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a.f.s.p. dialog

last updated 05.19.00
a dialog with joan fine, secretary and member of the board of directors of the Florida division of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, about her objection to this site.
ms. fine lost a son to suicide.

originally submitted on the hatemail page:
unknown, very offensive, RE: "lowlife scum" (pg. 1) you win the prize! Only a sick mind could make a joke out of something as devastating as suicide. As a mother who lost her son to suicide, I nominate this as the sickest "joke" of the year. Could this be your own suicide plan? Get help to deal with your problems; especially if you think this reply is funny! (we do not think your reply is funny and we are sorry for your loss. we were not in any way responsible for your son's untimely passage, so we will not accept your condemnation of us or our "sick mind". why is it that everyone that hates this site assumes we want to do ourselves in? we are not suicidal. we love life, no matter how hard it gets.)

Dear Phil, I didn't choose to list any info in your jumperpool, and knew that my email address would appear at the bottom of my transmission to you. I am the Joan Fine quoted (or should I say misquoted?---my support group is in Boca Raton), in the Times article. 
As Secrerary and member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Division of  AFSP (my husband is Chairman of the Board and a member of the AFSP National Board of Directors), there isn't anything to add to what Rene Barrett has 
already written to you. She's very passionate about suicide prevention and I think that the content of her letters to you was both factual and sincere. Thanks for being sorry for the loss of my son to suicide and I can't imagine why you would think that I hold anybody else responsible for his death but himself. He was also a Michael, he was also very artistic, and he would have thought this site was very funny. Please understand why I don't and can't. 
There is much to be done with research, education, awareness, and survivor support, and my husband and I are trying to dedicate ourselves, in memory of our beloved son, to working toward this goal. Our son had a little girl and we are very much aware of the genetic predisposition possible here. Knowing more about suicide than I ever wanted to know, I realize now that my son had a predisposition because of genetic-- links including me. He appeared to be perfectly "normal" all of his life; whatever normal is. Anyway, I've tried to deal with my own problems and to help others deal with their problems when possible. 
I don't approve of your way of dealing with this with your web site, but you don't need my approval. I don't think you're a monster, as others have replied, but I do very sincerely think that you could use some professional help. You do have some genetic predisposition as well. I really do not mean this unkindly and I really hope you don't take it so or make light of it. I 
guess once a mother, always a mother. 
I needed to see this site for myself and now I have. I will continue trying to be part of the solution. PLEASE don't be part of the problem!
Sincerely, Joan Fine

hello joan, 
   again, let me offer sincere sorrow for the loss of your son. i have two daughters and their loss would devastate me as well. no parent wants to see their children go before them under any circumstance.
   i have no way to get any info from our site's forms that a person doesn't input themselves. there was no way to track you or get any info on you unless you put it on the form yourself, so that was why i started your comments with "unknown", as you left no name. i maintain my opinion that anyone that wants to commit suicide should be able to do so. who am i to argue? i have never smoked cigarettes. not a single one. i hate them. i hate what they do to people. they stink. they make the people that smoke them stink. they are purchased using money better spent on food and shoes for the children in an unemployed smoker's home. they always seem to have smokes. they kill more people in a year then almost any other way to die. over 400,000 a year in this country alone. however, if they want to kill themselves that way, who am i to argue? adults should be able to do as they please to themselves. it is my opinion that you would be better at saving lives if you were the secretary and member of the board of directors of the florida division of the afsp, 'american foundation for smoking prevention'. 
   i understand why many people would find our website repulsive and infuriating. there are countless sites i find nasty, degrading, useless, repulsive, and infuriating as well, yet i leave them be and stay away. i would never call for their demise, unless they are illegal. that is the difference. i have major problems with adults that abuse minors. i feel minors should be forcefully removed from the homes of chronic smokers. i want the energies and funds that are currently being spent on forcing adults to stop hurting themselves to be channeled into helping minors get free from the useless debris of abusive parents.
   i also understand your drive and desire to help those that are suicidal. i wish you much success. i'm sure it helps you and your husband cope with your loss. i assume that many in your organization are also dealing with a suicide close to them.
thank you for your mail and much success in your endeavors.
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