My Suicide Week

Reliving hell in the 24-hour suicide news cycle.

When someone famous, especially someone who means so much to so many, dies by suicide, a voice in my head screams at me to get out of my own thoughts and do something. This is the consequence of having had intimate experience with suicide. To know suicide is to be obligated forever to give witness, not just as an act of communion with people who’ve experienced something similar, but also as a sort of activism — haunt the conscience of people entertaining thoughts of killing themselves, act as a stand-in for their loved ones, show them what wreckage might be left in their wake.

Every suicide is personal. I watch as the entire internet begins talking about this thing that I carry with me every day, this thing that nags and pulls at me and that I know I’ll always feel crouching in the corner even on my best days, even when I’m mostly able to forget. And I read about the circumstances of the death of this person I’ve never met, and it’s tragic and sad in its own right, but I’m also reliving where I was when I found out that people I loved and needed chose to no longer exist. I read about the devastated family members they’ve left behind, but then, I’m also just reading about myself. And when I talk to someone about the tragic loss of this person who was so sick and in so much pain, I’m also talking about my loss and my loved ones who were so sick and in so much pain, whether anyone else realizes it or not. It’s exhausting.

TWITTER

 

Earlier in the week, a tweet from TMZ popped up in my feed advertising the suicide note that Kate Spade had left for her 13-year-old daughter. I was also 13 when I read the suicide note my dad left for me, so my stomach dropped and my pulse started to race and it felt as if I was being exposed for something I couldn’t put my finger on. But I clicked the link and I read the words and I felt sick imagining thousands of strangers reading the words my dad left for me, so I got up and went for a walk and tried to do anything I could to clear my head, but it didn’t really help. So instead I embraced it.

I don’t remember exactly when I last read the note he left me, but I know I’ve read it a lot. Hundreds of times. So many times that the paper has become worn and fragile and dotted with smudges from old tears I can’t remember. I know it mostly by heart, and it’s mostly seared into my memory, so I surprised myself when I decided to get it out on Friday and, two lines in, I wept. I’m not sure I was crying for my father, whom I continue to miss every day. And I’m not sure I was crying for my sister, whom I continue to miss every minute. I think I was crying more for the time I’ve lost to the grieving process and the laughter that used to come easily and how much more difficult I know days like this will always be.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

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Every time an anti-government gun nut …

via WNYC
via WNYC

… would go on an internet rant about how he would rather be well-armed in order to protect himself against a government takeover (see top anti-government conspiracies here), I’d roll my eyes, and think to myself, “What is your weapon going to do against the military’s tanks or drones?”

Not much, I’d think. But now it’s time to revise that to, “What is your weapon going to do against the local police department’s war tanks?”

Take a look at all this military surplus sitting in the wee town of Little Falls, NJ, population: 10, 800, courtesy of WNYC‘s Sarah Gonzalez.

Police in the small suburban town of Little Ferry recently received six military trucks for its 25 police officers. 

Police departments in the state have received everything from armored trucks, rifles and grenade launchers to shirts for extreme cold weather, boots, and ladders. But the use of military equipment to quell protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, has sparked a national conversation about whether local law enforcement agencies are becoming too militarized.

For example, among the most expensive items on the list of supplies used in Iraq and Afghanistan are the MRAPs – 30,000-ton armored, mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.  

Police in Middletown, N.J., have one. And the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has just ordered two.

Read or listen to the rest of the report here. And then read about the sad demise of our democracy in this fantastic piece by Fordham’s Heather Gautney in the Huffington Post:

“Social control is the opposite of social change. And it is the opposite of democratic freedom.” (Ferguson and America’s Hatred of Democracy.)

Homer Simpson as drug kingpins Pablo Escobar & ‘El Chapo’

Left: Pablo Escobar, Right: 'El Chapo' Guzman, by Alexsandro Palombo
Left: Pablo Escobar, Right: ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, by Alexsandro Palombo

Don’t freak out, it’s NOT an upcoming episode of The Simpsons featuring two of the most infamous drug kingpins in history; it’s art.

Italian artist Alexsandro Palombo debuted new work which features Simpsons’ patriarch, Homer Simpson, as notorious Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, and recently arrested Sinaloa, Mexico, cartel boss, Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.

“Stop Drug War,” is Palombo’s effort to draw attention to both the drug war that has caused more than 60,000 deaths in Mexico alone, as well as the legalization of drugs, which has has become a popular topic after Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana and two American states also decriminalized the drug.

One of the images depicts Homer, as Pablo Escobar, kneeling in front of the photographs of journalist and politician Luis Carlos Galán, journalist Guillermo Cano, lawyer and politician Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, and lawyer Carlos Mauro Hoyos– all victims of drug cartel hits in Colombia.

Screen shot 2014-05-02 at 11.20.37 PM

“Pablo Escobar was a ruthless drug dealer responsible for the massacres of his fellow civilians and officers, but he was also a drug trafficker that was in favor of drug legalization, and his idea was prophetic,” Palombo said in a press release. “If, 30 years ago, the institutions of various countries would have taken the path of the drug legalization, would have there been all that blood shed and a drug dealer as powerful as ‘El Chapo’ today?”

To learn more about Palombo, visit his website.

This blog post contains info gleaned from Deborondo.com and the Huffington Post. 

This *so* applies to New York City in some way…

You need to know that this is no longer a city for artists, or writers or musicians. This is no longer a city for teachers. This is no longer a city for the person who just served you that 3:00 a.m. burrito. This is a city for the wealthy, and money changes everything.

It’s not your fault. But recognize that. And don’t be a dick. Know that not everyone can afford Uber. Get to know your neighbors. Get to know a writer. A server. A social worker. Step off the bus. And know that no matter how much lobster bisque and beer they pump into, your company is still a business, and your app is not curing cancer.

Goodbye San Francisco, You’re a Passionate Lover by Eric Barry via Huffington Post: San Francisco