Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Attempted Suicide on Sea Patrol

I'm watching an episode of Sea Patrol, and it somewhat illustrates my feelings regarding suicide prevention. That is, society treats people like crap; then it fights like hell to save their lives once they decide to off themselves.

On the episode, the navy folks run into a man trying to kidnap his children. Why? Because his wife has remarried and is moving to the US with her new husband and the children.  No, I don't condone kidnapping. But I do have great sympathy for a parent who understands that it will soon be extremely difficult to see their children.  I can understand the desperation.

Once the navy goes after the father, he goes to an island with his children and tries to hide there. What he doesn't know is that the island is crocodile infested.  The navy chases after him. He tries to escape. A crocodile enters the picture. The man realizes he's put his children in danger. He's visibly regretful about this.

They all go on the navy ship. The father is apologetic...ashamed. He tries to talk to the navy folks. None of them will give him the time of day. They treat him like scum.

Then later he tries to commit suicide by jumping off the boat. The navy folks rescue him. They make it known that they did this out of duty and not because they give a crap about him.

What's weird, though, is that they were sympathetic towards the guy UNTIL he took his kids on the croc island.  But he didn't know about the crocodiles. It wasn't his fault. Well, and he also pointed a gun at the navy guys, so maybe that's what turned them against him.  But I would think professionals  could be understanding and realize that desperate people sometimes go a bit dangerously nuts.

I don't know.  I do understand the Navy's frustration with this guy; but I think they could have tried to be understanding. Or at least fake it. Then maybe he wouldn't have tried to jump off the ship.

The attitude of the navy people towards this man is. We hate you. You disgust us. But we're going to make sure you stay alive on our watch.

I'm sure there would be severe legal ramifications of not trying to rescue the man. I can respect saving him on that account. But if they did it on moral grounds, I don't see the point. They might have saved his body, but did nothing to save his soul.  I imagine it's likely he'll try to kill himself again.  Or he'll feel completely worthless and wish he were dead...which in itself is quite sad and awful.

Edited to add: I finished watching the episode, and am feeling a bit more sympathetic towards the navy's attitude toward the man, specifically Flynn's (Ian Stenlake) attitude.  The thing is there were extenuating circumstances.  Flynn has the hots for the mysterious scientist Ursula (Sybylla Budd) and she's involved in some big mystery on Bright Island. Flynn has been obsessed with getting to the bottom of the mystery.  When they go on the croc island, they find not only the father and his kids, but a man who happens to be one of the keys to the Bright Island puzzle. He's severely injured and they need to get him to a hospital. But then they're delayed because of the suicide attempt. So that's why Flynn was such an ass to the suicidal father.  He himself is feeling a bit desperately nuts.

THOUGH, on the other hand....if they hadn't chased the father and his kids onto the croc island, they would have never found Bright Island man in the first place.  And if they treated the father decently— accepted his apology and provided him a shoulder to lean on, maybe he wouldn't have wanted to commit suicide.  Then they might have gotten Bright Island man to the hospital in time.

Also...At the end of the episode Flynn tells the father that his wife can't leave the country without getting his permission. So maybe the father's biggest mistake wasn't kidnapping his children and bringing them onto a croc-infested island. Maybe it's the fact that he didn't do enough Internet research before going on such a foolhardy adventure.