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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I’ve been on a quest to ride my bike to/from work all five days this week. Presently (Wednesday), I am three days into the commute, and other than a slight case of saddle sore I am OK… or am I?

This morning, I rode as usual, up Prospect Road and right on DeAnza/Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road toward Sunnyvale. I got about 1/4 mile up the road (past the highway 85 exit/entrance), and then noticed right by the bus stop there was this spaced-out looking guy stepping off/on/off/on/off/on the curb/bikelane, like he might try to knock me off my bike or something. I thought this was strange, I just muttered, “WTF???”, and continued on, but I kept looking back, since he was still doing it.

Well, I looked back at the right time to see him purposely run right out in front of traffic and get knocked down by a silver Toyota Landcruiser SUV (the new ones). Naturally, seeing as the incident happened 100' from me, I turned around and went over to the scene. Several other motorists stopped as well, they were all on their cellphones dialing 911, and I (with my bright flashing red bike lights and neon green/yellow riding jersey) was waving traffic in the right lane (where the incident occurred) to move over into the middle lane. The other witnesses were trying to talk to the guy, but even though he was fully conscious and not really seeming very hurt (the only part of the SUV he hit was the right side rearview mirror), he wasn’t talking to anyone.

So, all of a sudden, a few minutes later, the guy gets up and bolts southward (toward the highway overpass). We all stood in amazement looking at each other, exchanging the open-jaw “WTF???” expressions on our faces. It suddenly became apparent that this guy had some deeply-rooted problems and perhaps he was suicidal.

Well, before you knew it, the guy threw himself in front of another car that fortunately barely tapped him, and then he gets up and keeps running. At this point, one of the witnesses had running shoes on, and proceeded to actively pursue the guy, but he was running much faster than she was. Me, on the other hand, with my slippery-bottomed riding cleat shoes (not made for running at all) and my heavy backpack on, proceeded to sort of jog/gallop/trot in pursuit.

At this point the guy throws himself into the path of YET ANOTHER car, but the car stopped in time to avoid and collision with him. Now, the guy is about 30' from the overpass, and I am somewhere between 200 - 400' from him when all of a sudden, the S.O.B. decides to climb up the approximately 7' tall chain-link fencing (atop the 3' tall concrete barrier wall) and JUMP OFF and into the #2 lane of highway 85 northbound below. As I was watching him climb, I let out as loud as I could, “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” unfortunately like they do in movies. It was too late.

The scene was so surreal that I had to keep trotting toward the overpass. I glanced at the traffic which had come to a standstill. I pressed my head (hard to see far with the thickness of the helmet in the way) against the chainlink fence, only to see his feet, pressed harder, saw his legs, torso, and head, and a big puddle of blood coming from his head. It appeared as though the motorists on the freeway stopped in time so as to not run over him or hit him, since his body was exactly straight down from the overpass. Having to see that sh¡t unfold before me really messed up my whole morning.

I keep beating myself up over this incident, as I could have prevented it from happening. All I needed to do was slip out of my riding cleats and sprint on foot after the guy. I could have grabbed him before he so selfishly ruined everyone’s day. I know, I know, it’s not my fault, but I could have prevented this selfish S.O.B. from ruining everyone’s day.

The emergency crews finally arrived, but the witnesses and involved motorist were still waiting for the police to arrive 1/4 mile down the road (in front of the bus stop). I proceeded toward them, and told them of the news, and they seriously thought I was making it up. I had to restate the gruesome facts again as I looked them straight in the eyes. No one knew if he was really dead, and of course the local media got the story wrong, they reported that it was a chase (assumedly by the police) that had ensued and a jump into traffic.

The police officer finally arrived quite a long stretch of time later to take our words down on paper, and find out what happened in order to ensure that the report got filed properly. After all that, I continued on to work. While at work, I couldn’t get the images and the sequence of events out of my head, nor can I now. My boss insisted that I take the rest of the day off, so I left at around 1PM (unpaid leave, of course—it’s one of those companies).

I finally got word that the guy did in fact die. But this doesn’t make me feel better. I wish the selfish A-hole was still alive and conscious so I could go to the county hospital and give him a piece of my mind (speaking of course for everyone who witnessed the incident). It made me mad to tears (and loud yelling) when I heard of his death.

Presently, I still cannot get the events of the day out of my head, and although now I have the attitude of “F--- him, he is nothing”, I still feel as though I could have prevented the situation from happening. Perhaps I need some sort of grief counseling. I dunno.

What a jacked-up day. :(
 

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Shirtcocker
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60,886 Posts
I've been around suicidal people before. No fun sitting in a truck trying to convince a friend not to pull the trigger on a loaded handgun that he's holding to his head. At least I was there to stop that one--another college friend ate the barrel of a shotgun. My wife stopped a mutal friend from throwing a rope over a tree. Not much you could have done not knowing the person IMO. Don't beat yourself up.
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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2,942 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
bas said:
Why didn't you chase on your bike instead ?

But yeah - I guess it could have been worse and you could have collided with him and killed him??
I would have been going in the opposite direction of traffic, which is an infraction of the law, and dangerous since motorists merging perpendicular to traffic don’t think to look to the side that the cars aren’t coming from.
 

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That is a horrible story. I work in a mental health hospital and have seen my share of people wanting to end their lives. The thing about suicide is you can never predict who will and who won't actually commit the act. Lots of people say it, fewer are successful. Don't beat yourself up for not running after the guy, he was hell bent on ending his life.

But lets all try to think about what this person's life was like where he felt the only solution was to end his life. He could have been schizophrenic or depressed. Certainly logic goes out the window for this individual. I feel bad for him and I feel bad for his family because he was someone's son, grandson, someone's brother and maybe even someone's father.

As for the OP, I can certainly understand your trauma and the need to go home after this. I am sure your head is just spinning. Hopefully you have a few people to talk to even if it is just your friends, family and even posting here. Any support helps.

Sometimes we should just reflect on how lucky some of us are. Some of us get to ride our bicycles, spend time with our families, and then sit at our computers and share the joys of riding, commuting or racing on this forum. We are the lucky ones, but for others life is just fragile.
 

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The web is a MUT
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Leopold Porkstacker said:
....
... I could have prevented it from happening. ....
There is no real way to know if in fact you could have prevented it. The guy threw himself in front of several cars several times and then climbed a fence to do it again, that's some strong determination. There is no way that you know his history, there is no way to know if you could have stopped him physically, there is no way to know if he might have instead taken you hostage in an attempt at suicide by cop, there is no way that you can know for certain that you could have prevented it. You stopped and turned around and got involved, which is much more than a lot of people would have done, so focus on that. You stopped and tried to help so don't beat yourself up over what you might have been able to do and instead just focus on the fact that you did what you could. And if you really have trouble getting past this then seek out a counselor or try to find out a little about the guy's history and what drove him to do this. But sometimes the answers you find may only confuse and frustrate you more, so sometimes it is best to just know that you tried and leave it at that.

Probably little help to console or comfort you or put your mind at ease, but sometimes we can only do what we do and beyond that we have to just let it go. It is sad about what happened, but would have been sadder if he had taken you with him. You tried to help, be at peace with that.
 

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Leopold Porkstacker said:
So I’ve been on a quest to ride my bike to/from work all five days this week. Presently (Wednesday), I am three days into the commute, and other than a slight case of saddle sore I am OK… or am I?

This morning, I rode as usual, up Prospect Road and right on DeAnza/Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road toward Sunnyvale. I got about 1/4 mile up the road (past the highway 85 exit/entrance), and then noticed right by the bus stop there was this spaced-out looking guy stepping off/on/off/on/off/on the curb/bikelane, like he might try to knock me off my bike or something. I thought this was strange, I just muttered, “WTF???”, and continued on, but I kept looking back, since he was still doing it.

Well, I looked back at the right time to see him purposely run right out in front of traffic and get knocked down by a silver Toyota Landcruiser SUV (the new ones). Naturally, seeing as the incident happened 100' from me, I turned around and went over to the scene. Several other motorists stopped as well, they were all on their cellphones dialing 911, and I (with my bright flashing red bike lights and neon green/yellow riding jersey) was waving traffic in the right lane (where the incident occurred) to move over into the middle lane. The other witnesses were trying to talk to the guy, but even though he was fully conscious and not really seeming very hurt (the only part of the SUV he hit was the right side rearview mirror), he wasn’t talking to anyone.

So, all of a sudden, a few minutes later, the guy gets up and bolts southward (toward the highway overpass). We all stood in amazement looking at each other, exchanging the open-jaw “WTF???” expressions on our faces. It suddenly became apparent that this guy had some deeply-rooted problems and perhaps he was suicidal.

Well, before you knew it, the guy threw himself in front of another car that fortunately barely tapped him, and then he gets up and keeps running. At this point, one of the witnesses had running shoes on, and proceeded to actively pursue the guy, but he was running much faster than she was. Me, on the other hand, with my slippery-bottomed riding cleat shoes (not made for running at all) and my heavy backpack on, proceeded to sort of jog/gallop/trot in pursuit.

At this point the guy throws himself into the path of YET ANOTHER car, but the car stopped in time to avoid and collision with him. Now, the guy is about 30' from the overpass, and I am somewhere between 200 - 400' from him when all of a sudden, the S.O.B. decides to climb up the approximately 7' tall chain-link fencing (atop the 3' tall concrete barrier wall) and JUMP OFF and into the #2 lane of highway 85 northbound below. As I was watching him climb, I let out as loud as I could, “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” unfortunately like they do in movies. It was too late.

The scene was so surreal that I had to keep trotting toward the overpass. I glanced at the traffic which had come to a standstill. I pressed my head (hard to see far with the thickness of the helmet in the way) against the chainlink fence, only to see his feet, pressed harder, saw his legs, torso, and head, and a big puddle of blood coming from his head. It appeared as though the motorists on the freeway stopped in time so as to not run over him or hit him, since his body was exactly straight down from the overpass. Having to see that sh¡t unfold before me really messed up my whole morning.

I keep beating myself up over this incident, as I could have prevented it from happening. All I needed to do was slip out of my riding cleats and sprint on foot after the guy. I could have grabbed him before he so selfishly ruined everyone’s day. I know, I know, it’s not my fault, but I could have prevented this selfish S.O.B. from ruining everyone’s day.

The emergency crews finally arrived, but the witnesses and involved motorist were still waiting for the police to arrive 1/4 mile down the road (in front of the bus stop). I proceeded toward them, and told them of the news, and they seriously thought I was making it up. I had to restate the gruesome facts again as I looked them straight in the eyes. No one knew if he was really dead, and of course the local media got the story wrong, they reported that it was a chase (assumedly by the police) that had ensued and a jump into traffic.

The police officer finally arrived quite a long stretch of time later to take our words down on paper, and find out what happened in order to ensure that the report got filed properly. After all that, I continued on to work. While at work, I couldn’t get the images and the sequence of events out of my head, nor can I now. My boss insisted that I take the rest of the day off, so I left at around 1PM (unpaid leave, of course—it’s one of those companies).

I finally got word that the guy did in fact die. But this doesn’t make me feel better. I wish the selfish A-hole was still alive and conscious so I could go to the county hospital and give him a piece of my mind (speaking of course for everyone who witnessed the incident). It made me mad to tears (and loud yelling) when I heard of his death.

Presently, I still cannot get the events of the day out of my head, and although now I have the attitude of “F--- him, he is nothing”, I still feel as though I could have prevented the situation from happening. Perhaps I need some sort of grief counseling. I dunno.

What a jacked-up day. :(
The guy took his life and it "jacked up" your day? He was "selfish?"

I think your reactions are completely understandable but the poor man was suffering. It's something for all to reflect upon. He didn't want his passing to go unnoticed obviously, as may his life had had. Sorry for the bummer but maybe you were privileged in retrospect. These acts pass all the time unnoticed but at least his pain didn't; it was transmitted to hundreds now.

Step up -- no judgements.
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sintesi said:
The guy took his life and it "jacked up" your day? He was "selfish?"

I think your reactions are completely understandable but the poor man was suffering. It's something for all to reflect upon. He didn't want his passing to go unnoticed obviously, as may his life had had. Sorry for the bummer but maybe you were privileged in retrospect. These acts pass all the time unnoticed but at least his pain didn't; it was transmitted to hundreds now.

Step up -- no judgements.
Yes, he was suffering. The police officer who took the report from us awestruck witnesses was only able to divulge information about how the guy’s mother had called 911 earlier in the morning claiming her son was suicidal, and she didn’t know where he was. No one gathered that the guy was going to go and involve other people in his meddlings.

Now, on to the “at least you got to witness this horrible act” (not your exact quote)—have you ever witnessed anything like this? The thing about people committing suicide, is that the majority of suicides were planned from a mindset of, “F--- you, world, watch this!!! I am going to make sure everyone sees this!!!”, which of course no one needs to see, really. If he had instead hopped into a bathtub and slit his wrists (first laying plastic sheeting on the bathroom floor), everyone would have been better off, and the mess would have been minimal. I got to look into his eyes before the incident, and seeing his face even though I didn’t know him was the spooky part, since just minutes later it was all over. He was a human being until his bad decision messed up things for everyone else. Clearly his attitude was along the lines of, “Oh yeah? Just watch the news tonight!!! I’ll show you!” No one needs to see a person end his/her life.

Yes, I am a humanitarian to some degree, a “do-gooder”, trying to help out my fellow man even… but this act of his was selfish. Yes, I agree he needed help, and it is obvious he wasn’t getting it. From what we don’t know about the guy we can all speculate wildly. He could have had some serious schizophrenia, he could have taken too many prescription drugs or even have stopped taking prescription drugs that otherwise would have kept him “normal”.

OK, I am done with this now. I am putting it all behind me. He doesn’t exist. He is gone. Buh-bye! Show’s over!
 

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RBR Veteran Opinionater
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Counseling would be good. Unless you can stop the guilt that you are feeling. You have all the data now, of course you can dial in a life saving action that you could have performed. YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN AND COULDN'T HAVE CHOSEN AN ACTION AS IF YOU DID KNOW. No one else saved him either.
 

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Leopold Porkstacker said:
OK, I am done with this now. I am putting it all behind me. He doesn’t exist. He is gone. Buh-bye! Show’s over!
Cripes, it's kind of your show isn't it? None of us would have had a word to say w/out your report and outrage.
 

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First off Id like to say that Im sorry you had to witness this and Im also sorry that his struggle had to come to an end like that. Just think about it, if you had caught up and tried to stop him he might have pulled you over that bridge with him. The fact that you stopped in the first place and tried to help is quite noble of you. Theres a fine line between helping someone out and putting yourself at risk. Im sure that your family and friends are happy that you didnt get caught up in this situation and hurt.
 

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Failboat Captian
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Sintesi said:
Cripes, it's kind of your show isn't it? None of us would have had a word to say w/out your report and outrage.
No, it's not. The situation he was in, simply sucked. Nothing good could come of it. If LP is to get over it without psychological counseling, this is as good a way as any to get it out of his mind and go on living his life. What's he supposed to do, continue to beat himself up over it, until he ends up with PTSD? LP's response seems perfectly normal and will help him get over it.
 

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Bacon!
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I agree with the OP far more than you on this. If someone is going to off themselves and they decide to use innocent people to do it I have very little sympathy for them. Call me a cold bastid or whatever, but using other people to kill you as a final act at getting even with the world just makes you lower than even you thought you were. Honestly, I feel it's horrible that people ever get to that level, and I think everything should be done to help them to prevent it from happening, but my sympathy leaves me pretty quick when they decide to ruin other people's emotional well being through their actions.

I've seen the results or attempted results of suicide three times now. One made me laugh afterward as some poor soul decided to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge while we were there, got stuck in the construction nets, and then started screaming he didn't want to die and apologized to people afterward. One left me just empty and sad when a guy decided to off himself in South Lake Tahoe by jumping off the protective fence into traffic only to get slightly injured and then sat there sobbing, and one left me feeling very sad as I found the body after it had been in the river for a couple of weeks and no one even cared.
 

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Bacon!
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Hey man, you did everything you could. Don't let other posters here get you down. No one should have to live through or see that crap. It sucks and unfortunately it'll be stuck in you head for some time. Trust me, after a while it dulls down but it takes a long, long time sometimes. I'm not sure how this will bother you, if at all, over the next couple of weeks but if it does professional crisis counselors can help quite a bit.
 

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Sintesi said:
The guy took his life and it "jacked up" your day? He was "selfish?"

I think your reactions are completely understandable but the poor man was suffering. It's something for all to reflect upon. He didn't want his passing to go unnoticed obviously, as may his life had had. Sorry for the bummer but maybe you were privileged in retrospect. These acts pass all the time unnoticed but at least his pain didn't; it was transmitted to hundreds now.

Step up -- no judgements.
Yeah, the guy was selfish. Something similar happened to an ex-girlfriend's brother years ago- he was just driving along the freeway to work, minding his own business, and some suicidal guy jumps out in front of his car, killing himself and sending the car careening into several other cars, causing a pileup that ended up almost crippling the poor driver.

So, he ends up in the hospital, thinking he killed this guy, with injuries that will hurt him the rest of his life. Doesn't matter that the cops told him that the guy was suicidal, left a note and wanted to die, he still thinks it's his fault- he could have swerved, he could have seen the guy, something.

Quite a privilege, to share this guy's pain.

If the guy that porkstacker saw had hit a car on his way down, imagine the carnage. You wanna take yerself out? Fine, but don't try and make someone else do the work.
 

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Hey Porkstacker- It wasn't your fault, you did everything you could. Unless you can read minds or see the future, you had no idea what this guy was going to do.

If you feel it haunting you, get yerself in front of a therapist ASAP.

You did good.
 
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