Thursday, April 1, 2010

* Kent State, 1970 - Yale, 2010

Lighting the four flames on the Granville-Jackson Sculpture "The Kent Four" at Kent State, 1973



Almost forty years later (May 4, 1970- March 30, 2010, I find recalling the days of the Kent State murders and the aftermath still a deeply troubling experience.

One cannot underestimate the effect which sudden, unexpected violence can have on the psyche, as I suggest in my condolence letter (post # 14) to the Yale Daily News below, referring to another campus which has been traumatized by murder, this time 40 decades after Kent State.

Annie Le

Cameron Dabaghi

Berkeley junior dies in N.Y.

By The Yale Daily News

Published Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#14 By Sincere Concern 1:50p.m. on March 31, 2010

My sincere condolences to his family and to the Yale community.

It is a delicate matter to broach and I apologize if I am overstepping by doing so here, but this and the earlier untimely undergraduate death at Yale make me worry that the campus itself may be dealing with PTSD from the weeks-long horror of Ms Li's murder first marking period.

Had I not experienced the symptoms of PTSD myself after being present on a campus where students were murdered, I would not be so bold as to offer this as a possibility for consideration at this time.

As a male, I know how tough it was for me to acknowledge that I was experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, especially since I thought the murders had nothing to do with me.

Such neat logic and compartmentalization are not how the human mind and PTSD work, however. I did not know that at the time and suffered greatly.

I would encourage anyone who is experiencing very dark feelings about life, to consider the possibility that these feelings have nothing to do with your own strength or weakness of character, but are rather a manifestation of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

They can be significantly diminished with professional assistance; I assure you of this from personal experience.

What Yale has experienced this year was a trauma. What is happening now at Yale may be post-trauma-stress.

Very sincerely,

Paul Keane

Post # 42 says "By Paul Keane" in the header but was not written by me.

#24 By y'10 4:21p.m. on March 31, 2010

Paul Keane, there are many things I would like to say to you, but I'll suffice by saying that yes, you are absolutely overstepping. Show some respect.
Cameron, may you be at peace now. My prayers go to his family and friends; I didn't know him, but I can only imagine that this is a heartbreaking time for those who did.

#28 By @#24 5:08p.m. on March 31, 2010

I rarely enjoy PK's posts, but I actually think that this time he is right. The Le murder was a trauma, and has affected us all. As will this tragedy.

My love and support to all, especially those who knew and loved this handsome and kind-looking young man.

#29 By Yale '11 5:11p.m. on March 31, 2010

I'd like to thank Paul Keane for what he said -- it's important to recognize that many students on campus may be feeling confused and conflicted in the aftermath of many events from this year without recognizing why they are feeling that way. I certainly have felt affected by all of it, and I didn't personally know any of the students who have died. Though perhaps PTSD is a strong term, Mr. Keane is simply pointing out that, having lost a number of students this year already, we must take care of everyone who is still here. There are many campus resources, from Health Services to peer-to-peer counseling programs to residential college deans and simply friends and family.

Rest in peace, Cameron. My heart goes out to your friends, family, and everyone else whose life you touched.

#32 By ugh 5:40p.m. on March 31, 2010

Yo, Paul Keane, her name was Annie Le, not Annie Li.

Spare us your windbaggery and mass diagnosis and just let us grieve.

#33 By fw 5:42p.m. on March 31, 2010

How was that dis-respectful?

#38 By Apology 6:04p.m. on March 31, 2010

I am willing to accept the criticism of overstepping if my overstepping causes one student to seek help rather than surrender to despair.

No one knows what is in another's heart, and disrespectfulness is not in my heart here.

Old people trying to interpret the world to young people is unwelcome.

I apologize.

Paul Keane

#42 By Paul Keane 7:31p.m. on March 31, 2010

Paul sounds like he's looking for compensation. Why else would he go into such detail?
Paul .. this is about CAMERON. Love you Cam

#43 By anon 8:07p.m. on March 31, 2010

Nothing that Mr. Keane said was in any way disrespectful. He may be off base with his thoughts on what led Mr. Dabaghi to end his life, but his suggestion that PTSD might be involved and his admonition to those who might be suffering similar to get help do not constitute disrespect.

#68 By Just not right 12:56a.m. on April 5, 2010I can't believe that only a few short days have passed and already this campus is acting like it never happened. This may just be how people are coping, but it's driving me crazy.

#69 By Your honesty is courageous 6:11a.m. on April 5, 2010

At the risk of incurring more critcism,
I want to speak to Poster #68.

It is an absolutely necessary part of human nature to turn away from death. Robert Frost's poem "Out! Out!", about a boy who cuts his hand of in a saw accident, ends with these lines about the family and onlookers:

"And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs."

The mind cannot stay in the dark inertia long.

It is a different matter, I believe, when the death is spectacularly public like the Kent State killings or Mr. Dabaghi's leap from the Empire State Building.

One seeks understanding from the anonymous community affected by it: the nation (in the case of Kent State) and the campus in the case of Yale.

What happened after the Kent State shootings, which I did not recognize, was that NO ONE wanted to talk about it, even my own parents, because it shattered a national fantasy: All is well in America.

I suspect the same will happen with Yale because the event shatters a campus fantasy: All is well at Yale.

Beginning the day after the shootings, the subject was a conversation killer.

The result for myself and many others, was that feelings of grief and anger were repressed because no one helped with the normal "social processings" of grieving.

I chose politics to expiate* my feelings (organizing a movement to achieve a federal grand jury investigation of the shootings) and when those politics were over in 1973, the repressed feelings emerged as anxiety and panic attacks.

I would urge you not to diminish the honesty of the feelings you express in Post # 68.

Go with them NOW, not later, and seek someone with whom to process them, someone who does not need to
"turn to their affairs" but can stay with you in the darkness until it turns to light.

Paul Keane

* "Survivor's guilt" is one of the irrational feelings associated with those caught up in unexpected acts of violence. The need for expiation (atonement) is one of its irrational consequences.

#70 By @ #68 11:21a.m. on April 5, 2010

I really, really agree with you. I think we get so caught up in work and stress here that it's always easiest -- but not best -- to turn in from things that hurt us. And we've lost so many this year that deaths have lost their gravity.

I wish that it was easier to talk about this, though -- because I have a lot to say, and I want to listen.

#71 By Anna 10:00p.m. on April 5, 2010

Perhaps this can be an opportunity to reach out to those who have similar feelings to this young man- and don't think there is any other way out. I am in no way a professional in this matter, but have posted a link below in case someone out there would like to read more about mental health to reach out to a friend, family member, or to just learn more for themselves:

It would also be great if professionals from Yale, New Haven, and other communities could post additional information and let everyone know what local resources are out there for those who are reading this.

#72 By Book 10:50p.m. on April 5, 2010

A short book which has saved many from despair: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.


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