Interview: Joel Gutman, father who chose to have his son’s suicide be filmed

“I just felt such shock to be honest with you,” said Gutman in an interview with the Weekend Canadian “I have gone to presentations and watched some horror movies with my little one and,…

Interview: Joel Gutman, father who chose to have his son's suicide be filmed

“I just felt such shock to be honest with you,” said Gutman in an interview with the Weekend Canadian

“I have gone to presentations and watched some horror movies with my little one and, it’s hard to talk about it with her – she was on the couch and so were her friends – but she didn’t seem to have any reaction. She didn’t have a fear of it, it wasn’t scary to her.”

The prevailing response in Gutman’s address was one of horror, shock and, because the audience was so young, concern. “I didn’t know if I was safe, because I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself. I kept waiting for that ringing of my phone to ring and it didn’t. I’ve heard it before – I think that was really haunting in itself.”

“It really had a huge effect on them.”

Gutman had long felt that his son was capable of self-harm and wondered if the wrong type of poison in his system would be enough to produce that extreme result. In the end, it was not – but only in an incidental way. “Everything he was taking in was getting to him,” said Gutman.

“His skin colour was dark,” said a local first-responder, “but it really didn’t sound like acid. He thought that he was going to be able to identify something that would harm a person, and he was absolutely not going to be able to identify what that was. I think he was getting so agitated. I thought, it sounds like acid, it sounds so familiar.”

Later, Gutman pointed out that it might have been in the performance of the psychotic act that his son would have attracted attention, and that his obliviousness was related to the shock he felt from being in such a situation. “People have been surprised that he was in the situation he was in,” he said. “I’m not quite sure what they’re expecting.”

“In his observation, it wasn’t an active intentional form of self-harm – it wasn’t something that he was following – but that he was in a way trying to meet the fear. He didn’t have any idea what it was, but it felt so good to him. It was something he was going to inflict on himself.”

“Kids are thinking that if they were to do this…,” said Gutman, “they’ll get the job done. That’s the weird thing about this. Everyone knows that they’re thinking, that it is possible to be fixed. It was this immediate thing of, ‘If I were to do this, I would get out of this’. This was this destructive self-destructive mindset. I don’t know if he was strong enough to do it. He didn’t want to be able to – “

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