“Do they sit and think about it, or do they just do it?”

That was the question posed to myself and a fire officer on the scene of a recently deceased gentleman. It was apparent that he had died of his own hand.

His death was both obvious and tragic at the same time.

I was the first on scene, and had made the pronouncement. The officer from the engine came to the scene while the engine remained about 20 yards up the road, and together we secured the scene and covered the body. We were standing there with the responding police officer, who was awaiting the arrival of his detective before entering the scene.

“What do you mean?” asked the fire captain.

“I mean, do they sit there and think about it for a while, or do they just sit down and do it?”

We all stared up the driveway at the covered and lifeless body. We were all cognizant of the gathering neighbors, and could hear their muffled conversations. Aside from the crime scene tape and the covered body, our inaction seemed to make it clear of the outcome.

“That’s a good question. I don’t really know.”

“But why would he do it here? Where his neighbors can see it?”

“Maybe he didn’t want to do it in the house. Maybe he didn’t want to make his wife walk into their house knowing what happened in there?”

“Yeah, but he still did it there, know what I mean? It’s still in the same place.”

I noticed the chirping of several birds, and a woman walking a dog through the neighborhood. Life was going on, oblivious to the traumatic death that occurred only moments before, and just a few feet away.

“We’ll never know, I suppose” replied the officer.

The detective arrived on scene shortly, and took the requisite information from me for his report. The captain and I got into our respective vehicles, and went our separate ways, to be reunited again at a time and place unknown.

We left with many unanswered questions.


  1. Flash Larry says:

    I can’t even remember the number of suicides that I’ve attended – some of them gruesome, some incomplete (survived to the hospital but not to discharge), and it is very distressing.

    For the most part, it is a long battle with internal issues and maybe triggered by external ones.

    In a way, you never lose those memories and the sense of senseless loss even with respect to people you don’t know.

    What’s our duty? To listen to people and make the appropriate referrals when we hear people making statements about such things.

    Sad, sad.

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