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Thread: Record-setting young pilot dies at 26 of self-inflicted gunshot wound

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    Record-setting young pilot dies at 26 of self-inflicted gunshot wound

    [size=12pt]Record-setting young pilot dies at 26[/size]

    PITTSBURGH - Vicki Van Meter, celebrated for piloting a plane across the country at age 11 and from the U.S. to Europe at age 12, has died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Crawford County coroner said. She was 26.

    Van Meter died Saturday and her body was found in her Meadville home on Sunday.

    Her brother said she battled depression and opposed medication, but her family thought she had been dealing with her problems.

    "She was unhappy, but it was hard for her to open up about that and we all thought that she was coping," Daniel Van Meter said. "This really is a shock, because we didn't see the signs."

    Van Meter made national headlines in 1993 and 1994 when she made her cross-country and trans-Atlantic flights accompanied only by a flight instructor. Her instructors said she was at the controls during the entirety of both flights.

    As a sixth-grader in September 1993, Van Meter flew from Augusta, Maine, to San Diego over five days. She had to fight strong headwinds and turbulence that bounced her single-engine Cessna 172 and made her sick.

    At the time, she was believed to be the youngest girl to fly across the United States; the record was later broken.

    Nine months later, Van Meter flew from Augusta to Glasgow, Scotland, and was credited with being the youngest girl to make a trans-Atlantic flight. She battled dizziness brought on by high altitude and declared upon landing: "I always thought it would be real hard and it was."

    Later she earned a degree in criminal justice from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and spent two years with the Peace Corps in Cahul, Moldova. She recently worked as an investigative agent for an insurance company.

    "She led a full and interesting life. ... She had more guts than any of us could ever imagine," said her mother, Corinne Van Meter, 57.

    Corinne Van Meter said her daughter had recently begun applying to graduate schools and wanted to study psychology.

    "We will miss her dearly, but we are very, very aware that she is doing important work somewhere else right now," she said.

    Van Meter's funeral will be held in Meadville, but arrangements have not been finalized.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080318/ap_on_re_us/obit_van_meter;_ylt=Atd79WEwp9cc9Z1tOC42mUcDW7oF

    I didn't find a myspace for her.

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    Senior Member deeply shaded's Avatar
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    Re: Record-setting young pilot dies at 26 of self-inflicted gunshot wound

    "We will miss her dearly, but we are very, very aware that she is doing important work somewhere else right now," she said. 

    That is sad. I wonder if she felt a lot of pressure all her life to do tihs stuff.

    People who are depressed but say they won't take medicine, they can handle it themselves piss me off. Would they say the same thing about diabetes, a seizure disorder, a heart condition? Not only are they hurting themselves, they are implying that depressed people who take meds are weak or something.
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    Re: Record-setting young pilot dies at 26 of self-inflicted gunshot wound

    [quote author=deeply shaded link=topic=13332.msg772936#msg772936 date=1205946648]
    "We will miss her dearly, but we are very, very aware that she is doing important work somewhere else right now," she said. 

    That is sad. I wonder if she felt a lot of pressure all her life to do tihs stuff.

    People who are depressed but say they won't take medicine, they can handle it themselves piss me off. Would they say the same thing about diabetes, a seizure disorder, a heart condition? Not only are they hurting themselves, they are implying that depressed people who take meds are weak or something.
    [/quote]

    I was wondering the same thing about her possibly being pressured all her life.

    I agree with you on depression and medication. I've been on meds. for depression and anxiety for almost 13 yrs. and it's done me a world of good. I am not a weak person, nor ashamed to be on meds. When I first went on them in college, I was a little embarrassed and my bf at the time frowned upon them. I tried to explain to him that my brain chemistry was different and I needed help, that I couldn't just snap out of it. I'm sure that I would no longer be around if it weren't for the medication and therapy I've received.

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    Re: Record-setting young pilot dies at 26 of self-inflicted gunshot wound

    I am not sure what I am.  I thought I was depressed but they think I may be bi-polar.  The meds for it are too expensive(400 dollars a month?  no thanks) and make me feel like shit so I don't take them. Am I under the impression that I don't think I need them?  No...it is just I haven't had any that let me feel anything remotely close to normal.  Crying all the time > being so light headed that I can barely function. 

    Anyway, I think there can be some stigma associated with taking meds for depression/other mental illnesses.  When I tried to talk to my parents about my situation my dad would always be like 'You don't really need that stuff...you are just having a bad few weeks', etc.  So if her parents/family were pressuring her choices and career direction (which I am guessing was the case considering her childhood), maybe they would in someway pressure her into thinking she didn't need them. 

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    Senior Member Chompin's Avatar
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    Re: Record-setting young pilot dies at 26 of self-inflicted gunshot wound

    I saw this story today.  I don't remember the girl doing this at the time, but it seemed like she had a lot of aspirations and did not quite get there.  I guess I don't buy the idea that she did not "get there" so she killed herself, but perhaps she fell under the false assumption that since she was able to do that at such a young age, she would be able to do anything she wanted easily...like just live.

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