Fellow author (An Incident on MSR Tampa, Musa Publishing, March 2012), and Iraq war veteran SS Hampton Sr., is my guest today on my blog, “Unfiltered Speech in a Politically Correct World.” He addresses the urgency of suicide—not only among sufferers of PTSD, but a concern for the welfare of all.
-Karen Kennedy Samoranos
* * * * * *
Yes, I’m back. I’ve got a lot to rant about because there is a lot to rant about in this self-centered, media driven, justice for sale, and everything-for-those-with-money world, but I really don’t feel like ranting. More than anything, I will probably ramble a bit.
What is on my mind is suicide.
Death is a part of life; death comes for us all sooner or later. At the ripe old age of 59 I realize that more than ever. I believe Captain Picard said it best (paraphrased): “There are far more sunrises behind me than there are before me.”
Sometimes death comes quietly at the end of a long life, and sometimes death comes early before life really gets off to a start. Sometimes death arrives by accident, and sometimes death arrives courtesy of senseless evil. Sometimes death arrives through war.
But what bothers me most is when death arrives by suicide.
I will not bore you with statistics—after all, statistics are just numbers. Statistics can be applied to anything human, animal, or inanimate cans of corns.
No, I will instead ask you to put aside your daily concerns about twerking or what movie star cheated on her boyfriend to screw someone else or what so-called reality show is at the top of the Nielsens which means big money to TV networks and advertisers.
Then I will ask you to look left and right at the man, woman, or child next to you. Take a good look at them. Do they look okay? Someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, give them a call, and listen to their voice. Do they sound okay? Listen to yourself—our intuition or instinct is often stronger than we realize.
If something doesn’t feel right, take the time to visit with them. You may never know if you have made a difference, but there may be a time when you have.
I know that people kill themselves for different reasons. At that critical moment they may see no other alternative to their problems, or perhaps they feel the world is better off without them.
When a man deliberately steps in front of a bus, or a teenage girl hurls herself off of a building, or a Soldier is found dead after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, I see more than that lonely, critical moment of decision.
I see a ripple from the suicide spreading outward to touch family, relatives, and friends.
I see that ripple from suicide touching someone who will never know they might have met and fallen in love—except the one they might have fallen in love with, is no longer here.
I see someone who will never again share a laugh with friends over a beer or a dinner, who will never feel the warmth of a morning sun on their face, or never smell the scent of cleansing rain.
I see someone who will never again love or be loved.
I see someone who will never spend a lifetime with another.
I see a child or children who will never be born to loving parents, and bring so much joy into their lives.
I see grandchildren who will never be born, and bring so much joy into the lives of their grandparents.
I see a great void of “what might have been” when suicide is the final decision.
So, take a moment of your time, reach out to someone and ask, “Are you okay, my friend?”
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.
You will find the work of SS Hampton Sr. at the following links:
Amazon.com Author Page
Amazon.com. UK Author Page
Goodreads Author Page