In "Question Mark" and "Ishmael’s Axe" I accounted for the sordid tale of Cho-Seung Hui and the Virginia Tech shooting. It is poetry most writers would not like to record.
Megan Meier thought that "Josh" loved her. The figment of a neighboring mother's imagination broke up with her and resulted in a sweet girl’s suicide.
Now we have Robert A. Hawkins in what is now the Omaha Mall shooting at the Westroads Mall: nine dead, including Robert and five injured at last count.
I'm old enough to remember when CNN debuted in 1980. Prior to that, HBO had limited showings and television shut down (the "snow" screen in the scene of the movie "Poltergeist") around 11 PM. If you were an insomniac, you REALLY had to work at it.
Not to say there weren't shootings: the UT tower incident in the '60s comes to mind. However, with 24-hour news and the Internet on which you read this commentary, becoming "famous" can happen in nanoseconds at near light speed with the voracious need for copy by the media.
Ironically, "Robert" means "bright and shining fame." I wonder if he knew this when he wrote "I'll be famous" in his suicide note?
In 2004, Nebraska ranked 41 out of 50 states in the rate of suicides recorded: 166 deaths reported in the state at a rate of 9.5. I'm getting this from www.suicidolgy.org.
From the CNN article linked above, his landlord paraphrased: "He basically said how sorry he was for everything," Maruca Kovac said of the note. "He didn't want to be a burden to people and that he was a piece of s--- all of his life and that now he'd be famous."
Mental health in this country is a phobia, a cousin in the attic no one wants to discuss. We've all got our issues, and they can be exacerbated by the economy, social situations and most importantly, lack of treatment.
It would seem silly if someone broke an arm or the femur in their legs and tried to "play it off" as if nothing hurts. Mind you, I've had my share of hairline fractures as a martial artist that I did the same thing with, but as I get older I'm a little more cautious and check out everything, EVERYTHING with my doctor.
When will we have this attitude about mental health?
Could crime rates be the result of desperate people finding themselves in desperate situations where nefarious criminal activity makes "sense" in warped minds?
Would their be a decrease in wars if we had clear-minded leaders that steered their countries towards peace and alternate energy sources so we're not beholding to despots and dictators to drive our SUVs, pay $3 in gas and turn on a light bulb?
If you were expecting poetry, I've already done it in "Question Mark" and "Ishmael’s Axe."
Sometimes I don't want to be brilliant in tragedy. I want tragedy to spur ACTION that will change or prevent such events becoming more frequent. I write because "I am involved [with] mankind," and I am concerned.
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Those lines are John Donne’s From "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions."
My prayers to all Ishmaels before their cry for help makes them "famous."
The Griot Poet