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About six years ago, my brother committed suicide. He did it in a very public way.
On Wednesday, I posted a reply on a thread of comments about the photo we ran in the second installment of the Fatal Funnel project we're doing. The gist of my comment was basically, you'll better understand the scope of the project when it's finished. We really believe readers will be more educated about the immigration issue and the tragedy than ever.
A poster in that thread asked the question "Could you find a few pictures of some of your close relatives (that you like) who have died tragically and print them along with some tasteless comments about how important it is to picture them in all their dead detail?"
When I read that, I immediately thought back to my brother's suicide.
In the last year of his life, my brother was troubled. Drugs, alcohol, my mother's death and bad decisions put him in a hole in which he thought he couldn't climb out.
So one day, he took his girlfriend and her estranged husband hostage and threatened to kill them and himself.
The hostage standoff lasted all day. Media swarmed. It became somewhat of a spectacle. He eventually let both go, and with police bearing down on him, committed suicide.
TV cameras had a shot of his body being carried out of the house The newspaper did a story on his standoff with photos.
Because I was in the media, I was our family's spokesman. It wasn't easy dealing with the media, and seeing the stories printed about him, our loving brother portrayed like a monster.
So to the poster, ThisnThat: Yes I understand very much about how tragedy can affect families. And during my years in newspapers, I've tried to be true to that.
As always, thanks for reading.