Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Jan. 27
Sheriffs Warn Against New Extreme Sport: Murder-Suiciding
Officials Say That Amateur Copycats Often Botch Attempts, With Serious Injuries as Result
"Done correctly, it's literally the ultimate thrill. There's nothing after that is ever going to compare - mostly because there's nothing after."
"It's hard to say when the trend got going," says Sharon Morbid, spokeswoman for the San Diego Sheriff's Department. "There was the O-side O-'cide - the Oceanside murder-suicide in April of 2010. But then things seemed to quiet down until the C-'cide." (Here, Morbid was referring to the Coronado murder-suicide that claimed the lives of four people on New Year's Eve.) "That seems a more likely trendsetter."
Still, Morbid remains unable to account for the sudden uptick, starting with the March 2's elderly La Jolla couple. "We've been calling that one the We D'Cide - they wanted to go out on their own terms. But it's harder to account for the double whammy we had to deal with yesterday. First, that couple in San Marcos, then another pair in Campo. At this point, it may be time to stop coming up with individual event names and just say it's a sport. Because as murder-suiciding gets more popular, someone needs to lay down some rules."
"Right now, you're reading about the successful attempts," explained Morbid. "But that's because the unsuccessful attempts don't get written up the same way. All too often, one member of the pair manages to successfully execute the 'murder' part of the maneuver, but then fails to stick the landing. They either screw up the suicide, or they don't even try it. At that point, it's moves out of the realm of heartbreaking tragedy and into the realm of violent crime. And as the ad hoc governing body for this particular brand of bloodsport, we take a dim view of such unsportsmanlike behavior."