Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vicki Van Meter, Record Setting Pilot As a Teen, Loses The Battle With Depression ~ Legal Pub


What happens to those who reach lofty goals so quickly in life? What happens when one reaches some tremendous goals at an early stage but even larger dreams fail to materialize? Let's go back to the early 1990's. Vicki Van Meter was an 11 year old pilot who made headlines for piloting a plane across the United States. In 1993 at age 12, she flew from the U.S. to Europe. Her life long dream was to be an astronaut but it never happened. At age 26, she apparently took her own life. (Above Photo Courtesy of A.P.)


According to official reports, Van Meter died Saturday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound but in my view, she may have been a victim of her own success. Vicki's body was found in her Meadville, Pennsylvania, home a day after the shooting. According to family members, she had been battling depression with some apparent success of late. Her brother, Daniel Van Meter said, "(s)he was unhappy, but it was hard for her to open up about that, and we all thought that she was coping."


Vicki once said as a teen, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything." But Vicki's dream was to become an astronaut when she grew up. She earned a degree in criminal justice from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. Vicki spent two years with the Peace Corps in Moldova. Van Meter more recently was an investigator for an insurance company. She apparently had recently applied to graduate schools to study psychology, but she never became an astronaut.


All this success in just the sixth grade. Van Meter's record was broken by a 9-year-old in 1994. Her record was subsequently broken by a nine year old girl. (The obsession over children pilots ended in 1996 when 7 year old Jessica Dubroff, her father, and the flight instructor all died in a crash in Wyoming. After the crash, Congress passed a bill banning record-setting attempts by unlicensed pilots.)

Corinne Van Meter said Vicki, "led a full and interesting life. ... She had more guts than any of us could ever imagine." One suspects that Corinne is right. The battle to conquere depression is real difficult fight which is often misunderstood. In Vicki's case, what came first, unfulfilled dreams or the depression remains a mystery for the public. What is certain, Vicki had so much more life to live that her early exit can only be explained by the belief that her next stop needed good young pilots. Vicki, R.I.P.


Links: Biography

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too bad. What a waste of a young life.

Anonymous said...

Depression can be a killer!

Jill

Ms Calabaza said...

I remember this little girl in the news. How awfully sad.

Although, we Americans tend to take too much medication, especially over-the-counter; sometimes people really benefit from pharmaceuticals. This young girl apparently did not want to take any meds and they may have saved her life.

Anonymous said...

Hard to say if she had uncontrollable depression or not. Hopefully she has found Peace.

David

Anonymous said...

Up up and away in my beautiful balloon...

Up to the highest hights and send it soaring...

I like things that go fast, because the good things never last.

I feel the need for speed.


R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

Too much too soon?

Anonymous said...

I am near her age. She was a hero to me.

Secrets said...

thats very sad.

comedysecrets.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hero to women all over the world as little girls.

Your Secret L.A. Reader said...

I know just who could play her adult years in the movies...

Your Secret L.A. Reader

Anonymous said...

Too much early success?

Anonymous said...

Vicki chose not to continue. End of story. May she r.i.p.

Anonymous said...

That was Vicki's choice. We may not like it, but we have no alternative but to accept her will.

Anonymous said...

Vicki was too much sucess too soon. May God rest her soule in peace.

Anonymous said...

Remembering Vicki.

Anonymous said...

Having depression myself, I wouldn't consider myself a hero or a role model, but looking around at others who suffer it and realising that, me being in the middle-severity scale, there are others who got it far worse, there are a lot of courageous folk who battle it day by day and live. Does that mean those who succumbed are cowards? Hardly...they made it that far, there's no cowardice in trying your best. The real cowardice is in the thoughts of those who are 'normal' and think depression is a personality flaw and/or that you can just "snap out of it". Nothing is more cowardly than DENIAL.

Fight the good fight; stay alive.

Anonymous said...

True, denial is the cowardly way. But similarly, suicide or giving up is also the cowardly way.

Recognize your depression. Then fight the good fight without ever giving up. The sick need our help to find their inner strength. With help, depression can be conquered.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.