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The End

August 17th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Journalism, Sports Journalism

Some stir in the blogosphere over the meticulously planned (and exhaustively justified) suicide of a former Kansas City Star sports journalist.

It got a bit more exposure when Jim Romenesko posted excerpts of a Kansas City Star obituary and also some of the rationalizations behind the actions of the man who killed himself in the parking lot of a police station.

Eventually, if you follow the links back to the dead man’s blog, you find thousands upon thousands of words from the deceased individual, who shot himself on his 60th birthday.

At times, it is strangely compelling reading. He makes a probably accurate statement when he suggests that suicides are rarely as carefully explained as his is, and that his mountain of prose may prove of interest to those who study the concept of people killing themselves.

At times, he is a vaguely sympathetic figure, particularly when talking about what sounds like an early onset of dementia. Many of us can relate to entering a room and not remembering why … but not all of us have to dig through our own trash in search of an envelope that may have our own address on it because we cannot remember what it is — after nine years living in the same place. And his concerns of years and years in an institution, a functioning body without a working mind.

He is less sympathetic when protesting at the world going to hell, and anticipating this or that catastrophic events. Floods, earthquakes, famines. And not wanting to be around for any of that.

Professionally, he was best known as a stats guy, a devotee of Bill James and an author of three books looking at basketball through a statistical lens.

His bent for numbers is expressed repeatedly in his careful countdown to killing himself (he seems quite pleased at the notion of killing himself on his 60th birthday), and the delivery of parcels to various people after his death, and the website that went up, apparently, also postmortem.

He seems as if he were a solitary figure, with few ties to family or friends. A contributing factor, perhaps, to his sense that “90 percent” of his productiveness was behind him.

At the end, though, what we are left with is the final expression of a self-pitying man, with control issues, who will stop at nothing, not even his own destruction, for the sake of attention.

Raising legitimate concerns about the future, personally and collectively … nothing wrong with that.

Turning it into your a vanity project? The last act of a narcissist.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Judy Long // Aug 24, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    I utterly agree with you. It sounds to me though that he was also depressed — a condition that modern medicine often can successfully address. It’s a shame that apparently no one in his real life was close enough to him to suggest treatment.

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