Warning: Gross-out material ahead. None of this is particularly funny, just perversely morbid.
I’ve dealt with a lot of suicides in my 9 years as a police dispatcher and 911 calltaker.
The general rule is that callers who threaten suicide are not likely to actually do it. There are plenty of ways to kill yourself and if you are intent on actually going through with it then there is no reason to call anyone. I wouldn’t say that I look forward to talking to suicidal folks but I like helping people so suicidal callers serve that purpose. Over the years it’s gotten easier to pick things for people to live for.
I also believe suicide is the most selfish act possible. The victim’s “ending the agony” is often their family’s burden to deal with and feel guilty about for the rest of their lives. And someone has to clean up the mess – every time. Selfish, selfish, selfish, and cruel on top of it. I have very little time to weep for these folks but I do feel for the families.
All this being said, here are the top three suicides that occurred while I was working (I was there, these are absolutely true):
1. A man in his early 20’s or late teens killed his mother for reasons which now escape me. He left his dead mother and a note in their residence then drove to a popular coastal lookout point. He backed up to a large wooden post and parked. He then cut the seatbelt out of his car. He looped one end of the seatbelt around the post and fed the other end into the drivers side window car and looped it on his head. Then he hit the gas and the car took off. Soon the man’s head was ripped off of his shoulders and rolled into the bushes while his car continued until it hit a tree.
I have this vivid memory of going to a roller rink as a child. The snack bar offered liquid refreshment in the form of soda but also juice and lemonade which were dispensed from glass upside-down fish tank looking things that had a continuous stream of juice or lemonade running down the inside of the clear glass. We’d call this bug-juice. The victim’s car looked much like those bug-juice dispensers because, when the victim’s head came off, the blood sprayed out of his neck, hit the roof, and ran down the inside of all the closed windows.
I am impressed both by the uniqueness of this method and the fact that this guy saved the taxpayers from a lengthy trial and incarceration.
2. A depressed, intoxicated, and possibly homeless woman in her late 20’s went to a floor near the top of a hotel at which I used to work and jumped. While I worked at this hotel we had a few jumpers but this was the first one I had from the other side. What makes this woman special is that she took the plunge from the side of the building were the loading zone was located. She dove 16 stories and landed in a bucket of glue.
I cannot make this up.
Parked into the loading zone was a contractor’s pickup which had tools and a five gallon bucket of glue in the bed. The victim landed half on the bucket, spraying glue 15 feet up the side of the hotel, and half on the side rail of the bed, creating a nice u-shaped dent.
This woman gets points, even from the East German judge, for artistic merit.
3. This one is worthy of a Stephen King story and much more sad than the other two.
We got a call from the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant who wanted to report one of his employees as missing and possibly suicidal. The worker in question suffered from some sort of developmental disability and had been having a rough time. Before leaving on his lunch break he mentioned that maybe he should just kill himself. His coworkers did not think much of this statement, indeed did not mention it to the manager, until the victim failed to return from lunch.
We broadcast a locate message to all units in the area and soon dispatched officers to the restaurant to contact the manager and make the report. Before officers arrived we received a call from the manager who stated the employee was dead.
The employee had not left the premises during his lunch break but instead climbed into the industrial trash compacter located at the rear of the restaurant. There he waited. There was no way to operate the “compact” function from inside the compacter. This poor troubled soul sat in a stinky, dark, metal container listening to the echoes of his breathing and the beating of his heart and waited for a coworker to push the “compact” button. Shortly after the manager called us, another employee pushed that button. The second employee heard the screams and looked to see the victim’s legs in the compacter.
Three things immediately struck me about this call (it was definite an “oh shit” moment in the room):
a) imagine being the victim inside the compactor just before the button was pushed
b) imagine being the employee who has to live with pushing the button
c) imagine the shock of crime scene team officers who were processing the scene while the drive-thru was STILL OPEN AND SERVING CUSTOMERS.