I’ve had at least one Army buddy commit suicide in the last several years.
It’s not something any of us like to think about, but it’s not an uncommon phenomenon. At least 20 veterans take their own lives every day, according to some reporting. Whether you believe that number to be inflated, it doesn’t matter. Veterans die by their own hands, and it’s not hard to imagine why.
Loneliness, nightmares, post traumatic stress, that feeling of being trapped, of being reviled, of being stared at on the street…
And that feeling of desperation isn’t just limited to vets. I was going to blog about “13 Reasons Why,” but I decided against it, because as interesting and well-acted as I found the Netflix series, I don’t like the view of suicide as a revenge fantasy, providing to the victim a scapegoat on whom to blame the pain and the ultimate act, and giving them the supposed satisfaction of being noticed, respected, and even loved in death that they couldn’t achieve in life. I won’t dwell on my issues with the series. I’ll point you to this article written by a licensed clinical social worker instead, which explains some of the issues I had with it.
But I’ve seen this desperation, this feeling of being trapped with no way out, this feeling of constant anxiety, malaise, depression, and outright terror that you will never get better. I’ve seen it in high school friends, and in family members. I’ve heard, “I wish you guys didn’t love me, so I could just kill myself without feeling guilty!” I’ve seen despair so deep, that I thought at any point, blood would start flowing from freshly opened wounds and drown me in its sticky agony.
I’ve told friends that life is a series of ups and downs, and that when you’re at your lowest point, there’s always a chance – however small – that your lifeline will begin to ascend again. But not if you stop it. Not if you end it. Not if you allow the hopelessness and despair to consume you and trick you into believing that this is the only option left.
Yesterday, Bob Owens made such a choice.
For those who don’t know, Bob Owens was editor at bearingarms.com and a fellow Second Amendment advocate and warrior.
He had a wife. He had two daughters. I cannot imagine the agony his family is feeling right now, having lost a husband, a father, and a friend.
The Washington Post wisely closed comments to its story. Scum such as Raw Story (no, I’m not linking to them) gleefully left the comments section open for vicious trolls to joyously roll around in the blood of a fellow human being while they revel in their oh-so-droll and tasteless snark.
In the end the fight to protect the Second Amendment lost a warrior, but a wife lost her world, two daughters lost their dad, and the community of online and real-life friends lost a kindred spirit.
I cannot imagine the desperation and pain Bob must have felt when he made the very final decision to take his own life. I cannot fathom how he thought his family would move on without him. I cannot judge another person’s agony.
I would, however, beg and plead with all of you out there who are experiencing the desperation and pain that is driving you to consider a very final, very irreversible cure to stop, reach out, allow those who care about you to reach for your hand and pull you up. You are not worthless, you are not cowardly, and you are not weak if you ask for help. Turning to another human being and taking the offered hand takes an immeasurable amount of courage. Allowing your lifeline to rise again takes an incalculable amount of will power.
Be stubborn. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Reach out to everyone you can. We will help you.
The world needs you.