• Suicide baiting — they cheered while my son jumped

    UPDATE: Kathie Yount recently passed after a hard-fought battle with cancer. This was her first column for us, driven by the cruel injustice of the death of her only son, Dylan. On this desolating occasion, it seems right to remember that Kathie was a fighter for justice, a writer of great passion and eloquence and, on a personal note, about the best friend I could ever have hoped for. Safe travels, Kathie. I will always miss you.


    Not many mothers will live to see a child’s death cheered.  Such a repugnant thought is not only disgraceful, but if cheering at a death should happen at all, it would surely be reserved for the most despicable among us like a Timothy McVeigh or Osama bin Laden.  The very word cheer and all its variants still traumatizes me, for that is how my gentle son died — by being cheered on to his death at the evil behest of a savage crowd who even cheered him as he lay dying.

    Dylan Gifford Yount was bullied to death in a suicide baiting in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, on February 16, 2010. He died in the midst of a medical emergency in a mentally confused state, the only mental crisis he Kathy Yount and her memoriesever experienced that we who love him ever knew about.  He died on the second day of the 2010 National Random Acts of Kindness week on the 2010 Mardi Gras Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent, on what Christians celebrate as Shrove Tuesday.

    He died, dehumanized and in despair, in front of 1,000 people who mostly stood watching while others taunted him, provoking his death, and denigrating his state of mind, which  he made obvious by his position on the ledge outside his loft above the Forever 21 store at Market and Powell.  He had lived in that sixth floor loft just 10 days with his girlfriend.  It was the only floor on the building that had a ledge.

    On the Monday before his Tuesday death, I was living a normal life, substitute teaching on Monday and working on Tuesday at the antiques shop I co-owned.  When I came home on Tuesday, as usual, I immediately called Dylan.  A voice I had never heard answered his phone.  When I excused myself for dialing incorrectly, a man told me I was not wrong. He said he had Dylan’s phone and had only answered it because the caller ID said “mom.”  He was in my son’s apartment.

    When he identified himself as a medical examiner, I panicked and rapidly began asking questions about my son.  If the man had said he was a coroner, I might have understood what was happening, but California has medical examiners.  I had no idea what a medical examiner was at the time.  When he asked me if I was alone, I remember telling him stupidly, “I am always alone.  I am an English teacher.” The man must have thought I was crazy, but eventually he did tell me what had happened, offering the slightest hope for my desperation — that the man lying on the Dylan Yount as a child 1pavement six floors down was not Dylan (the body had no identification on it) and that there would be fingerprint tests (California prints everyone at driver’s license time) — that he would call me back when he definitively knew who the victim was. Yet, when I hung up, I knew everything was forever different.

    That was the moment when I died, too, right then, and everything was spinning, spinning, spinning in my kitchen.  I remember all the sensation of the indescribable horror of that evening’s nightmare — my family rushing to be with me (four hours away) friends coming by, phone calls and phone calls and phone calls all evening back and forth to that medical examiner, to loved ones.  The shock.

     Even as I was drowning in grief, a parallel and documented horror was happening that I was not aware of, because my loved ones were sheltering me from it.  For that night and for many days after (I was terribly and vocally suicidal; he was my only child)  they kept me from knowing that my son’s death had gone viral in the most horrific way imaginable.  The very same people in Hallidie Plaza who had provoked my son’s death were now uploading their grisly trophy pictures and graphic death videos onto the Internet, creating a new death porn that has a shelf life of forever in our digital age. TOPTOM2010 was Photoshopping a “comic” that he posted on at least 10 sites that Tuesday and Wednesday.  He posted his video as well.  I did not know this.  I was clueless.  My only computer was at the antiques shop, so I knew nothing about this outrage until Thursday when I learned that Dylan’s jump had been posted.

    I began constructing what had happened on March 2010.  Little did I know that when I began my research, it would grow into 25 file Dylan Young as a young manboxes about what Dylan suffered before he died.  I do know that if he had made it through that singular dark experience, he would be alive today.  From this experience, I have come to know that there are more good people in this world than bad, but I agonize that this is not what Dylan saw in his last moments on earth.

    He saw the complete despair and viciousness of life.  He experienced raw hate from a random group of people.  He saw xenophobic sociopaths who wanted him to die for their entertainment. His death was violent and degrading, like “Lord of the Flies” in real-time.  He was sport.  In their predatory hands, he was victimized by people who knew nothing about him.  If Dylan had been looking for a reason to live – not die – he did not get it that day. Their verdict was a thumbs down: JUMP!  And most insidious of all were the 24 police who stood down that day, snickering, and some say joining the mob that wanted him to jump.  The police simply taped off the jump zone and waited.

    My son was ambivalent even at that last moment.  He did not want to die.  He had to be convinced.  If the predators who had snapped and snarled at him been asked to move along or to remain quiet under threat of arrest, my son would be alive today. Multiple people broke the law that day, yet no arrests were made.  California Penal Code 401 is clear:  Anyone who encourages a suicide is guilty of a felony.

     Today is the 1,166th day following Dylan’s death.  I am now three years and 70 days  into the horror that I still and will always endure. I still cannot believe that what happened to Dylan really happened  His death is as shocking as it was the night I first learned about it.

    Before Dylan’s death I had never heard of suicide baiting; now I have a Facebook page about preventing it.  I had never heard about the Houston studies on impulse suicide, but I understand them now all too well. I do not know if I will be successful in educating others about deindividuation and how this social phenomenon can turn a crowd into an unthinking mob.  I do now firmly believe this:  if there are no punishments or consequences in this case, suicide baiting will become more commonplace.

    In my research I have discovered those who take great pride in causing the suicidal to go ahead and just do it.  Once I used to enjoy the social camaraderie of joining,  but now I think it best to keep the mothers-whose-children’s-deaths-are-cheered-group as  small as humanly possible.  It is a club I hate.  It is a membership shameful to humanity.  It is a club that saps me of strength.Suicide Baiting Prevention Awareness


    (Edited by iPinion contributor Maya Spier North)

    • I am so sorry for your loss. Your article said it all. Yes, there should be punishments. And this should never happen again to anyone.

        • Nanette McLean

        • May 11, 2013 at 5:31 am
        • Reply

        This is Disgusting and Shameful …I am so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful precious son may he rest in peace 🙁

        • Janice Meyer

        • September 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm
        • Reply

        I am physically ill to think that even one person would be a suicide baiter. This world has fallen into madness and evil. I am horrified to think that those cops stood down and did nothing to help that child in need. How utterly inhumanely cruel and callous they were for allowing the mean-spirited crowd when the were encouraging this child to jump from that ledge. I’m livid that they those cops just simply did not do their job. The job they took the oath to uphold. I am livid that the mayor didn’t step in and fire every cop who was there and did nothing but watch as it unfolded….or were they ordered to stand down? I’m fighting mad that those cops didn’t arrest one person for suicide baiting. How many times does the mayor of SF have to fail to act, or to act inappropriately, arbitrarily holding grudges and randomly punishing those who won’t play the game his way, breaking laws whenever and however he so chooses. Where are the good citizens of SF? Don’t they see what is occurring right before their eyes. When will SF’s good and decent, law abiding citizens finally get enough of the egregious occurrences in their city and rise up in unity. Not one person was arrested for suicide baiting, which is a felony offense, punishible by law. I know how the SF officials can manipulate straightforward information and distort it until it isn’t even the same once they’ve gotten their hands on it. And now I see how they stand by and do nothing when law enforcement officials don’t uphold their oath to serve and protect it’s citizens…..ALL IT’S CITIZENS, not just a select few. There are other instances that have shown the character of the officials who are running the city. I pray for Ms. Yount that she finds within herself the ability to “live” her life again. Her son’s death was and is a sad, sad indication of the evil that men can do. May God keep you and hold you in his loving hand, Ms. Yount. I can’t even imagine how you must still feel from the loss of your son.

        • Bronwyn

        • February 13, 2014 at 12:53 am
        • Reply

        I lost my son 17 July 2013 and what you mentioned “impulse suicide” jumped at me as his suicide was planned and something made him feel so depressed and worthless that day. I also miss my son so much and wish for justice that whoever made him feel so low and burdened that they receive all my hate and anger in hell one day.

      • Terri Connett

      • April 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you for sharing your honest and horrible story. I never heard of such a disgusting thing as suicide baiting. And I’m so sorry it happened to your gentle Dylan.

    • God bless you, Ms. Yount. *HUGS* Every time I read about Dylan’s story, it always saps my breath as if I’m hearing it the first time. It’s just so unbelievable and tragic.

      • Brandi

      • April 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm
      • Reply

      My thoughts will remain with you.

      • Bev

      • April 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm
      • Reply

      There are too many people in society who look at those who are hurting and scorn and mock them–mental health care?? This concept is a joke, government has taken away funds for mental health facilities, even amidst the hypocrits who talk about dealing with mental health as a gun control issue (the NRA’s LaPierre) and the sequester has taken away funds for this very problem. There will never be a mental health program that tries to help those who are desperate for help–I’m sorry, I am very pessimistic when it comes to this. I myself am bipolar and have had those who were my friends drop me like a hot potato when they learn that I am bipolar. Stigma, stereotype, whatever you want to call it. I can only express my deepest sympathies to the family and hope that people will learn from this atrocity.

      • davidlacy

      • April 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you for sharing this personal story Kathy.

    • My mind, heart and a part of my soul understands and acknowledges this pain, as I too am a mother who lost her son to suicide in 2010. My son died alone, in the quietness of his father’s truck who also just died 2 years almost to the date of my son Brandon’s death…I find comfort in knowing Brandon is with his father now…I can only give my sympathetic and understanding through recognizing this tremendously horrible experience any mother goes through in her life. Dylan was an absolutely beautiful and handsome young man with a smile that melts right through my computer screen…Please know he was struggling with himself and personal understanding….now he is at peace…Knowing others “cheered” his death is absolutely horrendous and a frighting realization of what human beings are capable of. My support to those who struggle daily, weekly and even hourly…please carry on with a positive and gentleness in your heart…

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • April 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm
      • Reply

      I can’t even imagine the pain that you have and are still enduring. So so sorry.

      • Marlene Stobbart

      • April 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm
      • Reply

      A mob mentality quickly grows and the individual it turns on has little escape. This young man had to have reached the bottomless pit of despair, for whatever the reason, with no strength to combat that or the mobs urging. Those family members who are left behind will forever carry the pain and the guilt which i doubt that was what he had intended. There are no answers but to rejoice the moments of happiness that this mother shared with her son in a time that was all too short.

    • Mrs. Yount,
      This makes me very angry. At the same time it does not surprise me for I think cruelty and stupidity is human in nature. I would say that forgiveness is in order but they would neither understand nor appreciate the gesture so why waste your time with that. I wish I had known your son, we might have been friends.

      • Maya North

      • April 30, 2013 at 11:39 am
      • Reply

      I have struggled to find words enough to truly express the depth of my horror, grief and outrage over the cruel events that robbed your sweet Dylan of his life and you, his mother, of your heart, forever. I so nearly lost my daughter when she was small that I did see that abyss of endless darkness staring back up at me; it is on this remembered near-miss that I draw my heartfelt prayer that your words will reach the world so that all can share what you face for the rest of your life and that everyone who reads this will lend their voices in that roar of refusal: No! Never again! Not. One. More. Hugs…

    • Many thanks for the kind responses I have received. A man who inquired why this article did not address the reason Dylan was out on the ledge PROMPTS me to explain. Dylan had never been suicidal, had never been diagnosed with mental problems, and had a clean autopsy. I had never heard Dylan even say he was depressed! While we may never know exactly what happened that day, I think we can examine two areas for explanations. First, googling the Harvard and Houston studies on Impulse Suicide sheds light. Of those who survived a suicide attempt, 24% of them said they had thought of suicide less than 5 minutes! Another 24% thought of it only 5 minutes to an hour! Of all suicide attempters who survive, 90% will never go on to die by suicide. Dylan went back inside the apartment (footprints from medical examiner’s report) and then back out. We know that Dylan had had a fight with his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day (Sun. before his Tues. death). Did he go inside to call someone for help? Many witnesses reported that he was “searching” the crowd. Two, the Harvard studies also address “means restriction,” which is a way of slowing down the suicidal impulse, allowing it to cool down. Means restrictions are why suicide experts want to put safety nets on the Golden Gate bridge. Anything that makes the act harder, helps with prevention. Dylan lived on the only floor of the building–the sixth–that had a ledge; interestingly the 6-12th floors are referred to as “the twilight zone of humanity” in suicide baitings because the victim can HEAR the taunters. Anything below the sixth, people recognize the victim’s humanity; above the sixth, the victim can’t hear the hecklers’ provocations. If Dylan was looking for an impartial and random answer to the pain he was experiencing, he got this hateful verdict: JUMP! The crime here is that Dylan died experiencing a mental health emergency. He died dehumanized, desperate, humiliated, and afraid. Not one person who provoked his death was asked to be quiet or move along, arrested or even threatened with arrest. Dylan needed medical help. The police ALLOWED this suicide baiting to go on for 45 minutes even though it is illegal in most U.S. jurisdictions to encourage a suicide. The tapes are the most sickening thing you could ever hear. You don’t stop a suicide baiting by denigrating someone like this in front of 1,000 witnesses: “Get back in your apartment, YOU FOOL!” I KNOW that if Dylan had been helped through that singular dark impulse that day, he would be alive today. I have no idea if I have the ability to help prevent future families from suffering what we have suffered, but I am trying. If anyone needs anything else explained or clarified, I’d be happy to attempt to do so.

        • Alexandra

        • September 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm
        • Reply

        Kathie, to me it seems like, when the police cleared the sidewalk below Dylan and cordoned it off with yellow caution tape … it was almost like saying “here, we’ve cleared the jump zone for you – go ahead.”

        I mean, rationally I understand that they had to protect people in case he jumped into the crowd – somebody could have been injured or killed.

        But psychologically, what must have been the effect on Dylan of seeing that empty sidewalk below?

        And WHY couldn’t some of those 24 cops have stretched a tarp out to catch him if he jumped? Is that not something that police do in cases like this?

        Since I learned about Dylan’s death a few days ago (ironic, considering I live in San Francisco) … I keep thinking about all the alternate scenarios where, if one person had done something different, Dylan would have lived.

        A few months ago I was driving along on a busy boulevard when I saw a bottleneck ahead. There were three lanes, and people were going around a car that was stopped in the middle lane, in the middle of the block. I slowed down to pass the car, and as I did I looked over and saw an elderly man slumped over the wheel. I immediately pulled over to the curb, got out of my car and ran back to see what was going on. I approached his driver’s side door and rapped on the window. No response. I tried his door, it opened. I said “Sir, sir, are you all right?” No response. Shook his shoulder, he groggily sat up and looked at me, and I said “Sir, you’re in the middle of a traffic lane! Are you all right?” He said “Did I hit anything?” I said “No…” then his car lurched forward a few feet because it was in drive and he let his foot slip off the brake.

        Anyway, I asked if he was OK to drive and he said he was, then I said please drive home and tell your family and call your doctor. He said he would, and he drove off.

        The second he drove off I thought “Alexandra you idiot! You have to make sure he gets home OK. And he’s not going to tell his family, he knows they’ll take away his car keys!”

        So I ran back to my car, and drove like a bat out of hell until I caught up to him several blocks later, then followed him home. Then I called the SFPD to do a wellness check on him.

        Then, figuring he was extremely unlikely to tell his family what had happened… and I thought they needed to know…I went into cybersleuth mode, found out his name by checking ownership records for the house, did some googling, found his son and daughter in the east bay, left them facebook messages … his daughter called me the next day and I told her the story. She said yes, the SFPD had checked on him the day before, the housekeeper had told her. But her father hadn’t said anything about passing out at the wheel!

        Her father was 95 years old, a holocaust survivor, an enterpreneur … fascinating self-made man … he was on tons of medicines, had just renewed his driver’s license, he would go to the DMV the day before and memorize the eye charts so he’d pass the eye exam!

        Anyway … the thing about this story is, I couldn’t imagine NOT stopping to check on this old man slumped over the wheel in a traffic lane. But with one exception (a guy stopped to help me after I pulled over) – dozens if not hundreds of people just drove right past him.

        I know that Dylan had an acute episode that day. And certainly one factor that psychologically pushed him off that ledge was the sense that nobody cared what happened to him.

        That is a very toxic thing to feel. And in a way, that toxicity is spreading in MY soul. When I witness people driving past an old man like that. When I learn about Dylan’s story. It’s hard to have faith in human nature. It’s hard to live amongst such unfeeling people. It makes me feel alien, and alone.

        I’m not suicidal, never have been. That’s not to say I never will be… Dylan’s case is proof that anybody can become suicidal … but I think one unfortunate legacy of Dylan’s story is that everyone reading it will feel a bit of their soul shrivel up. And for some of those people, that knowledge, that despair about human nature, might push them one step closer to their OWN ledge. So, those felonious suicide baiters – they didn’t just kill Dylan. They’re helping to kill other people’s faith in humanity. The gift that keeps on giving.

        You haven’t focused on the suicide baiters in your story. I know you’re thinking bigger picture. But I personally, in your shoes, would want them found, publicly identified and shamed, and prosecuted. Has the statute of limitations run out?

        • Hello, Alexandra, I just found your comment today and was touched by your personal story of the old Holocaust survivor and your attempt to help him. For myself, I forgave those taunting Dylan a long time ago. Many were young people who desperately needed guidance from the police — where I squarely focus the blame. Their action of taping off the “jump zone” worked symbolically for everyone — get it over with. We. Are. Waiting.

    • Bunch of disgusting animals. I am so sorry Mrs. Yount.

      • Maya North

      • April 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you for elucidating further. The degree of this outrage only expands as you elaborate. It’s literally monstrous….

    • Goodness, I meant anything above the TWELFTH FLOOR. The victims between the sixth through the twelfth floor CAN HEAR. Above that, they cannot!!! So sorry. The stress is really taking a toll!

    • Dear Kathie, I’m so sorry. It is such a sad story. They all are.
      It’s so hard to find the light after we’ve been crushed…I urge us all to keep heads high and try.

      • Dean Sealey

      • May 3, 2013 at 3:59 am
      • Reply

      What a horrible story. My heart is heavy for you and your family. YWVH has peace for your spirit. I hate to mentiton how I feel knowing it doesn’t compare with your pain. You will never be able to move forward with your life if this consumes you. While I agree that we should never in courage evil or pain for others at some point you have to grasp that he climbed out there twice. I read you saying how if they had got him through this he would be alive. YWVH gave us all the freedom to choose. I’m only saying this becuase anyone that keeps ban wagoning about it being everyone else’s fault is not helping you. The only way for you to find some real peace is to deal with the fact that baited or not. He jumped. This will never be changed no matter how bad you want others to pay. If they arrested all of them it wouldn’t erase any of your pain. They will be held accountable. Your peace will only come when you stop looking for answers and just give it to YWVH. I pray that your grasp my intent with this message and understand that life is for the living and your peace and happiness hang on your ability to move forward. With love.

    • I am so very sorry for your son’s loss. I can’t find the words to express how outraged, horrified…I could go on and on. I just wish I had been there that day to tell him not to take his life; that he was precious and unique.


      I DO understand that life is for the living, Dean, for if I did not, I would not be involved in the legislative effort I am making to prevent future suicide baiting! My son died in a PARTICIPATORY SUICIDE, a shocking, total depravity. Who has not suffered at the lowest point of living in a seemingly uncaring world? Who among us has not wistfully thought of the comfort of death? We all arrive, sooner or later, at the nadir of our human existence. Bring me the man who says he has never contemplated suicide, and I will show you a liar. The TEMPORARY longing to be absolved from living is a HUMAN emotion that usually passes without causing death. The normalcy of the death wish makes suicide baiting death especially insidious, for it shatters our human belief that others will be there to help us when we are in trouble.

      Since you have tutored me on attaining “peace,” please allow me to tutor you on understanding mental illness. The indecisive suicidal is not capable of rational thought or choice. He is unable to “chose” a rational decision regarding his life and death. Mental illness–both long-term, and ESPECIALLY short term–IS NOT A CHOICE–it is a medical condition. The impulsive suicidal on the ledge is one undergoing an acute medical emergency! Pioneers in the field of suicide prevention have offered us this insight: roughly half of all those who survived suicide attempts contemplated killing themselves for less than an hour! We need to develop strategies for offering a standard of care to those suffering in such URGENCY. Of those who survive suicide attempts, 90% DO NOT GO ON TO KILL THEMSELVES. We have discovered that the urge to end it all is usually transitory. With the WILL to educate ourselves, we CAN save lives and prevent misery IF we can muster the compassion.

      I am not bent on revenge and punishment as you imply. I see Dylan’s tragic death as a TEACHABLE MOMENT, and in this work I hope to honor his gentle memory so unlike his fierce death. Who among us would actually choose to live in a society where the malicious encouragement of our most vulnerable is deemed acceptable? I am working for CHANGE. I am healing by moving forward with my work in the field of suicide baiting prevention. Suicide legislation is AS overdue as it is necessary. It is a national disgrace to see how many are bullied to death! You say that those who participated in Dylan’s death will be held accountable. I say this: We who tolerated such misconduct and turned our backs on such denigration will be held EQUALLY accountable. We will be judged as guilty as they.

    • My heartfelt condolence over your loss. Please do continue to advocate against this and raise awareness. I believe that yes, sociopaths walk amongst us, some are born that way but some are made. Those who are made are targets of crappy parenting, crappy defined as FAILING to ‘civilize’ their children, teach them right from wrong and believe there is nothing wrong with bullying. They encourage, laugh off, and even turn tables on the victims of their children and become roaring tigers in defense of their darling little monsters. I have seen this with my own eyes. Some are so UNfit to be parents and the longer society continues to turn a blind eye because doing the right thing is inconvenient or in the case of schools too much paperwork, the more UNcivilized our society will become. Hearing this upsets me so much. I am so terribly terribly sorry to hear of your loss Ms. Yount. God bless you.

    • Dear Kathie,
      My daughter and her boyfriend lived near where your son took his life. Her boyfriend witnessed the jump while on his lunch break. He was horrified. My daughter was horrified just to hear about it. There was a second incident of someone jumping not long after or before your son. I am sickened that people would cheer for someone to jump. It is proof that our species is de-evolving. I am particularly disgusted with the police response.
      I am so very sorry for your loss, and applaud your courage in bringing this topic to light.

    • Debra, thank you for sharing this news! I believe the other suicide baiting you are referencing occurred at the H&M in May 2008. That suicide baiting was not as well documented as Dylan’s brutal death although it was equally tragic. There are posts and pics and jokes all over the Net about it. I know this is a huge request, but do you think your daughter’s boyfriend would be willing to talk to me about what he saw and heard? I have spoken with other witnesses, and I would be so grateful for the opportunity to speak with him! I would agree to any method he would choose. Real mail: just my name, Harrisburg, MO 65256; a message on Facebook at Kathie Yount. You and I are Facebook friends now, so I could send you my email, phone, whatever he’d be willing to do. I would be most interested in knowing where he was standing in Hallidie Plaza, how long he was there, and what he observed. Since Dylan’s death I have struggled not to give in to pessimism and despair. I do believe there are more good people in the world than bad, but I grieve about what Dylan saw and heard in the last hour of his life. Thank you for publishing my piece and for giving me an opportunity to raise awareness. Congratulations also as you celebrate your third anniversary. I had never heard of iPinion Syndicate until your own Maya North swept into my life, but now I am a great fan!

    • Souls in the Waves…

      Excellent Early morning, I just stopped in to go to your internet site and believed I’d say I liked myself….

    • Suicide Baiting Prevention at https://www.facebook.com/SuicideBaitingCrowdPrevention?ref=ts
      is our site.

    • Kathie- You are an inspiration. Dylan would be proud.

    • […] her iPinion Syndicate column, “Suicide baiting — they cheered while my son jumped,” Kathie writes that she didn’t need to wait for […]

    • […] own article describes her loss and the horror of the situation in her own post: “Suicide baiting — they cheered while my son jumped,”, […]

    • This is just horrifying and I’ve never really heard of suicide baiting before. How could anyone not want to help the person who is having problems? I can’t even wrap my head around it.. How sick has our society become where this type of thing could even happen?

      • Ignacio

      • July 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm
      • Reply

      Im sorry for your loss. I cant even begin to imagine how its been for you, after all this time.
      My heart goes out to you,

      from Chile, with love.

    • I am so incredibly sorry — how very small those words sound; if I could, I’d let you see what my soul is feeling right now — for this horror that came into your son’s life and into the lives of all who love him!! i pray he is at peace now. I understand suicide from both sides — happening to two people i cared about and fighting it/dancing with it when severe depression overwhelms me. I’ve posted this on my Facebook page and then copied and pasted your wonderful reply on April 30th at 11:41 am in the comment section underneath your story. I hope this is all right with you. I asked people — everyone on my “friends” list, even though I don’t truly know most of them — to please read what you wrote.

      I never heard the term “suicide-baiting” before tonight. I am appalled at the actions of the police who swear “to protect and to serve”!!! God all mighty, help us!! It never ceases to shock me at how little human life is valued!!

      God bless you in all your efforts and bring you success!! You will be in my prayers!!

      God bless Dylan, too!! Dear God, what he must have felt!! My heart breaks for him!!


      • LesleyAnne

      • December 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm
      • Reply

      This is a heart breaking story Kathie and I’m very sorry… when already in a state of utter despair, to hear those words from such a (I can’t even think of a word) crowd, would definitely push most of us over the edge. Sickening to think… what a different outcome we would have seen if everyone there that day had shown compassion!

    • I am so sorry for your loss, unbelievable what people do for entertainment, much love to you, keep the awareness going,

      • Delwyn Wigzell

      • January 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm
      • Reply

      This is absolutely heartbreaking! I can’t even begin to imagine what you have gone through. I have two sons and a daughter and couldn’t imagine life without any of them. Noone should ever have to endure what your son endured. I had never heard of suicide baiting until today. As far as I’m concerned those that stood by and did nothing are as bad as those that encouraged it. I send love your way and hope that one day you will find some sort of peace. I will be thinking of you xxxxxxx

      • Joel

      • February 16, 2014 at 9:02 am
      • Reply

      I am very sorry for your loss Kathie. I lived on the 5th floor of that building and was working from home that day. I remember I had a crazy busy day, conference call after conference call, never even had a chance to eat lunch. I didn’t know what happened until the next day when I read the newspaper in the morning. I felt incredible guilty because I know myself, if I had known what was happening I would have gone upstairs and quietly knocked on his door and simply just offered him a beer and a burger and to talk through things and I would have listened. It was that day I knew in my heart I could never live the rest of my life in SF, reading about the mob disgusted me. I wished I could have gone down and punched every one of them. I hope you get justice Kathie.

      • Thank you, Joel, for taking the time to comment to me here. I only found your remark today since there are many sites to revisit each day, and of course, your post–dated on the fourth anniversary of his death–momentarily stunned me. I know so little really about what happened that day even though I have spent the last four years reading, writing, and talking about it almost exclusively. I am so amazed that you were working at home that day and did not hear the noise below! The tapes are so astonishingly loud and so many have spoken about the cacophony from the crowd. Dylan loved people, so it did not surprise me that you were acquainted with him even though he had lived in the building for only ten days. Your revelation that you would have comforted Dylan was very moving, and I am comforted by those who wish they could have helped him. I KNOW he would have wanted me to do everything I can to expose the injustice of his death. Dylan was deeply altruistic and would never want anyone else to die such a barbaric death. There will be justice, Joel. I am sure. My gratitude for your kindness.

    • This is where we are in litigation now: “SFPD takes four years to prepare defense for 2010 suicide baiting” at http://ipinionsyndicate.com/sfpd-takes-four-years-to-prepare-defense-for-2010-suicide-baiting/

    • Our trial is scheduled to begin August 25, 2014, in San Francisco’s Civic Center Courthouse, the Honorable Cynthia Ming-mei Lee, presiding.

      • Jen

      • May 12, 2014 at 7:51 am
      • Reply

      My heart breaks for you! Your beautiful son! I can’t believe people allowed this to happen. This is so wrong. I applaud you for bringing something so awful to light so that those of us who are actually human might have the courage to join a nasty mob and be the voice of love and reason and hope and encouragement. I am shocked that in such a large group of people there was so little love. I am so, so sorry, Kathie.

      • Thank you, Jen. I am always happy to hear people say they would speak out if they are ever in a suicide baiting crowd.

    • I’m so sorry to hear of this horrific situation Kathie, I’m familiar with suicide baiting in the context of school bullying but I’d never come across a random crowd not only not helping, but actively seeking to destroy a complete stranger in a moment of crisis. I’m so sorry for your loss. I work in mental health educating and supporting people around suicide, trauma recovery, and social justice. Refusing to follow destructive group dynamics is a passion of mine. I’m so sorry that Dylan didn’t have anyone there that day to reach out and offer comfort or hope to him. I hope that the court case brings more awareness of this tragedy and that justice is done. Love to you.

    • Thank you, sarahkreece. Unfortunately, the socio-psychological phenomenon of suicide baiting does occur all around the world. The 24 SFPD officers were clueless about how to de-escalate the situation or control the crowd. WHEN we finally get to trial, we will extend awareness. We want to save lives and prevent trauma and grief of this magnitude from ever happening again. My thanks for your love. I wear all comfort and support as my shield. I will not back away from this fight. It seems crazy that there NEEDS to be a fight about such common decency, but here we are 54 months from the horror of Dylan’s suicide baiting and the city lawyers are fighting us all the way. We will find out from the First District Court of Appeals either by August 2015 or February 2016 whether we will be remanded back down to a lower court trial. We are not about to quit!

      • It’s a horrifying thing, and I agree, the idea that you have to fight to have it recognised that this is appalling behaviour is difficult to understand.

        • If I could have wrapped my head around some of these concepts EARLIER in the process, sarahkreece, I might have been more effective. A lot of people told me that to avoid lawsuits, police departments are advised not to talk to the survivor(s) when they have messed up. I would have embraced a more peaceful approach if I could have figured out how to make that happen. Their arrogant refusal not to talk is just maddening! To get any kind of response, one must be in litigation, and then it is only through sworn depositions. I thought a trial would be the quickest way for reform! Now I see that the city definitely does not want its dirty laundry aired in public! The whole thing has been horrifying. Why wouldn’t our mutual goal be saving lives? Why would the police fight so hard to keep crisis intervention training off the table? It cannot be budget — the SFPD had $512 million for their department in a city with over $8 Billion last year for budget! One would think that training would be not only more humane and compassionate, but also more cost-effective! I would like to know how much San Francisco spends for their lawyer budget. They could afford to outsource their subpoena collection work to West Coast Legal Services. How on earth could my 38 year teaching file be relevant to what the police did? Or my psychologist’s report? The process has been one dismal discovery after another. I think Americans need to know about all of this. There needs to be CHANGE.

      • imbullyfree

      • September 4, 2014 at 8:38 am
      • Reply

      We are from Imbullyfree.org and still find this story sad. We are sorry for your loss. What is so sad the hundreds of people and cops that did nothing are still allowed to go on with their lives. We will continue to spread your story. Again we are sorry and promise to give any support that you request. God Bless

    • Suicide baiting case becomes “Kathy Yount et al. v. City and County of San Francisco et al.” at https://www.facebook.com/kathie.yount/posts/759027317509628:0

    • “San Francisco crowd encouraged suicide victim to jump then laughed” at http://www.instablogs.com/san-francisco-crowd-encouraged-suicide-victim-to-jump-then-laughed.html

      • Philip

      • February 19, 2015 at 9:28 pm
      • Reply

      My name is Philip and I would like to express my condolence to you and to your family for the loss of your dear son. I was an eyewitness and actually saw as he was falling. I was sitting at the 27 bus stop on Cyril Magnum St. when it was brought to my attention about the guy in the window above Forever 21. It was surreal to me because I’d only seen spectacles like this in movies and on television. I almost didn’t believe what I was seeing. I was praying to God as I sat at the bus stop, that he would not jump. Unfortunately the answer I had hope to receive was not given. After the fall, I could not bring myself to go over and look. I just felt really bad for this guy and wished help could have gotten to him before such a desperate measure had been taken. Life is precious and short-lived as we all know and tragedy however unfortunate is something we all have to live with. I hope God grants you some peace of mind and rest as you continue on your journey. Thank you for including the pictures of Dylan, and I hope that wherever he is, he’s happy and at peace. God Bless

      • Thank you, Philip, for your kind condolences and wishes for Dylan. As you say, his death is still very surreal. I, too, wish there had been help for him that day, but in 2010 the SFPD had only 30 to 35 police who were trained in Crisis Intervention out of a force of approximately 2,000! Dylan died in February of that year, and surprisingly the entire “in-house” Police C.I.T. was completely de-funded the following June. Still, it would not be until February 2011 that the SFPD would finally be mandated to adopt the Memphis Model C.I.T. Unfortunately, the department still vigorously fights learning these de-escalation techniques with only 325 who are presently trained. The SFPD’s begrudging long-term goal is actually to have only 25% trained in crisis intervention. Imagine having just 25% of a police force trained to handle robberies! It is ludicrous. When one in four of us are expected to experience some kind of mental illness during our lifetimes and one-fourth of the department’s daily incoming 911 calls involve the emotionally disturbed (their in-house statistics) the goal is totally inadequate. Washington state, by contrast, is considering legislation that will require 100% of its officers state-wide to have Memphis Model C.I.T.! Until the SFPD gets serious about training for positive outcomes — rather than lethal ones — in its encounters with the mentally ill, more tragedies like Dylan’s will likely occur. The department’s general orders never even mention “suicide” in “critical incidents” and officers jokingly refer to these as the “Wild 800’s.” Dylan’s brutal death traumatized so many and changed the direction of many lives. I am so sorry you will always have this terrible memory! In a city that experiences about 100 suicides each year, according to SFSuicide Prevention, the police are egregiously under-trained! Dylan was a gentle soul who had never harmed anyone. He did not deserve such mistreatment. I do not know if God will grant me peace of mind this side of death, but I do know that He expects me to keep speaking out about this training issue with the SFPD. I am in my third attempt to secure a jury trial. Some things need to change. Most of us agree that Dylan’s death was an outrage, yet the city government finds it DEFENSIBLE — that’s the true outrage. Bless your sweet heart for writing to comfort me today. If Dylan knows, he would be very happy.

      • Linda O High

      • July 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm
      • Reply

      I am so very sorry for your loss. My youngest son has been dealing with depression in the past year, and my heart hurts for you. God bless.

      • Thank you, Linda, for your condolences. I am sorry to learn about your son’s depression and hope he is getting the help he needs. God Bless you.

    • Kathie, here is The Green Rooms follow-up article on Suicide Baiting. I hope it is useful to you and helps spread awareness. http://www.thegreenrooms.net/suicide-baiting-what-is-it-why-does-it-happen/

      • Thank you, Alison, for sharing the link to this new article about suicide baiting. I shared it this morning on SBP and my FB page. My gratitude for spreading awareness.

      • Danielle

      • July 13, 2015 at 6:15 am
      • Reply

      Thinking of you and Dylan xxxx I am actually reading about this this in my OU book for my social psychology module I’m currently doing. I found it awful that people can act like that and I really feel for you…I wish you all the luck in the world with being able to raise awareness and make changes. There is no point having laws if they are not enforced…especially at the risk of someone’s death. Lots of love, hugs and thought sending your way! Kind regards,Danielle

      • Thank you, Danielle, for your kind words and encouragement. Your comment about having laws that are unenforced is so relevant, especially on the suicide attempt scene when no effort is made to stop the “baiting” that often occurs. I am pleased the OU includes the example of Dylan’s suicide baiting in the text it uses and hope American textbooks will follow this example soon. Learning what happens to the deindividuating crowd can empower more thoughtful people to reset their moral compasses if they are ever caught up in the suicide baiting crowd.

    • Oral Arguments for “Kathy Yount et al. v. City and County of San Francisco et al” are set for August 20, 2015, 11:00 a.m. in the First District Court of Appeal in the California State Building, 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco. No room designation is available at this time.

    • The scheduled time for Oral Arguments in “Yount v. CCSF” has been changed to 10:00 a.m. Presiding Justice Barbara J.R. Jones and Associate Justices Henry Needham and Terence Bruiniers will hear the arguments still in the Supreme Court building, 350 McAllister St., which also houses one of the 5 California Appellate Division Courts — the First District Court of Appeal. No room assignment has been designated yet.

    • We were dismissed at the First District Court of Appeal (8-28-15). This does not mean we will abandon our fight. We are filing to be heard in the California Supreme Court because we fervently believe that suicide baiting is an abomination with soul-destroying effects on society. What happened to Dylan on 2-16-10 was the worst event of my life, but what has happened SINCE then is much worse for society. What kind of society are we creating that allows a city to employ 311 city attorneys ready to UNEQUIVOCALLY defend its police in all things they do? If the police in this country do not have to serve or protect, or enforce state law (CA Penal Code 401), or stop a suicide baiting with a crowd attacking someone who is unwell and needs help — then it is time to ask what we are paying them for? It is time to ask why judges have made “Yount v. CCSF” such a “persona non grata” in California courts. We are resolved in this mission — learning to care for each other is our human imperative.

    • I apologize, loyal iPinion Syndicate readers and close followers of “Kathie Yount v. City and County of San Francisco” — for remaining quiet for so long — regarding our final legal defeat. I have been in shock — all over again!

      “Yount v. CCSF” was “secretly” denied Oral Argument hearings by the California Supreme Court on November 11, 2015. Plaintiffs who submit their Petitions for Review to be heard at the CA Supreme Court can either he denied a hearing after a court review by the seven justices or one made by a COMMITTEE the justices assign to the case. The CA Supreme Court does not legally “owe” the Plaintiff any explanation about how a Denial is determined.

      Our Denial was made with no accompanying words of explanation or reasons why the state of California refused to clarify — as a question of law — whether police in their state must enforce CA Penal Code 401 which makes suicide baiting a felony!

      I have been heartbroken that our case did not strengthen the existing laws against public suicide baiting, for no one else should ever have to die this demeaning way.

      Even so, my legal defeat does not mean this work is finished.

      Now, the only expectation for justice must be secured in the arena of public opinion. Is “the pen mightier than the sword”? Truly for some people — nothing is written UNLESS they write it. I have wished for a stronger voice than mine to tell this story — to no avail.

      Thank you for your past support. I would welcome a renewal of your support for “the next phase”!

      Much love, Kathie Yount — Dylan’s mom: now, always, and forever.

      • Mateo

      • November 3, 2016 at 7:46 pm
      • Reply

      I was there on that day and was horrified to hear the chants of him to jump. But, you have to realize that MOST ppl that congregate at that Powell plaza are under the influence and unscrupulous. I remember your son. I went home and Googled him. SF is not for the faint of heart. Sorry for your loss.

      • Thank you so much, Mateo, for sharing with me what you remember from Dylan’s death scene in Hallidie Plaza. I always welcome hearing from witnesses, and you are the 267th one I can now document. You said that you Googled Dylan’s name afterwards that day. What you found would still be what anyone who Googles my son’s name will find. Dylan Yount was a good man who desperately needed medical intervention on 2-16-10. While I appreciate your observations and analysis of those who frequent the plaza — especially since I do not live in San Francisco — I have always felt that most of the people provoking my irrational son to jump were young people who looked up to the 24 San Francisco police officers standing there — for GUIDANCE on how they should behave. The SFPD were poor “role models” for all that day. Sadly, the SFPD treated the whole ordeal as a joke, laughing with the crowd, telling them that Dylan was not going to jump because they had “seen it before” and that he “was high. Since NO ONE was arrested — much less even asked to move along or quit taunting Dylan — the young people there egged him on until he did. I always wonder how many must feel remorse now. Your heart-felt condolence to me is very much appreciated! If you ever want to talk more about what you saw, heard, or felt — or are still feeling about the suicide baiting — I would be happy to listen and help you if I could. I am Kathie Yount at P.O. Box 103, Harrisburg, MO 65256-0103. Dylan’s brutal death has completely altered my life. What happened to him was wrong on every level that day, but what has happened since — including my six-year FAILED attempts for justice to hold the police accountable and advocate for better training for them — is certainly MUCH WORSE for society. We have started a Suicide Baiting Prevention page on Facebook that includes documentation of world-wide episodes of suicide baitings by decades since the 1950s under “Notes.” I wish I could tell you there have been no more incidents of suicide baiting since Dylan’s, but sadly, I cannot. Thank you for your kindness and much love to you for this message.

    Leave a Reply to Bronwyn Cancel reply