3503– Saturday, September 28, 2019 — The Story of Little Red Riding Hood:  AKA: Autumn, Part 2

hoodie in cemetary

The years before high school went by pretty fast for Autumn and her mother.  They were not without problems.  Autumn caught shoplifting.  Autumn suspended from junior high school for truancy.  Autumn caught with 20-year-old boyfriend in bed.  Autumn doing pot and possibly some ecstasy.  Autumn running away from home.  Autumn and her mother constantly fighting.  Autumn understood that she was on a slippery slope and it seemed to all head downhill.

However, she told herself that when she turned 14 and started high school that things would be really different.  She would find a nice guy to love and they would plan a life together after high school.  In addition to her dreams, it came as a happy surprise for Autumn when her mom and dad got back together again.  Her father and brothers moved back in with Autumn and her mom.  Autumn took these events as auspicious signs that things were already starting to look up.

Within the next year, Autumn started 9th grade at the local high school.  Her brothers were in the 11th and 12th grades respectively.  Autumn wasted little time in finding a new boyfriend, but they quickly parted when it seemed that all he wanted was sex and Autumn wanted more than just sex.  Autumn was quite happy to provide some of what the boy wanted but in exchange she expected to be treated as a girlfriend and not just some bimbo.

Autumn found another boyfriend and then another boyfriend.  One boyfriend followed another faster than she could count, and her relationships always followed the same pattern.  A date, sex, more sex, being taken for granted and then breaking up.  Autumn was only 14 but within months of starting high school she had acquired a reputation as an easy girl who would put out on the first date.  The more her reputation as a harlot grew, the worse her relationships with others at the school became.  The boys all gave her funny looks and smirks as she passed them in the hallways, but it was the girls that proved her real problem.

The girls at school would gossip behind her back and she would actually find comments about herself in the bathroom stalls.  Comments like “For a quick fuck, call Autumn at 520-238-6123.”  Groups of girls talking would point to her and laugh and then grow silent and snicker when she walked by.  Autumn felt that she had become a laughing stock in school and that none of the other girls wanted or dared to associate with her.  Her life grew lonelier and more and more bleak.

At home, Autumn noticed her once loving brothers becoming more and more distant.  One day she summoned up her courage and asked them what was wrong.  They told her in no uncertain terms that she was the laughing stock of the school and that all their friends made sexual comments about her.  They wanted noting to do with Autumn and they were both ashamed that she was their sister. “Keep away from us” were their parting comments.

The school year eventually ended.  The hopes for love and happiness that Autumn cherished had evaporated like a puddle of water on a hot summer day in Texas.  Autumn kept to herself most of the summer months before the next school year.  Her mother and father were both to busy working to deal with her problems and assumed it was just teenage angst and that she would grow out of it.  Autumn dreaded the coming of school but tried to convince herself that a great guy must be out there some place if she could only find him.

The new school year started.  Autumn was 15 years old and a sophomore.  Within the first two weeks of school she met a good-looking guy who was a senior and he asked her out on a date.  He seemed really nice.  He took her to dinner and a movie and even bought her flowers.  They went out on a few other dates before he wanted to go to bed with her.  She began to think that she had found true love.

The girls at school still avoided Autumn.  Comments about Autumn would still appear in the girls’ bathrooms.   Many of the boys would make insulting remarks as she walked by.  Autumn did not care though.  She finally felt that she had found the love and acceptance that she had always dreamed of.

Autumn had been going out with her new beau for several weeks when he picked her up one Friday night and took her to his house.  They had had sex there several times when his parents were not home and she did not think anything about it.  However, tonight he seemed somewhat nervous and anxious and not his usual upbeat self.  Probably just some school related problems thought Autumn.  They arrived at his house and he promptly took her into to his bedroom and shut the door.

He had undressed Autumn and they had started to make love when with a loud bang the door to the bedroom opened and one of his friends yelled out “My turn!”  Autumn’s boyfriend jumped out of bed as Autumn asked what was going on?  “Well, I told some of my friends how good you were in bed and I did not think that you would mind screwing them as well.”  As the new boy pushed Autumn back down and took his turn, Autumn said nothing.  She did not scream.  She did not yell rape.  She did not say stop, no, don’t or get off of me.  As one after another of her boyfriend’s buddies took advantage of Autumn, she quietly laid there and said nothing.

When the assaults had ceased and all of the boys had left for parts unknown, Autumn put on her clothes and said: “Take me home.”  No other words were spoken as her boyfriend drove her home and Autumn got out of his car and went into her house.  It was the worst day of Autumn’s short life and it did not seem like life could get any worse.  Autumn climbed into her bed.  The next two days went by in a sort of haze.  Her cellphone went off dozens if not hundreds of times, but she ignored it.

Monday started another day of hell at school for Autumn.  Walking around it seemed like everyone knew her secret.  The secret being that on Friday, she had been gang-banged by as many as five or six seniors at the high school.  How could everyone know though?  Word could not possibly have spread that fast.  Autumn received more phone calls and text messages but continued to ignore them.  Autumn could not wait for the end of the school day.  It seemed like forever before school the bell signaling the end of the school day sounded.  Autumn walked home alone.

When Autumn arrived home, both her brothers were still out, and her father and mother were most likely at work.  Autumn went up to her room, shut the door and logged onto her computer.  She signed into her Facebook account and nearly passed out at what she saw on her home page.  There in the middle of the page was a picture that had been shared more than 300 times.  It was a picture of Autumn nude in bed with a young man situated somewhere between her splayed legs.  You could only see the boys back, but it was clear from his position that he had inserted something into Autumn.  The expression on Autumn’s face was dull and lifeless but not panicked or frightened.  Autumn now remembered that while some boys were having sex with her, others had been taking pictures on their cell phones.  She realized what must be on the hundreds of text messages that she had been ignoring.

The was the final straw.  Autumn could not, indeed would not take any more.  She got up off the bed and went downstairs to her mom’s bathroom.  She rummaged through the medicine cabinet until she found what she wanted.  At this point, she turned the water on in the bathtub and started to disrobe.  When she was fully undressed, she stepped into the tub and laid down.  She opened the vial containing her mom’s sleeping pills.  She counted only twenty inside.  She was not sure if that was enough to do the job, but she was not going to rely on pills anyway.  The pills would at best make her drowsy and the razor blade would do the rest.  She was determined not to screw this up.  She swallowed all the pills sipping some of the tub water to wash them down.   It took a few minutes, but she began to feel drowsy.  At this point, she took the razor blade and slashed both of her wrists several times.  Autumn then put her hands in the warm water and laid her head back to sleep.

About three hours or so later, her mom and two brothers all arrived home at the same time.  Mom headed into the downstairs bathroom and the two boys went upstairs to their bedrooms.  As her mother entered the bathroom, she immediately noticed a tub full of red water and Autumn laying asleep in the tub.  What, her mom thought is Autumn doing laying in a tub of red water?  Suddenly her mind filled with a single dreadful thought.  She grabbed Autumn by the shoulders and shook her violently, but Autumn would not wake up.  Her mom let out a series of screams which brought both sons running.  The oldest son looked at his mom and the bathtub and bolted for a phone to call 911.  The youngest son grabbed his mom and tried to question her over her screams.  “Mom, Mom, is Autumn dead” he asked.  “No, no, no, it can’t be, it can’t be,” she said.  When 911 came, they told Autumn’s mother and brothers that they were sorry but that there was nothing they could do.  Autumn had been dead for at least two hours.

Funeral preparations started in a few days.  Autumn’s mom and grandmother were discussing arrangements when grandmother suggested that Autumn be buried next to her grandfather in the cemetery.  Something snapped in mom and she grabbed grandmother and violently shook her while yelling “Not near that Son of a Bitch, not near that Son of a Bitch.”  Both women’s eyes locked onto each other’s and both accepted what each had known for a long time.  They had suspected and then known but neither had wanted to admit it.  Looking into each other’s eyes, the truth became clear.  They folded into one big hug and began crying and crying and crying.

A week or so later they held the funeral for Autumn.  The interment was conducted at a cemetery across town from where grandfather was laid to rest.  Autumn’s mother, grandmother, both brothers, father and many other relatives attended.  To the family’s great surprise, hundreds of other people showed up for the burial.  Most of them from Autumn’s high school.  Some showed up out of curiosity, a few out of grief for a lost comrade but many showed up out of guilt and shame.

Autumn’s mother had insisted on writing the script for the gravestone marker in a somewhat unusual manner.  No last name for Autumn and no date of birth.  Only the month that Autumn was born in.  The marker read:

AutumnAutumn gravemarker

October

15 years Old

A Troubled Soul

May she rest in peace now

 

One week after she was buried, her mother went to visit Autumn’s grave-site by herself.  She brought Autumn’s favorite little red hoodie with her.  She stood looking at Autumn’s grave for several minutes, but she could no longer shed any tears.  It was like there was no moisture left in her entire body.  As she draped Autumn’s little red hoodie over the gravestone, she whispered two words before turning to leave: “I’m sorry.”

 

3535– Tuesday, August 27, 2019 — Four Young Boys Growing Up in America, Part 2

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Twenty years have gone by since we have left our four young men.  They have now each reached their 32nd year of life.  Not one of them will see their 33rd year of life. 

Whitaker had achieved everything his parents had wanted him to.  He had gone to college, taken over the family business, got married to a beautiful young debutante and now had two young children.  The oldest, a girl, was nine years old and a boy seven years old.  Whitaker loved his wife and children very much.  Like his parents, Whitaker joined the prestigious country club and was head of the planning committee for events.  

The investment business was going very well, and his many clients were always pleased with the way that that their accounts were growing.  Whitaker seemed to have a magic touch.  Everything that was bronze or copper, he could turn into silver or gold.  His family life was also picture perfect.  Two very well-mannered children and a stay at home wife who alternated time between home and working on various local committees to help the less fortunate in the community.   

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in May.  Apple blossoms were blooming, his wife was planning a dinner that evening with some club friends and his kids had their usual Saturday morning league sports.  Whitaker had breakfast with his family and kissed each of them goodbye.  He took his golf bag and left for the country club.  There was some business to attend to with the planning committee he told everyone and if he had enough time, he might get in a round of golf. 

manual safety

Whitaker arrived at the club around 9 AM.  He greeted some friends upon arrival and then went up to an office that he kept in a private room at the club.  He entered the office and locked the door.  He walked over to his desk and sat down.  From a locked drawer in his desk, he removed a Ruger 9 mm automatic pistol.  He looked at it for a minute as though undecided but finally he flicked the safety off.   Whitaker put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  He died instantly.  Club members hearing the loud report rushed up to the room.  They had to batter the door down and when they entered, they found Whitaker slumped over his desk and quite dead. 

Jamal was heading to the country club about the time that Whitaker decided to depart this life.  Jamal had gone to college and obtained a law degree.  He had married the woman of his dreams and now had a set of five-year-old twin girls.  Jamal was a brilliant orator and could remember facts and figures that would astonish his listeners.  His law firm had prospered, and he now had two partners and more clients than even they could handle. 

Jamal had moved from the inner city to a well-manicured upscale home in the elite section of town.  He had a swimming pool, jacuzzi, a three-car garage and two large stone fireplaces.  Although never much of an athlete, he had taken up golf and joined the most prestigious country club in the city. 

This Saturday morning, he had packed his bags in an old beater car that he kept, kissed his wife and kids goodbye and headed off for a round of golf at the country club.  Despite having a Porsche, he always felt more comfortable in the old beater.  He told himself that driving it would keep him humble and help him to remember where he had come from.  He did not want to have his newfound wealth and status go to his head. 

As he headed to the country club through the expensive homes and gardens that dominated this area of town, he soon noticed a police car following closely behind him.  Then, the lights started swirling and the sirens started blaring.  “Pull over” a voice from the police car demanded.   Jamal pulled to the curb as did the police car.  A uniformed officer came over to Jamal and asked him what he was doing in this area.  Jamal still unperturbed, replied that he was going to play golf at the country club. 

The officer had received word of a shooting at the club and seeing a black man in an old car driving through this area had raised his suspicions.  “Step out of the car please,” he asked.  This was a little too much now for Jamal.  “Sir, I am a lawyer and I belong to the local country club.  What do I need to step out for?”  “Because I told you to sir,” replied the officer. 

Jamal had not been treated this way in a long time.  He was now feeling pretty angry, not to mention the potential embarrassment at being put up against his car within one mile of his country club.   Jamal spoke “I am not getting out of this car.”  The officer now quite irritated, unbuckled and drew his 10 mm Glock.  “Get out of the car, right now,” the officer demanded.

glock

Jamal swung the car door open, stepped out and started to walk away.  The officer shouted “Stop, Stop, Stop.”  Jamal either not hearing or not caring continued on walking down the street.   Suddenly, three loud blasts echoed throughout the neighborhood as the officer pulled the trigger of his pistol three times.  Each shot hit Jamal squarely in the back.  The first shot was enough though since it went through Jamal’s scapula, then his heart and lodged against a rib.  The next two shots were superfluous as Jamal was already dead when he hit the ground.  

Robert was fed up with life.  Nothing had gone right for him.  He had flunked out of high school and then got kicked out of the Army because of some asshole with more stripes than he had.  He had got married and had three children.  He came home early one day from a construction job and found his wife in bed with his best friend.  She took the kids and left.  Truth be told, he did not really give a dam.  His wife was an asshole, his best friend was a jerk and his kids were a pain in the butt. 

Things were looking up though.  It was Saturday.  The weather was fine, and he had the day off from his new job at the nearby cement plant.  The outdoor rifle range had opened.  Robert had bought a new rifle and was excited about taking it to the range and trying it out.  It was a Kel-Tec RDB 5.56 Bullpup.  Robert had purchased an optional fifty round magazine and one thousand rounds of ammunition.  He thought it would be more than enough ammo for a fun morning at the firing range. 

Robert arrived at the range and found that all twenty-four firing lanes were already occupied.  He looked around for the Range Master to see if he might have any idea when a lane would be opened.  It was a new Range Master, whom Robert did not know.  He was surly and brusque and replied that he did not have the slightest idea when a firing lane would open.  His manner really pissed Robert off.  Robert told him “I have been a member of this range for ten years; you should be more respectful to members.”  The Range Master laughed and told Robert that as far as he was concerned, he could take his business elsewhere. 

Something snapped at that moment in Robert.  Everywhere he turned, people treated him with disrespect and like he was dirt.  This was the final straw.  He would show the world that he was somebody and that no one could push him around.  Robert packed up his rifle and ammo and left.  He had made a decision that would change his life forever.

bullpup

Robert drove to the large indoor shopping mall just a few miles from where he lived.  He knew it would be packed on a Saturday morning.  He arrived and parked in a handicapped parking lot.  “Fuck, them too” he thought as he walked away and left the keys in the car.  He entered the mall through a side door and proceeded to take an escalator to the top floor.  Upon getting up to the second level, he took the gun off of his shoulder and surveyed the tableau in front of him.  Lots of kids with their moms.  Mothers pushing strollers.  Fathers walking holding their young children.  Teenagers hanging out with their friends and their ever-present cell phones.  “Fuck them all,” reflected Robert as he aimed his rifle at a nearby couple on the first floor and started pulling the trigger.

As soon as the first shots rang out, pandemonium reined.  Parents screamed and kids were running everywhere.  Robert kept aiming and firing, rather heedless of whom he was firing at.  Fortunately, security guards were close to where Robert sat and seeing him, they quickly opened fire.  Robert had already killed six people and wounded at least twenty-five others.  He knew his time was up, but he reflected, he would go out on his own terms.  He put the Bullpup under his chin and pulled the trigger.  The rifle blew the top of his skull off and Robert died instantly. 

Jack woke up this beautiful Saturday morning thinking how wonderful life was.  He had a great wife and a young five-year-old son.  His career since finishing college had gone very well.  He worked for a successful computer firm and had recently been promoted to a district manager position.  He lived in a nice house in a modest suburban neighborhood, not far from where he had grown up. 

He was making a list of chores to do this Saturday when his wife asked him if he could run a few errands for her.  She had the job of doing the Sunday fellowship snacks for their local church and was going to be busy doing some baking this day.  Would Jack get some more sugar and eggs at the local grocery store?  “Sure” Jack said.  He started to get his keys when his young son began to shout “Daddy, daddy, can I go with you.”  “Of course,” replied Jack. “Get your coat and let’s go.”

They climbed in the car and drove to the supermarket where Jack quickly found the sugar and eggs and some other food items.  Upon heading back to the car, Jack told his son: “Lets go to the mall and we will find a nice birthday gift for your mom since her birthday is next week.  You can help me to pick it out.”  His young son thought that was a fun idea and both dad and son headed for the nearby mall.

Upon arriving at the mall, they walked down a large open aisle looking in store windows along the way.  Jack requested his son to keep his eyes open for something that he thought his mom would like.   A loud sound like thunder broke the thoughts going through Jacks’ head.  Jack quickly realized that the echoing sounds were the sounds of gunfire.  He pushed his young son down on the floor and threw his body over his son. 

556

That was the last effort that Jack ever took in this life.  A 5.56 caliber bullet entered Jack’s front chest and penetrated his heart.  His young son felt the life go out of his father and started crying.  When the medics arrived, Jack had been dead for ten minutes. 

  • More than 38,000 men, women, and children are killed with guns each year in the United States.
  • Over 85,000 people are injured every year.
  • More than half of all gun deaths are suicides.
  • Among high-income countries, the United States accounts for 80 percent of all gun deaths in the world, 86 percent of all women killed by guns, and 87 percent of all children younger than 14 who are killed by guns.

  Giffords-Stats-Page-Breakdown

 

Autobiographies from the Dead – Josh the Teenager

Each semester the Graphics Multi-Media Students select a global issue that is meaningful to them and then create a logo and infographic about their issue.

Each semester the Graphics Multi-Media Students select a global issue that is meaningful to them and then create a logo and infographic about their issue.

For the next several weeks, my blogs are going to consist of “autobiographies” written by some very special people.  They have one thing in common.  They are all dead.  Some have a burial place and some were simply discarded like pieces of trash.  Their stories will be told by the deceased themselves.  They cry out from the fields, rivers and graveyards to speak.  I have heard their cries.  They want me to tell their stories to you.  They want you to know what their living and dying was for.  This week, Josh will tell you the story of his life and death.

Josh the Teenager

teen suicide by hangingThey are sorry now!  They are all weeping and crying.  They care more about me now that I am dead then they did when I was alive.  All I ever heard from Mom was her telling her friends how handsome I was and what I good student I was.  Bullshit!  The only time Dad ever talked to me was to tell me how well Robert (my brother) was doing in law school and why couldn’t I be more like him.

Robert was a real suck-up.  He is 21 years old and is forever gloating about his accomplishments in school and in sports.  The big shot was our high school football hero.  Dad spent all his time with him and never had any left over for me.  Robert was a four letter athlete and was in every league in town.  If he wasn’t getting A’s in school, he was getting medals and trophies for his athletic exploits.  I hated him.

I also have a sister Maria who is fourteen years old and the most popular girl in the high school.  That’s because she goes to bed with anyone who has a zipper in their pants, girls as well as boys.  Mom and dad think she is an angel.  She is the biggest slut in school.  My friends are forever making fun of me about her.  Like: “When can I come over and screw your sister?”

My father works for an investment firm as some kind of an analyst.  He makes good money but is always busy.  He probably invented multi-tasking and 24/7 work.  Anytime, I ever suggested doing anything together, his standard reply was:  “Great idea.  Let’s hold it for a while until I catch up on my accounts.”  I have been holding it for seventeen years and still waiting.  He can go to hell.  I hate him also.

My mom was some sort of a medical worker in the local hospital.  She did not like to cook or clean so we went out to eat a lot.  Twice a week, we had a housekeeper come in to do our laundry and straighten up the house.  Mom spent a lot of time at Robert’s ball games.  She also spent a lot of time shopping with Maria.  My mom liked to spent money on clothes and sometimes I could not decide whether Maria was the teenager or my mother was the teenager.  My friends all said that my mom was one hot MILF.

teen_suicide girl thinking about it.I am seventeen years old and a junior in high school.  I have a Facebook page and do lots of on-line stuff.  I hate school and I hate my teachers.  I hate most of the kids in school.  The majority of them are either jerks or snobs.  I don’t belong to any groups and I mostly hang around with one or two friends.  My father wanted me to play sports but I knew I could never be as good as my brother so why bother.  The teachers at my school treated me like I did not exist.  I was a B student and I can’t say I really excelled at anything.  Most of the time, I felt like a born loser.

I often thought of making a big name for myself by blowing up the school or maybe killing both of my parents and my sister and brother but I decided against it.  Not that I did not think they were good ideas but what if I screwed up?  My father was forever telling me what a screw up I was.  What if I screwed up my high school massacre?  What if I botched killing my entire family?  That would prove what a screw up I really was.  I decided that I could not risk it.  Safer to simply kill myself!

cd206d692c9e7c516d212dee1a3e-do-you-think-social-network-site-are-responsible-for-teen-suicide-and-cyberbullyI thought of shooting myself but that would be too messy.  I thought of jumping off a high bridge but that might not be fatal.  I had heard of too many people who had survived such falls.  I finally decided to hang myself.  I would hang myself in the closet at home.  That would be great.  They might not find me for a few days and they would be worried sick.  That would serve them all.

Anyway, I could be pretty sure if I killed myself at home mom and dad would be the ones to find me.  And sure enough they did.  The look on my mom and dad’s eyes was priceless.   There I was swinging from the clothes hook suspended by a leather belt which I had wrapped around my neck.  I had stood on a small step stool and kicked it far away so that I could have no second thoughts.  It was much less painful than I had imagined.  A few choking breaths, a feeling of swelling in my head and that was it.  Lights out!  I think I must have died about ten minutes after I kicked the stool away.

teen knife slashingI am hanging with my tongue and eyes bulging out.  My face is quite red and swollen.  I look rather pitiful.  There is a pool of piss on the floor under me and an awful smell coming from my pants. I suppose I shit myself when I died.  I am glad.  They deserve it.  I hope they are really sorry now for the way that they treated me.  I just wanted them to like me for who I was.  But no, I was never good enough.

It seems like our society is full of heroes and idols and celebrities and athletes and rich people and music stars and famous politicians.  I was a B person in an A society.  Nobody cared about me.  Nobody gives a damn about B people.  Not my mother, father, sister, brother or teachers.  I was not popular or smart or athletic enough to get the girls like the A guys got. The only girls that were interested in me were the losers like I was.  I went out with one girl once and that was my last date in high school.  We kissed a little but she got all agitated when I put my hand on her tit.  She asked me to take her home.  I was a loser with girls as well.

Well, now they will all be sorry.  Screw them.  I don’t care.  They had it coming.  I finally feel like somebody cares about me.  It only took my death before I really mattered to anyone.  I look forward to visiting my funeral service.  That should be funny.  I can imagine all the good things that they will say about me.  At last they will all be able to spend some time with me, even though I am now dead.

I am going to go look for God now.  I would like to ask Her why I was such a loser.  How come I did not get the brains or skills or something that would have made me stand out and be noticed?  Why was life so unfair to me when everyone around me seemed to get some sort of special treatment?   Maybe God will be able to tell me why I was a loser.

Time for Questions:

Can we spot potential teenage suicides?  Are we taking neglecting our teens?  What do we have to do to help decrease teenage suicides?  How does our culture contribute to the problem?

Life is just beginning.

Suicide (i.e., taking one’s own life) is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year. The top three methods used in suicides of young people include firearm (45%), suffocation (40%), and poisoning (8%).

suicide warningsDeaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem. More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the United States (U.S.) found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.

Suicide affects all youth, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males and 19% were females. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys. Cultural variations in suicide rates also exist, with Native American/Alaskan Native youth having the highest rates of suicide-related fatalities. A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the U.S. found Hispanic youth were more likely to report attempting suicide than their black and white, non-Hispanic peers.  (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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