (roughly translated from Malay “Man from Medan” was a dutch cargo ship that allegedly took off from Indonesia between the months of February and June, either in 1947 or 1948, supposedly bound home to Germany. This is difficult to verify as there isn’t a registry for this ship in either the Indonesian or Dutch registration offices. According to two boats passing through the waters near Indonesia, they both received a distress signal in Morse code. It read “All officers, including captain, are dead, lying in the courtroom and bridge.” This was followed by a length of undecipherable Morse code, ending with the radio operator’s chilling final words, “I die.”

The ship Silver Star attempted to execute a rescue mission and set off to find the ship. When he saw it, he was struck by the fact that there didn’t seem to be any damage to the ship at all. The Silver Star attempted to hail the boat with a series of different communication methods, but never received an answer, they decided to board it to look for survivors. What they found is one of the most puzzling mysteries to have taken place in the Strait of Malaccah. Upon boarding, the found the bodies of all of the crew (including the ship’s dog) dead; eyes open and faces tilted to the sun at it’s position during the time. Though they lay on there backs, their arms were outstretched in front of them toward the ceiling, and each had a look of pure terror on their faces, often looking as though they were screaming. When examined by the crew, they discovered no obvious external injuries to any of the dead, including the dog.

After looking through and attempting to count the bodies, the crew of the Silver Star decided the best course of action would be to tow it back to the nearest port and examine it further, but just as this decision was made, they noticed rolling black smoke escaping the hull. They barely had enough time to get back to their own ship when the Ourang Medan caught fire and exploded, sinking out of sight.

Many people are highly skeptical of this story due to the fact that there are absolutely no records to support that a ship like that ever even existed, let alone went missing. Among believers, on the other hand, theories of how the ship may have met it’s fate is varied. Some assert that the ship was secretly smuggling illegal drugs from and to Indonesia, (including potassium cyanide and nitroglycerin, which both become toxic if mixed with sea water) and highly experimental nerve agents, which would all be extremely toxic to the crew. Even stranger claims are of alien abductions and vengeful ghosts. Whatever the case may be, we’ll probably never know the answer about how these people died and what exactly was is that happened to the Ourang Medan, if it even existed.

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I have heard people (mostly feminists and tiny-waisted women) equate corsetry to medieval torture, chinese foot binding, and grotesque surgical addiction, and it’s really starting to piss me off. The myths about corsetry are so vast and varied that I’m seriously considering writing a book on the subject. What’s the difference? Well, let me spell it out for you…

Myth 1: Corsets were invented by men to restrict and control women.

Truth: Corsets were invented by a woman. Catherine de Medici, the wife of french king Henry II, invented corsets in 1555 because she felt that large waists on noblewomen was unsightly and that having a tiny waist would be a mark of the high born. This was immediately adopted in other European countries, most extensively in England. For several decades, corsets were worn exclusively by nobility. It was only during the civil war era that corsets began being worn by all women, and again, the decision was not reliant on men. However, even then, people who worked hard for a living, like cleaning women or servants in middle-class homes, often wouldn’t wear a corset, or at least not tightly cinched. Men had little to do with the corset at all. In truth, men in the Victorian era began adapting corsets so that other men could wear them.

Myth 2: Corsetry is  dangerous to a woman’s health and wearing them is cruel.

2) Corsetry, just like exercise or dieting,  is not unhealthy if you know what your doing, and the only people who think corsetry is cruel are people who have never worn a corset. As a matter of fact, there have never been any deaths IN HISTORY linked to corset wearing. Ever. Corsets are not incompatible with vigorous activity, either. During the second half of the nineteenth century, when corset wearing was common, there were sport corsets specifically designed to wear while bicycling, playing tennis, or horseback riding, as well as for maternity wear to protect the abdomen and womb. People are forgetting that female entertainers of the Victorian and Edwardian eras danced, sang, and performed in super-tight corsets on a constant basis. Opera singers have worn corsets since their invention and still do to this day, and they are not restricted or hampered one bit by the wearing of a corset. As it happens, pregnancy displaces more organs and bone than corsets do. Corsets are less unhealthy for a woman that wearing heels are. Wearing high heels frequently over a long period of time will displace the spine, change the angle of the pelvis to an unnatural position, warp leg muscles, and cause lower/upper back and neck/shoulder pain, yet people are more than happy to wear them. Corsets don’t do anything like that.

The only time corsets were dangerous is when they were using whalebone as stays. Whalebone stays are very rigid and do not bend, as opposed to modern common steel bones, which are highly flexible. Whalebone is illegal to own for corsetry anymore due to the fact it did cause breathing problems as stays (and, obviously, whaling is illegal cause it’s wrong to hunt whales into extinction) which lead to “fainting rooms”. The only medium one can use for boning nowadays is steel, plastic, or wood (for busks).

Corsets are extremely comfortable (when worn appropriately), support the back, corrects posture, can help you lose weight, and can even help treat or correct spinal abnormalities. In fact, Doctors have even prescribed wearing corsets in an effort to help back pain without resorting to medication or surgery because of the amazing support to the back that corsets provide. People with spinal problems such as scoliosis or with internal injuries were often fitted with a form of corset in order to immobilize and protect the torso. For example, Andy Warhol was shot in 1968 and never fully recovered from the injuries. He wore a corset for the rest of his life. It decreased his pain and aided him in walking and sitting. Ask anyone who has worn a corset for any length of time and you’ll be hard pressed to find one who hates them. Most corset wearers swear by them.

Extreme tightlacing can have adverse side-effects on your health, I’ll admit that, up to and including the displacement of the ribcage and organs, the narrowing of the lungs, and in very rare cases modernly, the rupture of an organ, the fracturing of bone, and internal bleeding. However, it’s a personal choice. Corsetry in general is a personal choice and has never really been against the law to forgo wearing them. Women who tightlaced did so because they wanted to, not because they were told to, which is something most people don’t realize.

Myth 3: Corsets are just as barbaric and primitive as foot-binding, elongating the neck with brass rings, or using arsenic to make your skin pale.

Truth: That’s an out-and-out LIE. Let’s compare corsetry to foot-binding, shall we? To begin, a mother or grandmother started to bind her daughter’s or granddaughter’s feet when the child was around four to seven years old. The process was started before the arch of the foot had a chance to properly develop and usually started during the winter months so that the feet were numb and the pain would not be as extreme. First, each foot would be soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood.  Then her toenails were cut back as far as possible to prevent ingrowths and infections. The girl’s feet were delicately massaged. Silk or cotton bandages, ten feet long and two inches wide, were prepared by soaking them in the same blood and herb mix as before.Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? Well, we haven’t gotten to the barbaric part yet.

Now, while the child is awake and fully aware of the procedure, each of the toes were then broken using a small surgical hammer and wrapped in the wet bandages, which would constrict when drying, and pulled tightly downwards toward the heel. There may have been deep cuts, again while the child was awake, made in the sole to facilitate this. They would not be able to walk during this process. The procedure would be repeated every two days, with fresh bindings. Every time the bandages were rebound they would be pulled tighter making this process continually painful. This treatment would be repeated for many months, possibly even years.

This process led to deformation of the foot and great pain to the bound woman.  In addition to finding the bound foot sexually appealing, it would also mean a woman’s complete devotion as it was painful for her to walk and wander out of the house without an escort to help her. In addition to the pain, the woman’s bound feet would smell terrible thanks to the colony of fungus that would occupy the unwashable folds of the binding cloth.

Now, let’s compare this to corset-wearing. I’ll choose the Victorian era, since this is the era in which more women wore corsets more often than any other period in history. A girl would begin wearing a corset as early as the age of four, similar to that of the chinese girl about to undergo foot binding. The girl’s first corset would be very lightly boned to allow the child full movement, and would be replaced as the child aged almost without notice. Each new corset the child would receive would be slightly tighter in relation to the child’s development, but still would not be completely constrictive, and the child would barely notice the change.

Full constriction would not begin until the child began puberty. The lightly bone corsets would then gradually be replaced by more and more heavily boned corsets which would be tightened slightly every few days. By the time the child became a full grown woman, she would have been wearing corsets for at least ten-twelve years, and would be perfectly used to them. The bones and organs would have gradually and naturally shifted to compensate for the corset, rather than being broken and forced into an unnatural and agonizing position. There would have been no pain whatsoever in becoming accustomed to it.

So, in summation, corsets are not dangerous and are HUGELY misconceived by people. I recognize that corsets aren’t for everyone, but the horrible reputation they have is completely unfounded. It’s misconception like this that gets things banned or outlawed. Corsetry requires knowledge and appreciation, and it’s not something someone should do on a whim. There are “corset tops” for that. But if one knows what their doing, corsets can not only look good, but it can help them in a lot of ways. I am very sad that there is so much wrong information out there about them, because it just causes ridicule and bigotry against those of us who wear them.

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I want to make it clear that this essay covers so-called “sanguine” vampires only, in other words, those that drink blood. This is not in reference or related to “psychic” vampirism, as I have not yet accumulated enough evidence in favor of or against it’s existence.

A long time ago, probably a couple years now, I wrote a post about diseases that mimic the symptoms of Vampirism. There was a lot of opinions on both sides, but I will admit that, while compelling, it was not adequate evidence to throw people into serious doubt about the possibility of real, authentic vampires. As a result, I continued to study both history and medicine to find reasonable and well researched evidence to truly grasp the minds of believers and turn them to skepticism. I am pleased to say that I have some research that will further my pursuit to put an end to this highly dangerous delusion.

First, we must outline what is and is not a vampire in the traditional sense of the term. Vampires are defined as either a humanoid creature of subhuman intellect or a fully sentient humanoid creature that MUST ingest human blood in order to sustain it’s own life. People who crave the taste of blood or ingests it to achieve sexual gratification are not vampires. They are blood fetishists.

Now, with that it mind, we must address the very obvious and glaring inconsistency with the “blood for sustenance” delusion. The fact is, and any medical professional with any credibility will agree, the body is not designed to intake and process large amounts of blood on a regular basis. There are not enough proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, fats, or nutrients in blood to maintain the life of a fully grown human being or any offshoot mutations thereof.

The process of digestion, and this will be important later, begins when a human ingests food or liquid. According to a nurse practitioner who offered this information to the public:

It is first broken up into a bolus by chewing, then churned up in the stomach with digestive juices to form a mass called chyme. It then passes through the pylorus into the duodenum (part of the small intestine) where it mixes with bile salts and secretions from the pancreas and liver which continue breaking it down on a molecular basis, mostly affecting fats at this point. The broken down nutrients pass through the wall of the intestines and into the bloodstream where they are carried to each cell or stored for later use. Indigestible bulk continues through the intestines, turning a dark brown from the bile. Water is absorbed from this mass in the large intestine depending on the needs of the body – a well-hydrated person will usually have a softer stool than a dehydrated person will. Water also enters the bloodstream, and this is what helps to maintain blood pressure. The pressure tends to balance itself in a healthy person because the bloodstream goes through a formation in the kidney called the Loop of Henle, where the narrowing blood vessel forces excess water and cellular waste such as urea out through the cellular wall into the kidneys, where it is excreted through the ureters into the bladder, and then out of the body via the urethral passageway.

The traditional idea of a vampire at it’s base is that they must supplement blood in place of other foods due to the inability to break down complex carbohydrates and protein. If they did not have this condition, the theory of drinking blood for sustenance would be completely pointless. However, a person who is physically unable to process food for nutrition could not process blood because it involves the exact same process as digesting food. Ingested blood does not travel directly to the veins; it would have to be converted usable fuel by the digestive system first. The intake of blood would have to occur at least once a day and would require the ingestion of the entire blood supply of the donor, which could not happen as the stomach is far too small to hold that much. Keep in mind that your stomach is about the same size as your fist. In addition, one wouldn’t be able to pass something that large through the intestines as it has no fibrous bulk, would create an intestinal impaction, causing massive vomiting from the large concentration of iron present, and any “real” vampire would have to eventually expel the waste, which would come out as a black, tarry, smelly goo.

The humans who profess to be vampires are as human as you or I, regardless of their claims. Believing they need to ingest blood would not stop them from contracting a blood-bourne pathogen. If they ingest HIV tainted blood they can most certainly contract the disease. It is a very dangerous delusion to be laboring under. Remember, there is absolutely no scientific or medical proof that this practice is in any way beneficial at all. You would be hard pressed to find a medical journal about the positive or negative effects of “Vampirism”, as just about all doctors find the concept laughable. One thing to remember is that there has not been one person yet who has had ANY medical training that believes in the existence of vampires or ever came forward claiming to be one. (If you can find someone who has, please correct me. I’d be glad to retract that statement if it can be incontrovertibly proven wrong.)

There is no “vampire” gene. If such a gene existed, in today’s world with today’s technology it would have been found; scientists have already completely sequenced the human genome. It would also have to follow Mendel’s law of dominant/recessive gene theory. Again, the odds on that many “vampires” all escaping the notice of the medical/scientific community are so low as to be almost nonexistent.

There is no “vampire virus”. Think of it in terms of the definition of a virus. HIV is a virus, and look at how fast it has spread. According to the vampire websites, there are “tens of thousands” of vampires running around the planet. If that was so then at least one of them has ended up in a hospital for blood work when they became for various reasons, including natural disease and/or accidents. If there really is that many vampires in the world, they would have been detected and medical science would have isolated it, studied it, applied for research grants on it,  published papers on it, etc. If there were as many vampires out there as they claim, there would be some sort of medical cataloging, knowledge, testing, or at least a curious medical pursuit of it. And there isn’t. At all. I’ve been looking for quite a while, and I have not found one case of supposed vampirism post-1910 that was not explained by known physical or mental disorders. There is no virus in existence that can change a person on a molecular level without being fatal.

Now, hopefully this is enough information to at least give people pause. It is my opinion that those under such potentially deadly delusions find professional help before they endanger their lives and/or the lives of others. I can only hope evidence of this nature will not be immediately ignored or dismiss by those desperate to believe in the impossible. Having said that, if anyone can come forward with cold hard facts in favor of the existence of Vampirism, please don’t hesitate to post it. I am a true skeptic, in that I demand to be proven wrong with firm, solid evidence. I don’t want to hear “I’m a vampire, I need blood,” or “I know someone who is and says they need it.” Real, tangible proof is what I require. If you don’t have it, don’t expect me to take you at your word.

* Creditted to Lord Bear, the National Food and Drug Administration, The National Handbook for Nurse Practitioners, The National Center for Disease Control, the Medical Journal for Digestive Disorders, the Human Genome Project, and all the medical personel who contributed to this essay.

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I seem to have become completely nocturnal.

I’ve had sleeping problems all my life, even as a small child. I could never seem to fall asleep when I was supposed to and was up really late every night just staring at the ceiling, patiently waiting to go to sleep. As a child, my bed times were usually between seven and eight o’clock every night, but I’d end up laying there for hours, sometimes as late as two in the morning. As I have aged, this problem has only gotten worse.

I have sleep disorders. I have severe and chronic insomnia in addition to moderate apnea, which means I stop breathing when I sleep; the tissue in my throat literally collapses on itself. This problem has prevented me from using any sort of prescribed sleep aid, as there is a distinct chance that if I had an apneatic episode while on drugs to keep me asleep, I may end up suffocating in my sleep. Herbal and over-the-counter sleep aids only help so much, as I have a high tolerance to medicines and naturally occuring chemicals. It has gotten it’s worst in the last year. I no longer seem to be able to fall asleep during the night at all. I fall asleep when the sun comes up and I wake when the sun goes down. You could set your watch to it. The only time I’ve been able to sleep at night were times when I had been up for a few days and was just so exhausted that it was a miracle I actually made it to my bed before passing out.

The thing about this is: I don’t mind being a nocturnal person, but there are three problems with being nocturnal. I like the night better than the day; I always have. It’s quieter, it’s more peaceful, is not as bright so it doesn’t hurt my eyes. The air feels and smells cleaner, in a way. I feel more comfortable when I’m out with friends if it is night. I just don’t like the daytime. It’s too bright and crowded and loud. The first problem with this is people seem to think that people who sleep all day are lazy and people who stay up all night are immoral, which I don’t really understand. I can do everything I could during the day after dark; in some causes I can actually do more at nighttime than I could during the day. I can do my banking online, so I don’t need to go to the bank for that (unless I need to make a deposit, which is rare). I can do all my chores when everyone is asleep without interruption or people making a mess just minutes after finishing. I can read, write, draw, or do my craft work without being bothered constantly by people, which wouldn’t be possible during the day. Grocery stores are deserted at four in the morning, so no waiting in line. There is virtually no traffic whatsoever, so if I want to go out for something to eat I’m not stuck behind little old ladies heading to church or old men who’s eyesight is failing and compensates by drive twenty mph under the speed limit. Or even worse….. student drivers. *Shudder*

I don’t understand this mentality. Despite the fact that I understand my own conditions and even though I know that it is more beneficial and efficient for me to stay up at night, I still feel guilty for sleeping during the day. That’s the second problem. Society has ingrained in our brains that daytime is the active period and nighttime is the neutral period, and to reverse this pattern is unnatural and/or illogical. The percentage of people who are nocturnal throughout their lives is very low; something like less than 10% world-wide. Usually people have phases in which they experience being nocturnal (most often during the college years and after the birth of a child), but they usually grow out of it. I never did. I probably never will.

The third problem, which can be the most frustrating at times, is that there is so little to do at night. You can’t go to the movies at three a.m. There are no book stores or coffee shops open. No chinese restaurants or bakeries. Sure, you could go to a bar or a club, but who needs that kind of noise? And casinos are just bad luck.

I think one day when I manage to save enough, or find some willing investers, I should open an all-night bookstore/coffee shop with a movie projection wall on the back of the building with a covered pavillion. There could be a stage in the cafe for performers who burn the midnight oil. There could be night classes and art shows. God, it would be awesome.

Ah, well. It’s four in the afternoon. Way past my bedtime.

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Considering the fact that I used to be Christian, I think I’m fairly kind in my assessment of how fucked up it’s practices and ideals are.  I try to overlook some things that really puzzle and aggrivate me, but there are still things that crop up in discussions about Christianity that really get me angry. Things that, had I known them when I was Christian, would have turned me to Athiesm in half a heartbeat. One of which is something I call “Moral Equality.”

Moral equality is the belief that every sin commited is the same on a moral level. Example: A  hungry, homeless child who steals an apple from a street fruit stand is on the same moral level as a man who rapes and murders prepubescent children. That’s dispicable. The idea that a victimized, starving child is in any way the same as a sexual deviant and murder is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard.

My grandfather was a wife-beater and a pedophile. I actually find myself hoping that Hell exists just so he can be sent there. That being said, I once stole some candy from my parents room. The concept that because I ate my parents’ candy without asking somehow makes me the same morally as my psychotic pedophile grandfather is reprehensible on a level that is stunning.

Fuck… This is one of the things that really make me want to start swearing for a solid hour.

 

(To be followed shortly by a blog on indiscriminate forgiveness.)

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Anyone who owns a T.V. has probably seen advertisements for a pharmecutical vaccine called Gardasil, a quadrivalent vaccine that is said to prevent against the infection of four types of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and prevent cervical cancer and genital warts in many cases. Now, if this were true, Gardasil would be a wonderful product. But it’s not.

Fact one: Gardasil claims that it vaccinates women against four types of HPV. The ad boasts that the vaccine will protect against two types of HPV (strains 16 and 18)  that cause seventy percent of all cervical cancer, and two other types (strains 10 and 11 ) that are responsible for ninety percent of genital warts. However, there are over one hundred known strains of the virus, with new strains being discovered on a regular basis. Each strain has some chance of becoming active during one’s lifetime and influencing several deseases, and are usually triggered by prolonged diet inconsistencies or bad dieting, weight gain or loss, lifestyle, stress, or coming into contact with bacteria or other microbiological organisms that trigger the malignant mechanisms contained in the virus strain. There are more than two dozen “high-risk” strains of HPV that influence genital cancers, and even more that play a part in the development of warts and herpes.

Fact two: not only is HPV contagious, it’s also hereditary. Almost everyone that is born either has or contracts at least one strain of HPV from or during birth. The whole point of a vaccine is to prevent infection and desease. If you already have the HPV strain(s) Gardasil is intended to prevent, the vaccine will do absolutely nothing to protect you. As any doctor will tell you, once you contract a virus, you will never get rid of it; you can only adapt to it.

Fact three: Gardasil did not work in almost half of the people to which it was administered, and can actually be a factor in causing cervical cancer. In fact, studies have shown that not only did the vaccine fail prevented the infection in almost forty five percent of patients who had completed the Gardasil treatments, but had increased the risk of cervical cancer in many of the patients. The patients, many of whom had had the vaccine before becoming sexually active, had contracted the viruses or developed cervical cancer during a five year period in which they had engaged in sexual activity.

Fact four: While it is true that the two strains (16 and 18) are responsible for more than seventy percent of all cervical cancer, what people don’t take into consideration is the fact that, in many cases, the HPV virus never becomes active. Many people (over seventy percent) who have these two particular strains live and die without the HPV ever developing into a desease. HPV alone does not cause cervical cancer or other diseases. There are many things that must happen in the system, chemical changes that occur in the body, that must all happen at the same time or in a particular sequence to trigger diseased cells to grow and multiply. HPV on it’s own is not a threat to the health of an individual.

Fact five: The most common way to determine if a woman has HPV is with a procedure called a pap smear, in which the doctor inserts a long cotton swab into a woman’s vagina which would enter the cervix, scrapes a sample of the fluids from the vaginal or uterine wall, and tests it for HPV. However, the tests are not always accurate. For one, the test does not encompass all of the different strains. In most cases, you have to test the sample for HPV one strain at a time. Also, the virus can collect in one area, much like cancer, and is often missed during testing. The second way is through a blood test, but the only ones that could be detected through this method are HPV stains that interact with or contaminate blood. The four listed that Gardasil prevents do not associate with blood very often, if at all.

Fact six: Gardasil is an injection treatment that must be administered at least three times over a period of months before it will take effect in a person’s immune system. In fact, many doctors suggest that Gardasil should be administered more than that, but three is a safe number. The injections can cost up to three hundred and fifty dollars per injection or higher. So you’re basically spending a thousand dollars or more on a vaccine that has less than a ten percent chance of working.

Not only is Gardasil largely ineffective and potentially dangerous for the patients to which it’s administered, but the corporation that makes it is profitting on half-truths, misleading advertisements, and basic pathological fears every human being has of dying. If you want to get vaccinated, do it, but do it for the right reasons after you have done the appropriate amount of research on the subject. You life and body is not something you should leave to chance, but it’s also not something to be used as an experiment for a pharmecutical franchise that cares nothing about your health, and everything about your money. Gardasil is not as it advertised, and it’s important that people realize that before they make the choice to get vaccinated. I support the advancement of medicine and medical sciences, but not when it’s profits are taken from the pockets of poor, innocent people who are scared to death of a desease they’ll probably never get.

Sources:

http://www.drugs.com/gardasil.html

http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4222B3.pdf

http://www.vaclib.org/docs/gardasil-flyer.pdf

http://dr-t.net/gardasil.html

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Out of all the many facets that make up my personality, there are two that often take the forefront; those being my accident and my atheism, but they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I was in a housefire when I was two. I was in a coma for several weeks and lived in a hospital for two years. I have also had at least 65 multi-procedural surgeries with more planned in the future. I am now 24 years old, 22 years older than doctors expected I would live.

Now, dispite being in a horrific accident, I never blamed God (when I was a christian, that is). It didn’t even occur to me at the time that God could have that significant a role in human events. I knew that God saw and heard all, but that when bad things happened, it was not the fault of God. My accident did not make me an atheist, either. I came to the conclusion that God did not exist without using my own unique set of circumstances as evidence of either his existence or nonexistence. I came to it the proper way, through reason and ration and the endless search for proof, the way conclusions should come about.

Talking about my accident has never bothered me. People are curious, and I’d rather people ask me directly that to gossip about it behind my back. The one thing that does bother me, though, is that when I finish my story, the most common thing people say is, “It’s a miracle you’re still here. God must have a plan for you, because he was looking out for you that day.” I try very hard not to make a face when people say this, because they mean well, but it bothers me that when people take in accounts of people who have lived through horrible circumstances, folks say that people like us are “testaments to God’s mercy”. I have a problem with that.

Again, as I say, God’s inaction in my case is not what led me to become an atheist. But if I look at it from the context of religion, was it really mercy? Think about mercy for a moment; really think. Not in the context of socially or religiously accepted definitions of mercy, but what it means to you personally. Which is more merciful? For a child who was severely burned and in an extraordinary amount of pain to be kept alive, and be forced to live a life of agony and humiliation, or for that child to die quickly and go to heaven, where pain and sorrow do not exist, to be with her family and watch over the people who loved her? Wouldn’t option A, if you thought of it outside the context of religion and God, be considered cruelty?

Problem is, religious people can’t answer that question. They want the child to go to heaven, but they don’t want the child to suffer or die. Non-religious people have trouble with it too, simply because it is a horrible choice to make. But what if that person could make the decision for themself? Wouldn’t their choice obsolve you of responsibility? See, if you have a pet, and that pet contracts a desease that will cause them to suffer, the owner has the choice to keep the pet alive for as long as possible, or to euthanize the animal. Is the choice easier or harder because you know that the animal won’t go to heaven? Or would not believing in heaven make it easier?

As humans, we recognize the suffering of others, but while we have no problem ending the lives of animals for their own good, who can’t make that decision themselves, we are perfectly willing to disallow human beings the right to decide if they would rather die that suffer through an illness that will eventually kill them, slowly and painfully. The only time we, as humans, intervene and help someone die is when that person is comatose and brain-dead. And because they are brain-dead they cannot feel pain, and again, cannot make the choice to end their lives for themselves. Many people have wills in case of this, but the majority of people don’t, because they never expect something like that to happen to them. Suicide is a capitol offence for which you can receive up to fifteen years in prison, but it’s perfectly okay for doctors and family members to decide to pull the plug on a patient they feel will never wake up.

I don’t think suicide should be illegal, in some cases. People who are terminal and have no control over the fact that they are just going to get sicker and die should, at least, have control over their own death. They should be allowed to go to their end on their own terms, because it certainly wasn’t up to them that they developed a desease that would kill them. It seems the only creatures that are allowed to die so they won’t suffer are creatures who are unable to make the choice for themselves, and the people who are allowed to make that choice are the people who end those lives. Someone ending the life of someone else without their consent or knowledge. Is that mercy? If we weren’t talking about terminal ill creatures, this would be the definition of murder.

To be perfectly honest, I died the day of the fire. The girl I would have been if the fire had not happened no longer exists. After the fire, I suffered full amnesia. I could not do anything for myself. I had to be retaught everything I had learned to that point, including walking and talking. I did not recognize my parents, or my siblings. It was as if I was a newborn. The girl I was the day before the fire was not the girl I was the day after. She no longer exists. She died on October 15, 1986.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t like who I am. I do. I’m a very gifted, bright individual. I can do just about everything the doctors said I would never be able to, including speak. But, the bulk of my personality was developed because of the fire. I am who I am today because of all the things I endured as a child.

The point I’m trying to make, in a roundabout way, is that I don’t want people to look at me and see either proof or disproof of God. I actually meant to do another blog on suicide, but hell, I killed two birds with one stone here. I don’t want my circumstances to either draw people to or push people away from God. I don’t want people to say either, “If there was a God, why would he allow that to happen?” or “Only God could have saved her from something like that.” The choice to either believe or not believe in God should not be seen in people or events. Random acts of negligence and human error should not be seen as evidence of God’s existence, or lack thereof.

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