Last week, former San Diego Charger and New
England Patriot Junior Seau, a future Hall of Famer, committed suicide.
Like former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, the 42-year-old Seau shot
himself in the chest. Last February, before shooting himself, Duerson
sent a text to several family members.
In the idyllic world of TV sitcoms,
bullying among school-age youth usually entails some name-calling and
maybe the exchange of a few punches. The problem is fixed within 30
minutes or an hour, usually with some sage words of wisdom dispensed by
an adult. Cue commercial. Bullying in the real world, however, isn’t so easily remedied.
Editors generally avoid news and images of local suicides, reflecting our awareness of historic religious stigma and communal sense of shame that can burden survivors. Exceptions generally involve suicides where lots of people see the act and/or body, as when someone jumps from a downtown building or hangs himself in a school gym. Taboos continue to affect our discussion of suicide as a way to end an intolerable life or unbearable physical or emotional pain. This is most intense when a young person commits suicide.