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Some details on Easter Brown Line suicide

I've gotten a few emails and comments from people seeking details or more info on the Easter Sunday suicide on the Brown Line. Jenna was on that train. Here's what she experienced. Thanks for sharing Jenna.

"Concerning the Irving Park Brown line suicide: I was returning home from church a little after 12pm and just before the Irving Park stop the train (I was on board) came to a sudden stop. Everyone in the car jerked forward and then everything went silent. The lights went off, the fans stopped running and the conductor got on the intercom and said "Do not open any doors." We sat there for about 7 or 8 minutes watching the fire trucks and ambulances drive up. We were told to go to the first car and exit the train. Firemen were everywhere on the platform and street and the driver of the train was hysterical yet no one really new what had happened. I waited for all the emergency personell to get on the tracks/platform and then I left. An area under the tracks was taped off so I assume that's where the body fell. Some weird creepy guy from my car asked me to take his picture in front of the train/stretcher/firemen but I said no. I was confused, scared and then saddened. In almost three years of riding the brown line this was the first "experience" I've had that really shook me up. Hope a first hand account helps a little...


I really, really wish people would stop doing this. I guess if you'd really like the attention, this is the way to do it. All the same, anyone that is at this point mentally does not care, think, or want to care or think about other people. They are only thinking of themselves and the world that they are directly involved with. It's horribly selfish, and I hate having to deal with it as a commuter.

Rant much?

There was another one? I didn't even know about this.

I just feel weird about it now that a week has gone by. In the morning when I go past Irving Park and at night when I go past I can't help but think that someone ended their life there...creepy.

There seems to have been a lot of suicides on the trains lately. Is this common or is this new? I haven't been reading this blog for very long, so I can't tell.

Can you look back and do a graph or something?

Suicide is not a new thing for Chicago railroads.. although, traditionally it usually has happened with Metra and freight trains rather than the CTA. The Tribune ran an article called "When Death Rides the Rails" last July, that went through a lot of the statistics for the past years on Chicago's suicide and nonsuicide deaths on the railroads. Sadly, I don't have the article anymore, and their website charges you for full text articles older than 10 days.

in re: people who go on and on about this being a 'selfish' act:

i've commented on this subject before, and my position on this subject has not changed... but my perspective has.

i knew this man. i heard about his death sunday night at my most regular meeting of alcoholics anonymous (what we call a "home group").

i met him right when i came into the program. his nickname was 'silent bob,' because when *he* was new, he wasn't exactly what you'd call a talkative type.

when i came in, he was still sort of reserved, but he was kind and gentle and had a great smile. he was a man looking for a spiritual solution to the things that haunt most of us, but definitely to a greater extent those of us who identify ourselves as alcoholics and addicts. he had found a way of life that was based on helping others and self-sacrifice. he was about giving and service, one of the least selfish people i know.

however, unbeknownst to me until talking to his best friend, bob also struggled with mental illness. with hearing voices. in the last few months, he had relapsed with drinking. he stopped going to AA meetings. he had wandered away from the church and faith he had re-discovered via AA. and while i don't know what could have been going through his mind that day, i know that at the very least, he didn't think or feel like he could call any of us. he didn't think he could rely on the support of his friends or the fellowship of the program.

i suffer from a disease. a fatal, progressive disease, that if left untreated, will kill me. i *am* selfish and self-centered, true. but suicide is not a product of someone wanting to get their own way. it is a symptom of a disease that wants people dead.

i will miss bob l. but, i take comfort in knowing that he is no longer suffering. and i hold that driver in my thoughts.

Well put Jacelyn. I dont think "silent Bob" set out to screw anyone in their commute. Inconvenience of cta riders, and being selfish to others was probably the last thing on his mind.

It depends on how you define selfish. Does selfish mean someone thinking only of their own situation, and forgetting that there is a rest-of-the-world, or does selfish require that there even be an awareness of others?

I think that selfish means one is aware that there are others, and they choose to put themselves ahead of others, and the common good. People who should have been aware others, and that their actions may not be in the common good aren't selfish. They're inconsiderate. And people who are not aware of, and could not be expected to be aware of others are... well, I'm not even sure what to say about them.

If mental illness has rendered someone incapable of understanding how their actions affect others, that's not selfish, even if their actions are entirely based on their own being to the exclusion of others. On the other hand, if their mental illness has driven them to do something fatal just to spite the world, that's selfish despite any mental illness.

In other words, you can't paint people who commit suicide-by-train as either selfish, or not selfish. Situations are different. But that's really beside the point. A life has ended when it didn't need to. Whether there was selfish intent or not is ultimately not germaine. It happened. It can't unhappen. It's too late. Deal with it as best you can. And if you didn't personally know the victim or someone close to the victim, mind your own business.

I have a copy of the "When Death Rides the Rails" that msommer mentioned. I can email the article if anyone wants to read it.

Selfishness defined: saying things like "it's horribly selfish, and I hate having to deal with it as a commuter" and not seeing the irony, especially when the suicide you're referring to happened on Easter Sunday.

Ha! Love the comment, m.

clap, clap, clap! thanks, m. brevity is the soul of wit, and often of truth.

I was just going to say the same thing, m. God forbid someone's commute should be interrupted. Can you see my eyes rolling?

I worked with Kevin for a year before I left last August for grad school, and I found him to be a kind, thoughtful, funny, and knowledgable person. Since I was new to the job I often asked questions, and he was always happy to help me out. He also struck me as a very lonely person. It breaks my heart to know that he actually did feel so alone. I know that everyone we worked with will miss him dearly, and the place will never be the same without him. May you rest in peace Kevin. I miss you, but I hope you are no longer alone.

i am a female operator out of f. glen garage. i absolutely enjoy some of my passengers but some of you are nightmares. especially those of you that like telling me my job. a lot of you have suggestions or questions about how the buses run. i would love to clear a few things up for any of you!

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