A sad day for everyone

On Friday, a significant portion of the residents of the city and surrounding areas were fixated on live streams being broadcast from Gloversville.

A young man, who by his mother’s description, had battled with mental health issues the majority of his life, was struggling emotionally. Starting a half-hour before noon, he reportedly ran into the street shirtless and waving a long gun.

As police responded, he retreated into his upstairs apartment at 312 N. Main St. He never fired the gun, but he allegedly aimed it at some passing cars.

Just before noon, and as the police gathered outside to deal with this potentially dangerous situation, he began live-streaming on Facebook. There are three short clips, one right after the other.

In the first, he pulls his small black dog onto his lap and buries his head in its fur and as he sniffles, tells the dog he loves him. He tells himself he wants to wash away his sin and asks “keep me a righteous man.” It is very easy to tell he is struggling emotionally and mentally. The videos also reveals he feels very alone in his battle. It is also easy to see he has a kind heart, no matter the inner demons he is fighting.

His mental state rapidly begins to deteriorate in the videos and he refers to himself as “the fallen angel.” He goes from window to window, in his apartment yelling out he is the fallen angel, he is Lucifer. Then he is still for a moment, and in almost a whisper, says, “No, I am not Lucifer.”

My heart ached for this young man. My heart ached for his family and friends as they posted under his live feeds that they loved him and he was loved. No one wanted him to be hurt, by himself or by his actions.

What was most disturbing were the hateful and negative comments under his live posts. If he saw them, we do not know. But if he did, it surely did not help the emotional crisis he was experiencing.

Many, but not all, of the comments were mean-spirited and hateful.

Many others went after the posters, telling them to back off and sending encouragement and love to him. Those people give us hope that kindness and compassion is still around us.

Others poured out love, support and compassion to his mother who posted, asking the mean-spirited and negative posters to stop.

This young man was later found dead in the apartment.

While the cause of his death will not be known until after the autopsy results are released, no matter the cause, whether he was on drugs or he committed suicide or he died by some other means, those who taunted him surely did not help his crisis when he was clearly reaching out for help. They did not show compassion, empathy, or common sense. They hid behind the cloak of the world-wide web. Do any of them feel remorse today given the final outcome of this man’s crisis? We do not know, but they are not posting on his page they are sorry for not recognizing his pain.

The only test will be when the next person in crisis reaches out for help through social media. How we treat others, especially in a crisis, is a reflection of ourselves and yesterday, that mirror was a little cloudy. But the people who stood up to the mean-spirited posters were a ray of sunshine in a very sad situation.

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