On August 14, 2012, two young men hanged themselves in Sacramento County, CA. Because their suicides were in public places, both of the deaths were reported in the Sacramento Bee (Bridge, School). Both of the young men were reported to be in their 20’s.
Only friends and family may have a notion as to why they decided to take their lives. All we can say for sure is that at that point in their lives the cost to continue living was greater than the potential joy of life. It is possible that these men had mental health issues, substance abuse problems, family strife or a whole host of circumstances that can cloud a person’s outlook.
They may have had family, friends and mental health professionals actively working with them to keep them out of the psychological pit of depression. I want to believe our community did not fail them. I want to believe our mental health support system did not fail them. I want to believe someone went the extra mile to save them.
There were probably other suicides on that same day that did not make the paper. I am not qualified to say that a public suicide is any more of a life statement than a private one. For folks that have never felt the emotional heat of suicide by a family member or friend these deaths evoke little more empathy than the next unexpected tragedy reported in the newspaper. Then there are people who will feel the sharp knife like memory of pain when they read of these young men.
Life can be neither fun nor fair. I see young people and yearn for the days of my youth when the bright light of hope seemed to make all the dark shadows fade away. Some how, some way: their little candle flame of hope was extinguished. I have no answers or solutions, only observations. For most of us, all we can do is reflect upon the reality that on one day in August two young men took their lives.