Prominent Attorney Self-Immolates in Park

Prominent Attorney Self-Immolates in Park

In Sunday’s Times I read a sad story on the obituary page (Jeffrey C. Mays, “Prominent Lawyer Self-Immolates in Brooklyn”). Here’s how the article begins: “A lawyer nationally known for being a champion of gay rights died after setting himself on fire in Prospect Park in Brooklyn early Saturday morning and leaving a note exhorting people to lead less selfish lives as a way to protect the planet,” according to police. The note was left in a shopping cart and was also emailed to several news outlets, including The New York Times. In the email to the Times, he wrote: “Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather. Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result — my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are  doing to ourselves.”

In his note, David S. Buckel also referenced his “good health” … up until “the final moment.” Very sad. “Honorable purpose in life,” he wrote, “invites honorable purpose in death.”

Too bad he hadn’t reached out to me, instead. I could have shared lots of ideas concerning meaningful ways he could have contributed. True, our chances of saving the planet are very, very slim. I’m not going to lie. But taking one’s life isn’t a solution. I might even wind up deleting this post, in time, for the simple reason that it’s such a downer. As Warren Beishir, a graphic designer, who is quoted in the article, states: “How do you do that to yourself? It’s a terrible way to go, and I don’t want to think about it after today.” Setting oneself on fire is not a way to leave a lasting impact.

Another reason I might wind up deleting this post, in time, is I don’t want anyone else getting that same idea (copycat suicides).

Let me close with this: here is a link to a page that contains links for suicide hotlines in over sixty countries. I added that link years ago, after discovering that every time I did a Google search using my domain name (, one thing that kept popping up (though I don’t know why) was After reading a few of his blog posts — including one related to suicide — I thought it would be nice to include one of the resources he provided, on my Links page, as well (as a public service). And so I did.