Editor's Note: ‘Bobcat Family’ again shows its compassion

News Section:

Sometimes it’s not fun to report the news.

In fact, three times this year, it’s been terribly, terribly sad. You never forget names like Terrence Ambro or Stephen Rung Meno.

Monday night, a 19-year-old Ohio University student fell off the Oxbow Bridge on Richland Avenue. Police say they were told he jumped. Two students told us about how they tried to talk the student down before the fall he would later survive.

An editorial we wrote earlier in the semester after Ambro’s death, which police said appeared to be a suicide, urged students who need help to seek it.
It read: “We encourage students who are having a difficult time adjusting to college, who are upset about something that’s happened to them, or who are bothered by something but don’t know what it is to just talk. Talk to someone you trust. Talk to a counselor. OU has them; use them. They’re available 24/7 if you call (740) 593-1616.”

But sometimes, the word “encourage” loses its meaning when you’re listing off the seven digits of a help-line telephone number.

We also spoke of the “Bobcat Family” in that editorial, a term that flew around on Twitter Monday night for at least the third time in 2012.

That term came to life late Monday night, especially just hours after the student’s fall, when dozens of students left notes for the injured Bobcat who was later flown via helicopter to a Columbus hospital.

“You are original. You cannot be replaced,” read one of the little yellow Post-it Notes.

Another, an apology: “I’m sorry I kept walking. I’m sorry that I didn’t see what was on your mind.”

Another, simply: “You matter. Have faith.”
Sometimes, the worst brings out the best. Sometimes that Ohio University family makes itself known in ways that surprise you.

Nights like Monday can make one think; about life, about helping others, about how much we really stop to talk to the people around us in a culture run primarily through the phones we keep on our person at all times.

If you have any doubts about the compassion of others, or whether or not the ambiguously referred-to “help” out there exists, I encourage you to visit the Richland Avenue bridge or find a picture of the notes left for the 19-year-old OU student who fell from it Monday.

It’s out there — seek it.

Please.

And if you’re out there, use this as an opportunity to reflect on whether or not you mean it when you ask a friend how they’re doing. Take this as an opportunity to reflect on how many times you haven’t answered that question honestly.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Ambro, Meno and this 19-year-old student who survived a fall that shouldn’t have had to happen.

Pat Holmes is a senior studying journalism and the editor-in-chief of The Post. Email him at ph835608@ohiou.edu.
 

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