Actually, it is all my fault

On a mailing list of Group Psychotherapists, there has recently been a discussion about two teenage girls in Australia "who'd posted their fixation with suicide and self-harm on their My Space sites, and on sites of devotees of the 'emo' subculture...[and] hung themselves in the mountains outside of Melbourne."

People wrote to ask, "What was the effect on that MySpace "group"?...Did any members injure (or kill) themselves after this?...Could this have been prevented?"

The following is my response:

Actually, it is all my fault. ;-|

I spend time visiting MySpace. I have my own MySpace page. I've even written on band pages and have a MySpace post about being emo, particularly as it related to the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Connecticut. (But that's another long story.)

But isn't that the reaction that most people have to a suicide, or some horrible shootings somewhere, or other times when people act irrationally and hurt themselves or people around them?

And isn't it much easier to blame it on the culture? Suicides in MySpace are due to the 'emo' culture. Columbine, as we will all recall, was due to heavy metal music, and I'm sure that 'emo' is just the MySpace manifestation of too much heavy metal music.

Nonetheless, we do always come back to what could have been done, and I guess that is a good thing. We should always be looking for ways we can reach out and help those around us a little better. That, I suspect is the real core of the human condition.

31 years ago, this month, I was a freshman in college. I had skipped my senior year of high school, so all my old classmates were seniors back in high school. I received a letter from home where my mother wrote that, by the way, Rocky is missing. Rocky was a girl I had been fond of before heading off to college. Panicked, I called home to get details. She had been walking to the library one evening and never showed up. Over the following month, there were reports of people who thought they had seen her one place or another.

At the end of the month they found her body in a ravine a few towns away. No one ever figured out why this happened. I heard this, from newspaper clippings my mother sent me. They came after the funeral, so I never got my chance to say goodbye.

The day I got the news, I wandered, in shock into my Hebrew class. There was a pop quiz, and at the bottom of the quiz I wrote the Hebrew word for "Why?" The professor, either answering the question of why we have pop quizzes, or coming back with a good Talmudic response to existentialism changed the last letter to become "To Learn".

So, I think about Rocky, and I think about Stephanie and Jodie and I all I can do is hope that I can learn a little and find my chance to help someone around me.

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Don't blame yourself

I don't blame myself