Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When a Suicide Pact is Uncovered

A suicide pact was uncovered in Vancouver in September involving upwards of thirty young people (between the ages of 12-15). It is reported that about 24 of them had to be hospitalized for their protection. Most of these young ones are Aboriginal, and while that is significant, it is also not the most important aspect of this issue.

Thirty 12-15 year olds in Vancouver have reached a point in their lives that they see no other choice but to consider ending those lives.

The media coverage I have been able to find on this has been scant. Not surprising, I guess. It's not glamorous or exciting: no one has actually died. No one has reached out and captured our imagination. No one but Aboriginal advocates have called for action (at least in the minuscule media this has attracted). I don't think I will get into a commentary about the media attention versus race/ethnicity of the young people today, but the fact that it is a pact of thirty that see no future for themselves is terrifying.

I have been touched by suicide. Too often. I know too many people who have been touched by suicide. It kills not just the victim, it kills everyone around them. It kills a part of the soul of everyone left behind. It kills a part of the survival of the Nation. It's not just thirty young people, it's thirty families, their friends, their friends' families, teachers, and all the people related to all of them, their Nations. It's the random person who talked to the kid who seemed sad and wondered afterwards if he said the right thing or the wrong thing.

I understand how clues can be missed. I understand being miserable a lot of the time but saying things are fine when asked. I understand what it's like to feel the choices are dwindling. I understand that loneliness. I don't understand how a group, together, could decide, together, that they are out of choices, but that only means I have more I need to learn. What must be going on that a twelve year old can't still look at the world with wonder?

It is not time, Canada, British Columbia, Vancouver, and countless Aboriginal organizations to be fighting over who is responsible for helping these youth. It is not time to fight over who is to blame for this situation. The scant media attention I have seen says these youth are still seriously at risk, as are countless, countless others. Stop blaming each other, make a plan and do something. Please.

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