Thursday, February 18, 2010

Does It Matter to You?

The world around us is becoming de-sensitized. Can you tell? Satan is so subtle. It starts with with something innocuous and builds. I can't say exactly where it started, but here's where we are:

I just read the following story in a newsletter that I subscribe to:

On Tuesday afternoon, a man crawled out of an apartment window. He stood on the ledge above the Forever 21 store at Powell St. near the cable car turnaround and, eventually, he jumped. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

But this is only part of the story. According to the SF Examiner, a large crowd watched as the man contemplated his demise. Some people tweeted about it. Even more horrifying, others encouraged him to jump, said passerby Terence Prasad, of San Francisco. (**The Chronicle and SFGate elected not to report on the suicide)

Online commenters who say they witnessed the incident paint a similarly disturbing picture. They describe the callous reaction and behavior of bystanders. At the same time, posters expressed with startling honesty the trauma of seeing the suicide while offering an outpouring of empathy, perhaps making up for the sickening lack of humanity yesterday and reminding us there are still many good, decent people out there.

Below are excerpts of posts from the Examiner, Flickr, Yelp and Facebook:

Wilfred Galila (SF Examiner)

I watched this man standing on the ledge a few moments before he jumped. He was thinking and hesistating (sic). I exclaimed that I hope that man is not going to jump and a lady replied that if he really wants to do it, he should already have done it. It is very disturbing then to learn that there were people who did encourage him to jump. Society has become so desensitized and human life reduced to an amusement and a spectacle.

jchuckp (SF Examiner)

... I was so disgusted at the severe lack of respect shown by so many in the crowd. All of the people who were encouraging him to jump.....may your souls burn for all eternity.

Jon Barnhardt (SF Examiner)

The fact that I saw people in the crowd laughing less than 10 seconds after the man's death may be more disturbing than actually watching him die. May he rest in peace.

Robert Kolbe (SF Examiner)

I walked by just as the police were covering him up. I asked a couple what had happened and the man responded yes -- laughingly. I asked him if he thought it was funny. He then gave me a kind of funny look and didn't say anything. How very sad this man died this way. People, please be nice to each other.

c. (SF Examiner)

i was there and im traumatized. the guys next to me were laughing telling him to jump and videotaping the whole thing. i'm still young and in high school and this is gunna stick with me for the rest of my life. there was a total lack of respect for the poor man and people were laughing when he jumped.

Kittie K. (Yelp)

Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for the victim/his family, tons of people were snapping pics and video and blocked me from seeing it despite being just a few feet from the body as I exited the store.

Mooncricket Films (Flickr):
This person claims to have filmed the incident and wants to use the footage for a larger project on suicide and suicide prevention.

I'm teaming up with @andresra to present this story in an ethical and educational way. Andres and I are researching the incident, from speaking with other witnesses like myself to interviewing the victims neighbors. We're also requesting an interview with the SF Suicide Prevention Clinic to participate in this journalism project. This is necessary, the statistics are a morbid reality, suicide can be prevented and as a filmmaker I must do my part.

Nick.Fisher (Flickr)

I debated for the rest of the day on whether to post this at all. But I feel that it shouldn't go unnoticed. It should be reminder to everyone, including myself, that we need to be more considerate and aware of the suffering of our fellow humans. That maybe, if one person had screamed "don't do it!" this man would be alive right now.

Aaron Anderson (Facebook) posted an aerial shot of the crowd and the building on his Facebook page and included this poignant message:

Dear friends - literally, this just happened outside my office building. Promise me - you will come and have a cup of coffee or gelato with me before you do something this drastic. There's no need for tragedy in a world filed with grief. We can get you help.

Read more: HERE

If you read this story, and it didn't bother you, I pray that you'll stop for just a moment and ask the creator to give you back a sense of the sanctity of life, because this is truly a sad commentary about our society today. I partially believe this is occurring as a result of television, movies and video games. The amount of violence and death that children and young people watch (and in the case of video games, take part in) is astounding. When I was growing up, well, and really, even now, I had a serious case of getting ill whenever I saw blood, gore, death or anything similar to that.

What has happened to us as a people that we have lost our ability to feel bad about another human being's misery, loss, pain, or suffering unless it's someone close to us? Well, in addition to violence, gore and death on tv, in movies and video games, I think that Darwin's theory of evolution, the abortion movement and people's lack of knowledge about the one true God are the other elements contributing to this.

Evolution de-values human life to the point that we came from a big bang out in space. Do you really believe that the organization, intricacy, complexity and beauty of life around you came out of chaos?

There have been approximately 52 million abortions performed in the US since Roe v. Wade legalized it. Having gotten pregnant at age 42 with an unwanted pregnancy (and to my shame, I admit that I considered having an abortion) I am not unaware of what a woman goes through when she finds herself expecting a baby when it's the last thing she expects, wants or needs. I think mankind is being very deceptive when it is perpetuated that life does not begin at conception. From experience, I know it's a way to cover your deeds or make things easier and I actually believe, for some, it's become a method of birth control.

God created the world, and everything in it, with love and a purpose...especially mankind, who are made in His image and were made to walk with Him, talk with Him and be loved by Him. We are loved by God so much and were paid for at a very high price ... we cost Him His son's life. Because we did not have the ability to keep the laws that God gave us, He had to provide another way to reconcile us to himself. Reconcile, you ask, what is that? Have you ever been at odds with a person, for any reason or an unknown reason, unable to communicate with them, unable to get past whatever you did or they did, or whatever was "perceived" to have been done? Maybe you or they just couldn't get past the hurt, or pride or (who knows what keeps us from being able to reach out and make things right and restore our relationships with others) whatever. That's where we were with God. Our failure to keep the law had separated us so far from Him that something had to be done to bring us back into relationship with Him. We had to be reconciled to Him. So, God, in His mercy and unfailing love, came to us, lived among us, loved us and died for us. Praise God for His grace and forgiveness.

I am thankful today that I hate blood and gore, that I can't stand the sight of blood and that I hate movies and tv that are filled with killing and I am so thankful that I have my ten year old son and that I don't have to wake up every morning thinking of how I ended his life.

I pray that today, as I leave my home, God will open my eyes to the pain and suffering around me and lead me in the way He wants me to go in showing His love, forgiveness and redemption that is available to all to those I meet today. I pray that for you, too.


  1. Great post, Mom. I gotta say, that is quite a disturbing story. Thankfully, there are people out there who share these sentiments. Because the ones who were laughing are seriously deranged.

  2. I forgot who said it, but someone opined recently on my blog that the "seat of satan" (at least in the U.S.) was in Marin county, just north of SFO. They said it in such a way as to suggest more than merely an opinion on politics and culture, but a deeper sense of how the forces of spiritual darkness are mobilizing.

    What I'm struck by most forcefully in this is NOT the hard-heartedness. (Although it is sickening, it is not unexpected; technology merely gives us a view into what many have had in their hearts all along).

    Rather, I'm saddened by the apparent LACK of just ONE man or woman bold enough to get down on his or her knees, pray to God and, in His sovereign power and mercy shout aloud to this man (and really mean it):

    "God loves you! He does not want this for you. He will get you through this pain if you will only let Him. Please, oh please, don't do this to yourself. Please stop and pray to him with me and see all the good that He wants for you?"

    Just imagine what such a scene might do -- not only for the man on the ledge, but for the callous, cackling crowd. One righteous man or one woman. It was enough to salt even Sodom for a season.