Sunday, June 1, 2008

Does This Cat Have Nine Lives?

I wonder how many other presidential candidates have attempted suicide? Is it something that matters?

From What's in John McCain's medical records? by Mark Benjamin:

The most famous of McCain's physical ordeals began when a SAM missile knocked his A-4E Skyhawk out of the sky above Hanoi on Oct. 26, 1967.

By then, McCain had already survived three other harrowing incidents involving airplanes (not counting the time he snapped some power lines in Spain by flying too low). Soon after graduating from the Naval Academy in 1958, McCain's plane dove into the water near Texas. Knocked unconscious, he woke up as the aircraft settled on the bottom and he swam to the surface. McCain ejected from another plane near the Maryland coast in December 1965 when the engine died. McCain was also lucky to escape with his life on July 29, 1967. He was sitting in the cockpit of his A-4E Skyhawk on the deck of the USS Forrestal off Vietnam when a missile on another plane accidentally discharged, striking his plane. He dove out of the cockpit through flames. Fire engulfed the Forrestal, nearly sinking her, and killing 134 men. McCain was hit with shrapnel in the legs and chest, but recovered.

Less than two months later, McCain was shot down during a mission over Hanoi. He ejected from the cockpit, breaking his right knee and both arms. Dragged from a lake by an angry crowd, he was bayoneted in the ankle and groin. Today McCain suffers from arthritis in his shoulders and knee, his records show, and he may need joint replacement surgery.

During the five and a half years of captivity that followed, McCain was held in solitary confinement for two years straight, inflicting psychological strain the senator has described as worse than a beating. He memorized the names of POWs, details of guards and interrogators and reconstructed books and movies in his mind. "It's an awful thing, solitary," McCain wrote in "Faith of My Fathers," his 1999 memoir. "I had to carefully guard against my fantasies becoming so consuming that they took me to a place in my mind from which I might fail to return."

What were perhaps McCain's darkest hours came in the summer of 1968, during three days of nearly continuous beatings and torture with ropes that left him in an interrogation cell with a broken arm, cracked ribs, broken teeth and lying in a puddle of his own blood and waste. He gathered enough strength to stand on a waste bucket and try, twice, to hang himself with his shirt. Both times guards disrupted his suicide attempts.
Read more here.

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