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Better Dying Through Technology

CAD Hammer Adjustment Death by Lightning
US Firearms OTC methods Shotgun methodology
Sources for materials Hanging tips Death by eating
Delayed Posting Browser Cleanup Efficient means

Computer-Aided Decline (CAD)
Some people, either wishing to separate themselves from directly triggering death, or else wanting to do -everything- by computer, want to have a computer somehow involved in their demise.  In fact, CAD was the means chosen in Australia for triggering the suicide machine which was temporarily legalized (a program running under Microsoft Access asked if the person was sure he wanted to die and, if yes was clicked, activated a servo to release drugs down an IV).  The simplest way for a person without access to millions of research dollars to arrange for a computer signal to be translated into mechanical action is to pick up a cheap dot-matrix printer somewhere.   Remove the case from around the working parts and you have a mechanical triggering device which is simply operated by hitting a print instruction on your computer.

Hammer Adjustment
Another tricky problem is providing just the right amount of force on the trigger of a firearm.  Some may worry that the trigger is too much of a hair-trigger to be really sure they want to fire, at the last; others find that the trigger requires too much force for them to pull.  In either case, the hammer can be adjusted on many firearms to require either greater or lesser force to pull it.

Shotgun methodology
The question of aim with a shotgun constantly arises. There are many recorded instances of suicides failing where the shotgun is placed under the chin; conversely, the author has heard of no instances where a shotgun barrel placed fully in the mouth and slightly elevated, with the stock properly braced, has resulted in the continued life of the would-be deceased.  The infamous "Judas Priest" suicides, where Raymond Belknap died but James Vance survived, involved firing the shotgun under the chin - *not* in the mouth.  Mr. Belknap was evidence that under the chin -can- kill you; Mr. Vance was evidence that under the chin can -fail-.  (Eventually, Mr. Vance collected enough painkillers to successfully suicide about three years after blowing his face off.)

An anecdotal report was posted from a former operating room worker who claimed to have assisted in the treatment of cases where she saw "shot off faces.. because the gun was in the mouth".  Upon a request to provide details or citations, however, all the poster could do was claim insult and complain about people being mean, rather than provide any useful details or reports to substantiate her claim.

Another anecdotal report was posted to the effect that someone who placed the muzzle of a shotgun in the mouth, but -did not brace the stock-, had the misfortune to have the shotgun slip - possibly due to expansion of gases - resulting in the aim being transferred from the back of the head to up the face.  No details were provided in the post as to the name or location of the person who this happened to, making further research difficult.

Some people suggest the heart as placement for a shot for instant death; the problem here is exact location of the heart and not slipping one's aim. A post (previously linked here, but took older posts offline) to alc.suicide detailed one such attempt; while ultimately successful, it certainly was not instant:

He shot himself in the heart w/a 12 gauge shot gun, but it wasn't over instantly nor painlessly. He left a blood stain that covered half of his bed then he managed to get up and walked to his kitchen & left his bloody hand print on a chair & then walked back to his bedroom & side down his dresser to the floor where my other brother found him 2 days later.

One anonymous poster has offered the following advice:

You want to puree the brainstem.  The shotgun can throw a lot more destruction at the target than a 9mm. Buckshot will do, but consider a turkey load:

How to Die by Lightning

-adapted from Preventing Deaths and Injuries from Lightning Strikes, by the US CDC

According to the US' National Weather Service, personal music devices like a Walkman "can act just like a portable lightning rod. They are very dangerous to wear in a thunderstorm."

For the convenience of those in the US, the Weather Channel has thoughtfully provided a continuously updated map of lightning strikes on the web.

Sources for materials
Many items which are 'restricted' to certain purchasers through more obvious methods such as pharmacies, are quite readily available through industrial sources. To totally restrict these items would, in the course of things, mean the total shutdown of modern industrial civilization.

Remember, of course, when obtaining items from such sources, that you need a decent story as to what you're doing with it.

"Easy" OTC methods of dying
Another common question about suicide methods goes approximately like this:

is there any way to relatively painlessly, quickly, and/or reliably kill one's self using over-the-counter drugs?

In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration is charged with ensuring the safety and effectiveness of drugs available to the populace at large (similar agencies exist in most countries). By safety, it is meant that the drugs should not wind up killing people easily. The greater the 'danger', the more restriction. Thus, any drugs sold in an unrestricted manner, such as over-the-counter drugs, are those deemed to be very safe; that is, they are drugs that will not likely kill you painlessly or quickly. Unless you are unusually susceptible to an OTC drug - or allergic to one - the closest you are likely to come is acetaminophen (aka Tylenol, Paracetamol), which is neither painless nor quick; death is, from all reports the author has seen, certain to occur if intervention does not happen within 120 hours; however, it usually takes at least two weeks of agonizing pain to die, and has been known - with aggressive intervention on one person who changed her mind a bit too late - to take two months of agonizing pain to die.

US Firearms Regulations and other information
Firearms regulations in the United States of America vary from state to state.  In most cases, if you have a psychiatric or criminal record you cannot obtain a firearm legally.  Some states allow people with a psychiatric record to obtain a firearm if they have a written statement from a psychologist or psychiatrist that they do not pose a danger to themselves or others.  A comprehensive look at US firearms regulations is available on the National Rifle Association's website.

The Medical School of Wisconsin is in the process of compiling safety information about different types of firearms.  You can read about the ones they have information on so far at their website

Some technical details on hanging
The US Department of the Army, in Army Regulations No. 633-15 (Procedure for Military Executions) published 7 April 1959, provides some good graphical tips on hanging procedures.  The drop table, from which the figures in the a.s.h methods file were copied, is provided here in its original format, as are diagrams for two ways to make a portable gallows, and the proper method for tying a noose.  Another source page for how to tie nooses is Roper's Knot Pages.

A good technical discussion of the various ways people actually die by when killed by hanging is available at

Death by eating
The US Food and Drug Administration has kindly provided the world with a list of foods that may be poisonous or even fatal at

Delayed Posting
Some people want to inform the world of their demise without giving the world an opportunity to prevent that demise.  Here is a guide to doing a delayed posting from a Linux shell account (it should be mostly valid for any UNIX-type shell account).

Browser Cleanup
If you want people not to be able to check which websites you've been looking at when you don't have any more use for your computer, there is a shareware program called Window Washer which will erase your browsing tracks. Don't download and install it until you're ready to use it, it expires after 30 days.

Efficient Means
By 'efficient means' is meant a method where there is virtual certainty of death within five minutes or less of initiating the procedure.  This, of course, leaves out drug methods.  Governments being generally opposed to people dying whenever they want to, these methods can be difficult to secure materials for as well.

Also, efficient means are concerned primarily with the goal-at-hand: dying.  Other conditions, such as ultimate corpse condition, are secondary to that.

The simplest, most efficient, but difficult-to-obtain method is high explosives; a stick of dynamite or the equivalent in blasting power.  This is by far the best method for certain death; there is no worry about which part of the brain gets destroyed, or varying body chemistry, when one's entire brain is obliterated.  A good source for DIY information is the newsgroup alt.engr.explosives.

The second most efficient method is via shotgun.  Efficiency in this method is dependent upon some practice with an unloaded shotgun first, to ensure that proper aim (through the mouth, slightly elevated, and with the stock braced against slippage) is achieved.  Here, of course, there is concern about hitting the brainstem, which is why a shotgun is preferable to a handgun; but, if one is familiar with the location of the brainstem relative to the back of the mouth, and does not rush preparations, the chances for efficient completion approach certainty.

In some countries, it is difficult to legally obtain a shotgun; in other countries, a mental health record often precludes obtaining one legally.  Thus, it's always a good idea to have a shotgun around, even if one is not planning to use it, before any attempt which may result in a mental health record.

The third efficient method is inhalation of cyanide fumes.  Unfortunately, as jewelry companies move away from cyanide solutions for electroplating, cyanide is becoming more difficult to obtain.

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Last update: Saturday, July 21, 2001 19:29

The mention of United States Government agencies in this document is to provide proper credit only and in no way should be taken as endorsement of this page, site, or suicide in general in any way, shape, or form by the Government of the United States of America.  Just in case anyone could possibly think that of a government that denies an eyeglass exam to a suicidal person trying to get training to get off disability because proper vision is "not vital to working as a computer programmer" (U.S. Social Security Administration).

intro faqs poetry misc


"Because we have a free market in food, we can buy all the bacon, eggs and ice cream we can afford.  If we had a free market in drugs, we could similarly buy all the barbiturates, chloral hydrate and morphine we wanted and could afford.  We would then be free to die - easily, comfortably, and surely - without any need for recourse to death doctors or violent means of suicide."
-Dr. Thomas Szasz

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