It's the face on the homepage that's haunting me today- the cherubic face framed by dark, lustrous hair, given a hint of mischievousness by a slight, Mona Lisesque smile... The coverage of the suicide of South Hadley, Massachusetts teen Phoebe Prince indicates that she had been the subject of a cruel bullying campaign on the part of her classmates. Most of the ink and electrons spell out the story of a hounded young woman, and pose questions regarding the presence, knowledge, and activities of the adults who were in positions to address the bullying. I would simply add an exhortation to all adults to constantly harp on the fact that death is final- a suicide is irrevocable, and young people have to navigate perilous waters at best, what with automobile accidents, violent attacks, and illness. Where there's life, there's hope, and this young woman, whose situation seemed so hopeless to her, should have been told that the tumult in which she had been ensnared could have been left behind, that the cruel cliques of high school would seem inconsequential once she had graduated, and moved out of the small, scummy pond of her hometown high school. I lost high school friends to car accidents, to cancer, and to the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing- death is all-pervasive, it gets us all in the end, it gets some of us entirely too young, there's no need to help it.
Jonathan Richman perhaps put it best, with all his goofy-earnestness, in his song Dignified and Old, recorded with the Modern Lovers. Hey, kids, don't die, the deck is stacked against you, but don't just throw in your hand: