There might be some people who question why we devoted so much space to the suicide of a part-time Lansford police officer.

The suicide happened Friday night along Broadway in Jim Thorpe. The victim, Dave Midas, 33, not only was a part-time police officer, but was a lieutenant in the Carbon County Sheriff's office, an assistant for a funeral director, and was being discussed in political circles as a likely successor to the present sheriff, Dwight Nothstein.

If you knew Dave Midas, you likely thought about him as a wonderful person - because he was. He'd go out his way to help you. He was always positive. He worked hard. He took life seriously.

Maybe that was his problem. Maybe he took his life too seriously. We'll never know for sure.

Midas' death was a shock to many people, including this writer.

One of the fondest memories of my wife and I was when we had a group of visitors at our house from Scotland. All were in their early 20s. They spotted Midas at the Summit Hill Police Station and when I asked them if they would like to meet him, they were overjoyed.

Midas was great with them. He gave them a tour of the local jail. He showed them the police car. He posed for photos, which one of the visitors made as their Facebook picture.

That's the way Midas was.

So what could have gone so terribly wrong that in an unexpected moment, he violently ended his life?

Police work is a stressful job and officers have few outlets to relieve that stress.

But it isn't only police officers who kill themselves.

According to one Web site:

Ÿ Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year.

Ÿ Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care.

Ÿ There are twice as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.

Ÿ Between 1952 and 1995, suicide in young adults nearly tripled.

Ÿ Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.

Ÿ Over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm.

Whether it's a military member, someone suffering from a prolonged, painful illness, an individual who failed in love, or someone merely depressed, suicide seems to be a desperate escape.

But it goes beyond desperate. When you do something desperate, it's a determined effort to make something work. With suicide, you're making something end.

Why would someone like Dave Midas kill himself?

So many people went to Midas for help. Wasn't there anybody he could consult or confide in for assistance?

Midas was good to the community. He was very active in the student DARE program. He spoke to women's clubs and other organizations on police issues. He attended crime watch meetings.

He also was a loving father.

So what happened?

There's always mystery to suicide. People thinking of such a way out should seek help. There is hope.

Some say killing yourself is a brave thing. Others say you're a coward for doing it. It's neither. It means that an individual is trapped with no visible escape.

It's the wrong way to handle a problem, especially knowing the effects it will have on the people who cared most about you.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com