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I’ve attempted suicide, but Clive Lewis’s gun-in-mouth gesture doesn’t offend me

PUBLISHED: 11:46 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:37 21 November 2018

Clive Lewis pictured in the House of Commons seemingly mimicking shooting himself in the mouth Photo: House of Commons

Clive Lewis pictured in the House of Commons seemingly mimicking shooting himself in the mouth Photo: House of Commons

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I have attempted suicide and endured years of dark thoughts triggered by mental illness, but I am not offended by Clive Lewis’s gun-in-the-mouth gesture.

I’m actually more offended by the people who are offended.

In fact, I’m sick and tired of how people are increasingly ready with their expressions of outrage, indignation and horror whenever someone says or does something that they don’t like.

Taking offence is a national hobby, with people eagerly awaiting the next comment, tweet, Facebook post or shop sign to fulminate over.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Clive was a bit silly for making the gesture, and even more silly for doing it when a camera was trained on him in the House of Commons.

The image will now haunt him, as it will be used pretty much every time he features in the news.

But does anyone truly have to be offended by it? Not if they choose not to, I would argue.

I often get called a “fat ginger ****” on the football pitch, but I choose to laugh, not take offence. I usually respond with “don’t you dare call me ginger!”

I could dissolve in tears and bleat to the referee, but it really isn’t a big deal (and the more I’m insulted, the more I’m getting under an opponent’s skin).

Despite - actually because of - my difficult history, I joke about suicide. It is gallows humour and a way for me to take control of something that used to control me. I laugh at it, reducing its power over me.

If my laughing about suicide offends you, grow a thicker skin.

As a columnist, I’ve been assailed by an avalanche of snowflakes who have been offended by my views. In response to that, I quote Brigham Young, who said: “He who takes offence when no offence is intended is a fool, and he who takes offence when offence is intended is a greater fool.”

Clive Lewis meant no offence, and has found himself in the crosshairs of countless “fools”.

I expect I’m about to be in the same predicament.

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