VIC: You know the name. You can’t say the name.
By Vic MacDonald, Editor
It is journalist’s quandary. You know who is young man is. But it’s not “official.”
The official says he won’t release the name. The name of a young person who took his own life in plain view of a school. You are just left to wonder, what desperation drove that action.
Of the five people who have died violently in the last few weeks in Laurens County, we personally know three. Two, we became acquainted with through cheerleading and football. My wife Pat often went to lunch with one of the deceased people and her mom - the young woman always wants just a couple bucks to go to Rose's Express or Dollar Tree. Just some independent time, looking at make-up and stuff, as teenagers are wont to do.
Her friend who died with her also was a wonderful young woman - a volunteer when sometimes nobody else would be, her pastor said at her funeral.
Their deaths made us angry. Why do people in cars and trucks fly up and down this road? They’ve complained about it for years. Now, the families of these two teens have written out their own traffic control - Slow Down, 35 mph here, and Save a Life. It could be YOUR child’s life.
Yes, it is frustrating that - like so many other pointless deaths - it’s still under investigation. I read a death in custody account the other day where the chief urged everybody to be calm, just wait on the autopsy -- The Death happened a month ago. A Month? For an autopsy?
Sometimes the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly. Sometimes, like in Minneapolis recently, they run pretty fast, as these things go - a year from death to conviction, now under appeal.
The two deaths I referenced here are from a traffic accident. The death I referenced at the beginning was a suicide. The latter is much more taboo than the former. Names are released almost immediately from traffic. Coroners, obviously, have much more latitude when the death involves the taking of one’s own life. If that is done in a quiet bedroom, it’s almost always kept quiet. Certainly, if the mayor stopped showing up at meetings, people would want to know why; but, in most cases, it’s goes from finding the body to the grave with few steps in between. The person is just ... gone.
“One minute you’re here. Next minute you’re gone,” as Springsteen laments. We knew this young man from a family connection, and they were SUCH a cute couple. The artist and the photographer. But as things sometimes happen in life, it followed a different course.
Covid makes it worse. People disappear - in India, they have so many deaths they burn the corpses. It’s a scene right out of the movie “Pandemic.” Friends grieve, then they move on - they have little choice, they can’t be sad forever (read up on the condition called “toxic positivity”). Unless, they decide to replicate the action. That’s the greatest fear of people who fight against suicide - hearing about it makes some people more inclined to carry it out.
Bringing suicide out of the shadow and into the light is the only way to fight against it - to disinfect it. If, we feel as a society that it’s something worth fighting against. If you are having thoughts about harming yourself, if you ever have the thought “Everybody would be better off without me” - I urge you, I plead with you, I cannot say it in terms strong enough, call this number:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
People there want to save your life.
(Vic MacDonald is editor of The Clinton Chronicle. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. MacDonald can be reached at 833-1900.)