Police are looking into a pair of hangings each in California and Texas, all of which have occurred over the last three weeks.
The most recent occurred in Harris County outside of Ehrhardt Elementary School where this morning, the body of a teenager was found hanged. Harris County Sheriff's Office has issued a statement saying that no foul play is suspected.
On Monday, officers in Houston responded to the scene where another male was discovered hanged. According to investigators, the family described the man as suicidal. Once again, there was deemed to be no reason to suspect foul play.
The two most prominent cases of hanging recently though, come out of California where two black men have been found hanging.
The first one was 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch who was discovered near the Victorville City Library on the morning of May 31st. At this time investigators still have not found evidence to indicate foul play, but the family has spoken out to say that they have a hard time accepting Harsch's death as suicide.
On June 10th, the body of 24-year-old Robert Fuller was discovered hanging in a tree near Palmdale's City Hall. Once again, investigators stated that they had not found reason to suspect foul play and said that it appeared to be a suicide.
Marisela Barajas is quoted by ABC as telling the Los Angeles Times, “All alone, in front of the City Hall — it's more like a statement,” she said. “Even if it was a suicide, that in itself is kind of a statement.”
With the flames of racial tension still being fanned by mainstream media, it's understandable that people would be skeptical about hangings being seemingly dismissed as suicides, especially in cases where the men happen to be black.
While the four deaths are still under investigation, there is no way that the results of the investigation will make everyone happy.
On one side of the coin, the flames of racial tension are fanned even more, encouraging what seems to be an election year tradition: playing footsie with a new civil war.
On the other side of the coin, people are left to live with the guilt that often results from those closest to people who commit suicide, and the questions that they will never be able to answer; how could they have missed it?
Anyone that has sat through Psychology 101 classes has heard the statistics; men are more likely than women to chose violent methods of suicide, and of those methods, suffocation/hanging takes the second spot behind only firearms.
This is not to say that there's no chance of foul play in these cases, but rather, to serve as a reminder that we are in a real war and there are souls at stake. While there are some "tells" that people are truly depressed and contemplating suicide, not everyone exhibits those signs.
Please- if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide- reach out. There are resources available and there are people that care. Your life matters.