Friday, April 19, 2019

The Red Zone of April: A Dangerous Time

The Red Zone of April: A Dangerous Time
by Loren Coleman, author of The Copycat Effect (Simon and Schuster, 2004), Suicide Clusters (Faber & Faber, 1987), and other books.

"April is the cruellest month... " 
by T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). 
From The Waste Land, 1922.

April 14-5

1865 – On the eve of the fifth day of Passover, April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and died of his wounds in the early morning of April 15th, which had already been scheduled as a national day of prayer to mark the end of the Civil War. Jews across the land were gathering in synagogues to give thanks. When news of Lincoln's death arrived, the synagogue altars were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns. Lincoln had been protective of American Jewry, overturning General Grant's infamous General Order #11 expelling Jews from the Department of the Tennessee and supporting legislation allowing Jewish chaplains to serve in the military.

April 15

2013 – The Boston Marathon bombing was a terrorist attack, followed by subsequent related shootings, that occurred when two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Six died in the events, and 280 injured, some with loss of legs and arms.

April 16
73 – Masada, a Jewish fortress, falls to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Great Jewish Revolt.
1947 – French freighter S.S. Grandcamp explosion loaded with ammonium nitrate docked at the Port of Texas City, Texas, and erupted in flames, causing a massive explosion that killed at least 581 people.
1995 – George W. Bush names April 16 as Selena Day in Texas, after she was killed two weeks earlier.

2007 – Virginia Tech shooting: Seung-Hui Cho guns down 32 people and injures 17 before dying by suicide.

April 17

1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of Cuban exiles financed and trained by the CIA lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.
1978 – Mir Akbar Khyber is assassinated, provoking a communist coup d'état in Afghanistan.
1984 – Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is killed by gunfire from the Libyan People's Bureau (Embassy) in London during a small demonstration outside the embassy. Ten others are wounded. The events lead to an 11-day siege of the building.
2006 – A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates an explosive device in Tel Aviv, killing 11 people and injuring 70.

April 18

1775 – American Revolution: The British advancement by sea begins; Paul Revere, William Dawes (above) and other riders warn the countryside of the troop movements. (The syncinematic film, 2009's Knowing has student Caleb Koestler - a name game there - going to the fictional William Dawes Elementary, located in 1959 Lexington.)
1906 – An earthquake and fire destroy much of San Francisco, California.
1983 – A suicide bomber destroys the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people.
2007 – A series of bombings, two of them being suicides, occur in Baghdad, killing 198 and injuring 251.
2013 – A suicide bombing in a Baghdad cafe kills 27 people and injures another 65.
2013 – Fertilizer plant explosion, West, just north of Waco, Texas, killed 15 killed and about 200 injured. Eighty homes and a middle school are leveled.

    April 19

    Blood Sacrifice to the Beast. Fire sacrifice is required for this specific date.
    1775 – Battles of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. This is the actual anniversary of the battles, even though the observance has become a date tied to the third Monday in April.
    1897 – First running of the Boston Marathon, with marathons named after the Greek Battle of Marathon. 

    1993 – The 51-day FBI siege of the Branch Davidian building outside Waco, Texas, USA, ends when a fire breaks out. Eighty-one people die.
    1993 – South Dakota governor George Mickelson and seven others are killed when a state-owned aircraft crashes in Iowa.
    1995 – Oklahoma City bombing: The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, USA, is bombed, killing 168.
    1995 – Richard Wayne Snell, a convicted murderer, member of the white supremacist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA), is executed in Arkansas. Snell was involved in filming the planes that landed at the restricted airport in Mena, Arkansas, believed by many conspiracy theorists to be used in a CIA-sanctioned cover-up to smuggle drugs into America. Snell had been accused of plotting to bomb the Murrah Building in the 1980s. Snell reportedly watched televised reports of the Oklahoma City bombing on the day of his execution and nodded in approval. 
    2013 – Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is killed in a shootout with police. His brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is captured while hiding in a boat inside a backyard in Watertown, Massachusetts.

    April 20 

    1889 – Adolf Hitler, Austrian-German soldier and politician, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1945) is born
    1939 – Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday is celebrated as a national holiday in Nazi Germany.
    1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler makes his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.
    1961 – Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed Cuban exiles against Cuba.
    1971 – According to Steven Hager, editor of High Times, he found the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School in 1971, among the Waldos. They would meet every day after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana at the Louis Pasteur statue. One of the Waldos notes, "We did discover we could talk about getting high in front of our parents without them knowing by using the phrase 420." By extension now, April 20 ("4/20" in U.S. dating shorthand) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis.
    1978 – Korean Air Lines Flight 902 is shot down by the Soviet Union. 

    1999 – Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, killed 13 people and injured 21 others before dying by suicide at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.
    2007 – Johnson Space Center shooting: William Phillips with a handgun barricades himself in NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself.

    2015 – A substitute teacher was killed at the Joan Fuster School in the La Sager neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain, by a 13-year-old student with a crossbow and machete. Four other people were injured.

    April 21 
    1506 – The three-day Lisbon Massacre comes to an end with the slaughter of over 1,900 suspected Jews by Portuguese Catholics.
    1985 – The compound of the militant group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord surrenders to federal authorities in Arkansas after a two-day government siege.

    April 22 
    2004 – Two fuel trains collide in Ryongchon, North Korea, killing up to 150 people.
    2013 – Six people die in a shooting in Belgorod, Russia.
    2013 – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrest and charge two men with plotting to disrupt a Toronto area train service in a plot claimed to be backed by Al-Qaeda elements.
    2014 – More than 60 people are killed and 80 are seriously injured in a train crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Katanga Province.
    2016 – The one-month anniversary of three suicide bombers killing 35 people and injuring 316 in the 2016 Brussels bombings at the airport and at the Maelbeek/Maalbeek metro station.

    April 23
    303 – Saint George, Roman soldier and martyr (b. 275) dies
    St George's Day (England) and its related observances
    1343 – St. George's Night Uprising commences in the Duchy of Estonia.
    1968 – Timothy James McVeigh, who blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in 1995, on April 19, was born. He is executed on June 11, 2001.

    April 24
    1184 BC – Traditional date of the fall of Troy.

    April 25
    1946 – Naperville train disaster kills 47 in Naperville, Illinois.
    1965 – Teenage sniper Michael Andrew Clark kills three and wounds six others shooting from a hilltop along Highway 101 just south of Santa Maria, California.
    2005 – One hundred seven people die in Amagasaki rail crash in Japan.
    2010 – Joseph McVey, 23, from Ohio, is arrested with a shotgun, in a car made to look like a police vehicle with working lights and sirens in the Asheville, NC airport parking lot, when President Obama and his family were departing in Air Force One.

    April 26
    1865 – Union cavalry troopers corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Lincoln, in Virginia.
    1894 – Birthdate of Rudolf Walter Richard Heß, also spelled Hess, who was a prominent politician in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, he served in this position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland. Neo-nazi "celebrations" have been held for him in Germany, on the date of his death, August 17, but some indications are that his birthdate is acknowledged, as well.
    1982 – Fifty-seven people are killed by former police officer Woo Bum-kon in a shooting spree in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.
    2002 – Robert Steinhäuser, 19, infiltrates the Gutenberg-Gymnasium (a secondary school) in Erfurt, Germany. He stalked the halls, and killed 12 teachers, an administrator, two students, one policeman, and wounded 10 other people before he killed himself. Seventeen people in total died.

    April 27
    711 – Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn Ziyad land at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).
    1805 – First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attack the Tripolitan city of Derna (The "shores of Tripoli" part of the Marines' Hymn).
    2011 – The April 25–28 tornado outbreak devastates parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. Two hundred five tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.
    2012 – At least four explosions hit the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk with at least 27 people injured.
    2014 – A tornado outbreak over much of the eastern United States kills 35 people.

    April 28
    1192 – Assassination of Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), King of Jerusalem, in Tyre, two days after his title to the throne is confirmed by election. The killing is carried out by Hashshashin.
    1949 – The Hukbalahap are accused of assassinating former First Lady of the Philippines Aurora Quezon, while she is en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband; her daughter and ten others are also killed.
    1978 – President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, is overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by pro-communist rebels.
    1996 – Port Arthur massacre, Tasmania: A gunman, Martin Bryant, opens fire at the Broad Arrow Cafe in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 people and wounding 23 others.

    April 29
    1429 – Joan of Arc (tied to name game, Fay/Fairy/Beech) arrives to relieve the Siege of Orleans.
    1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler marries his longtime partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designates Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor. Both Hitler and Braun died by suicide the following day.

    April 30
    1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun die by suicide after being married for less than 40 hours. Soviet soldiers raise the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building. 

    2009 – Eight people are killed and another ten injured at a Queen's Day parade in Netherlands in an attempted assassination on Queen Beatrix and members of the Royal Family. The attack occurred at the De Naald (in English The Needle), which is the obelisk monument in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. The car of the assailant, identified as Richard Karst Tates, ended up crashed at the base of the obelisk.

    2009 – Azerbaijan State Oil Academy shooting: Twelve people were killed (students and staff members) by an armed attacker.

    Beltaine Festival - April 30-May 1. Walpurgis Night. This is the highest day on the Druidic Witch's Calendar. May 1 is the Illuminati's second most sacred holiday. Human sacrifice is required.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    Al Aqsa Mosque, Notre Dame, and Tsogyelgar Burn

    As the iconic cathedral of Notre Dame (below) burned in Paris, a fire broke out at the historic Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem (see above).

    The burning of Notre Dame in Paris.

    The world became an aesthetically poorer place. Here are a few of the murals lost to fire at Tsogyelgar when the shrine room burnt to the ground [on April 15, 2019].
    It took my good friend B Love Davis 10 hrs a day for a whole year to complete the 100 feet of murals. These are all presentations of that which can never be lost; but even so, for now, the heart feels desperately sad. ~ Namo Saraswati.

    The Tsogyelgar Dharma Center is a Vajrayana Buddhist community, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1990. Traktung Rinpoche (Traktung Yeshe Dorje, a Tantric Master and Nyingma Lama) is the founder of the community. Located on the property is a rare Dorje Trollo stupa.


    The Palestine fire broke out at the roof of a structure known as the Al Marwani prayer room in Al Aqsa mosque. The prayer room is an underground vaulted space used as a Muslim prayer hall, some 600 square yards in area, at the bottom of stairs which lead down from Al Aqsa Mosque. Al Marwani prayer room is located underneath the southeastern corner of Haram Al-Sharif, which contains both the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque.

    No significant damage was caused by the fire, but it did endanger a part of the worship site that is over 2,000 years old.

    The Palestine News Agency cited a guard as saying Monday, April 15, 2019, that “the fire broke out in the guard’s room outside the roof of the Marwani Prayer Room, and the fire brigade of Jerusalem Islamic Waqf handled the matter successfully.”

    The Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa Mosque

    Al-Aqsa Mosque (Arabic: ٱلْـمَـسْـجِـد الْاَقْـصَى‎, translit. Al-Masjid al-Aqṣā: "the Farthest Mosque"), located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Islam. The mosque was built on top of the Temple Mount, known as Haram esh-Sharif in Islam. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site until the 17th month after his migration from Mecca to Medina, when Allāh directed him to turn towards the Kaaba in Mecca.

    Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1187

    The covered mosque building was originally a small prayer house erected by Umar, the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. The mosque was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and rebuilt by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 754. It was rebuilt again in 780. Another earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033, but two years later the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque whose outline is preserved in the current structure. The mosaics on the arch at the qibla end of the nave also go back to his time.

    During the periodic renovations undertaken, the various ruling dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate constructed additions to the mosque and its precincts, such as its dome, facade, its minbar, minarets and the interior structure. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they used the mosque as a palace and the Dome of the Rock as a church, but its function as a mosque was restored after its recapture by Saladin in 1187. More renovations, repairs and additions were undertaken in the later centuries by the Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, the Supreme Muslim Council, and Jordan. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf.

    Notre Dame in 1160

    The cathedral was begun in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely complete by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the ensuing centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution; much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In 1804, the cathedral was the site of the Coronation of Napoleon I as Emperor of France, and witnessed the baptism of Henri, Count of Chambord in 1821 and the funerals of several presidents of the Third French Republic.

    Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the publication, in 1831, of Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who added the cathedral's iconic spire. 

    The mosque is located in close proximity to historical sites significant in Judaism and Christianity, most notably the site of the Second Temple, the holiest site in Judaism. As a result, the area is highly sensitive, and has been a flashpoint in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

    Al-Masjid al-Aqsa translates from Arabic into English as "the farthest mosque". The name refers to a chapter of the Quran called Al-Isrā’ (Arabic: ٱلْإِسْـرَاء‎), "The Night Journey"), in which it is said that Muhammad travelled from Mecca to "the farthest mosque," and then up to Heaven on a heavenly creature called al-Burāq ash-Sharīf.


    Al Aqsa Mosque, Notre Dame, Tsogyelgar, and April 15

    April 15, 2019, began the day with Peter Buttigieg news stories of his announcement for President. It did not end that way.

    "Mayor Pete," a Democratic star running for president, is from South Bend, Indiana - where Notre Dame University is located. ~ Andrew Griffin, Red Dirt Report.

    Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg (born January 19, 1982) is an American politician and former Naval Intelligence Officer who has served as the mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana since 2012. On April 14, 2019, Buttigieg formally announced he was running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2020 after having formed an exploratory committee in January 2019.

    Black hole resonating vortex shape entraining with Dark Phoenix Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones. ~ Jake Kotze

    Black hole resonating vortex shape entraining with Dark Phoenix Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones. ~ Jake Kotze

    The fiery black hole ring in Virgo resonates soundly with Notre Dame’s (Virgin Mary’s) iconic bells being saved from the fire & the glowing rose window.‬ ~ Jake Kotze

    Monday, April 15, 2019

    Ford's Theatre: An Amazing Replica for 2019

    A Historic Building

    On April 14, 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, 56, was shot in Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C., by the actor John Wilkes Booth. The same evening, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and his family were attacked at home by Lewis Powell. 

    Lincoln died the next day at 7:22 a.m. in the Petersen House (10th Street, NW), across the street. The Petersen House was purchased by the U.S. government in 1896 as the "House Where Lincoln Died," being the federal government's first purchase of a historic home. The rooms of this house are furnished as they were on the day Lincoln passed away.

    Ford's Theatre is a natural location to have memorialized as a replica building. The site was originally a house of worship, constructed in 1833 as the second meeting house of the First Baptist Church of Washington, with Obadiah Bruen Brown as the pastor. In 1861, after the congregation moved to a newly built structure, John T. Ford bought the former church and renovated it into a theater. He first called it Ford's Athenaeum. It was destroyed by fire in 1862, and was rebuilt.

    On June 9, 1893, the front part of the building collapsed, killing 22 clerks and injuring another 68. This led some people to believe that the former church turned theater and storeroom was cursed. The building was repaired and used as a government warehouse until 1911.

    It languished unused until 1918. In 1928, the building was turned over from the War Department Office to the Office of Public Buildings and Parks of the National Capital. A Lincoln museum opened on the first floor of the theater building on February 12, 1932—Lincoln's 123rd birthday. In 1933, the building was transferred to the National Park Service. 

    On January 21, 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and 500 others dedicated the restored theater. The theater reopened on January 30, 1968, with a gala performance. The presidential box is never occupied.

    The theater was again renovated during the 2000s. It has a current seating capacity of 665. The re-opening ceremony was on February 11, 2009, which commemorated Lincoln's 200th birthday.

    It is intriguing to observe that with the seating at 665, with the addition of John Wilkes Booth to the picture (not seated), the capacity is at 666.

    A Unique Replica

    On the occasion of the 154th anniversary of the assassination, Mike Merwine of InFocusTech (replicabuildings) has finally replicated in metal the site of Lincoln's political murder. As Merwine noted, "Events and places sometimes create legends that span centuries."

    Replicas of these events are an important way to recall this incident and the links to it. For readers of this blog, you are well-aware of the special relationship that special names and incidents have in the past, present, and future with specific locations. Those linked to "Lincoln" certainly fall into this category.

    Ford's Theatre As A Replica

    Copies of Ford's Theatre come in a few rare selections, but the Merwine model is unique, for being detailed and solid metal. Order here by clicking on Ford's Theatre.

    Paper Models, Inc. has a model kit, oriented to schools, of Ford's Theatre. It is made from paper.

    In terms of high-end design replicas, several people know about and collect Constantin Boym's and Laurene Leon Boym's Ford's Theater (sic, the actual spelling is "Ford's Theatre"), from the series Buildings of Disaster, 1998-2008. 

    Buildings from the series, originally priced as low as $110, today are valued from $200-$600. The stylized artifacts are a "design object" made from a cast resin-type material with bonded nickel in the mixture.

    InFocusTech's 2019 example is detailed to reflect an authentic study of Ford's Theatre, from all sides. For a reasonable price: $85. (I would predict this piece will leap in value within a year or two. In 2065, this will be a rare collectible on the 200th anniversary of the assassination.)

    The specifics are:

    511 Tenth St, NW, Washington, DC

    Architect Charles Lessig - restoration

    Date Completed 1863 - Originally a church from 1833-59

    Height in Feet 78

    Floors 3

    Replica Height 2 inches

    Scale1" = 50'

    Finish Shown Antique Pewter

    It may be ordered directly from here.

    This critique of the replica of Ford's Theatre is done without any fiscal remuneration to the reviewer. I am a member of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society, and encourage interested parties to join the SBCS organization. ~ Loren

    Sunday, March 31, 2019

    Hotel Taj Mahal: The Replica

    The new movie Hotel Mumbai opened first at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018; on March 14, 2019, in Australia; on March 22, 2019, and widely on March 29, 2019, in US theaters; and finally in India on March 29, 2019. The fiction film, based on true events, depicts the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, India, that took place in 2008.

    At the time, in 2008, I wrote extensively on Twilight Language of this incident here.

    It is a film I wanted to see. I saw Hotel Mumbai this weekend, and was surprised the theater was almost full for an afternoon screening.

    Tarrun Verma and Anupam Kher

    On March 29, 2019, I noticed, via Facebook, that fellow Souvenir Building Collectors Society member Tarrun Verma attended the opening of Hotel Mumbai at NYC's AMC Empire 25. The showing he attended included a Q/A panel with Anupam Kher. Kher plays Hemant Oberoi, the hotel's heroic and celebrated executive chef, in the motion picture.

    I wondered aloud to Verma whether there was a replica of the Taj Matah Palace Hotel of Mumbai. I wanted to add such a souvenir building to my informal buildings of disaster collection. He quickly answered that the Boyms themselves had created a new edition to their landmark Buildings of Disaster series in 2009. (I had placed this on the list I had compiled in 2018, but had forgotten.) 

    Verma had attempted to obtain a copy but they were all sold out, a few years ago.

    A quick internet search revealed the image of this replica when it was first on sale, and the background story.

    Chor Bazaar wrote:
    I recently came across this replica of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai (aka Bombay). It is designed and manufactured by a company called Boym Partners Inc. They have a series of what they call the "Buildings of Disaster".

    This one in particular is called, "Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai, November 26, 2008. The date might sound familiar to you as it commemorates the recent Mumbai attacks. Source.

    An old posting by Boym gives these details:
    Our collection of Buildings of Disaster continues with a new edition, Hotel Taj Mahal, to commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

    Over ten years ago, we made our first buildings for the catalogue Souvenirs for the End of the Century. Produced in a limited edition of 500, many monuments are no longer available. Every piece is individually cast of specially formulated bonded metal, hand-finished, and consecutively numbered. The new building is 4.5” long. Source.

    I have been unable to find one of these replicas for sale, so if you find or have any you wish to sell, please let me know. Contact Loren Coleman.

    Buildings of Disaster is a project begun by Boym Design Studio in 1998. This thoughtful project is described by the creative director, Constantin Boym:
    The end of a century has always been a special moment in human history. While we no longer expect the world to come to an end, we all still share a particular mood of introspection, a desire to look back and to draw comparisons, and a sense of closure and faint hope. Above all, the end of the century is about memory. We think that souvenirs are important cultural objects which can store and communicate memories, emotions and desires. Buildings of Disaster are miniature replicas of famous structures where some tragic or terrible events happened to take place. Some of these buildings may have been prized architectural landmarks, others, non-descript, anonymous structures. But disaster changes everything. The images of burning or exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on emotional involvement rather than on scholarly appreciation. In our media-saturated time, the world disasters stand as people's measure of history, and the sites of tragic events often become involuntary tourist destinations.

    Monday, March 25, 2019

    Parkland and Newtown Suicide Cluster

    We are in the midst of a suicide cluster. The copycat ripples are reaching wider and wider. Be aware. Talk to anyone at risk.

    A contributing factor to suicides being linked to other suicide victims and to other survivors of violent deaths is the "copycat effect."

    Canada's Centre for Suicide Prevention states it thusly: "It has long been believed that when suicidal contagion occurs, a suicide cluster can develop. A cluster, in this case, is defined as multiple suicidal behaviours or suicides that fall within an accelerated time frame, and sometimes within a defined geographical area."

    In my two books on the topic, Suicide Clusters (Faber and Faber, 1987) and The Copycat Effect (Simon and Schuster, 2014), I define "suicide clusters" as three or more suicides in close proximity with reference to time and space.

    A suicide cluster occurs, through word of mouth or a media event, when three or more suicides take place in a restricted setting - a school, a community or a region or state - to those who are similar to each other in age, race, gender, economic status or via similar situations who have died by suicide. If one strongly identifies with the victim, these other individuals may be at risk too. The next victim may feel they had no other choices or options but to do the same thing - take their own lives.

    Considering what appears to be happening in real time right now, late in March 2019 - with three deaths by suicide of people closely linked to high profile school shootings - in these cases associated with the events at Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Newtown, New Jersey's Sandy Hook Elementary School - this is officially a "suicide cluster."

    On February 14, 2018, Valentine's Day, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre occurred in Parkland, Florida. It is one of the deadliest school shootings, with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries. 

    On December 14, 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred, resulting in 27 people (20 children and 6 adults plus the gunman by suicide), killed at the school in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman had killed his mother before coming to the school. 

    On April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School school shooting occurred at Columbine, Columbine. The carnage included the death of 12 students, one teacher, and the two 12th grade students (by suicide).

    In late March 2019, it became apparent that suicide was haunting the survivors of the Parkland shooting.

    On Sunday, March 17, 2019, St. Patrick's Day, a June 2019 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and survivor of the 2018 school shooting, Sydney Aiello, 19, (above) took her own life. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office said that Aiello died from a gunshot wound to the head.

    Among the victims of the shooting was Aiello’s longtime friend, Meadow Pollack. Aiello was also friends with Joaquin Oliver, 17, another student killed in the shooting. She wrote lovingly about both on her social media following their deaths. 
    Meadow Pollack, left, pictured with Sydney Aiello. Courtesy of Andrew Pollack. 

    On Saturday, March 23, 2019, another Parkland student died by suicide. The Miami Herald reported that the male student, who was in tenth grade and attended Stoneman Douglas last year, died in “an apparent suicide” on Saturday night. The news came just days after the family of another Parkland survivor, Sydney Aiello, confirmed that she died by suicide after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.

    Then, on Monday, March 25, 2019, at about 7:00 am, the father of a Sandy Hook student who was killed in 2012, was found dead outside the Edmond Town Hall, the victim of suicide. The body of Jeremy Richman was found in his Connecticut office building Monday morning, Newtown police said.  Richman, 49, was the father of 6-year-old Avielle Richman, who was those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Richman was one of the individuals who have sued InfoWars' Alex Jones. Police said they "will not disclose the method or any other details" of Richman's death, other than it does not appear to be suspicious.

    Richman's death is the third suicide between March 17th and 25th, by survivors of school massacres.


    After the Columbine school shooting of 1999, it is felt there have been more deaths, related to suicides.

    This week CBS News published what one Parkland parent recalls about the Columbine suicides:
    "We tried to get the warning out last year," said Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed at Parkland. He was worried survivors would take their own lives – just like some of those at Columbine High School did. Thirteen people were murdered in that 1999 shooting in Colorado.
    "Almost as many people died after Columbine as died during the event, and that was suicide," Petty said.

    The internet's oldest site (source) tracking the tragedies in the wake of Columbine gives this limited list:

    October 22, 1999 -- Carla June Hochhalter (pictured), mother of surviving victim Anne Marie Hochhalter went into an Englewood pawn shop, bought a gun and shot herself there in the shop. She had been diagnosed with depression before the shootings and the stress of having a daughter paralyzed by the attack on Columbine pushed her over the edge.
    February 13, 2000 -- Nicholas Kunselman, 15, and Stephanie Hart, 16, - both students at Columbine - were killed late Sunday night at a Subway restaurant two blocks south of Columbine High School. Nicholas was supposed to lock up the store; Stephanie was there to give him a ride home.
    February 14, 2000 -- The bodies of Nicholas Kunselman and Stephanie Hart were discovered at the Subway restaurant around 1:30 AM (Valentine's Day) by another Subway employee who noticed the lights were still on when she drove by. Victim Rachel Scott worked at the shop before she was killed at the school. 
    May 4, 2000 -- Greg Barnes, a Columbine High student in his Junior year and a basketball player for the school team, died by suicide (by hanging himself) two weeks after the first "anniversary" of the shootings. He was in the school on April 20, 1999 and escaped without injury, though he saw Coach Dave Sanders die and victim Matthew Kechter was a close friend of his. His father found Greg's body in the garage at 12:15 PM with a CD repeating one song over and over: Adam's Song by Blink 182. He left no note but it is believed the suicide was prompted by a recent break-up with his girlfriend. His death left his family and fellow students at Columbine stunned.
    What is clear is that suicides are occurring now, in March 2019. Do your best to ask someone if they are thinking about taking their own life today. Talking about suicide prevents suicides.

    If you need to talk, for any reason, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.