Sunday, February 7, 2016

Suicide by cop?

The other day, I read the sad story of 24 year old Danielle Jacobs (aka Kayden Clarke), a transgendered person from Mesa, Arizona suffering from Asperger's Syndrome.  Jacobs died when police responded to a suicide call at Jacobs' home.  Because Jacobs came at the police with a knife, they responded by firing their weapons.  Jacobs later died of injuries sustained by the gunshots.  Biologically, Jacobs was female and legally named Danielle Jacobs; however, Jacobs identified as a male.  From this point on, I will use male pronouns and refer to Jacobs as Clarke, since that was the name he used and apparently preferred.  

Last June, Clarke posted a video of himself with his trained Rottweiler, Samson.  The dog helped Clarke when he had meltdowns by preventing him from self harming.  People were very touched by the video and it eventually went viral.

Thursday of last week, Heather Allen, founder of the HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, called the police when she received a suicidal email from Clarke.  Sadly, Allen's efforts to help Clarke may have played right into his decision to kill himself.

In another post, one in which the author seemed confused about which pronoun to use, people who apparently knew Clarke claimed that he was not a harmless person.  Some commenters write that he threatened people online and had even been accused of abusing Samson.  The link goes to an article about Clarke/Jacobs, but if you read the comments, you see one posted by a woman who claims that the videos showing the dog comforting Clarke are misleading.

At this point, I don't know what to believe.  I think it's sad that someone had to die this way.  Obviously, I don't know what it's like to be a cop and I have no idea how threatening Clarke was when they visited.  At the same time, I wonder why non-lethal weapons weren't used.  Police in Mesa have twice been accused this year of using excessive force.  Given that it's only February, I find that rather scary.    

It sounds to me like Clarke was in a lot of pain and was tormented by his lot in life.  I would think having Asperger's Syndrome would be enough of a challenge for anyone, but being transgendered on top of that would be even more difficult.  According to an article on Slate.com, Clarke had posted in December that he planned to have gender reassignment surgery.

Samson is now being cared for by Clarke's mother, a woman in her 70s.  She says Samson is the only thing she has left of her daughter.  This is definitely a story with a lot of "moving parts" as it were, and there's more to it than meets the eye.

Speaking of being in pain... I am sick today and I think I may need to go back to bed.  Bill left for Africa and I pray he doesn't bring back any germs.  What he brought me from Burkina Faso is nasty.



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