daniel kim's cry for help

CNN has another sad story on Daniel Kim, the 21-year-old senior at Virginia Tech who killed himself after falling into depression last December: Dad: Virginia Tech treated suicidal son like 'joke'. Daniel's father strongly believes that despite serious warning signs, including even emails from Daniel's friends warning the University of his suicidal behavior, officials did not do enough to prevent his death. This is an email sent by Shaun Pribush, one of Daniel's friends, in early November:
Emergency E-mail
Shaun Pribush sent this e-mail to Virginia Tech's health center on November 5, 2007.

"Dear health center,
This is a serious email, this is not a joke. I am Shaun Pribush, a student at RPI, but I am e-mailing because me and some other individuals are very worried about our friend at Virginia Tech, Daniel Kim.

Daniel has been acting very suicidal recently, purchasing a $200 pistol, and claiming he'll go through with it. In one incident, he said on a Friday, he would do it after the weekend, but then told us he failed to go through with it.

On about November 2nd, Daniel told me and a friend over "Instant Messenger" that he just swallowed 22 pills and said this is the end and signed off, but on the morning of November 5th, he logged on saying "third time will be a charm i made myself puke up the pills when i was on the road and then ... couldnt shoot myself so then i was thinking about getting into a car accident then i got all depressed over that sh-t and slept in my car. ..."

We are very concerned for his safety and are unsure the next time he might attempt suicide or go through with it, please forward this to who can give him the best care. Once again, this is very serious; this is not a joke.

Please update me if you acknowledge this and take action so I know if I reached the right e-mail adress. Thank you."
That is, without dispute, a cry for help. Daniel was lucky to have a friend like this. If only the University's psychological services had acted appropriately in reaction to this tip. University protocol states that a suicidal person needs to see the "psychologist on call," but that obviously never happened. Instead, Virginia Tech passed on the information to local police, who showed up at Daniel's doorstep for what police records show was a "welfare check." All they did was knock on his door, saw that he was "okay," and left. The visit took thirty seconds. But Daniel wasn't okay, and shortly after, he shot himself while sittin in his car.

My heart goes out to Daniel's family, for the anguish they must feel. This guy was surrounded by so many people who cared about him, and yet they couldn't do anything to save him. It's awful. You'd think after dealing with the worst school shooting in history last year, Virginia Tech would've handled something like this with more care. That should've been the real wake-up call. Instead, as Daniel's father says, they treated is like a joke.

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