When I read this story last week about the man found dead in his vehicle for over a week, it could either be a very typical New York story about life and in this case death in the big city or a story of isolation and desolation when surrounded by thousands of people.
Imagine being in your car and slowly dying and not even a Meter Maid feels worthy enough to even ticket you. Imagine that people pass your slowly rotting corpse without a glance. Imagine dying alone on a city street and passers by do just that.
There are many elements to this story and the parallels cannot be ignored to the Male Bomber in Florida - unemployed, in his 50's, failures professionally and personally and social isolation. One chose one one type of "cide" as in suicide the other homicide. As in life he failed at that. But what does that say about our society as people who would walk by that van with its hateful missives, people knowing he was using the beach showers as a way of hygiene and another man who decided to die on the streets and feel so frustrated and alone and who had family chose to not seek help. Nor the same for the Pittsburgh shooter (who was 46) or the Kentucky man who had some misguided racist fantasy and a history of violence to do what their younger halves started and they feel the need to finish. He too was in his fifties - he was 51.
Again this week I have watched my former Attorney meltdown on social media. A man with impeccable credentials and a strong career that got sidelined with illness. Then a descent into what I suspect drug use and in turn a desperate attempt to find some reason for his declining mental health, and rather than seek a proper Psychiatrist he chose Neurologists to test for traumatic brain disorder he believed he sustained from his Osteomy. When that proved negative going to a clinic away from his sole support network and is sure that all the childhood trauma was the result of his declining mental health. From what his daily postings on Facebook show is a man who veers on suicidal ideation, self harm as this current week has photos of him cutting himself. He is abusive, whiny and when not is manic taking up marathons and triathlons and other athletic endeavors even starting a foundation for those who suffer from the same health frailties then folding it, moving to Alaska to take up photography and crab fishing and quitting practicing law. All of it broadcast on Facebook for friends and others to comment, to provide likes and basically not think any of this is disturbing and should not be on social media in any shape. A wife who shows up then returns back home 300 miles away leaving him in this odd facility treating him for PTSD via an experimental method and not looking at other potential diagnosis to explain his mental health. His family history is also part of this and one can assume from his mothers suicidal issues, her own abuse of her son and in turn his leaving the family home at 16 she may have had a mental health diagnosis of her own that is similar to her son today. But again having proper diagnostics, proper medical and mental health professionals is the key to helping those resolve issues and in turn belong and find their way in society. And like the bookend to the mass shooters who were all in that sweet spot of under 25 the men over 50 are to finding ways that defy the norm. We have a problem with guns and drugs and not nearly enough mental health care that is both accessible and available to offset what could escalate into dangerous behavior.
I have spent the better part of the week trying to reconcile my own anger and in turn my desire to leave Nashville as soon as possible. I cannot speed up the healing process nor do much more than wait but it becomes a challenge when you again are isolated and alone doing nothing of meaning or of value of which society places great emphasis. For women being "retired" or doing odd jobs it considered less an eyesore and in turn acceptable but for men this becomes an embarrassment and that sense of shame turns outward in the same way the boys do when they elect to hurt those who they perceived hurt them. But it exhausts you to meet new people and explain your marital status, your work status and of course health so fuck it and say nothing, do nothing but keep as busy as possible with as little interaction as possible.
Suicide rates are up with Boomers and in turn the only time I ever felt that was was after my injury the result of my dates failed attempt at drugging/raping/and or killing me. Again I have said this many times the car accident in a perverse way saved my life. That said suicide ideation is common with head injury and I understood and while I tried talk therapy that was largely a wash so I did things my way and without help and that is how I roll. That said it takes a toll. But we are truly a country not divided we are segregated and in turn isolated from one another and it explains the rising tide of hate crimes, the calling the Police on people just being people and of course drugs as when all else fails, anger turned inward is depression and drugs take that edge off.
Watching the crew special on Anthony Bourdain once again I learned how they had traveled with him, worked with him and they did not know him and it was clear that while they respected him they did not "like" him and they worked around the descriptive asshole label that at least two Producers were willing to allow with amusement. But watching the crew painstakingly try to reconcile the snarky smart man they knew with the man who ultimately took his life while filming an episode with his best "friend" Eric Ripert along clearly confused and distressed these people. I am sure they were going "Why us and why?"as a mantra the days after. There is always survivor guilt and shame that perhaps they shoulda, woulda and coulda done something. No, no they could. not. I had bailed on Bourdain years ago when I realized the asshole was among us, his name calling, belittling other Chefs and Cooks while simultaneously taking up with multiple Italian women each a little more damaged than the last was not something that interested me nor did I feel to see any more parts unknown or make any reservations as they were just recycled stories like leftover meals. And his incident in San Francisco that led him to the hospital was enough to know that he had serious issues that were being neglected. This is the case for many of fame as they have the ability with wealth to be insular and in turn those around them are co-dependent upon them for work so they can never say or do anything to stop the propeller from turning or in turn it could turn on them. The poor are not as lucky the spiral downhill is fast and furious not starring Vin Diesel. But some of them before they go want to take others along with them on the ride to hell. Did any of these men the past week think they would not get caught? Or was that the point, infamy by death?
I perhaps sound harsh but too much compassion and sympathy are songs better left for the radio. Self preservation takes effort and work and we all need to work on ourselves more but what about the lady or man at the coffee shop? On the bus? The dog park? Ever had a conversation with them to recognize them and more importantly acknowledge them? Few do and we all lose. I love going to Kroeger's when lost. I can use the bathroom without a key, buy way more than coffee, get directions and be greeted by people just for walking in. That is what grocery shopping is a chance to commune and be out with others. Every time an act of violence occurs regardless of where the shooter takes more than lives they take personal freedom to shop, to worship, to see a movie, to get on a bus, to just be human. That is the greatest tragedy of all as we all suffer. So what about a man in parked car outside - stranger danger or just someone in need of help?
And the means in which to voice complaints, to pick fights with unseen enemies seems ec