Our brother’s keeper | AspenTimes.com

Our brother’s keeper

Dear Editor:I suppose that residents of the Aspen Country Inn have a right to be angry. As one person put it, “He could have killed us all.” But I have a few different thoughts on the matter. What could have happened, didn’t. No one except Bill lost a life. Thanks to a marvelous fire alarm and sprinkler system, residents lost only some sleep and a few possessions. Things can always be replaced. People cannot.Instead, let’s be grateful for what Bill taught us. According to comments made afterward, seniors apparently expect to have it easy just because they are seniors. Well, Bill was a senior, too.We all lost something when Bill did what he did, and I’m not talking about damaged property. He took his own life. That tells us volumes about his state of mind. Sad? For sure. Depressed? Very likely. Angry? Of course.What I wonder now is how someone in our midst, a neighbor, could get to such a state and no one noticed. Are we not a community? Are we not one? (John Denver sang about that very idea in several songs.) Since there are so many religious people around these days, I’ll put it in biblical terms. Are we not our brother’s keeper?What is sad is that Bill didn’t reach out to anyone for help. Apparently he thought he had to deal with his problems all by himself. Alone. Whether he was too proud to ask or didn’t know that he could, we will probably never know. What I am sure of is that if he had asked, he would have been gladly helped by those in this valley who are generous of spirit and wallet.Even an independent cuss (like I am) knows when to ask for help. It’s when you’re holding on by your fingernails and you’ve already bitten them off. It’s when you’re overwhelmed by being unemployed, lacking cash to pay bills, hearing about the death of a friend’s daughter, enduring a tax audit, going through a divorce, threatened with a small claims lawsuit … all at the same time.You reach out in whatever way you can. If you have to, you start crying until someone tells you about the county mental-health clinic. And then you go there and you talk to someone. Or you call the suicide-prevention hot line.You do not keep it all inside until it bursts out on its own, in anger at people who can’t read your mind. And you don’t take it out on yourself, either. You learn about yourself, emotionally and psychologically, and you know what your limits are. And when you’ve reached them, you call for help.With such simple steps, we could prevent so many unwanted happenings, like child abuse, road rage, going postal, shootings at schools, suicides, spousal abuse, chronic depression. We might even create a better society, thereby leading us to a world of peace.Is it too much to imagine? John Lennon didn’t think so.LinelleAspen

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