Tuesday, January 5, 2010


And now, I interrupt this regularly scheduled humor for a serious moment.

Last night, a woman died at the Woodley Park Metro Station (my home station) when, reports say, she "placed herself in the path of the train." She stepped onto the tracks at 11:36 p.m. & died of her injuries this morning. She was from 50 years old & from Kensington, MD - & that's all I know about her.

But you know what? I don't need to know that woman to know this: To do what she did, she had to have been in a very, very dark place.

I also know that I am disgusted - do you hear me? DISGUSTED - by some of the comments left on reports of her death. A smattering: "All DC people who feel they need to end their life under the wheels of a metro train can all line up in one station and we can get get it over with in one fell swoop," and "This has gotten old and very boring. Just toss the smooshed crazies, drunks and attention seekers off the tracks and keep the trains rolling."

These comments read much like they did the last time someone died on the tracks (an occurrence that's become sadly all too common), & I cried when I read those one, too. Yeah, sometimes I'm a crier. Shhh. But don't some things warrant it?

These people who are "placing themselves in the paths of trains"? They're real people, & what they've chosen to do isn't some PC, clean term. They're someone's mother, someone's son, someone's sister, someone's best friend. They are someone. And for whatever reason, they are so despondent, so scared & alone & depressed, that they've chosen to step in front of massive, fast-moving trains as a means of achieving a quick, surefire way out of the lives that torment them.

And whatever happened to not speaking ill of the dead? To respecting life lost? To just having some goddamn compassion for your fellow human beings? These nasty, thoughtless comments come from people who are so busy, so self-important, & so concerned with their own schedules, with worrying that they'll be late to work or miss a meeting or be a no-show for dinner with friends, that they indulge in the anonymity the Internet provides them, feeling invincible & important & crueler than they'd ever have the balls to be face-to-face, whining about how their precious day was ruined. But hey, someone else's day was ruined, too, guys - that woman who died, for starters, & everyone who ever loved her.

You know where this is going don't you? Yeah, it's going there. First, I trust that you, the noble readers of this blog, are people who respect others enough not to leave sick comments like the ones that inspired this post. But here's where this is going: Many of you know me. You know my story, Dave's story. You have stories of your own, maybe. And if so, you know that this means a lot to me, that I daily feel the impact of suicide. I'm just a writer, & not even a "real" one; I'm just a blogger. But if I can make someone, anyone, think before they speak or act, then I'm doing something right.

So here's something cheesy but important: Even if it's just a single minute, take one liiiittle minute out of your day to think before you say something hurtful. And even better, think to say something meaningful & kind before it's too late for that person on a ledge or a Metro platform.

Are you thinking? OK, good.

My sense of humor & I will be back tomorrow.

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