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Original post made
on Jun 3, 2011
Why don't you stop printing these notices in the paper. They're not really news -- after all do you print the suicides of people who do themselves in at home? -- and they encourage more of this because the people get all this attention with their names printed in the paper and so on. Meanwhile the lives of everyone trying to ride the trains are made miserable.
The engineers driving the trains are subject to an extreme amount of emotional stress in any fatal incident. This, by far, overshadows passenger inconvenience. I appreciate the news media maintaining the engineer's anonymity.
A bright light needs to continue to be cast on the suicide vicitims, just in the hopes that one needless suicide is avoided.
Yes these notices should continue as they may wake suicidal people up who may be inclined to step in front of a train. Hey life might seem bad, but hey there is help out there...
Someday the news will get the wording right. This man was not "struck and killed" by a train, "he committed suicide by stepping in front of a moving train". How hard is that?
Defending the editors, during the news cycle it's not known the person comitted suicide or if there was an accident. Sometimes it's a homicide, with someone thrown or held in front of a train. A safe lead is 'struck and killed' - just the facts, as known.
I'd really love to see a reference to somebody being pushed or held in front of a train on the Caltrain corridor.
My point is that trains don't kill people. People die when they are in front of moving trains. Millions are wasted "upgrading" rail infrastructure to presumably prevent suicide. Someone who is determined to take their own life doesn't care about a fence or a crossing gate. They will just step off a platform like many before them.
Suicides will unfortunately continue and will inconvenience everyone including those that ride the trains. I wish the Voice would publish why these people have chosen to step off the platform. I googled some of the names and found nothing. These news reports could be followed up with an obituary and possible explanation such as: job loss, mental illness, loss of a loved-one or a combination of any of the above. Each newspaper publishes the same story and through time, the names are quickly forgotten. Deplorable.
As the economy worsens for some and the layoffs continue, its not unimaginable that there is utter hopelessness. We are a culture that doesn't care much about people except when they are successful.
I delivered the San Jose Mercury News at age 11. My first experience learning about suicide happened around age 12. I delivered the Mercury to a nice man at 2200 California Ave, the Comstock Apartments. My customer was tall and quiet, mid twenties, wore a blue button shirt, he had pictures of fighter jets on his wall. I talked with him a little when I had to collect the monthly bill. One afternoon, I'm happily peddling my huge bag of Mercs down the Comstock driveway when the manager approached and said that I won't need to deliver the paper to that door anymore. Really? Why what happened I asked? He chuckled and said he just found him that morning with a plastic bag over his head. How? Why? Manager responded, "He suffocated".
I had that paper route for several more years, always peddling by his apartment wondering if there was something else that could have been done. Thank goodness he didn't walk down Ortega to the tracks to inconvenience a few riders on that summer morning at a time when there still were no wrought iron fences.
There was another time, about a year later, when I was 13, I bought a police scanner from a customer. I was listening around 9pm when someone called in to report a body along side the tracks near the Bruce Bauer building. That's only about 3 blocks away from my house. I jumped on my bike, the officer was already standing guard and about 200 feet away, flashlights were being shown on a red, bloodied body that of a woman.
Sadly, there will always be more suicides.
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