Thursday May 13, 10
I'm reading the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Although it was first published in 1998, the Kindle edition just became available thus cycling this classic back into circulation.
The basic premise of the book is that violence exists and is inevitable in all societies. Denying this fact is dangerous because we will not be sensitive to the signals alerting us to act--our innate defense system which the author calls intuition. Violence is almost never random or without meaning--at the very least, it does have a cause/purpose for the perpetrator.
Awareness of critical clues will help us to avoid becoming victims.
The warnings are there we just need to pay attention.
Suicide is a very violent act. It is the murder of oneself. So that according to de Becker's theory one can also claim that suicide can be predicted as well. Almost always, suicides sent out signals of intention. Trails will be left behind. The puzzle can be solved in hindsight. But the trick here is to prevent it in the first place.
While this hypothesis of mine simmered gently in my mind, I got to thinking about a young boy named Johnny Menasia who had committed suicide five years ago. He was a troubled kid. I knew this. Once a neighborhood friend of my son's, the relationship was severed when I forbid my son from having further contact with him after they were caught throwing rocks at moving cars. After being caught in the act, my son became a hysterical spokesperson for regret, shame, remorse, and humiliation. Johnny didn't flinch or blink. There were no tears, no apologies--nothing--just a blank, poker face. I was in the presence of a boy without a conscience. Warning bells rang loud and clear.
Johnny was arrested a few months later for vandalizing his middle school. Six months later he hung himself in his bedroom closet.
My intuition told me that he was violent and capable of harming others. It never occurred to me that this violence would ultimately be directed inwards at himself. His suicide may have saved others from death. It may have saved my son. I may have saved my son by removing him from Johnny's inner circle.
Still thinking about Johnny, I did a Google search for him using these key words: Johnny Menasia Cuyahoga Falls Ohio.
One of the top hits was a link to a business called Bio Clean Services that cleans up the aftermath of violent acts. It promises to get the murder/suicide scene sparkly clean. Call me ignorant but I had no idea such an enterprise existed. I can definitely see that a demand exists for such services. However, I assumed that state employees dealt with this nasty nitty gritty.
Bio Clean Services: Crime Scene Cleanup, Biohazard Clean-Up, and Trauma Scene Cleaning Services.
Servicing the states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toledo, and Charleston Areas.
Ohio was the keyword that led me to their website.