On Thursday morning I woke up to the sound of a ranger outside my tent telling another camp mate that we were all being detained and needed to go to the kitchen, and that our residential tents were part of a crime scene. Startled I rolled out of bed and unzipped my tent, I was told to get dressed and to go to the kitchen. The Rangers would only say that there had been a death. It was frightening.
It turns out that a young man had found our brand new beautiful Moroccan tents with it's high peak, rafters, and chandelier and decided it was where he wanted to end his personal pain. He moved one of our furniture pieces under the chandelier, cut it down from the rope that held it, and then hung himself from the rope.
It is my understanding that there was only an hour between when one of our camp mates had checked on the tent, and when another camp mate discovered the body. The young man came in during that hour and efficiently went to work.
It is in fact true that somebody (not part of our camp) was working out on the gym equipment we had at one end of the tent, but he thought it was just a weird art piece (he thought the body wasn't real.) My camp mate thought the same thing when they saw it. It wasn't until he touched it and saw the face that he knew it was no joke. We were camped less than 150' from the EMS and he ran to get them immediately. Despite what the SF Chronicle said, we did not leaving him hanging for hours. It only took seconds for our camp mate to realize it wasn't a joke.
And that is the about the time that I was awoken by the voice of a ranger coming through my tent wall.
We had the mental health team there to help us through this, and they were present when we made the decision to not take down the tent. None of us believe that this young man wanted to trouble us with his action, we just happened to be have an open tent with a high enough rafter. We had worked hard to create our camp to provide comfort and joy to all the people of BRC. Some of our camp mates even felt that there was something to be said that this young man choose our space as the place where he would want to spend the last moments of his life.
After the coroner had left, and the police had reopened the space it was myself and another camp mate who put the space back to the way it had been. This was very upsetting for me and I wept openly with friends in my old camp.
David Best came by and suggested we contribute to the temple, and so we took down the rope and it went up with the temple on Sunday night.
I wanted to post this because there was a lot of criticism, and incorrect information in the other thread, as well as in the SF Gate piece. I want you to know that for all the members of Comfort & Joy this incident was upsetting, and terrible. This young man inflicted a lot of pain on us in the process of ending his own pain. We made the choice to continue living, to make the day ours, because we don't think he wanted us hurt with his actions. This was solely about him ending his own pain, not about hurting others who he didn't know.
Comfort & Joy
I am reposting this because there is a lot of shit flying around about what happened and the role of the sweet sweet people over at Comfort and Joy that I felt needed clarification. I am very sorry of you knew the kid, and I mourn your loss with you.
Hug your friends, life is fleeting!