Aaron Hernandez’ Death Isn’t a Punchline

WireAP_96631168e31843ed80a38849e14bf734_16x9_992I thought a lot about this post, mostly because of it’s subject. Aaron Hernandez is a convicted felon. He was a first class thug who threw away a chance that so many young males only dream about. A $40 million contract. A spot on a team that won 2 Super Bowls and visited with the President on the day of his death. This was a life wasted. A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. And the life of Odin Lloyd; a young man we know not much about other than he was gunned down and left for dead.

The death of Aaron Hernandez by hanging has become tabloid fodder, with social media exploiting the tragedy of a man dying by suicide. Aaron Hernandez was a criminal; a murderer. He does not have my sympathy for the crime he committed and the life of a young man he so selfishly ended. And it does feel strange writing about someone whose life was constantly met with brushes with the law. Usually, when we talk about suicide, the person involved was either in great pain for a long time or their loss has come as a shock to their loved ones. Hernandez’ death seems to transcend this; as if his life didn’t matter to his family or the 4-year-old daughter he left behind.

I’m not memorializing him. In fact, I’d much rather not write about him at all. However, mocking suicide, any suicide sends the wrong message for individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide or those struggling with suicidal feelings. Hearing jokes about the method he chose (hanging) can leave a suicidal individual in an emotional place where they too will believe that their death with be considered a joke. It may even intensify feelings of worthlessness. This scares me. I never want someone who feels they have no way out to think that their loss would be laughed at. And I’m sure you’re thinking, “How could anyone think that way?” Well, when you’re depressed, logic doesn’t really exist.
Suicide is a serious loss for all involved; family, friends, community. It is not a punchline, even if the loss was someone like Aaron Hernandez.

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