SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


RE: Too many suicides and attempts
By Kristenia Johnson


September 10, 2009
Thursday PM

I am having a hard time believing that people in Ketchikan could solely blame a person for ending their own life.There are two (from what I understand) different suicides in a matter of a few months in Ketchikan and neither share two commonalities.
I should think that the author of "Too Many Suicides and Attempts" who is only 17 years old could understand all the pressure that exists in Ketchikan Schools. I am 25 and was born and raised in Ketchikan. Having attended Schoenbar and Kayhi I made my best effort to stay away from all the wrong doings with my age group but there is too much of it out there to be completely blind of. I find myself laughing when Ketchikan is described as a close knit community. I believe there are groups of people who live in "happy fantasy worlds" and their friends and family that join them in these fantasies do feel Ketchikan is close knit. Great for them! This is not true however, this not reality and there is a HUGE problem among the young adults and even pre-teens in Ketchikan.
I have spent years with youth groups and years as far away from them as I felt comfortable. I even entered into a darker world that lies in Ketchikan just under the noses of the parents there. I can attest to the existence of drugs and underage drinking, and have also bore witness to those that choose to "pray" instead of act to help those with a problem. I am by no means saying your children are in any wrong dealings I am saying that sometimes the kids you feel are good additions to your children's group of friends are the ones you should take caution with. Anyone can put on a smile and say "Yes Mrs. Johnson", "Thank You Mrs. Johnson" but they very well could be carrying some dark and painful demons under innocent looking eyes.
Ketchikan has a large number of illegal drugs and minors consuming alcohol, just ask any officer. It's an island, there is nothing entertaining in the town for young adults to do (Which should be taxpayers primary concern for their children) and there are no nearby towns to drive to and attend a concert, fair, miniature golf, etc. There are those that forever will live in Ketchikan and those that desperately desire to leave. No one ever seems to ask us that left why we left, I feel we are merely looked down upon for not being true to our town. I will tell you now, coming right out of high school, with years of build up frustration, it became suffocating to live in a town where the pressure to drink and do drugs at a young age is in high throttle. And the lack of anything of interest weighed our spirits down. Where cosmic bowling is taken over by a certain age group and those not in that group are not able to enjoy their time. Where a pool hall was the answer until it closed down after a short period of time and you didn't feel safe with those that stood outside with prying eyes. When your movie theatre only shows 2 movies what might a young adult do the remaining 5 nights of their summer?
I strongly urge adults and parents alike to stop the endless cycle of telling your children to "go find something to do" and work to create something that is save and actually entertaining for them.
If you continue to blame those that get themselves into trouble and ignore the possibility that times have changed with the constant advancements in computers and cellphones that now allow your children to text and hold conversations about anything that their parents very well never hear or see. You will only continue to fuel this fire of suicides in what could be a quite and lovely town.
We cannot know what was goes on in the lives and minds of those that commit suicide, and therefore we cannot judge. I understand that religions have their ideas about the act. But before you say it is the "easy way out", I urge you to sit for a second and imagine how "easy" it would be to end your own life?

Kristenia Johnson


Received September 09, 2009 - Published September 10, 2009


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letterToo many suicides and attempts By Mykayla Martin

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