1 : intending or wishing to commit suicide
2 : likely to lead to death, destruction, ruin, or very much against somebody’s best interest.
1 : The faculty or capacity of the mind for forming ideas; the exercise of this capacity; the act of the mind by which objects of sense are apprehended and retained as objects of thought.
Sick of trying – what’s the point
Sick of talking – no one listens
Sick of listening – it’s all lies
Sick of thinking – just end up confused
Sick of moving – never get nowhere
Sick of myself – don’t wanna live
Sick and tired – and no one cares
Sick of life – it sucks
Suicide is an alternative
Suicidal Tendencies – “Suicide is an Alternative”
(80’s punk rock/crossover band)
We’ve been standing in front of the house for maybe ten minutes and police cars keep arriving: plainclothes detectives, gang unit, even the brass – I’ve never seen this level of response to an active case. All of the officers on scene are quite emotional and that’s not normal for this group – they rarely get broken up on scene and they see some of the worst things humanity can dish out. Something is definitely wrong but no one is talking to us.
It’s nearing dusk and the fog has started to build in the city next to the water. All members of the light bar fraternity (Police, Fire, EMS) are represented here with their strobe lights cutting rays into the fog as the city gets colder from the encroaching marine layer.
Every type of call in EMS has a vibe and all of the responders seem to pick up on the collective unconscious signals. Some are humorous to the responders – like when a gang banger shoots himself in the groin while stuffing his Glock-19 into his pants. Some are all business – like when a child is having a severe asthma exacerbation. Some are just sad – like when an elderly person dies in their sleep. Yet this is a vibe I’ve never felt before – I just can’t quite put my finger on what’s going on and the officers aren’t talking to us or letting us into the house. They just talk quietly on radios and phones as more police cruisers keep arriving.
Another five minutes and an officer comes out of the house – I can’t even count how many stripes he has on his sleeve but it’s obvious this is his crime scene. He’s emotional but he’s stuffed it down into the closed recesses of his mind so that his professional side can run the show. He’s all business as he fills us in.
“Thanks for standing by so long. We had to do a thorough search of the residence before letting anyone inside. We’ve got a fifty-two year old male in the garage; apparent suicide, GSW to the head. It’s obvious he’s dead but I need you to pronounce so we can get on with the investigation. When you go inside don’t touch anything – just get in, pronounce, and get out. It looks like he fell on the gun and we can’t get to it so don’t move the body at all; he may still have a finger on the trigger. And guys, one more thing – he’s one of us.”
My heart just dropped into my stomach and I’m having a hard time breathing. Now the collective vibe of the scene is hitting me full force – an officer just committed suicide.
I follow the officer with all the stripes on his sleeve through the back door of the garage, carrying just the ECG monitor and my stethoscope. The officer stands aside so I can do my assessment.
Crumpled face forward in the middle of the garage is a body in dark clothing. There’s a small pool of blood near his head and blood splatter on the ceiling of the garage. I’m being careful not to step on anything as I kneel behind him and see a forty caliber shell casing on the floor to the right. I smell the metallic scent of fresh blood from the pool that is slowly coagulating as I put my fingers to his neck to feel a warm body without a pulse. A single slice with my trauma sheers up the back of his thin shirt exposes his back to me. As I’m listening on the back for any breath or heart tones I see the exit wound the bullet made as it went through the back of his head. Without moving the body I place my electrodes on his back in the same configuration I usually use on a person’s chest. I don’t want to roll him over since I don’t know where that gun is pointing right now. The monitor shows the flat line of asystole that I expected to see. I print out six seconds of flat line and rip the strip off the monitor and put it in my pocket. I disconnect the monitor and retrace my steps out of the garage without disturbing anything.
The officer with the stripes was watching me the whole time from the doorway. I tell him what he already knows. “Yeah, he’s gone.” Looking down at my watch, “We’ll call it confirmed at 1855.” He nods his head and writes a note in his little book.
I walk back to the rig to start my paperwork. Sitting in the passenger seat with the laptop open on my knees, I’m typing as my partner comes back from talking with the fire crew that’s packing up to head back to the station.
He gets in the driver’s side. “So, I was just talking to fire and I got the story. He was a detective on the force for fifteen years but he’s been on administrative leave for the last couple of months. He’s got some alcoholism issues and his unit commander was on his way here today to drive him to get checked in for detox. The commander is the one with all the stripes. He got here an hour late because of a case and found the guy in the garage…”