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CzarnaWisnia

Lawyer sets himself on fire to decry pollution

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Prominent Lawyer in Fight for Gay Rights Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in Prospect Park

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/14/nyregion/david-buckel-dead-fire.html

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, the police said.

The remains of the lawyer, David S. Buckel, 60, were found near Prospect Park West in a field near baseball diamonds and the main loop used by joggers and bikers.

Mr. Buckel left a note in a shopping cart not far from his body and also emailed it to several news media outlets, including The New York Times.

Mr. Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson, in which a Nebraska county sheriff was found liable for failing to protect Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Falls City, Neb. Hilary Swank won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Mr. Teena in the 1999 movie “Boys Don’t Cry.”

While serving as marriage project director and senior counsel at Lambda Legal, a national organization that fights for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Mr. Buckel was the strategist behind important same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.

Friends said that after he left the organization, Mr. Buckel became involved in environmental causes, which he alluded to in his note as the reason he decided to end his life by self-immolation with fossil fuels.

“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather,” he wrote in the email sent to The Times. “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, which was received by The Times at 5:55 a.m., Mr. Buckel discussed the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make vigorous efforts to do so.

Privilege, he said, was derived from the suffering of others.

“Many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help,” Mr. Buckel wrote, adding that donating to organizations was not enough.

Noting that he was privileged with “good health to the final moment,” Mr. Buckel said he wanted his death to lead to increased action. “Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purpose in death,” he wrote.

The police said Mr. Buckel was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m. in what they said was a suicide.

Susan Sommer, a former attorney for Lambda Legal who is now the general counsel for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said Mr. Buckel was “one of the architects of the freedom to marry and marriage equality movement.”

“He deserves tremendous thanks for recognizing this was in many ways at the heart of what it meant to be gay for many Americans and making it a priority,” she said. “I learned so much from him about the emotional center of what it means for a gay person not to be able to have all the protections for the person they love and that it’s worth fighting for.”

Catherine Varous, a neighbor of Mr. Buckel’s, said he was very active in gardening, and together they worked on the Greenest Block in Brooklyn competition.

She said she often saw Mr. Buckel and his partner at the Park Slope Food Co-op and a farmer’s market. “He was the quieter of the two,” she said, referring to Mr. Buckel. “He was definitely more serious.”

Amy Orr, a kindergarten teacher who lives in the neighborhood, was out for her regular weekend jog at about 6:25 a.m. when she saw police officers standing over something that was smoldering.

She said she first “thought it was a pile of garbage because of the shopping cart” but then she saw the outline of a human body.

Runners and bicyclists continued to pass. But as more police officers and firefighters gathered, they all looked “dumbfounded,” Ms. Orr said. “Nobody could believe it.”

By 11 a.m., the authorities had removed Mr. Buckel’s body, leaving a blackened patch and a circular indentation around which parks officials placed two orange cones.

The grim scene stood in stark contrast to the rest of the park, which brimmed with activity. Several youth baseball games continued nearby and participants in PurpleStride, a walk dedicated to ending pancreatic cancer, strode along the bike path with runners and joggers.

The field where Mr. Buckel died would ordinarily be filled with activity, too. Warren Beishir, a graphic designer, said it was used for volleyball, soccer and barbecuing.

Mr. Beishir sat across from the field under a tree with his wife, Susan Stawicki, their 2-year-old daughter and their neighbors. They live across from the park and were awakened by sirens and flashing lights.

“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,” Mr. Beishir said.

“I hope they are at peace,” Ms. Stawicki said.

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He probably had severe mental and emotional problems. He could have combated climate change while alive. 

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it doesn't seem like he had mental issues. he was just really brave. he didn't hurt anyone and his words did not reflect delusion. he is on point with what he is saying. i guess he really believed in what he was saying and felt like the only way people would listen was to martyr himself.

not a route i would take, but i actually respect that. RIP buddy.

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I don't think his family will take great comfort in that. To me, he was ideologically possessed and in a downward spiral of madness. I see nothing to admire about what he did. It's a horrible tragedy.

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JHCbMlJ.gif

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there was probably something going on behind the scenes like how u see in the movies.....someone probably murdered him....the government etc etc.

it just seems so out of place for him to do this...out of character...and a lawyer too.

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8 hours ago, CzarnaWisnia said:

I don't think his family will take great comfort in that. To me, he was ideologically possessed and in a downward spiral of madness. I see nothing to admire about what he did. It's a horrible tragedy.

Agree.  Would be horrific for his family.  Very sad and to me,  he was obviously suffering from a mental illness to do this.  Also,  horrible for the people that discovered his body.  Something people also don't realize when they are desperate and unhappy and end their life.  Train drivers suffer immense pain and guilt from when people kill themselves by jumping in front of a train.  Suicide is something that leaves so much pain -  tragic that someone feels so helpless that they end their life,  for the family left behind who never get over it and in cases like this,  for people who see the end results.   Tragic story. 

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24 minutes ago, Jazzy Jan said:

Agree.  Would be horrific for his family.  Very sad and to me,  he was obviously suffering from a mental illness to do this.  Also,  horrible for the people that discovered his body.  Something people also don't realize when they are desperate and unhappy and end their life.  Train drivers suffer immense pain and guilt from when people kill themselves by jumping in front of a train.  Suicide is something that leaves so much pain -  tragic that someone feels so helpless that they end their life,  for the family left behind who never get over it and in cases like this,  for people who see the end results.   Tragic story. 

Are you a psychiatrist? 

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21 minutes ago, ULIZOS said:

Are you a psychiatrist? 

and what about you ?

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1 hour ago, runa said:

and what about you ?

Did I give an expert opinion?

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45 minutes ago, ULIZOS said:

Did I give an expert opinion?

You’re such an expert on so many subject.

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10 hours ago, runa said:

You’re such an expert on so many subject.

So many subjects*

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On 4/23/2018 at 5:30 PM, ULIZOS said:

Are you a psychiatrist? 

I'm gonna take a stab in the dark here and go with NO.

EloEIty.gif

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Do you have to be a psychiatrist to suspect that someone who sets themselves on fire in a public place to decry pollution might just be, er,  mentally ill?

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On 4/25/2018 at 1:38 PM, Kim said:

Do you have to be a psychiatrist to suspect that someone who sets themselves on fire in a public place to decry pollution might just be, er,  mentally ill?

Exactly.

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Nobody found weird that he created pullution by setting himself in fire? 

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21 minutes ago, karbatal said:

Nobody found weird that he created pullution by setting himself in fire? 

He acknowledged it himself in his letter.

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