I recently participated in an exercise where I had to confront a man who wanted to kill himself using a gun. The purpose of the exercise was to experience the split second decisions a police officer has to make and how quickly a situations can go from bad to worse. The exercise itself lasted less than one minute. In the end the man wanting to kill himself succeeded. His brother, who had called for help, had shot two officers and was killed in the process. Even though I knew it was just an exercise, and in the end no one died, it still left me analyzing what happened, what could have been done different and how suicide is the most selfish act a person can do with their life.
One of my character traits is empathy. As I left this exercise and day behind, I could not help but to think about what suicide does to the people who are left to deal with the aftermath. As I recalled the stories I have heard over the years of people who had taken their own lives, I began to realize the enormous emotional toll it takes on all those involved. Not just the family and friends, but the first responders and those who help these individuals deal with tragic events. No matter how bad things may seem in one’s life, taking your own life is not the answer.
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