Train incident a possible suicide

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

March 27, 2014 2:11:01 PM PDT
What deep torment must consume someone who takes their own life. What pain, what tumult, what swirling chaos must be going on in their head and their heart.

"You keep it up, you try so hard," Jackson Browne wrote in a song for his wife, who committed suicide, "to keep a life from coming apart. And never know the shallows and the unseen reefs, that are there from the start. In the shape of a heart."

We don't usually cover suicides, but we likely did yesterday. We just didn't know it at the time. It was a New Jersey Transit train, in New Brunswick, hitting a man, and, with his shattered body sending parts flying, injuring 4 bystanders on the platform. It was gruesome, and we didn't know how this could have happened.

This afternoon, we found out, man possibly committed suicide, not by jumping in front of the oncoming express train, but by leaning into the train as it whizzed by.

What shallows and unseen reefs were in his life? Who tried so hard to keep his life from coming apart? Who's grieving now, trying to come to grips with something they couldn't control and, most importantly, couldn't stop? What words will they try to write, like Jackson Browne did? Will it help? Who knows?

I have a friend who tried to keep his son's life from coming apart, and couldn't. And he's grieving right now. I'm thinking of him, and I'm thinking of the man at the train station who likely took his own life last night, and whose father is grieving tonight, the same man whom his son called moments before the train came. The dad called police, but they got there too late.

I just can't imagine the grief. You try so hard to keep a life from coming apart, and never know what breaches and faults are concealed, in the shape of a heart. Damn.

That's the sad back beat for me as we prepare our 11 p.m. newscast.

We'll have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg tracking that huge ocean storm that's going to miss us, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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