A Boy with a Big Heart: An Open Letter to the Family and Friends of Daniel Briggs
I was devastated when I learned the tragic story of Daniel’s death after watching the now infamous video about anti-bullying. I did not know Daniel personally, but from what his mother has publicly stated here and what I have read in various articles he seemed like a very kind child with a big heart. It is not often that 16-year-old boys take an interest in helping others and it is touching to know that Daniel was more than willing to help out a neighbor who had cancer and then look after his wife after he died.
From what I have gathered it also appears like Daniel was different. He enjoyed being outdoors and hunting different animals. He was proud of his gun collection and was excited about talking about them. Although this is not what the vast majority of teenagers are in to, that was completely and utterly ok. Daniel seemed happy in his own skin, and his peers should have respected him as an individual even if they liked different things.
Although sadly this was not what happened, Daniel was bullied relentlessly simply because he was different. He was called very severe names, he had trash thrown at him, he was punched in the stomach and made to lick a bus window. This saddest part of this story is that this bullying went on for an extended period of time. Daniel was evidently tormented for years, and although his parents tried to take matters up with school officials and get Daniel the protection he needed, the school did not provide adequate care for Daniel when he needed it most. As a result, Daniel was tormented to the point where he took his own life.
To Daniel’s Family: I am so sorry that you lost your son and sibling. Daniel truly seemed like a very sweet soul who was unjustly treated. To Daniel’s mother Amy: I know it cannot be easy to stand in the lime-light and openly discuss the events surrounding your tragedy, and you are a true warrior for doing so. Daniel’s story is one that can truly make a difference in the lives of young people and with you leading the way he may still be able to help people even from beyond the grave.
To Daniel’s Friends: I have heard that Daniel told several people throughout the day that he was going to kill himself before actually committed the act. I was surprised to learn that only one friend took action to try and save Daniel’s life. I know that suicide can be a difficult subject to talk about and that it can be hard to know exactly who to reach out to, but telling someone is better than telling no one. Unfortunately, I found myself in the same predicament that you did, knowing that my friend was going to commit suicide and doing absolutely nothing to stop her. I live with the guilt of that decision everyday, and I would give just about anything to go back and change what happened. So know that while it is a difficult subject, it is always better to tell someone about a person who is considering suicide if it will save their life. If they are willing to confide in you, it is up to you as their friend to do what is best for them and get them the help they deserve, and by doing this together we can make a difference and combat the Silent Killer.