My father had an explanation for why people commit suicide: “They’re so happy they can’t stand it.” Hungarian context aside, Washington College student Jacob Marberger – whose disappearance led to a Washington College (MD) campus lockdown – spiraled down to suicide after he displayed a gun at his fraternity. An antique gun . . .
Marberger had been wanted on four charges after authorities said he displayed an antique gun at his fraternity house last month. Phi Delta Theta fraternity kicked him out last week and last Sunday he resigned his position as speaker of the senate in the college’s student government.
Chestertown Police Chief Adrian Baker told WTTG he was scheduled to have a hearing based on the school’s honor code. Baker told the Fox affiliate Marberger didn’t make any threats against the school or students. It closed proactively.
One assumes that Marberger knew of Washington College’s Safety and Accident Policies and Procedures, which includes the following:
The possession, storage, or use of fireworks, firearms, ammunition, explosives, weapon replicas, or other weapons, including any dangerous article or substance with the potential to injure or discomfort a person, including knives with blades of three inches or longer, is prohibited at any time for any purpose at any place on the campus or other property of Washington College.
Clear enough. Also clear: the policy didn’t cause Marberger to take his life. But there is no indication that the student intended anyone any harm. In this case, the liberal college’s zero tolerance policy didn’t save a life. One wonders if it ever has or, indeed, could. Our condolences to Mr. Marberger’s friends and family.