Dear Tommy Wallach,
You don't know me, in fact, it's likely you'll never read this letter. But it's important that I write this.
You wrote a book. A YA book which deals with suicide. That's a heavy topic, and one which should be handled with the utmost care.
You made a joke. A cruel joke. This is what you said:
Clearly, from your lack of an effective apology, and your decision instead to lock down your account, you don't understand what you did wrong.
People understood that this was a joke. No need to keep repeating that. We just didn't think it was funny.
The flippancy with which you spoke about jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge - one of the key themes of your novel, apparently - was horrible.
There have been times in my life where I've thought about ending things.
Take it from someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety for well over two years - people referring to suicide in this way is hurtful.
Firstly, you are saying our lives mean nothing more to you than a cheap joke, used for your own purposes.
You are being callous, cruel, and uncaring.
You are telling people who are already low that they have no meaning. Have you got any idea how little it might take to tip someone over that edge?
Secondly, you are disrespecting every single family member of every single suicide victim in the world. You are saying their loved ones' deaths are funny.
You are saying their hurt means nothing, that those people meant nothing - that they weren't wonderful sparks of light that were taken too soon. That they weren't someone's sibling, spouse, child, parent, grandparent, cousin, friend...
They were. Do not disrespect their memories.
Thirdly, you referred to the bridge as 'sexy' - claiming this was why you wouldn't mind jumping off it. Do not needlessly romanticise suicide.
It's not made any better by the fact that it's in a pretty location. People still die.
Known suicide spots attract the suicidal because human beings follow the examples of others.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most deadly suicide spots in the world.
Do you know what it's like to live near a suicide spot - even a small one? My nearest local suicide spot is less than ten minutes away on foot.
There are several others close by. Every time something happens, your heart breaks.
And the aura around these places - or around a spate in suicides in a town or county, is like a lead weight pushing you into the ground.
But when you're feeling particularly low? Those places call out to you, even if it's just a little. Because wouldn't it be easy to...? And you can't think like that.
10 minutes from my home. I have to pass it to go to the shop for milk. I have to pass it on my way to and from doctor's appointments. Think about how that feels.
And you certainly have absolutely no right to put that idea into someone else's head.
I cast my mind back, when I was reading your dumpster fire of flippant stupidity and defensive faux-apologies, to the times when I have considered ending things.
If I came across your tweet - casually, on my feed? If I had come across that at my lowest of moments?
It may honestly have been enough - especially if you were someone I followed ardently. You would have killed me.
- List of suicide helplines/hotlines worldwide
- Wikipedia list of suicide helplines/hotlines worldwide
- STOP-Homophobia.com's list of international suicide helplines/hotlines