As any longtime listener of Glenn’s knows, he has very personal experiences with suicide.
“When you are suicidal, I’m sorry, but all reason has broken down. And I know this, as a guy who has had two suicides in his family and has been suicidal himself,” Glenn said Monday on radio. “When you actually go through it, all reason breaks down. You really do believe that if you were gone, everyone around you would be happy. That you are the source of all problems.”
In the wake of the Michelle Carter conviction, some are reporting that the young woman who urged her friend to commit suicide should go free, that she had no direct responsibility. However, Glenn shared new insight into his own mother’s suicide as a way to contrast innocence with guilt.
“The family had done everything that they could and she wouldn’t take any of the advice. And she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to do. And one day, she went over to my aunt’s house and my aunt was very frustrated with my mother,” Glenn said. “My mother said, you know, Joanne, ‘I’m just going to do it.’ And my aunt looked at my mother and said, ‘You know what, Mary, then just do it.'”
Glenn’s mother died just a few days later.
“Now, that’s not what her advice was. Her advice the whole time was, ‘Seek help. Get help. We’re here for you. But you have to change your life.’ She was tired of hearing what she thought was an empty threat,” Glenn shared.
Glenn’s aunt carried that burden for decades after his mother died.
“My aunt immediately thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, and I told her to do it.’ No, sweetheart, you didn’t. You didn’t,” Glenn said.
Michelle Carter, on the other hand, repeatedly encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself and offered no assistance while she listened to him die over the phone.
Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.
GLENN: We’re talking about this girl who Friday was convicted of involuntary manslaughter because she encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide. And she was actually on the phone, encouraging him, while he did it. She listened to him.
He got out of a truck. In a garage. And he had, for months said he was going to do it, she was encouraging him for months. And he got out. He said he was afraid. Called her. She said, “What are you doing out of the truck? You promised you were going to do it. You’re going to be fine. Get back in the truck.” And listened to him while he died.
GLENN: Horrible, horrible.
Now, the — the conservative point of view from David French is — is two parts. And I want to address the first part before we get to the second. The first part is, we should have compassion. And we can’t regulate because it is your free choice to kill yourself. Well, yes, it is. Yes, it is.
But let me share something about my mother’s suicide. I didn’t know my mother was suicidal — none of us kids knew that she was suicidal. But my grandparents did. My aunt did.
And she had encouraged her to get help, et cetera, et cetera. And she apparently — in the last year of her life — had threatened this a lot. And the family had done everything that they could. And she wouldn’t take any of the advice. And she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to do. And one day, my — she went over to my aunt’s house. And my aunt was very frustrated with my mother.
And she said — my mother said, you know, Joanne, “I’m just going to do it.” And my aunt looked at my mother and said, “You know what, Mary, then just do it.” Now, that’s not what her advice was. Her advice the whole time was, “Seek help. Get help. We’re here for you. But you have to change your life.” She was tired of hearing what she thought was an empty threat, just to, what? Gain sympathy, or whatever. She didn’t understand it.
My aunt carried that around for decades after my mother died because my mother committed suicide about — I think it was five days later. Four or five days later. And my aunt immediately thought, “Oh, my gosh, and I told her to do it.”
No, sweetheart, you didn’t. You didn’t.
You said something very human in a moment of frustration with a sister who had been threatening to do it for a long time and you supported for years.
PAT: And that’s a different thing that we’re talking about.
GLENN: Totally different. So I understand because partly I’m afraid that you — you have a moment like that, and anybody could be blamed for it. And that’s not what we’re talking about. This is somebody who over months was encouraging.
Now, the second part of his argument is where it gets dangerous. And it gets dangerous because we no longer have a right and wrong. We no longer have a moral foundation for our country and for us as humans. We can’t agree on what is right and wrong. So we need a judge to do it.
And don’t think that there will be people that will use this case to make all kinds of points. And here’s where David French makes sense…
STU: He says: Second, the First Amendment implications are real with this verdict. Carter’s actions — the girl’s actions — were reprehensible, but she was sharing with him thoughts and opinions that he might have found persuasive, but had the capacity to reject. A legal argument that renders otherwise protected speech unlawful because it actually persuades would blast a hole in First Amendment jurisprudence.
When a young man dies, especially under these circumstances, the desire to hold someone accountable is entirely understandable. But the law can’t and shouldn’t try to right every wrong. Michelle Carter should go free. That’s his argument.
Now — because, think about this in the perspective of what happened last week. You know, let’s just say the other way it happened. A crazy right-wing person who was influenced by all sorts of propaganda for —
GLENN: They would be using this —
STU: This case.
GLENN: This case to go after people — let’s say, instead of Rachel Maddow, he was listening to me. They would use this case to go after me.
STU: Uh-huh. They would have gone after you.
Your speech — if they had — if he had called in and you had talked to him and encouraged him to take action, and even though it wasn’t violent action, they would use that — they would take this —
GLENN: Let’s use this as true despicable speech. On the so-called right, Alex Jones and Ping-pong Pizza.
GLENN: Or the woman who went up and — what did she do, threaten the life of one of the Newton parents?
PAT: Yeah, from Florida.
GLENN: From Florida. Who said she was listening to Alex Jones and he inspired her to go up and take care of these lying Newton parents. Well, doesn’t he play some role?
In all honesty, yes. But don’t we have free choice? Yes. So what is the answer? We go there, next.
GLENN: Congressman Steve Scalise has had several surgeries and is doing better today. That is really good news. And tomorrow, I’m going to show you — I really believe Divine Providence kicked in last week. A week ago, Tuesday, was the shooting at the ballpark. Was it Tuesday, or was it Wednesday? It was Tuesday, wasn’t it? No, because Bill O’Reilly was on last Tuesday. So it was Wednesday, I think.
And we’re going to do a special episode. I’ve asked some fiction writers, some thriller writes, some politicians, some media experts, all of whom will remain nameless, “Tell me what you think could have happened if we were, this last weekend, burying 30 congressmen and senators, what would be happening in the world right now?”
It’s pretty bleak. And I’m only showing you this because I want to show you how close to the edge we really are. But I may not make it to that show to be able to tell you that. Why?
Breaking news this morning: We shot down a Syrian — not airliner — fighter jet. We shot it down. Russia has responded this morning with this news: We will shoot down any American plane — what is it?
PAT: West of the Euphrates.
GLENN: West of the Euphrates. They have also stopped the hotline between our military. There was a hotline between us because this is a very tight airspace. And it’s easy to make a mistake. And so we’ve had a hotline between our — our, you know, flight directors, if you will, “Hey, your plane is over here. Sorry, didn’t mean to. Please don’t shoot it down. Not hostile.”
STU: Yeah, conflict resolution, basically.
GLENN: Correct. A way for us to communicate with each other. Russia has just shut that down and said, “We will take that as a hostile act, anything west of the Euphrates.” Gang, I believe we are either at war or we are really, really close to war.
GLENN: And it is — it is not going to be like it was in, you know, Afghanistan, or is in Afghanistan. One of these wars that you can just, “Oh, well, we’re at war with another country,” and you don’t pay attention to. This changes the entire world.
We’ll get into that in a second. The reason why I’m bringing up this — this woman who encouraged her boyfriend, or this girl who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself, for months, is because you are not in your right mind.
When you are suicidal, I’m sorry, but all reason has broken down. And I know this, as a guy who has had two suicides in his family and has been suicidal himself. I was suicidal — I’ve never been suicidal since we’ve known each other, have I?
PAT: No, it was just before.
GLENN: It was just before. It was in the ’80s. And I had depression. My whole family is prone to clinical depression. And in the ’80s, before I knew about medication — they were still using things like Elavil, which is a really kind of nasty drug, to help you with — with depression — I’ve told you before, I’ve gone through it. If I wasn’t — I always say that cowardice saved my life. But I thank God that I’m a coward.
I couldn’t think about putting a gun to my head. I just couldn’t have done it. I looked at a pillar of a bridge abutment on 84 in Louisville, Kentucky. I passed it every single day. And every single day, both to and from work, I prayed, “Lord, give me the strength to plow my car into that.” He never did, thank God.
And when you actually go through it, all reason breaks down. You really do believe that if you were gone, everyone around you would be happy. That you are the source of all problems.
It’s like I would read my own press. And you are the source of all problems.
And that is true to you. And no amount of, “Get over it. Just be happy. Go see a happy movie. Let’s go out and have fun.” None of that makes a difference.
No reason will penetrate.
The second thing that you think is — and this is where it gets — this is where suicide becomes real. You just want the pain to stop. If you’ve ever — you know what, I hate to minimize it, but as somebody who has gone through it, I think I’m allowed to do it. It’s like the moment right before you vomit.
No, I’m sorry, like two minutes before you vomit, to where you’re like, “Oh, just let me vomit. I just want this to be over.” And then that moment, as you’re getting closer to it, you’re like, “No, no. No. Okay. Okay. Okay. I don’t want to vomit.” Okay?
There is — you just want it to stop. And nothing you’ve tried will make it stop. So, A, you’re not in your right mind. And what she did was incite. She went and personally incited that person.
That’s different. Because she’s — you can’t say something like that to somebody who is not in their right mind, because they will do it. And you’re inciting. And it’s literal incitement.
So what is the cure for this? Let me start here. Man’s love for man is cold. Men’s hearts are failing them.
Men’s hearts are — are cold to their fellow man. We don’t care as much about each other. We’re tired of hearing the arguments. We’re tired of hearing the whining. We’re tired of all of this stuff.
And so we’re just sick of it, and we want it to stop. Does that sound familiar? Because that sounds like the mind of a suicidal person, except we’re not suicidal. We just don’t mind if other people get out of our way, no matter what it takes. Just shut up.
That’s man’s love for man going cold. And our heart has failed us, because as David French said, “We have to have compassion.” And it’s wrong when compassion isn’t offered.
But we’re not working on compassion at all.
I wrote something yesterday. I got out of church, and I went home. And I wrote something that I want to share with you, that — that is really — known before the Greeks were around in philosophy.
But it just hit me clearly yesterday, that this is where we are.
In life, but especially in times of strife, you will not rise to the level of your expectations or desire.
So think of this. Think this through with me: In life, we all think we are — or expect that when things get tough, we’re going to stand up. We’re going to be the one. Oh, we’ll do that. Oh, I would have stopped slavery.
And we would — we all expect to rise to a certain level. But it is true that in life, especially in times of strife, you’re not going to rise to the level of your expectations or desire. Instead, you will fall to the level of your preparation.
You’re not suddenly going to become Hercules. You’re going to become the person that you’ve prepared yourself to be.
So what have you prepared for? What have you mentally done the homework on?
It goes back to my father and the most important thing I think my father — well, one of the most important things my father taught me. Should make a list of those.
One of the things he taught me was, “Glenn, you don’t want to be like me. I promise you, if you don’t replace everything that I have taught you about being a father, you’re going to be exactly like me.”
And that is true. I was very much like my father. A good dad, just not a dad that was very present, in any way.
Until I started to replace that image of what it means to be a good dad and actually replaced it with things that I could see, things that I could understand, things that I could follow in good times and bad — I prepared myself to be a better dad than I — than my father was. I had to prepare myself for it. I had to do the things to — to not say, “Oh, well, I’m just going to be better than that.” No, you’re not.
I’m just going to be better. No, you are not going to be better than your mom or your dad. You’re not, unless you’ve done the homework to be better. You’re not going to be the person that stands up and saves the world, unless you’ve prepared to be that person.
You’re not go back to the person that can rally everyone around the cause and lead them away from the cliff, unless you’ve prepared to be that person. Corrie ten — Corrie ten Boom. Paulina in Poland that saved all of those Jews, that I quote all the time. Glenn, you misunderstand. The righteous didn’t suddenly become righteous, they just refused to go over the cliff with everyone else.
Well, why is that? If you look at those who saved, those who were really, truly righteous, there was always something — Oskar Schindler, what was his motivation?
At first, it was to make money. He had prepared himself to be a great capitalist. And to be a great capitalist and prepare himself to succeed no matter what was going on, at first, Oskar Schindler just took advantage of the cheap labor. He didn’t rise to the expectations. He fell to where he was prepared.
He saw an opportunity, and he took it. Paulina. Corrie ten Boom. Their parents prepared them to be those kinds of people because they studied the Scriptures because they prayed all the time, because they used real examples. Because they actually went out and helped people. And their compassion for others was fostered. You just don’t have compassion for others in this society.
We’re swimming in a sea of filth. We’re swimming in a sea that shows no compassion. Our video games. It’s deadening the compassion because it’s not — they’re not real. Nothing is real to us anymore.
Where does food believe from, gang? Food comes from the supermarket. When you go and talk to kids — especially in the — in the cities, and you ask them, “Where does meat come from?” They will tell you, “From the store.”
Yes, but where does the store get it?
From the meat place?
What is meat?
They can’t tie it to a farm. They can’t tie it to an animal. We’re not preparing our children for anything.
You will fall to the level of your preparation. You will not rise to the level of your expectations.