Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nothing to Celebrate

The end of a life is rarely a celebratory event. Regardless of the person's lack of character or depths of depravity they often leave behind family as befuddled as the rest of us. Who among us can cast an eye through their own family and not find a member whose conduct has not been at least puzzling. Hence, you will not read anything here that gleefully recounts the demise of a former Grand Junction officer accused of criminal conduct. That his suicide ended the criminal case against him merely concludes the governmental inquiry into his actions. His friends, his family - those who are left wondering if they had failed him in some way - will struggle with his decisions always. Both the alledged criminal conduct and his decision to end his life did not occur in a vacuum. Good people surrounding him, who did nothing wrong, will recount the conversations and ask themselves if they could have intervened somehow.

While we're thinking of the other victims, including the young woman whose complaint began the chain of events that ended in a Jefferson County hotel room, let's remember the men and women in Grand Junction who acted to end his career. Don't think for a second that they look upon this outcome dispassionately. Taking steps to rid their organization of an employee who uses his authority improperly is one thing. That has to be done. But no one celebrates when the employee then takes their own life.

Here, in this space, I'm looking on with sorrow. He is at rest. His victims are left to wrestle with one of life's most unsettling imponderables - what could I have done to have avoided this whole thing. Those of us who are outside observing can assure them that the answer is - nothing.

And then we tell them that they are in our hearts and prayers.

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