Warning signs

October 19, 2011 1:17:04 PM PDT
What if we could read the bubbles above peoples' heads? You know, their thoughts that follow them around - like the bubbles in cartoons - and let us know what they're really thinking. How different would those bubbles read than what we think they're thinking, or feeling, or doing?

A lot, I suspect. As much as we're all alike, the truth is we often don't really know each other. Don't know what people are feeling. Don't know, as Jackson Browne wrote about his wife's suicide, and can't see "the shallows and unseen reefs that are there from the start, in the shape of a heart."

Suicide is very much a big topic today in the newsroom, because of two public and horrible suicides in two different parts of the country: Westchester County here in New York, and Zanesville, Ohio.

We don't usually cover suicides, unless they become bigger news stories. And these two cases have become just that.

In the town of Cross River in Westchester, inside a nice home, police found a gruesome scene. Two young children shot in their beds, with their covers neatly pulled up to their chins, a wife brutally beaten and found on the ground, and a husband, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The couple was in the midst of a nasty divorce, and their home, on the market, was also threatened with foreclosure. And so this how the man decided to end it all.

You can shake your head at the sadness and uselessness of it all, you can cry, you can steel yourself and not feel anything. Or maybe do all three at various times. I think I have.

So who didn't see the shallows and unseen reefs? Did anybody catch a glimpse - and not do anything? What could they do? What would you do?

Then there's the case of the man in Zanesville - between Columbus and Canton, Ohio - who ran a wild animal preserve. Or at least he ran it until he went to federal prison on weapons charges. His wife took over - until he was released on Sept. 30. That's when she apparently started divorce proceedings.

So the guy decides the way to get back and end it all is to release the wild animals - we're talking lions and tigers and bears - and then kill himself.

Sad enough to kill yourself. Why take it out on others as well - by, in this case, letting loose animals that can kill innocent people.

We're following both stories, tonight at 11. They resonate on so many levels - and disturb us on so many levels.

A friend of mine is a therapist, and she has long talked argued the warning signs are indeed there - it's just that few ever notice. One of the ways they manifest themselves: Self-cutting. It's easily covered up by clothing, and so most of us wouldn't notice.

The cutting usually falls into the non-suicidal self-injury, but the line between non-suicidal and suicidal is often small and blurred.

So what to do? I remember a childhood friend of mine committed suicide - as a young adult. He went to his old Little League field to do it. What should we have known, what could his friends and family have done, to help him?

It's a question many of us think about, but unfortunately, few of us do anything about it.

I'm just sayin'.

Also at 11, we're taking a closer look at the New York City restaurant rating system - and whether an eatery's less-than-stellar rating would affect whether you eat there. We'd love to hear your opinion, by CLICKING HERE. Michelle Charlesworth has our story.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports.

I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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