Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Doing It Wrong

I don't mean to make light of this with that headline, but I don't think this kid was serious, and I'll elaborate after the snippet:

One of the central figures in the 2007 Jena Six civil rights case never gave up pursuing his football career, even after his well-publicized run-ins with the law.

Mychal Bell, an 18-year-old high school running back, clung to the hope that he could earn a college football scholarship. Then came another legal scrape this Christmas Eve.

After news broke of his arrest on a shoplifting charge, Bell shot himself in the chest Monday with a .22-caliber handgun. He remained hospitalized Tuesday but police said his chest wound was not life-threatening.

"When it was broadcast that he was charged with shoplifting he just felt that the whole year had been wasted and that he had worked all of that time for nothing," said Louis Scott, who represented Bell in the case where Bell and five other black teenagers were charged in the 2006 beating of a white classmate.

Bell's grandmother, Rosie Simmons, and mother, Melissa Bell, told police that "Mychal had made comments over the past two days that, because of the current media attention he had because of the shoplifting arrest, he didn't feel like he could live anymore," Monroe Police Lt. Jeff Harris said, reading from a police report.

A lot of people threaten to commit suicide. A lot of people try and fail. Some try and succeed, but they are outnumbered by the two former. Usually, when you look at threatened and failed attempts, the thought that pops into your mind is, "they really thought that would work?" That's the vibe I get from this story.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have problems that need to be addressed. He clearly does. But deep down, I'll bet that he didn't really want to die. Those that really want to die are remarkably successful at it, and they tend not to give others the chance to save them. I hope his family gets him the help he needs, because despite his words, deep down I think this kid does want to live.

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