The Love of Money is the root of all Evil

Friday, December the 10th was a partly cloudy day. Being Friday, it was the most enjoyable day at the work. I had my lunch at about 12 – 12:30. As soon as I started work after my lunch, I saw this customer of ours who used to come at the store every once in a while. She was a “white” lady (very fair) and a bit obese in her late 20s or early 30s. The strange thing about her was that she always wore black clothes, which were distinctive due to her skin color. I never saw her wearing anything except black and once in summers, when everybody was wearing T-shirts, she had leather gloves on her hands. She came to the store a few weeks (months?) ago, the day when Reagan died. She said that she was very happy as Reagan died.

I saw that she was making photocopies of something. Soon, she was done making copies and was waiting at the counter to be charged for them. I approached and asked her the usual question.

How many copies?

70

Ok and I rang it up on the cash register.

She took out some change and started counting it. She was short off 50 cents. If something like this happens, then we just tell the person to pay the balance later whenever they are around if the balance is not too much (a dollar or 2). Moreover she used to visit the store, so I told her that she can pay later.
She was feeling bad about it and started thinking about it. She had a black bag, which had 2-3 papers in it. She pulled those out and told me that we can have that bag. I felt strange as none of our coustomer has had done that before. If someone feels really bad about not paying then they either go back and get the money instantaneously or leave the copies with us to pick them up when they bring the money.

I told her that, its ok, its just 50 cents and you can pay later, but she said I won’t come here again and anyways I don’t have any use for this bag now. I kept on insisting that she can take the bag as it was just 50 cents but she quietly kept the bag on the counter and walked outside. I felt bit strange about it but then didn’t do anything as she had left.

About 30 – 45 minutes later, we noticed that some people outside were looking up. I thought it must be a fire, but didn’t care much as just 2-3 people were looking. But after a few minutes more people started looking and even the cars passing by slowed down and looked at the same direction. As an inquisitive soul, I went outside and tried to look up. All the people were looking at a building (Oakland Tribune), which is a few meters away. I too looked…but couldn’t find anything unusual. Meanwhile, I heard some women screaming “no, please no!!”

“Is someone trying to jump?” was the first thought came to my mind. I looked again at all the windows….but again didn’t find anything extraordinary. Suddenly my eye level went little bit up to the roof of the building and I was shocked to see

Someone at the top of the building

Someone at the top of the tribune building (very old and famous building in Downtown Oakland). Wondered who was it and what was he trying to do? But as I kept observing and took a closeup with my camera, I found out that it wasn’t a male. It was a female, not just any female but the one who was at the store a while ago.

Now the next question was that, what is she doing up there? Trying to commit suicide or just sitting (because of the way she was sitting). Soon found out that she was trying to commit suicide, as she was trying to lean forward. Police was immediately called. The police came in, about 3-4 cars and about half a dozen officers, while she was still sitting there. It had been about 20 – 25 minutes now and Police had put the “Yellow Tape” around the area. The cops went up to talk to her, but she laid on the edge of the roof. I am not sure what they were talking to her but it appeared that she was responding to someone. While lying, she moved her feet and legs to our side. Her feet were hanging in the air for a while. Her slightest action would make the on lookers scream more and tell her not to do it.

By that time more people had gathered. We came inside the store as we had work to do, but still we were discussing the matter and still looking outside at other people’s reactions and movements. We were also thinking as to why did she make those 70 copies? Was that her suicide note as she made 70 copies of one paper? But how can she distribute that among people so fast? Or did she mail those papers to someone? I thought that she wouldn’t jump. “If she had to jump then, she would have had at the first place.” May be she was momentarily depressed/ under drugs or something and Police should be able to manage the issue. But unfortunately, I was wrong. After a couple of minutes we heard a sudden increase in the noise level of the people. “No, Please don’t jump” repeated the crowd of atleast 50 people. The next moment we heard a huge thud. People gasped! We rushed outside to see the lady filled with blood. She was no more. Gone forever! Within a minute police put a blue sheet on her body. A lot of people were crying, most of the women couldn’t see that more and went away, with tears in their eyes. A woman who was witnessing the whole incident started yelling at the police, while standing by the “yellow tape” they put. “You could have saved her, you didn’t do anything!” she screamed. Other people tried to console and calm down her, while police started doing their “duty” without any expression of joy, sorrow, fear….

I thought that I said that she wouldn’t jump, but she did….then why did she wait for so long? I tried to put myself in her place and found the answer. If a common man would go and try to jump off a 6 story building….it won’t be easy to do that. The fear is the factor and it was clearly evident from her actions that she tried to jump but then backoff due to fear. But since she had made up her mind…….so she did it.

Then I rememberd her words, when she left the store, “I won’t come here again and anyways I don’t have any use for this bag now.” It was really sad and depressing. But wait a minute….she was only at 5-6th floor, its not that high that someone will die on the spot? On inquiry, the people who witnessed the jump explained that, she jumped with her feet first and would have fallen on her feet, but while falling she made a contact with the electric pole, which turned her upside down and her head touched the cemented pavement first.

There was still one question unanswered, what did she copy? Soon, few people came in and made copies of some handwritten document and all of them had the same paper. It was her suicide note. So, how did the people get that note? One of the lady from the adjoining store explained that they didn’t know anything….and suddenly some papers started to come from nowhere. They read that paper and then tried to look for the source of the falling papers and saw the lady at the roof top.

Why did she do that? What was in the suicide note? – She had a lawsuit going on which had something to do with the rent control. Attorneys except one, didn’t take up her case as she was poor. I think that she lost the lawsuit and she had to pay $1,018.77 to her landlord. I also read that she tried to commit suicide, the day she lost the battle.

A few of the last lines of her suicide note were “It’s ALL ABOUT money! The love of Money is the root of all evil!” She also wrote “Just cremate me. And I have no family.”

She was a 33 year old woman and her name was Mary Jesus.

This incident has been reported in a lot of local newspapers as well as their online editions. You can search the news here and the individual news can be checked at

FowReno
SF Chronicle
SF Chronicle – Different article
Tri Valley Herald
KTVU
Contra Costa Times
Daily Review Online
Alameda Times Star
Oakland Tribune

I think none of these sites have any picture, so if you want to look at the pictures, you can check my fotolog. I have a copy of the suicide note, which I’ll scan and upload by tomorrow morning and put it in my fotolog.

Who was responsible for this loss of life? – Was it the lady herself? or was it the attorney’s who refused to take up her case? or was it the police? or was it the people who were looking at her from down?

– She can be responsible for that but I don’t know what she has gone though whole her life? She was about to be homeless, had mental problems (as described by newspapers), she had no family to share feelings or thoughts. But on the other side, I see a lot of homeless people living on the street, picking up the food from trash can, doing their business at the sidewalk, beg for money, they live their lives so miserably but they are still living.

– The attorney’s were definetly evil, they could have had taken the poor lady’s case, but why would someone do that? They won’t miss a multi million dollar lawsuit to take a case of poor lady. They are also there to earn money and if they start taking up free cases then where will they pay their bills from?

– The very first thing I thought that police would do is put something on the ground where she could have landed. I mean a net, or mattresses or something which could have saved her life if she jumped, but they didn’t. Instead they were busy putting those “yellow tapes” around the area and sealing it. Yes it was important, but I think even before they had gone to talk to her, they should have had made proper arrangements on the road, it was just 7th floor! But on the other hand, if someone has decided that he/she wants to die, they would do that anyways, but no matter what the police’s act was unprofesional as they could have done a lot in the 15 -20 minutes they had.

– The people witnessing the incident wouldn’t have had done much in order to save a life. After all its not India where people handle these kind of situations themselves and police comes in when the whole incident has happened. The police had put those “yellow tapes”, so no one could have gone even near the spot.

So, I guess she was right “The love of Money is the root of all evil!”

Its not that this was the first incident, in which a life is lost, I had seen. About an year or and year and a half I witnessed a murder right in front of the store. It was a saturday and right about the same time (12 – 1) a man right in the middle of the street, killed another by stabbing him with a knife. I had written it in one of my papers for philosophy class. Here is a copy paste.

The victim was killed on the spot. It was apparent that the killer was very angry and was behaving too voilently. The scene was horrifying. I saw the killer stabbing the helpless man lying on the middle of the road and trying to defend himself. The killer stabbed about 9-10 times even after the other man had stopped resisting.

The killer killed the other guy as they had a conflict due to some woman, they both liked or something like that.

Evil exists in all forms and sizes…

You should follow me on Twitter at @gsharma.
  • http://www.neerajpoonam.com/wp Poonam

    Really too bad to hear about that lady and it must have been hard to have been there and seen it all happen. Who is to blame? She seemed definitely mentally disturbed so you can’t really have blamed anyone for her actions except herself. Granted that the police should have done more than they did. Something should have been laid down there or they should have tried harder to get her away from the ledge. That’s quite sad. i hope that the lady is now out of her misery. Rest in Peace.

  • http://www.neerajpoonam.com/wp Poonam

    Really too bad to hear about that lady and it must have been hard to have been there and seen it all happen. Who is to blame? She seemed definitely mentally disturbed so you can’t really have blamed anyone for her actions except herself. Granted that the police should have done more than they did. Something should have been laid down there or they should have tried harder to get her away from the ledge. That’s quite sad. i hope that the lady is now out of her misery. Rest in Peace.

  • Anonymous

    Really sad!
    I think woman must be feeling helpless after losing the battle in court and maybe she thought this was the only way to convey her message to the society.

    And surely police must have tried to saved her.

    Thanks for sharing the pics

  • http://www.ankurraheja.com Ankur Raheja

    Really sad!
    I think woman must be feeling helpless after losing the battle in court and maybe she thought this was the only way to convey her message to the society.

    And surely police must have tried to saved her.

    Thanks for sharing the pics

  • http://abhishek.deydas.com abhi

    sad and depressing, that all i can say… :(

  • http://abhishek.deydas.com abhi

    sad and depressing, that all i can say… :(

  • http://puneetworld.indiablogs.org/ Puneet

    It must have been hard to have seen it all happen in front of your eyes,

    I remember once when I was small we had gone to Ajanta caves and on the way via aurangabad to back home… we saw something flash of light suddenly..at a far distant .. didn’t knew what it was when later read it in newspaper that it was a place which just had taken off from aurangabad airport crashed

    I felt so bad later on …..felt very low… the whole day … was thinking about people … they wouldn’t have realized before boarding the plane that they wont be there to see tomorrows dawn

  • http://puneetworld.indiablogs.org/ Puneet

    It must have been hard to have seen it all happen in front of your eyes,

    I remember once when I was small we had gone to Ajanta caves and on the way via aurangabad to back home… we saw something flash of light suddenly..at a far distant .. didn’t knew what it was when later read it in newspaper that it was a place which just had taken off from aurangabad airport crashed

    I felt so bad later on …..felt very low… the whole day … was thinking about people … they wouldn’t have realized before boarding the plane that they wont be there to see tomorrows dawn

  • http://www.thinkmantra.com Gaurav

    thnx everybody for the comments :)

    The incident just made me wonder as to how hard or easy is to end ones life. It just takes a few seconds and thats it.

    Punnet – Yeah, it feels really bad. I was one of the last person to talk to her and I had no clue as to wot she will be doing in next half an hour or so.

    When I walk by the place where she landed….I get chills and avoid to step at that very place.

  • http://www.gsharma.com Gaurav

    thnx everybody for the comments :)

    The incident just made me wonder as to how hard or easy is to end ones life. It just takes a few seconds and thats it.

    Punnet – Yeah, it feels really bad. I was one of the last person to talk to her and I had no clue as to wot she will be doing in next half an hour or so.

    When I walk by the place where she landed….I get chills and avoid to step at that very place.

  • http://sreetama.deydas.com sreetama

    Very sad story.:)

  • http://sreetama.deydas.com sreetama

    Very sad story.:)

  • http://manismani.blogspot.com Manish

    very sad.. dont have words to say ..am feeling very low.. and then u .. u were one of the last people she talked to.. and u saw the whole incident.. man.. it must be big blow for u ..

    i was thinking how hard it is for the people to live without money..and how hard it is to earn money but I think Mary was very attached to her place and garden where she lived for 13 yrs(after reading ur post i read an article abt her from her friend ..here ) and she was not able to digest taht she wont be living there .. she dint have any source of income but i would say she gave up easily .. but then i dont know how terrible and miserable she was feeling .. and then i dont know how hard it is for a human being to come over the depression state .. I pray no one see a day like this ever in his lifetime..

    Good Post!

  • http://manismani.blogspot.com Manish

    very sad.. dont have words to say ..am feeling very low.. and then u .. u were one of the last people she talked to.. and u saw the whole incident.. man.. it must be big blow for u ..

    i was thinking how hard it is for the people to live without money..and how hard it is to earn money but I think Mary was very attached to her place and garden where she lived for 13 yrs(after reading ur post i read an article abt her from her friend ..here ) and she was not able to digest taht she wont be living there .. she dint have any source of income but i would say she gave up easily .. but then i dont know how terrible and miserable she was feeling .. and then i dont know how hard it is for a human being to come over the depression state .. I pray no one see a day like this ever in his lifetime..

    Good Post!

  • http://www.thinkmantra.com Gaurav

    Thanks for that link!! I think it depends on people’s level of tolerance and selfrespect. Some people think that its better to die rather than beg, while others think its better to eat left over food from garbage cans, than dying.

  • http://www.gsharma.com Gaurav

    Thanks for that link!! I think it depends on people’s level of tolerance and selfrespect. Some people think that its better to die rather than beg, while others think its better to eat left over food from garbage cans, than dying.

  • http://manismani.blogspot.com Manish

    but talking specifically of Mary I still think that she could have worked somewhere… with so much of good knowlege and she was a good writer too.. she could easily have survived without begging ..and at the same time i do understand depression can be quite devastating.. and she lost trust in human .. what went thru her mind at that time that she took such a drastic decision is still the question ..

  • http://manismani.blogspot.com Manish

    but talking specifically of Mary I still think that she could have worked somewhere… with so much of good knowlege and she was a good writer too.. she could easily have survived without begging ..and at the same time i do understand depression can be quite devastating.. and she lost trust in human .. what went thru her mind at that time that she took such a drastic decision is still the question ..