Tag Archive | "suicide"

Struggling to Get By In a Cold, Cold World

 

Empathy Deficit Disorder

 

**VIDEO**

 

Robert Reich
Robert Reich.org

 

 

Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska’s Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn’t exist in Alaska before “government largesse” gave residents an entitlement mentality.

“When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn’t have the suicide problem,” he said.  Government handouts tell people “you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing.”

Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in America – almost twice the national average, and a leading cause of death in Alaska for young people ages 15 to 24 — but I doubt it’s because Alaskans lead excessively easy lives.

Every time I visit Alaska I’m struck by how hard people there have to work to make ends meet.  The state is the last American frontier, where people seem more self-reliant than anywhere in the lower forty eight.  

It’s true that every Alaskan receives an annual dividend from a portion of state oil revenues– this year it will be almost $2,000 per person– but research shows no correlation between the amount of the dividend from year to year and the suicide rate.

Suicide is a terrible tragedy for those driven to it and for their loved ones.  What possessed Congressman Young to turn it into a political football?

Young has since apologized for his remark.  Or, more accurately, his office has apologized.  “Congressman Young did not mean to upset anyone with his well-intentioned message,” says a news release from his congressional office, “and in light of the tragic events affecting the Wasilla High School community, he should have taken a much more sensitive approach.”

Well-intentioned?  More sensitive approach?

Young’s comment would be offensive regardless of who uttered it.  That he’s a member of the United States Congress– Alaska’s sole representative in the House– makes it downright alarming.

You might expect someone who’s in the business of representing others to have a bit more empathy.  In fact, you’d think empathy would be the minimum qualification to hold public office in a democracy.

Sadly, Young is hardly alone.  A remarkable number of people who are supposed to be devoting their lives to representing others seem clueless about how their constituents actually live and what they need.

Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie groused to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage.”  No doubt some in the audience shared Christie’s view.  It was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after all.

But many of the Governor’s constituents are not tired of hearing about the minimum wage.  They depend on it.  New Jersey has among the largest number of working poor in America.  Some 50,000 people work for the state’s minimum wage of $8.25 an hour.

This isn’t nearly enough to lift them out of poverty.  The state’s cost of living is one of the five highest of all states.  

In any event, doesn’t hearing from constituents about what they need go with the job of representing them?

Christie went on to tell his audience “I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’  Is that what parents aspire to?”

A minimum-wage job is no one’s version of the American dream.  But Christie is wrong to suppose most minimum-wage workers are teenagers.  Most are adults who are major breadwinners for their families.

Christie seems to suffer the same ailment that afflicts Alaska’s Don Young.

Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder.  Some Democrats have it, but the disorder seems especially widespread among Republicans.  These politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through.

Most Americans aren’t suicidal, and most don’t work at the minimum wage.  But many are deeply anxious about their jobs and panicked about how they’re going to pay next month’s bills.

Almost two-thirds of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  And they’re worried sick about whether their kids will ever make it.  They need leaders who understand their plight instead of denying it.  

They deserve politicians who want to fix it rather than blame it on those who have to depend on public assistance, or who need a higher minimum wage, in order to get by.

At the very least, they need leaders who empathize with what they’re going through, not those with Empathy Deficit Disorder.

By Robert Reich, October 27, 2014.
Images and Videos by the Humboldt Sentinel
Posted by Skippy Massey

 

 

 

 

An economist, Dr. Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

He also served on President Obama’s transition advisory board. His latest book is Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. His new film Inequality for All is now available on iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.

His homepage is www.robertreich.org.

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Struggling for a Parent’s Affection

 

’1982′

An Award-Winning Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Leave it up to cinematographer Frank Buono and he’ll transport
you into the window of a young boy’s life in ten minutes.

Leave it up to writer and director Jeremy Breslau and a beautifully poignant story will slowly unfold before your eyes.

Constructed like an uninterrupted dream, 1982 floats into the memories of a young man as he reflects on the pivotal year of his life when he struggled for his parent’s attention.

As you might imagine, creating a film like this wasn’t an easy task.  

Working with a budget of only $25,000, director Jeremy Breslau recruited an amazing cast and crew of industry veterans to support him. 

His cinematographer, Frank Buono, was uniquely prepared for the complex shots having operated the infamous car sequence on Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men.

Production designer Patrick Sullivan’s contributions were also critical to the film’s success—the short’s wonderfully nostalgic and detailed feel is largely due to the fantastic art direction and prop choices in each frame.

For those interested in how exactly some of the shots and transitions were pulled off, Breslau employs a variety of techniques from practical effects to a fair amount of digital trickery to keep the film so smooth and seamless.

It’s no wonder 1982 swept up 14 film awards across the country.

As to the reasons why he made the film, Breslau simply said:

“I created the film because I wanted to explore the universal pang in childhood when we realize our parents are fallible, and the sense of loneliness that can accompany that awareness.

I wanted to explore that transitional period in childhood when we begin to realize that our world is a lot less secure than we thought it was.  I was also interested in how strong childhood memories can unexpectedly bubble to the surface and influence our choices as adults.

My goal was to create a piece that would be emotionally resonant and visually stunning, with the challenge of capturing the feeling of seamlessly drifting through a memory.”

 

~Via Jeremy Breslau, Variety, Short of the Week, and Vimeo

 

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Robin Williams Crosses Over

 

Severe Depression Likely Led to Suicide

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“The loneliest people are the kindest
  The saddest people smile the brightest
  All because they do not wish to see
  Anyone suffer the way they do”

    ~Unknown

 

The Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams died Monday in California.  He was 63.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,” the Marin County Coroner said in a statement. “A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.”

“Robin Williams passed away this morning,” the actor’s rep Mara Buxbaum added in a statement to ABC News.  “He has been battling severe depression of late.  This is a tragic and sudden loss.”

Born in Chicago, Williams discovered his passion for acting in high school, before moving to New York City to study at Juilliard alongside Christopher Reeve.

A few years later, he also began doing stand-up comedy and working in television, before landing a star-making guest role as alien Mork in Happy Days.  In 1978, he was given his own spin-off series, Mork & Mindy, for which he won a Golden Globe.

Around that time, Williams suffered a great loss:  His friend, John Belushi, died of a drug overdose in 1982, prompting Williams, who had struggled with alcoholism and cocaine abuse, to quit, cold turkey.

He would go on to make two trips to rehab, once in 2006, and again this past July. 

“Addiction isn’t caused by anything, it’s just there,” Williams said in 2006.  “It waits.  It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’  Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK.  Then you realize, ‘Where am I?  I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’”

Meanwhile, Williams discovered a passion for film in the ’80s. With that came a litany of awards, including a Golden Globe for his role in the 1988 film, Good Morning, Vietnam, a Golden Globe for his 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for 1996′s, The Birdcage.

In 1998, after three nominations, he won his first Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting.  “This might be the one time I’m speechless!” he quipped while accepting the honor.

President Obama said in a statement on the actor’s passing:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind.  He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  

He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

 

Williams also had a rich personal life.

In 1978, he married his first wife, Valerie Velardi, with whom he had one son, Zachary, now 31.  He and Verlardi divorced in 1988, and the next year, he married Marsha Garces, who had previously been a nanny to Zachary.

He and Garces, from whom he split in 2008, had two children, Zelda, now 25, and Cody, 23. Williams married his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schenider, in 2011.

Recently, Williams had been hard at work.  He starred in the CBS series, The Crazy Ones and recently finished filming several film projects, including Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

He also recently celebrated a birthday and, in his last Instagram post, wished his daughter a happy 25th.

~Via Vimeo, Looking Back and Google News

 

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A Mother’s Song

 

Love Your Family and Hug Your Mom

Award-Winning Short Video

 

Matty Brown
Filmmaker

 

There is a woman who walks through the streets randomly singing opera.

Wherever she goes she is singing, sometimes under her breath, sometimes loud enough for whole blocks to hear.

Some people think she is deranged, some think she is inspiring.  I was compelled to sit down with her and have a short conversation about Why.  I only had an hour and a half with her, but she struck a chord enough that made me buy a ticket to go see my Mom.

I decided that I would put this online and hope to inspire people to go embrace their mothers and children.  She’s also a very prime example of why not to judge people by their eccentricities.

–Go hug your mom this Mother’s Day.  And Moms, cherish your kids–

* * * * * * * *

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Bitcoin CEO Found Dead in Singapore

 

Mysterious Suicide One of Many in Financial Industry

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The American CEO of a Bitcoin and virtual currency exchange was found dead in her Singapore apartment last
week under mysterious circumstances, multiple sources report.

Autumn Radtke was CEO of First Meta, a virtual currency exchange based in Singapore.  The company allowed users to buy and sell virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as exchange national currencies for virtual currencies and virtual currencies for national currencies, according to Forbes.

Prior to taking the reins at First Meta in 2012, the 28-year-old Radtke had once closely worked with technology giant Apple to bring cloud-computing software to Johns Hopkins University, Los Alamos Labs and the Aerospace Corp., according to her biography.  She then took up business development roles at tech start-ups Xfire and Geodelic Systems, according
to information on her LinkedIn profile.

Radtke was discovered in her apartment on February 28, the Daily Mail newspaper in London reported.  City officials are waiting for the toxicology results but local media outlets are calling her death a suicide.  She was 28 years old.

Autumn’s death comes on the heels of the collapse of the Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox last week, after $500 million went missing overnight, as well as the March 4 closure of the Flexcoin bank in Canada after hackers stole $600,000, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.

A note on the company’s website said, “The First Meta team is shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke.  Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones.  Autumn was an inspiration to all of us and she will be sorely missed.”

According to the website, Radtke had lived in Singapore since January of 2012.

Her death comes as troubles swirl around the nascent cryptocurrency industry, and amid a rash of suicides in the financial industry as a whole. 

Radtke’s death is one of eight suspected financial sector suicides in 2014.

Other mysterious deaths in the field include:  

a 33-year-old JPMorgan finance pro who jumped off the roof of the JPMorgan Hong Kong office on Feb. 18; Gabriel Magee, 39, a vice president with JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank technology branch in the UK who jumped off the roof of the bank’s Canary Wharf tower in London on Jan. 28; and Ryan Henry Crane, 37, a JPMorgan executive director who was found dead inside his Stamford, Conn., home on Feb. 3.

Financial-related suicides are common during times of market upheaval, such as were witnessed during the Great Depression or the Crash of 1987.  However, the recent deaths are unusual inasmuch as they have coincided with a surge of major indexes to record highs.

 

Via Daily Mail/CNN/Google News/CNBC

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Suicide Death at the Humboldt County Jail

 

Inmate Dies After Strangulating Self

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

On Friday, March 8th, at 7:00 p.m., a Humboldt County Correctional Officer on a routine security check within the jail’s housing unit found inmate Jose Fernandez-
Moreno
, a 46-year-old male, unconscious with a bed sheet
tied
around his neck, the HCSO reported.

jailCorrectional Officers and facility medical staff immediately began life saving efforts which resulted in successfully regaining a pulse.

Personnel from the Eureka Fire Department and City Ambulance responded and assisted in transporting Fernandez-Moreno to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was admitted.  Fernandez-Moreno was placed on life support after his condition worsened.

On Monday, March 11 at 6:23 p.m.,Fernandez-Moreno died as a result of his suicide attempt.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives are continuing their involvement in the investigation which has been turned over to the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.  An autopsy date is pending.

Fernando-Moreno was in custody on charges of:

  • Assault with Intent to Commit Rape
  • Rape by Force/Violence/Duress
  • Penetration by Foreign Object

His bail was set at $250,000. Fernandez-Moreno was also being held on a detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the HCSO reported.

* * * * * * * *

suicide jailThis is the second successful jail suicide to happen in the last month or two. 

We’re hearing cell checks by jail staff occur once or twice an hour.  That is woefully insufficient given the myriad of mental health problems that prevail in this select population.

Perhaps it’s time to increase the frequency of cell checks to prevent further fatal incidents from occurring in the future, because what’s happening now isn’t working.

 

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Eureka, LocalComments (1)

Mystery Surrounds Suspicious Centerville Beach Death

 

Strange Event Just Got Stranger

–Updated Below–

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

First we have the HCSO report today:

 
On January 20 at approximately 8 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office was called by a citizen who reported a male possibly deceased located at Centerville Beach near Ferndale.

centerville cliffsA deputy and medical was dispatched to the scene approximately 1/2 mile south of the parking lot.  When the deputy arrived he saw a male located in the area described between the cliffs and the water line.  Medical and the deputy determined the male was deceased.

Sheriff’s Detectives and the Coroners Office were summoned to the scene to investigate the death.  The death is determined suspicious at this time.  The identity of the deceased has not been confirmed.  Sheriff’s Detectives are requesting the public’s help with this case.

The vehicle described:  Blue with Tan Trim, Eddie Bauer 2000 Ford Explorer, with California Plates.

centerville beachDeceased male described: White male, late 40’s , wearing sweat pants, a sweat shirt, two scarf’s, a beanie and a hoodie.

Anyone who may have seen this man at Centerville Beach or has any information regarding this case is requested to call Detective Rich Schlesiger at 1-707-268-3642 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

The investigation is ongoing and further information may be released in the future.

 sealsSo who was this individual whose body was found just below the steep cliffs of the now-defunct Centerville Naval Facility?  Did he commit suicide or was he murdered?  

This is where it takes a turn for the truly strange.

Kym Kemp fills us in on the rest of the bizarre story with her link here:  “Centerville Beach Body Identified as Man Outed for Pretending to be Navy Seal”

And the Times-Standard link by Luke Ramseth:  “Man Found Dead at Centerville Beach was Navy SEAL Impostor; Officials say Densmore Likely in Humboldt for Several Days”

 

UPDATE, JANUARY 29, 2013The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reported the following brief information today:

On 01-29-2013 an autopsy was conducted on Ike Densmore.  The medical examiner concluded that Densmores death was self inflicted by a gunshot wound.

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(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in LocalComments (1)

Deceased Man Found at South Jetty

 

Circumstances of Death Remain a Mystery

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A man was found dead at the South Jetty around 7:30 a.m. yesterday.

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office says the adult male
was found by a passerby on a quad vehicle, just above the
surf-line near the parking lot area.  They believe the body
is someone who’s been filed with police as missing out of
Rio Dell since December 1.

Deputy Coroner Roy Horton responded to the scene Tuesday and has positively identified the man.

“There are no injuries that appear to have caused the man’s death,” Horton said.

Horton said the man was discovered by a citizen on an ATV, who was gathering firewood on the beach.  The driver of the ATV reported seeing the man alive last night, according to Horton.

The Coroner’s Office is investigating how the body got there.
 
Investigating officials say there is a question of how the body got to this location on the South Jetty.  They report there was no vehicle associated with him at the scene.

They also indicate the condition of his body is not reflective of having been in the water for any long period of time, considering how long he’s been missing.  The body had some unexplained minor lacerations.

A witness told the Coroner’s office he was at the same Jetty location on Monday and the body wasn’t there;  it appeared within 24 hours later, he said.

Horton said the identity of the deceased man will be released after the next of kin are contacted.

The KIEM-TV news report is here.

UPDATE:  The Coroner has identified the man as Judson Isaiah Nolan, 41, of Rio Dell.  There were no injuries found for his death.  The Coroner added it’s likely Nolan hitchhiked or got a ride to the area.

 (Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Eel River Valley, LocalComments (0)

Del Norte County in Shock Over Bailiff’s Death

Friends and Colleagues Mourn One of Their Own

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Friends and colleagues were stunned to learn one of their municipal employees had fatally shot himself inside the Del Norte County Courthouse Sunday.

The Del Norte Sheriff’s Office is still investigating what happened following the apparent suicide of one of its bailiffs.  Little information has been released.  The Del Norte Triplicate news has yet to report any details about the fatal shooting that occurred inside the normally secure courthouse.

Del Norte County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Bill Steven said 45-year-old Deputy Bailiff Harold Esparza was off-duty when he entered the County Courthouse on Sunday, September 23.  Mr. Esparza proceeded to one of the courtroom holding cells, and there, apparently shot himself in the head.

No foul play was involved, and the Del Norte County Coroner has ruled Esparza’s death to be a suicide.   An autopsy is scheduled for today.

The Del Norte Sheriff’s Office said Mr. Esparza had given no note, warning, or outward signs of distress prior to his death.

It came as a complete surprise to many.  A married father with children, Mr. Esparza was well liked in the community.

Growing up in Crescent City and attending high school there, Esparza participated in many community events over the years.  He was a 20-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department and served with the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department and the Search and Rescue team.  Always willing to lend a helpful hand or friendly ear, Esparza assisted many in the community and to those in law enforcement.

Steven called deputy Esparza “a good guy.” 

“Harold Esparza was a great deputy, but an even greater man,” said Steven. “He was very popular and well-liked by all who knew him and worked with him.”

Other mourning community residents echoed that sentiment.

“He was a very valued member of our agency and our department,” said Sheriff Dean Wilson. “He had lots of friends inside the department and in the community for which he served.”

“He was probably the nicest guy I have ever known. He was one of those guys who would do anything you asked of him,” said Fire Chief Steve Wakefield. “He is going to be sorely missed by this agency and the community he served.”

Cmdr. Steven said Esparza may have killed himself due to “a combination of stress” and other undisclosed issues.

Depression and suicide are more prevalent in law enforcement than most other professions due to a combination of factors.

Last year, 177 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty while 143 committed suicide, according to the Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention website.

Few law enforcement departments have suicide prevention policies in place– only about 2%, according to one study.  Consequently, potentially despondent officers may be reluctant to seek help without such policies offering job protection, support, counseling and guidance.

Services for Mr. Esparza are scheduled Friday morning, September 28,  at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Crescent City.

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