Judge’s stand on suicide baiting: Let them jump
Along with extravagant judicial discourse and autopilot recitation of case law, Judge Maria-Elena James not only dismissed Yount v City and County of San Francisco at the federal level, she also offered her lame opinions about suicide as well. Presumably, her vast knowledge would also include insight into suicide baiting, but the adjudicating maven never mentions the term in her cold and dishonorable Document 54. Not one single time.
Maybe it’s because suicide baiting has not been proven in court. Maybe there hasn’t been a case legally challenging its brutal practice. Nevertheless, a police sycophant with apparent insider knowledge about the suicidal, the judge who could not possibly be bothered long enough to don her officious black robes to hear our oral arguments, has spoken. She has looked into the eyes of history and found that no Constitutional rights were denied in the suicide baiting death of Dylan Yount in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, Shrove Tuesday, 2010. In upholding the San Francisco Police Department, she is shortsighted and mistaken.
First off, those in the judiciary system who postpone the suicide litigation that is most certainly coming will be regarded as blind as their blindfolded legal-goddess symbol Themis, but not for their impartiality. They will be judged for passing the buck. Suicide bullying and baiting cases are on the fast track for court dockets, just ahead of legislation. Judge James’ brutal treatise in our case will be long remembered for its unmitigated arrogance and ignorance about suicide. Particularly suicide baiting.
She believes my son was in control of the horror that happened to him. That is incorrect. Suicidal people do not want to die. Suicidal people want their pain to stop. They are not capable of rational thought. They are mentally ill. Blaming Dylan for his illness would be the same as blaming a heart attack victim for his. Allowing sadists to cheer on a heart attack victim would never be tolerated by dedicated first responders. Judge James, however, finds cheering at suicide baitings acceptable.
Since she never mentions suicide baiting in Document 54, it is hard to say what she does know about the psychological phenomenon first studied in the 1960s by psychologist Leon Mann. When she assembled her final missive, a quick peek into research would have shown her that suicide baiting is about the malicious killing off of a victim’s weak will to live, the sadistic enjoyment of the suicidal’s pain.
A potential jumper is ambivalent. Unsure. Easily agitated. For this reason a suicide baiting is extreme human cruelty. Suicide baiting is bullying inflicted at the worst time for the victim. Suicide baiting can tip a victim off the edge. Become a trigger. A suicide baiting can provoke a man to jump off a sixth floor ledge.
The ideas about suicide prevention with which she savages us in Doc 54 certainly contradict everything suicidologists know. Her philosophy is to watch them jump! Doc 54 will stand out as a moribund anachronism in 21st century civilization. It is one woman’s legal justification for us to allow public suicide death. She shamelessly defends the practice of watching someone commit suicide.
She states the police could not have prevented Dylan’s death. She brutalizes us with her legal opinion that the only duty they had was to make sure Dylan didn’t hurt anyone when he plunged to his death. The police owed him no help.
She dismisses police failure to stop third party violence. Sees no connection they escalated the violence. Set the tone. Reinforced the madness. She admonishes us that we cannot hold the police responsible for misconduct because we do not know if they were acting outside the parameters of their protocols. She says we cannot prove they had a standard operating procedure to use in a suicide attempt. Indeed, this is the heart of our case. We have been trying to learn that information for well over three years. Do they or don’t they have a policy?
Worse, does Dylan’s suicide baiting death and my subsequent lawsuit prove they’re better off never having a policy or trained crisis intervention officers to deploy in a suicide intervention?
In my view, the SFPD squandered the greatest treasure of my house in their careless disregard for his life, and as far as I can see, the eleventh largest police force in America has no plans to prevent this tragedy from happening again.
While I am ready to concede that I may fail in my judicial efforts to call for their accountability, I was hardly ready to believe I could actually help extend suicide baiting into the future. The judge’s remarks are deeply disturbing. Document 54 is a chilling look into a world where we do not want to live. It is a world where we can watch a man kill himself for our pleasure and justify the action legally.