Among the reasons you don’t want to get sent home from work early on a Monday morning are that someone packed a suitcase, brought it to the back entrance of your office building, sat down on it, and proceeded to put a bullet in his head something like 50 feet from your desk.
That’s what just happened to my friend who sent me this picture from his office building in Downey. People at his work speculated that it was a disgruntled ex-employee [update: there are indications he most likely was not], but there’s no real information. [Further update: this definitely wasn’t a disgruntled employee incident, and the address of the building has been redacted due to a request by the occupant.] I’m using the occasion to remind the rest of you that there are resources available should you feel desperate enough to contemplate suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline: 800-273-8255 or use LA Counties’ Department of Mental Health site to find a provider near you. Regardless of your insurance status, if you walk into the emergency room of any hospital and tell them that you want to kill yourself, you will get treatment. However limited our public health options may be, they are preferable to the “permanent solution to a temporary problem” that is suicide. Hang in there, people. Whatever you’re dealing with, it will eventually change, and killing yourself will break the hearts of the people who love you.
You may have missed a story in yesterday’s Times about a woman named Wanda Dunn in Pasadena that set her house on fire and shot herself because she was being evicted due to foreclosure.
This follows the earlier tragedy from just a week ago, where Karthik Rajaram of Porter Ranch, distraught over finances, killed his entire family before turning the gun on himself.
They are both heartbreaking stories that are becoming more common as the foundation of our global economy continues to crumble. Stories like these should serve as a wake-up call to all of us, as friends, as co-workers, as neighbors. We have an obligation as Americans – as humans, to help each other in a time of need. It could be an earthquake, a fire, a hurricane, or a foreclosure.
It’s too late to help Wanda Dunn or the Rajaram family. I can’t help but think we all failed them when they needed us most.
If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, start by calling the Los Angeles County hotline at 2-1-1.
CBS2 has a list of contact numbers for foreclosure prevention resources at six area WorkSource Centers. I re-posted them after the jump.
Continue reading Her Name Was Wanda Dunn, And We Let Her Die
I’ve been battling a cold all weekend, so I’m just now finding out that one of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, was found dead in his Claremont home on Friday night, apparently a victim of suicide. Wallace was a nimble writer that bounced easily between essay, novel and short fiction, and is likely most well known for his epic tome of a novel, Infinite Jest, a serious contender for the top of my Best Book Ever Written list. To my shame, I never knew he lived so close, but he’d been teaching creative writing at Pomona College since ’02.
Photo by Flickr user Steve Rhodes, used under CC license.