Wednesday, March 11, 2009

close to the edge

I believe it was Charles Dickens who started one of his notable novels with the statement “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” And believe it or not his penmanship was not talking about the failing economic crisis of the time but rather the humble experiences of common men. Today he may have even could have been describing what had happened to an Alabama man by the name of Michael Mclendon. McLendon went on a shooting rampage that resulted in the shooting of his grandparents, the murder of his aunt, uncle and killed five other people

Prior to this he burned down the home of his mother and afterwards, returned to the place of his former employment and killed himself. Authorities were trying to determine if he had killed his mother by shooting her first, since she was found in her burned down home. It is strange as to how in past we would see bankers killing themselves after loosing millions during the financial crash that started the great depression to the point currently when loosing a job can lead one to going over the edge. Two of the dead also included the wife of a local sheriff deputy and their 3-month-old child.

Authorities also suggested that McClendon fired randomly at people from his motor vehicle as he drove down Highway 52. He eventually ended up at Geneva's Reliable Metal Products where it is said he was once employed. While there he engaged in a shoot out with police and eventually turned the gun on himself.

I know many of us are close to the edge, but actually going across that cliff is something I could never fathom. Let alone for a young man 27 years of age. It will even be hard for the first African American to run the GOP, Steele will likely face a no-confidence vote on March 31 and be kicked out after only 2-months at the post. I guess Grand Master Flash was more than prophetic when he said

“Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
Uh huh ha ha ha
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under.”

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet a new meaning to going postal after being fired.

urbanknitrix said...

I remember grooving to that song when my parents had house parties.

I never understand why someone has to kill others, so many people because you lost your job, why not off yourself. It had to be more then just him losing his job he turned on his own family and drove miles to do it.

The brain/mind is so complex. I just don't understand.

urbanknitrix said...

Oh and Steele never should have been hired IMO, he was just put there because of his race, just like the Govenor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal - another Palin.

Lovebabz said...

I believe these moments of tragedy and chaos, remind me that we are all connected. That we must find ways to extend ourselves to each other. That we must remove judgement and move to a place of support and aid.

This young man's problems did not begin on that day of his rampage. I would bet that he was boiling over for a very long time perhaps in his early formative years and was not able to access or connect to support to help him. Mental illness, depression and anxiety disorders are still something we do not address fully in communities of color or poor communities.

I hold him and his family in my prayers. Let each one of us be mindful of our loved ones who may need professional help and support.

nicki nicki tembo said...

stress will bust an iron pipe - what it'll do to a man/woman is just as serious!

I won't even go into mental illness and how it can affect a person and family cause I don't feel like cryin' this morning.

Sheliza said...

I guess some people are not strong minded and don't know a way out. This is truly sad and very extreme. Stay strong...

ChocolateOrchid said...

This is very tragic. Even more so that he was only 27. To think that someone so young would be so hopeless is sad.
You must never loose hope.

T.C. said...

I think your quote by Charles Dickens says it all...there is no better way to put it right now...i think i am definitely with you when i say i can't see myself going OVER the edge...its only the beginning though only the beginning

IntrospectiveGoddess said...

This isnt the first incident that I have heard about, its truly sad and some people have tried to equate it to the economy but I think that was just the straw that broke the camel's back, this guy clearly had a pyschological problem that hadnt been dealt with, my heart goes out to the family of all those that lost someone

esin said...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the winter of desspair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...

(hint) There was a king of large jaw, and a queen with plain face, on the throne of Englan; there was a king of large jaw, and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

Of the first casualities of reason is the metaphorical languauge of pre-science scripture; individual responsibility becomes both paramount and a very singular expression. Self control comes with time and experience, wisdom is a tenured response.

As one of the above posts notes, we are all in this together, we are connected and interdependent. If we can not 'teach our children well' we will witness more and more of this type of horrific tragedy.

MacDaddy said...

Good post.

Like you, I can't fathom going "over the edge." But I can sympathize with this guy. Our work is so tied to not only our financial survival but our mental health. When we lose a job, or when we have difficulties with our supervisor and feel disrespected, we usually compromise or we move on to another job. Everything turns out alright. But what if there's no job left to move on to?...

What if no amount of binge drinking can transcend the anger and hurt you now feel?

Erin Michell said...

This is a tragic situation. It's horrible that people feel that have to "go over the edge" and that they don't have better options. My prayers go out the victims and the families....

Katrina said...

Wow! What an awful thing. This is why we gotta keep our loved ones and ourselves in prayer. So sad when innocent lives are lost due to another person NOT being able to handle their own problems!!! I mean why must others die because of a lost job!!!

This world is in such a sick place!!!!

Kofi said...

Just finished reading that Dickens book. Good times.

KevinsTeeTee said...

This is another example of the sad state we are in. That we as beings are so disconnected from each that we can't even see when a person is screaming for help until it's to late.

I know what it's like to have that burning rage inside of you, to feel like there is no end in sight and that often your only option to get people to see the light is by drastic means. It's unfortunate that so many people lost their lives when I'm sure if people paid this guy more attention they could've seen that something is wrong.

In general people's mental states are often ignored in this society because nobody wants to be labeled as "crazy", but I'd rather be labeled as such and find means to minimize my urges versus just ignoring it altogether.

olu albert said...

Dr. Stephens:

I dont know why folks are running amuck killing innocent people. I am saddened to say the least. Especially if we start to think of the vacuum it creates on the part of the afflicted family. Similar incident happened with an 18 year old in Germany., he killed 15 people, before the police could hunt him down in a shoutout.

In times of crisis, it is not uncommon for people to rationalize their anger differently. The motives of these young men is incomprehensible. It creates a conundrum for behaviorists to explicates why these young men will behave in such a strange fashion.

Philosophically speaking, the world may be coming to an end.

Tammy said...

I wish people would learn to be more vocal about their feeling instead of letting themselves go over the edge.

msladydeborah said...

I see this latest slaughter as an act that says a whole lot about the shooter.

On one hand there was definitely a lot of anger and rage. He took the lives of the people in his immediate bloodline. That indicates to me that there has been some long running issues inside of his story.

There is a level of anger that is not easily contained nor easily squelched. The lives that he took after killing his family members has no rationale that we will ever really understand.

As far as losing a job is concerned-my mother has maintained the duration of her lifetime, that we do better at handling this type of situation that white people do. She firmly believes that we are better at adapting when things go haywire in the job market.

There was a man in my hometown who killed his family and committed suicide after learning he had lost his job. This just happened a month ago.

I hope and pray that this is not going to be the response trend by males. It is a selfish act. One that indicates that they are unable to imagine their wives or children can make it without them.

Regina said...

Who would have thought that Grandmaster Flash's words over two decades ago would be so relevant today.
People need to regain some hope and get a vision/plan. Without a plan the people perish.
What we are seeing is people with NO hope left, so they resort to the foolishness and finality of death.

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

I can believe this. America will continue to create men/women who turn into monsters. They tragically transform as a result of the pressure this country slaps us with when the stresses of life cannot be contained/controlled. Some people drink. Some have more sex...and more sex. Some people shoot-up. This guy really did shoot-up!

-Brian E. Payne better known as Muata

Greeley said...

Great post! People need to realize that some things will always be more important than money (like family and faith). It's sad that people lose that perspective sometimes. I hope and pray that we can all keep our heads throughout our darkest hours.

blackgirlinmaine said...

Sadly I think this sort of thing is going to become more and more common. I am somewhat surprised to hear this was such a young fellow...what happens to make such a young man just snap? I also agree with the commenter who mentioned there is something else going on since he killed members of his own family.

Curious said...

Wow it's been years since I read A Tale of Two Cities, the abridged version I was kind of young. If I can remember, it was about the dichotomy of life, the kind of thing that we are going through now like you said. It's sad that there are some of us who when faced with that will only see the one side and not the other, the yin and not the yang. And sadder yet when they feel there is no one there to help them through it because someone will eventually get hurt.

Clay Lowe said...

if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space...

KELSO'S NUTS said...

Personalities and brain chemistries are like snowflakes. I can't weigh in on what would make someone take a loved-one's life.

I can weigh in on what I think constitutes HONOR IN PUBLIC SERVICE. There's a quotation from Raymond Chandler in a 1945 ATLANTIC MONTHLY piece in which he discusses his protagonist Phillip Marlowe. I think it's apropos to the RNC Chair issue:

"...Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid... He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world..."

Those are high standards, indeed. Who has lived up to them in toto? Nelson Mandela, Tom Paine,Nicolaus Copernicus, Fredrick Douglass, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, Clarence Darrow, Boris Yeltsin, Samuel Gompers, Pope John XXIII, maybe in smaller ways Jacobo Arbenz, or in very recent memory Admiral William J Fallon.

I don't expect a political party chairperson to rise to that level. I don't expect a president to either. I expect them to TRY, though.

The Michael Steele you're seeing now is the same Michael Steele who got his ass handed to him by Benjamin Cardin, perhaps the worst campaigner in the Democratic caucus. Most striking, and most hopeful in a twisted way, was that Cardin beat Steele 85-15 in the African-American vote.

I saw who the finalists for the RNC chair were: Steele, Katon Dawson (running on a platform of expelling Ron Paul from the GOP), and that asshole who "penned" "Barack The Magic Negro."

When we're down to deciding that Steele is the least worst because it's another "milestone," the game is lost.

Or tell me: doesn't Geithner do DISHONOR to the 6 mm of his aunts and uncles who were burned in Hitler's ovens? Am I wrong?

MandM said...

I always found Charles Dickens' books rather depressing; I guess rather appropriate for this topic.

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