September 11, 2009
It Ain’t All Bad

Amidst all the daily evidence that human evolution seems to run in reverse, it’s good to be reminded that sometimes it doesn’t:

LONDON, England (CNN) — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has issued a posthumous apology for the “appalling” treatment of Alan Turing, the British code-breaker who was chemically castrated for being gay…

Turing was just 41 years old when he committed suicide, two years after undergoing a court-ordered chemical castration. He had been found guilty of gross indecency for having a homosexual relationship. The punishment in 1952 was either a prison sentence or chemical castration. Turing chose the latter.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 11, 2009 11:46 AM
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But as far as I know, there are no statistics kept on career officers of enlisted men or new recruits turned out of the military and the number of suicides that occur because of those programs that end their careers, often long ones. Or the number of our valued Islamic language translators eliminated from duty during the Bush Administration because of their status as gay translators. The numbers of suicides in those groups could be much higher; one's job is often as important to his self being as a stint in jail although I can't say for chemical castration. I suppose the British would eventually have gotten the author of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence. And that would have been a terrible blow (unless he had later creating lasting peace in the middle east and no one knows if he could have accomplished that because of his early demise in a motorcycle accident), but not as great a blow as the death of a codebreaker who helped crack the codes used by the fascist countries in WWII.

A suicide is suicide and the death of a valued human spirit who is here because of a great mystery that we don't and can't understand as humans. It doesn't matter what kind of torture precipitates suicide. The man is still dead and gone forever. So I can't completely agree.

Posted by: Buck on September 13, 2009 4:38 AM

Yeah, Buck, but gays like Turing are security risks. Oh, wait...

Posted by: Fast Eddie on September 13, 2009 5:07 PM
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