Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

India: Army Major booked in Delhi after domestic help accuses him of rape; survivor’s husband ‘commits suicide’

September 30, 2018

An Indian Army Major has been booked by the Delhi Police after his domestic help accused him of raping her. An FIR has been registered at Delhi Cantonment Police Station, ANI reported.

The woman has also accused the army personnel of threatening her husband, who recently committed suicide, The Indian Express said. The report quoted police sources as saying that the woman was allegedly raped on 12 July while her husband was away.

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She alleged that when her husband returned home and saw what was happening, the accused attacked the couple and threatened them. She also alleged that the accused raped her on many occasions, following which she went to her in-laws’ home, but her husband stayed back.

Later that month, she got a call from the army Major saying her husband had hanged himself, following which she approached the police, the report said.

The report also claims that the police officials did not acknowledge her complaints, following which she approached a court in Delhi.

As per a report from Times Nowa case under sections 376 (rape), 354 (molestation), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (threatening) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the Major upon the court’s direction.

The police claim that the accused was summoned and asked to join the investigation. No arrest has been made so far, Times Now reported.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/army-major-booked-in-delhi-after-domestic-help-accuses-him-of-rape-survivors-husband-had-committed-suicide-earlier-5288611.html

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Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, September 30, 2018 — “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.”

September 29, 2018

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What happens when your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded …. because you belong to Christ …

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Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 137

Reading 1 NM 11:25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
“Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, ”
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said,
“Moses, my lord, stop them.”
But Moses answered him,
“Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Responsorial Psalm  PS 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14

R. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Reading 2 JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

AlleluiaCF. JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.

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And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”
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Reflection from the Abbot, The Monastery of Christ in The Desert
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My sisters and brothers in Christ,

”Are you jealous for my sake?”  We can almost hear Moses saying this to his followers in the Book of Numbers.  He is frustrated because his followers are clearly thinking about themselves and their positions and not about the Word of God which anyone can receive and proclaim.  The Gospel of Mark echoes this advice:  “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”  And we who follow Jesus as Lord must also become aware that God acts all around us and in His own way—and we are still called to be faithful.

The Book of Numbers shows the followers of Moses, in reality the followers of God, becoming irritated because others who were not chosen as Prophets began to prophesy.  Moses immediately realizes that it is from God but his followers are not so quick to catch on.  Just as in our Church we often have ways of thinking that exclude God from acting in certain ways—and we must always struggle against that.  Jesus comes to save the whole world.  So the question is often asked:  “Well, then, why have a Church?”

The second reading today is from the Letter of James.  The teaching is that we are invited to follow God in all things and not strive to amass wealth or fame or other things in this life.  Nothing will count in the end except faithfulness to the Lord God.  Yet in so many ways we all try to find a way to justify ourselves.  We always want something better.  We always want to look good in comparison with others.  We always want to be able to have enough and more than enough.  None of that will bring us into the presence of God.  The Prophets and all of Scripture keep telling us:  take up your cross and follow me!  Moses would respond to this reading again:  How I wish that all would follow the Lord!  How I wish that all were prophets!

The Gospel of Mark today gives us two clear teachings.  The first is the same at the Book of Numbers:  Never try to stop the works of God that happen around you because they don’t fit the way you think that they should happen!

The second teaching is clear:  whatever we do to help others is from God and whatever we do to cause others to sin will be brought before us at the time of judgment.

Today many no longer think of the final judgment and many prefer to think that there is no hell.  Yet the teachings of our Church and of Jesus Himself speak of judgment and of hell.  They are not the focus of the teachings of Jesus.  Rather they form a backdrop.  Jesus really calls us to want all people to follow Him and for all people to seek good and to struggle against sin and evil.  This struggle takes place, however, in our freedom.  And in our freedom we can choose against God.

So this Sunday let us pray that all might be prophets, that all might struggle against sin and against harming anyone.  Let us give thanks for all who do good and pray that we also may do good.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

https://christdesert.org/2018/09/26th-sunday-ordinary-time-cycle-b-2018/

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Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento — We’re praying for you!!!

Kate Spade’s husband says she battled demons but death was complete shock

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INXS Singer Michael Hutchence Surrounded By Drugs and Trouble Before His Suicide — May Have Had a Brain Injury

September 26, 2018

MICHAEL Hutchence’s death in 1997 sent shockwaves around the world. But his sister had seen a change in him after an event a few years earlier.

news.com.au — SEPTEMBER 26, 20183:13PM

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MICHAEL Hutchence’s sister has opened up about the moment that triggered the late rock legend’s tragic downward spiral, which ultimately resulted in his death in a Sydney hotel room 21 years ago.

Tina Hutchence, 70, spoke with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project about the media storm that surrounded the INXS singer’s tumultuous relationship with British TV host Paula Yates — mother of his child, Tiger Lily — who died just three years after him.

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Hutchence and Yates with their baby daughter. Source:News Corp Australia

Yates was in a long-term relationship with Boomtown Rats frontman Sir Bob Geldof when she met Hutchence, and when her affair with him became known, the public quickly sided with her “saint”-like estranged husband.

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Yates and Hutchence were vilified over their affair following her split with Geldof (right).Source:AP

“[It was] combustible — they [Paula and Michael] could never be right,” Ms Hutchence admitted, adding that her brother’s portrayal in the tabloids as the villain who broke up a high-profile marriage weighed heavily on him in the years leading up to his suicide.

“That was shocking. That was when he really started to fall apart.”

At the time of his death, Ms Hutchence claimed he was still suffering the effects of a physical clash he’d had with a taxi driver a few years earlier, during which he’d been pushed to the ground and left with a fractured skull. But his sister believes it had more lasting damage, and potentially caused a brain injury.

“Could you see he was spiralling down?” Wilkinson asked.

“Michael always walked very tall, stood up straight, he’d look you straight in the eye,” she said.

“He was slumped [when I saw him], and I said, ‘Something’s wrong,’ and he said, ‘Oh, it’s kind of tough lately. It’s just hard, life is hard.’”

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Michael, Tina and Rhett Hutchence. Picture: Supplied/Tina HutchenceSource:Supplied

During the interview, Ms Hutchence also claimed that her brother’s partner had “absolutely” been “doing drugs” while breastfeeding their newborn daughter, Tiger Lily, which contributed to turning the baby into “a docile little infant who slept all day”.

“She was being breastfed, and I think she was getting whatever Paula was taking … and I don’t know what Paula was doing,” she said.

Ms Hutchence last spoke to Michael five days before he was found dead at the age of 37 inside a room at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney, and revealed that their brother Rhett had called with the shocking news.

“As I was speaking to Rhett, I turned around to CNN, and it was showing shots of the police walking around the hotel outside of his room, and it read ‘Michael Hutchence dead at 37’. It was surreal — at that moment in time, he just knew he wanted the hurt to stop.”

If you are experiencing mental health issues or suicidal feelings contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue 1300 224 636. If it is an emergency please call triple-0.

https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/thats-when-he-started-to-fall-apart-michael-hutchences-sister-opens-up-on-his-final-years/news-story/e423331f2352c2b7d762da1db1d8c163

George Michael: Tragic Story of Aging, Addiction Often Repeated Among Show Business “Stars” — And Help Is All Around

September 25, 2018

POP legend George Michael “tried to stab himself 25 times” in rehab, according to lover Fadi Fawaz.

Fadi Fawaz posts throwback video of the late George Michael

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George Michael early in his career

The hairdresser also claimed the Faith singer made four failed suicide attempts leading up to his death, including in 2013 when he leapt from his car on the M1.Fadi says the tragic singer was hooked on party drug GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy and the date rape drug, often mixing the depressant into glasses of Coca-Cola before having sex.Fast Love singer George died on Christmas Day 2016 from natural causes.But Fadi, who was with George for six years, described how he was at first convinced the pop star had killed himself when he discovered his body in bed that morning.
George Michael with Fadi FawazSHUTTERSTOCKLOVERS: George Michael with Fadi Fawaz back in 2012

“He has tried to kill himself four times, whilst in rehab he tried to stab himself 25 times”

Fadi Fawaz

Fadi said in a rambling statement posted to his Instagram account: “I thought that’s it, he f nally did it and I finally saw him dead in his bed.

“I always begged him not to do this but he was so depressed.

“All he wanted to do is die.

“He has tried to kill himself four times, whilst in rehab he tried to stab himself 25 times.”

He added: “He never told me how he did it when he was taken for three days to Marlybone. I would say aren’t you glad May 16th didn’t happen, referring to one suicide attempt and he would say ‘no’.

George MichaelSWNSFlowers and tributes left outside George Michael’s Highgate home
“He wanted to die so badly and it was powerful to hear him say it. I think life stopped for him a long time ago.“Everyone wanted him for who and what he is. ‘Everyone wants me alive’ is what he would say.”Fadi also went into great detail about their early days in 2009 and how they began sleeping together when George still had a “live in partner”.His drug abuse was already evident, as the singer refused to have sex until he had taken GHB, said Fadi.And he says his lover started using drugs more heavily after a hospital visit for pneumonia in 2011. He added: “Whilst George was still skinny from his illness I saw him with cocaine in aluminium foil. He told me what it was.

“Nobody knew about this. George also had something brown, I don’t know what crack looks like. “George told me that he didn’t want to use and he wasn’t happy he was taking it.

“He wanted to clean his life but he didn’t know how.

“He was never the same again after pneumonia and as a result, we were never the same.”

But fans of the singer dismissed Fadi’s claims last night, calling him “disgusting”.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/showbiz/731968/george-michael-death-suicide-attempts-fadi-fawaz

In the U.S., go to any Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting or “Google” and phone either. Help really is all around and you can easily meet people who have recovered from the very worst kinds of addiction, pain and suffering.

Related:

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George Michael ‘was discovered passed out in bath full of water after overdosing on GHB,’ claims pal

Whitney Houston

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Gunman kills five people in California, then himself: police

September 13, 2018

A man went on a shooting rampage California on Wednesday, killing five people including his wife, before taking his own life, a police spokesman told AFP.

“We have six deceased, one is the suspect and five are victims,” said Lieutenant Mark King of the Kern County sheriff’s office after the shooting in the city of Bakersfield. “We believe it’s possibly a domestic violence incident.”

Police received their first call at 5:19 pm before responding to the first location, a trucking company.

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world’s firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

“When the deputies responded they located three victims of the shooting and the suspect had fled,” said King, adding that the man is believed to have shot two more victims at another location.

“At 5:54 pm the vehicle was located at a local business. The suspect noticed the deputy pulled into the business, and then shot himself,” said King.

“Our detectives have five separate scenes. We are interviewing over 30 witnesses,” continued King, adding that the man had used a large caliber handgun.

It was the latest chapter of America’s epidemic of gun violence.

Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world’s firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States — more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.

U.K. Democracy ‘Facing a Crisis’ From U.S. Social Media Giants

July 29, 2018
  • British lawmakers publish interim study on impact of fake news
  •  Panel recommends forcing tech companies to fund data regulator
  • Lawmakers complain about “systematic manipulation of data”

The U.K.’s political system cannot cope with the threats from fake news, according to a panel of British lawmakers investigating the impact of social media on recent elections.

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U.K. authorities have been looking for signs of Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum after reports that Kremlin-backed groups used social media to influence elections and sow discord in the U.S. and other countries.

Led by Damian Collins, chairman of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the investigation has involved countless hearings with representatives from both sides of the Brexit referendum and major tech companies including Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube.

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“We are facing nothing less than a crisis in our democracy,” Collins said in a statement. He cited “the systematic manipulation of data to support the relentless targeting of citizens, without their consent, by campaigns of disinformation and messages of hate.”

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The group set out the following recommendations in its interim report published Sunday:

  • Tech companies should be forced to pay a levy to help fund the U.K. data regulator
  • The government should make sure personal data of U.K. citizens cannot be processed in the U.S. by social media companies
  • The election regulator’s current maximum fine limit of 20,000 pounds ($26,000) should be increased and based on a fixed percentage of revenue
  • Tech companies should be given their own regulations, where they are neither a platform nor a publisher
  • Tech companies should do more to reveal those who abuse people online while hiding behind anonymous accounts
  • U.K. regulators should be given the power to audit the technology of social media companies
  • The National Crime Agency should investigate Emerdata Ltd., the new company founded by group of former Cambridge Analytica employees

Understanding the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Story: QuickTake

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This is only an interim report, and the panel will publish its full findings in the fall. While the committee has no legislative power, it has been particularly vocal in its attempts to hold tech companies to account.

One particular battle concerned those who refused to turn up. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly spurned requests from an increasingly irate Collins to give evidence, instead sending a string of lieutenants. Once again, the committee called for Zuckerberg to appear in front of the panel.

Although the committee lacks legal power, it has contributed to the many voices calling for social media companies to do more to change their platforms. Recent financial results from companies such as Facebook and Twitter suggest political scrutiny may be beginning to affect the companies’ profits

Twitter said on Friday that monthly users dropped by 1 million in the second quarter, and predicted that number will decline further as the company continues to fight against spam, fake accounts and trolls. Shares in Facebook also plunged following its first major financial stumble in three years, after a quarter in which data-privacy issues came under harsh scrutiny.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-28/u-k-democracy-facing-a-crisis-from-u-s-social-media-giants

Related:

How Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/11/facebook-google-public-health-democracy

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Activist group Femen co-founder commits suicide in Paris, reports say

July 24, 2018

One of the co-founders of Femen, a Ukrainian feminist and political activist group known for its topless demonstrations, reportedly committed suicide in her Paris apartment on Monday, media reports said.

Fellow Femen activist Inna Shevchenko confirmed the death of Oksana Shachko after social media reports emerged.

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Shachko reportedly left a handwritten note saying “You are all fake” before taking her life. Media reports also alleged that she previously tried twice to commit suicide over the past two years.

Founded in 2008, Femen became globally known after organizing topless protests on various issues such as sex tourism, homophobia and religious institutions.

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Femen surprises Merkel and Putin

Although it was founded in Ukraine, the activist group is currently based in Paris.

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Femen members demonstrate against National Front leader Marine Le Pen. AFP photo

Facebook: Court to rule on grieving parents’ right to digital data

July 12, 2018

Facebook refused to grant parents access to their daughter’s data after her suspected suicide in 2012. Germany’s highest court will now rule on whether the right to inherit wins out against the right to data privacy.

    
Facebook logo reflected in the screen of a smartphone (picture-alliance/PA Wire/D. Lipinski)

Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) was expected on Thursday to make a landmark ruling on whether relatives of people who have died have a right to access their digital data.

The case involves parents of a 15-year-old girl who asked Facebook to give them access to her data and messages after she was killed by an underground train in 2012.

Read more: What happens to your Facebook account after you die?

The social media giant denied the request despite the parents’ saying they wanted the information to decipher whether their daughter had died in an accident or committed suicide and, based on that, whether the train driver was entitled to compensation.

Contradictory lower-level rulings

A lower-level court ruled in favor of the parents in 2015, supporting their claim that Facebook data is legally equivalent to private correspondence covered by Germany’s inheritance law. Parents also had a right to know about their child’s communication if they were minors, according to the court.

But an appeals court overturned the decision in 2017, ruling in favor of Facebook’s claim that the German constitution, or Basic Law, entitles a person a right to data privacy even after their death.

Facebook only allows relatives of a deceased user to either convert their page into a “memorial” site or delete the page entirely.

The legal questions surrounding a person’s “digital legacy” have previously arisen in the United States, where Apple refused a law enforcement request to unlock an iPhone of a mass shooter in San Bernardino, California.

amp/rc (AFP)

https://www.dw.com/en/facebook-court-to-rule-on-grieving-parents-right-to-digital-data/a-44642230

Calls for calm after French police killing sparks riots

July 4, 2018

The French government called for calm Wednesday after the killing of a 22-year-old man by police sparked riots in the western city of Nantes, highlighting the simmering tensions between youths and security forces in deprived urban areas.

Rioters set fire to cars and a medical centre in the city on Tuesday night after news spread that an officer had shot dead the 22-year-old, named by local newspaper Ouest France as Bubakar, after stopping his car over an infraction.

© AFP | Cars were burned and a shopping centre partly set alight in the Breil neighbourhood of France’s Nantes as police confronted young people, some armed with molotov cocktails

Youths clashed with police in the northwestern neighbourhood of Breil where the killing took place, lobbing molotov cocktails, before the unrest spread to two other poorer districts with a history of gang violence.

Burned-out cars littered the streets on Wednesday morning.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb condemned the violence, adding that “all the necessary resources are being mobilised” to “calm the situation and prevent any further incidents”.

Local police chief Jean-Christophe Bertrand said the youth had hit a policeman with his car, lightly injuring him, after a squad stopped the vehicle at around 8.30 pm for an alleged infraction and tried to take him to the police station for identification.

“One of his colleagues then fired, hitting the young man who unfortunately died,” Bertrand told reporters.

He was hit in the carotid artery and declared dead on arrival at hospital, police sources said.

Judicial police and a national watchdog which investigates claims of police wrongdoing are investigating to clarify “the facts and determine in what circumstances the policeman used his weapon,” said Pierre Sennes, public prosecutor for Nantes.

He said on Wednesday that the young man had been wanted by police in Creteil, near Paris, for robbery and other offences.

– ‘I saw everything burning’ –

French police have a long history of strained relations with youths in poor, immigrant-heavy suburbs — not least since the death of two teenagers, electrocuted while hiding from officers, sparked nationwide riots in 2005.

The assault of a young black man by police — which led to officers being charged, including for rape after a truncheon was shoved up the youth’s anus — sparked fresh unrest last year.

In January, the government vowed a crackdown on urban violence after shocking video footage emerged of a policewoman being beaten by a crowd of youths in the Paris suburbs on New Year’s Eve.

Breil, the Nantes neighbourhood where the young man was shot dead Tuesday, is a socially mixed district home to a large housing estate with a history of gang violence.

Police had boosted their presence in the area after a series of violent incidents on June 28.

Malakoff and Dervallieres, the other neighbourhoods hit by riots on Tuesday, have been plagued by drugs and poverty for years.

They fall into a category of problem neighbourhoods which are set to receive extra police help from next September under reforms by President Emmanuel Macron.

Steven, 24, who lives in Breil, told an AFP journalist that he had “heard explosions” and headed to investigate.

“I saw everything burning. There were fires in the bins, the cars. They were breaking everything. It lasted ages,” he said.

Neighbourhood residents were in shock on Wednesday morning at the young man’s death.

“That guy, he always had a smile on his face,” a young man who gave his name as Chris told Ouest France.

“He was a sweet guy. We have lost a friend, a brother.”

He added: “I knew him well. He was from Paris but he’d lived here for a while, he had family here. For us, he was a kid from the neighbourhood.”

Nationally, French police have complained of coming under increasing strain in recent years, with a parliamentary report released Tuesday detailing high suicide rates within the force.

AFP

Related:

God’s Role in Addiction Recovery: The Greatest Gift of All

June 28, 2018

Bill W.’s “A.A. Grapevine” article “The Greatest Gift of All”

A.A. cofounder Bill W. began his December 1957 article in the “A.A. Grapevine” titled “The Greatest Gift of All” by stating:

“The greatest gift that can come to anybody is a spiritual awakening.”

Bill continued:

“So, then, what is this ‘spiritual awakening,’ this ‘transforming experience?'”

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Bill Wilson

Bill went on:

“To begin with, a spiritual awakening is our means of finding sobriety. . . . We know that a spiritual experience is the key to survival from alcoholism and that for most of us it is the only key.”

Notice Bill’s shifting between “spiritual awakening,” “transforming experience,” and “spiritual experience?” More on that in a moment.

Then Bill spoke in his article about “a certain newcomer” who had approached Bill “[s]oon after he entered A.A.”

And Bill continued:

“Four years later, I ran across the same ‘newcomer.'”

Bill then related that that newcomer, “Joe,” had told him:

“‘The other day an old-time AA gave me an example which I’ll never forget. Jack is a real old-timer. In fact, he started AA in my town.’

And Bill recounted that Joe–speaking about Jack the old-timer on his death bed–stated:

“‘Whiskey had brought him [Jack the old-timer] great pain but, as a result, AA had given him great joy. With his “awakening” in AA had come the utter conviction, indeed the sure knowledge, that “in my Father’s house there are many mansions.” . . . He never did get to the A.A. convention. But Jack knew, and we know, that this didn’t really matter, for Jack was in full possession of ‘the greatest gift of all.”‘”

[Bill W., “The Greatest Gift of All” in the December 1957 of the “A.A. Grapevine”; reprinted in “The Language of the Heart: Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings” (New York: The AA Grapevine, Inc., 1988), 233-36].

Recognize the allusion to Jesus’s declaration in John 14:1-3 (KJV):

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

And there is more.

As many know, on the 2014 anniversary of the April 10, 1939, copyright date of the Big Book, A.A. issued a “75th Anniversary Commemorative Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.” The AAdotOrg website stated about that volume: “This Conference-approved special edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous” is a reproduction of the first printing of the first edition of the Big Book as it was published in 1939.”

And here are two interesting, important, and related facts that may be gleaned from a careful study of the first printing of the first edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous”:

1. For those who have heard/been taught that “the Big Book has never changed,” Step 12 read in the first printing of the first edition of the Big Book:

“Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, . . .”

Note the phrase “spiritual experience?” That phrase was changed to “spiritual awakening” in the second printing of the first edition.

2. The phrase “spiritual awakening” occurred exactly zero (0) times in the first printing of the first edition of the Big Book. Zero.

And there is still more.

About December 14, 1934, while in a hospital room at Towns Hospital where he was staying for treatment of his alcoholism, Bill W. stated that he had cried out: “‘If there be a God, let Him show Himself!'” And Bill stated: “‘Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably while light. . . . I became acutely conscious of a Presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit. . . .” [‘PASS IT ON,’ (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), 121].

And about that experience, Bill also stated:

“. . . the great thought burst upon me: ‘Bill, you are a free man! This is the God of the Scriptures.'” [“The Language of the Heart: Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings (New York: The AA Grapevine, Inc., 1988), 284].

Right after that experience, while Bill was still at Towns Hospital, Bill’s school friend from Burr and Burton Seminary, Ebby T.: “. . . brought Bill a book that offered further clarification. It was William James’s ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience.’ . . .

“Bill said he started reading the moment Ebby left. . . . James . . . had made a detailed analysis of a wide number of religious or conversion experiences.” . . .

“He [Bill W.] would later say that James . . . had been a founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.” [‘PASS IT ON,’ 124].

Notice the phrase “religious experience” in the title of A.A. “founder” William James’s book? And notice the statement that “James had made a detailed analysis of . . . religious . . . experiences”?

Then we come to Rev. Sam Shoemaker, a man whom Bill W. credited as the source of “the spiritual substance” of ten of A.A.’s 12 Steps [“The Language of the Heart,” 298]; who often quoted Professor William James’s book, “The Varieties of Religious Experience;” and whom Bill referred to as a “co-founder” of Alcoholics Anonymous. [See Dick B., “New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.” rev. ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1999), 6]. Shoemaker often made statements such as the following, found in his first book, “Realizing Religion”:

“Our heavenly Father knows where we are really different. What you want is simply a vital religious experience. You need to find God. You need Jesus Christ.” [S. M. Shoemaker, Jr., “Realizing Religion (New York, NY: The International Committee of Young Men’s Christian Associations, 1921), 9]

Note again the reference to a vital “religious experience.”

So was there a term that came before “personality change,” “spiritual awakening,” and even “spiritual experience?” Here is some food for thought for the discerning reader:

“And the GREAT FACT is just this and no less: that all of us have had deep and effective religious experiences. . . .” [“Chapter #1: THERE IS A SOLUTION,” 10–(early draft of what was later renumbered as chapter two in the first and following editions of Alcoholics Anonymous). For online “copies” of an early version of this chapter—with no guarantees made as to accuracy of reproduction—see: http://www.alcoholicsinaction.org/forum/viewtopic.php…; accessed 8/28/12.]

Bill W. stated in his “autobiography” that when he had “walked into Towns Hospital” on December 11, 1934–about three days after he had been to Calvary Mission and had responded to the altar call there–he had “shouted” to Dr. Silkworth who had met him in the hall:

“‘At last, Doc, I’ve found something!” [Bill W., “My First 40 Years” (Center City, Minn.: Hazelden, 2000), 140].

And looking back on his trip to Calvary Mission about December 8, 1934, and his “consciousness of the presence of God” in his hospital room at Towns a few days later, Bill W. stated in his “autobiography”:

“For sure I’d been born again.” [Bill W., “My First 40 Years,” 147].

As the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book ‘PASS IT ON’ says of this time in A.A. cofounder Bill W.’s life:

“He [Bill W.] always said after that experience, he never again doubted the existence of God. He never took another drink.” [‘PASS IT ON,’ 121]

[For more information about the phrase “(vital) religious experience” as it was used in earliest A.A., see: “Appendix Three: The Expression ‘Religious Experience’ and the ‘Solution’ to Alcoholism” in Dick B. and Ken B., “Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed!” (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2012), 75-84]

So what is “the greatest gift of all?” Consider these words (“selah”):

John 3:16 (KJV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

And note that Bill W.’s article appeared in a December issue of the “A.A. Grapevine.”

“Gloria Deo”

In GOD’s love, Dick B.’s son Ken

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Each human being has a spark of God within him. Curing addiction can awaken this spark and create a spiritual experience — and a better person!