We were standing in line to go through The Capitol’s security, to rejoin the group at the end of our meetings, when Meredith read on her blackberry that Andrew Kwasniewski, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, had taken his life.
When I got home from Washington, I found an email in my inbox telling me that Indie musician Mark Linkons of Sparklehorse, had died of suicide. The following day the same friend who’d been keeping me
“suicide updated,” emailed me again:
“Here goes another one. I’m losing track.” He was referring to actor Corey Haim’s suicide.
Then I found out, and I don’t know how I could have missed it when it happened, that Sam Roweiss, a thirty-seven year-old NYU professor, had jumped to his death from the 16th floor of his NYU apartment in Washington Square Village.
No sooner had I finished reading the New York Post article about Roweiss’s death, than one of my neighbors whose daughter attends Cornell, alerted me via a comment on the blog, about the two latest Cornell deaths.
And then there was British Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen, Walter Koenig’s son Andrew and Michael Blosil all in the last four to five weeks.
To paraphrase an old song, “Suicide Is In The Air.” That’s what it seemed like to me since I became aware of suicide, when Andrew died of it. Almost every other day, it seemed, some prominent person took his/her life.
But given that in the Unites States one person dies of suicide every sixteen minutes, it should come as no surprise that a portion of those suicides makes headlines.
And with each suicide that makes the news, mind-boggling myths, misconceptions, ignorance and bigotry, flood the internet.
When I first read some of the internet comments that followed Andrew’s death, I was appalled, I was hopping mad. Mind you, it was a good thing at the time, for in the absence of a target for my anger, I was able to direct it at those coward, anonymous morons on the internet.
Still, that’s not the point I am trying to make here. No, my point is that amongst the things I’ve learned about suicide since November 3, 2009, is that education is as important a factor in prevention, as are all other measures currently employed (or deployed).
Given also that in the United States one person attempts suicide every minute of every day, an educational movement, similar to that born to combat AIDS, is what is needed.
We need to be present everywhere, on the internet, in the printed media, on television. We need to have regular gatherings, like the one I am trying to organize in Washington Square Park, in Manhattan one week-end day this coming June. It won’t be a fund-raiser, but an awareness-raiser.
I am looking for people to help. We need to lobby the media, alert suicide survivors and their friends, get New York politicians to come and bring the cameras with them. We also need to get permission from the NYC Parks Commissioner.
I see the day as one of education, remembrance, socializing, networking, noise-making, attention-bringing to our cause and our needs.
You can find ways to help even long distance. So, Who’s on? PLEASE SIGN UP HERE.