12 November, 2006

The desperation of 'Mr and Mrs Average' : a family suicide averted

Please read "'Why I wanted to kill my family'".

The article builds on the point that people who commit family murders are considered, at best, mentally unstable. At worst - few words suffice. I consider myself a compassionate person but have come no closer to understanding what might drive a dedicated parent to that level of desperation, being content to accept that it is something I likely will never comprehend.

This article left me in tears for the first time, in response to the written word, in a long time. It records a letter received from two dedicated parents who debated this option when it seemed that financial pressures would tear their family apart.

Both parents are employed : "Despite us both having permanent jobs, our take home salary is approximately R4 500 per month . . . We simply do not qualify for a mortgage bond which would enable us to purchase a home of our own, and we certainly would not dream of invading municipal or any other private property and erecting a dwelling there in defiance of the law. Breaking the law is just not in our nature".

Reaching a point where the couple can no longer afford to rent a home, they have approached various authorities and organisations to try and find a solution.

Their story has a perversely 'satisfying' status at present : the family has survived, but the parents have moved into their respective parents' homes with two children each. This young family is alive but living under extreme stress, separated by a system that caters to the needs of the destitute and the wealthy but is destroying the lives of 'average' citizens.

"So, when you write our story, consider our epitaph, and be careful of labelling us as cowards, because rest assured, desperation and hopelessness devastates all of us, and it is quiet desperation that compels us to take the actions we do. Ask yourself when you write and read the stories of those you have labelled as cowards, what you could have done to help others like ourselves and maybe yourselves, and at least consider, even for a moment, what each and every "coward" has gone through and what you could have done to prevent it".