January 5, 2000

January 5, 2021

Darrell Lee Ohlau

‘You are human and you have lived the depth of what that means.’ Eleanor Coppola 

This is the tribute statement posted on Monday by Congressman Jamie Raskin and Sarah Bloom Raskin on the remarkable Life of their son, Tommy Raskin, who gave up his life on New Year’s Eve.

“On January 30, 1995, Thomas Bloom Raskin was born to ecstatic parents who saw him enter the world like a blue-eyed cherub, a little angel. Tommy grew up as a strikingly beautiful curly-haired madcap boy beaming with laughter and charm, making mischief, kicking the soccer ball in the goal, acting out scenes from To Kill A Mockingbird with his little sister in his father’s constitutional law class, teaching other children the names of all the Justices on the Supreme Court, hugging strangers on the street, teaching our dogs foreign languages, running up and down the aisle on airplanes giving people high fives, playing jazz piano like a blues great from Bourbon Street, and at 12 writing a detailed brief to his mother explaining why he should not have to do a Bar Mitzvah and citing Due Process liberty interests (appeal rejected).

“Over the years he was enveloped in the love not only of his bedazzled and starstruck parents but of his remarkable and adoring sisters, Hannah the older and Tabitha the younger, a huge pack of cousins, including Jedd, Emily, Maggie, Zacky, Mariah, Phoebe and Lily, Boman and Daisy, and Emmet and spoiled rotten with hugs and kisses and philosophical nourishment from his grandparents Herb and Arlene Bloom, Marcus Raskin, Barbara Raskin, and later Lynn Raskin, the best aunts and uncles a mischievous ragamuffin could ask for, including Erika and Keith, Kenneth and Abby, Mina, Noah and Heather, Eden and Brandon, and Tammy and Gary, and a cast of secondary parents who wrapped him in adoration and wildly precocious conversation like Michael and Donene, Ann and Jimmy, Kate and Hal, Kathleen and Tom, Katharine and David, Judy, Reed and Julia, Dar and Michael, David and Melinda, Angela and Howard, Helen, Sheila, Mitchell, Will and Camille, Phyllis, Shammy, Khalid and Zina.

“With all this love infusing Tommy’s world and soul, girls quickly came to fancy this magical boy who always made time for the loneliest kids in class and frequently made up his own words to describe feelings and parts of toasters — and, to be clear, he took a strong liking to girls too, these omnipresent magical lovely girls he found who always had a profound beauty radiating from within. Tommy was raised on a fine Montgomery County Education, which took him through Takoma Park Elementary School, Pine Crest Elementary School, Eastern Middle School, and Montgomery Blair High School (with a frolicking detour to Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel in Paris for one family sabbatical year where he learned French, tried to teach himself Japanese, and insisted on travel adventures through North Africa and the rest of Europe), but his irrepressible love of freedom and strong libertarian impulses made him a skeptic of all institutional bureaucracy and a daring outspoken defender of all outcasts and kids in trouble. Once when third-grade Tommy and his father saw a boy returning to school after a weeklong suspension and his Dad casually remarked, ‘it looks like they let finally let him out of jail,’ Tommy replied, ‘no, you mean they finally let him back into jail.’

“At Blair, Tommy’s adult persona began to take shape: he co-founded Bliss, a life-changing peer-to-peer tutoring program and spent hours tutoring fellow students in Math and English; made wonderful friends he lavished attention on; became Captain of the Forensics Club and a savagely logical and persuasive orator in the Debate and Extemporaneous Speech Club where he had to be constantly reminded by his teammates that the purpose of high school debate tournaments is to score points and not convince people of the truth or change the world. He was active in the Young Dems and recruited dozens to get involved in the 2012 Obama reelection effort. On Prom Night, he threw a dinner party for 24 fellow students, including classmates who had no date that evening, and they all went to prom together as a group. He hated cliques and social snobbery, never had a negative word for anyone but tyrants and despots, and opposed all malicious gossip, stopping all such gossipers with a trademark Tommy line — ‘forgive me, but it’s hard to be a human.’

“Above all, he began to follow his own piercing moral and intellectual insights looking for answers to problems of injustice, poverty and war. A Bar Mitzvah from Temple Sinai, he taught a Sunday School with Heather Levy for two years at Temple Emmanuel, often substituting his social-struggle analysis of the Exodus story for teachings on the Hebrew alphabet. He ordered and devoured books on the Civil War and Maryland’s history in it, World War II and resistance to Nazism, Jewish history, libertarianism, moral philosophy, the history of the Middle East conflict, peace movements, anything by Gar Alperovitz on the decision to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and anything by Peter Singer on animal rights. He began to pen these extraordinary essays and articles that now add up to well over 100 as well as write plays and extremely long polemical poems, which he eagerly performed for audiences astounded by his precocious moral vision, utter authenticity of emotion, and beauty of expression.

“At Amherst College, he majored in history, helped lead the Amherst Political Union, intellectually discredited the egregious Dinesh D’Souza who turned to pathetic insults when Tommy destroyed his argument from the audience with a simple question (even before D’Souza was soon to be convicted of federal campaign finance crimes), won the Kellogg Prize, created and performed one-act plays with his social dorm mates, and wrote a compelling senior thesis on the intellectual history of the animal rights movement. Spending his summers voraciously reading and soaking up all the wisdom to be had at his eclectic self-procured internships at the CATO Institute with Doug Bandow, J Street, the Institute for Policy Studies, ARC of Montgomery, Compassion Over Killing, and for Professor Frank Couvares, Tommy became an anti-war activist, a badass autodidact moral philosopher and progressive humanist libertarian, and a passionate vegan who composed imperishable, knock-your-socks-off poetry linking systematic animal cruelty and exploitation to militarism and war culture. He recruited gently and lovingly — but supremely effectively — dozens and dozens of people, including his parents, to the practice of not eating animals, and it will be hard to find anyone his age who has turned more carnivores into vegans than him. (He also cheerfully opposed sectarian holier-than-thou sanctimoniousness among a handful of vegans he met and would say, ‘I’m working for a vegan world, not a vegan club.’) A prolific and exquisitely gifted writer, he came to publish essays and op-eds in the Nation, the Goodmen Project, Anti-War.Com and other outlets. After his Amherst graduation, Tommy went to the Friends Committee on National Legislation to work on stopping the war in Yemen and on Middle East policy, and spent a year publishing more remarkable essays and articles (soon to be available to you) and launching a book of political philosophy offering a sweeping animal rights critique of Locke, Mill and classical liberal social contract theory.

“In 2019 Tommy went to Harvard Law School. He lived up in the attic of the home of Michael Anderson and Donene Williams, his Dad’s beloved law school roommates, and made more remarkable friends. He studied constitutional law with Noah Feldman, criminal law with Carole Steiker, and property with Bruce Mann (Elizabeth Warren’s husband); he loved the systematic thought and debate dynamics of law school but reported it to be like half an education because the moral philosophy component was somehow left out. Rather than read endless lists of long cases, why not have students read clear comprehensive statements of what the law is and then talk about what the law should be? So while zealously promoting his newfound favorite game — Boggle — to rescue his classmates and himself from the stress and anxiety of law school, he also pushed them to engage with social problems and found a strong affinity group in the Effective Altruists. He spent last summer working quite brilliantly as a summer associate at Mercy for Animals and found a knack for actual lawyering.

“This fall Tommy not only took a full complement of his second-year law classes, including Disability Law with Michael Stein which he loved, but, at the suggestion of his beloved Professor Steicker, became a Teaching Assistant with Professor Michael Sandel in his ‘Justice’ Course at Harvard. As a teacher, Tommy devoted great time to teaching his section of the class — working on his astonishing lectures and jokes, and meeting endlessly with his dozen students on Zoom, finding what was precious in their work and teasing it out. He loved his students and they loved him back. Not content with giving half of his teaching salary away to save people with malaria by purchasing mosquito nets with global charities, when the semester was over and after his grades were in and the student evaluations were complete, he made individual donations in each of his students’ names to Oxfam, GiveDirectly and other groups targeting global hunger. When I asked him why he did this, he quoted something that he loved which Father Daniel Berrigan said about Dorothy Day: ‘she lived as though the truth were true.’ Tommy said: ‘I wanted them to see that the truth is true.’

“We have barely been able to scratch the surface here, but you have a sense of our son. Tommy Raskin had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind. He began to be tortured later in his 20s by a blindingly painful and merciless ‘disease called depression,’ as Tabitha put it on Facebook over the weekend, a kind of relentless torture in the brain for him, and despite very fine doctors and a loving family and friendship network of hundreds who adored him beyond words and whom he adored too, the pain became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable at last for our dear boy, this young man of surpassing promise to our broken world.

“On the last hellish brutal day of that godawful miserable year of 2020, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people all over the world died alone in bed in the darkness from an invisible killer disease ravaging their bodies and minds, we also lost our dear, dear, beloved son, Hannah and Tabitha’s beloved irreplaceable brother, a radiant light in this broken world.

“He left us this farewell note on New Year’s Eve day: ‘Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.’”



My brother, too, succumbed to his depression, exacerbated by years of illicit drug use. For some, the pain of living is too great of an assignment to complete, the earthly contract is broken. Their spirit, though, their love, absolutely remains. And their presence, their guidance and laughter, their knowing and their embrace, their whispers, are just on the other side of the veil. I still hear his laugh. I love you, Darrell Lee.

Suicide help line: 800-273-8255 

Believing into being.

December 18, 2020

Suicide is such a powerful end; it reaches back and scrambles the beginning. It has an event gravity: eventually, every memory and impression gets tugged in that direction.’ -David Lipsky

On Being

Jennifer Michael Hecht on suicide, and how we believe each other into being:

‘We believe each other into being.’

That’s the message the philosopher, poet, and historian, Jennifer Michael Hecht, puts at the center of her unusual writing about suicide. She’s traced how Western civilization has, at times, demonized those who died by suicide, and, at times, celebrated it as a moral freedom. She has struggled with suicidal places in her life and lost friends to it. She proposes a new cultural understanding based on our essential need for each other.

Jennifer Michael Hecht — ‘We Believe Each Other Into Being’

Terry Tempest Williams

December 3, 2019

“Death by suicide has teeth, and when it bites, it will not let you loose.” [Truth.]

39 minutes (7,820 words)

“We are only lightly covered with buttoned cloth; and beneath these pavements are shells, bones and silence.” —Virginia Woolf, The Waves


We had just celebrated my father’s eighty-fifth birthday. Louis Gakumba and I were driving back up to Jackson Hole. My husband Brooke texted me, “I love you. Pull over to the side of the road. Call me.” I knew it was Dan. I had been thinking of him as I was mesmerized by the immense cumulus clouds building in the west.

“Is Dan dead?”


“How?” But I already knew.

Dan had told me in April that he purchased the rope, that he was exhausted, that he couldn’t bear it anymore, “it” being life, that he saw no end or purpose to his suffering.

“I’m done, Ter.”

And I believed he was telling the truth.

“I am proud of him,” I said. Brooke was not prepared for my response; neither was I.

* * *

Dan Dixon Tempest hung himself on July 27, 2018, in the stairwell of his apartment building. He was found on his knees. The police never notified our family.

A close family friend, Darol Wagstaff, Dan’s landlord and mentor, called my father.

“John, I’m so sorry about Dan,” he said.

“What’s wrong with Dan?” my father asked.

“He’s gone.”

“Gone where?”

“He hung himself this morning.”

My father had left his card on Dan’s door: “We are gathering at Callie’s house. You are welcome. Love, John.”

Dan never came.

“What is the alternative?” Dan wrote in a notebook I found after his death.

He was a philosopher who wrote his master’s thesis on Wittgenstein and the eloquence of logic and language. He also laid pipe for the family business for decades, until he moved to California with his wife, took a job in logistics, and then was laid off after the economic downturn in 2008. He had a long history of depression, which led to isolation, which led to drinking to numb the pain, which led to opioids, which led to several runs of rehab. He took a job at HawkWatch International, banding and releasing raptors in the wildlands of Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. He loved the hawks and eagles, especially the red-tails. One day in the desert, we sat on our front porch and he told me it took three men to bring in a golden eagle, how magnificent they were, the range and reach of their vision, but the red-tailed hawks were his favorite because they yielded. They seemed to understand what was happening to them, that their lives were not in danger. The birds became his passion and his metaphor, but they weren’t enough.

Not long before his death, he texted me: “I’m at my limit, sis — haven’t slept in 3 weeks . . . no sleep . . . no sleep . . . I am eroding.”

A few days passed.

“. . . to understand something is to be liberated from it”

“. . . and I can’t get pass’d bein’ liberated . . . where did I go wrong sister . . .”

My reply was this: “You haven’t gone wrong, Dan. You are a brilliant man. You just need to keep going and find your creative groove that will pull you to your destiny — This I believe.”

He sent me an image of a bound mummy on a bound horse.

‘What is the alternative?’ Dan wrote in a notebook I found after his death.

Later, Dan sent me the talk by Malcolm Gladwell on David and Goliath. He texted this quote: “As the playwright George Bernard Shaw once put it: ‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’”

And then this: “You can’t concentrate on doing anything if you are thinking, ‘What’s gonna happen if it doesn’t go right.’”

“I’m winding down on the whole existence thing . . . I want to be free . . .

stardust . . .”

I responded, “These are hard and lonely times. I don’t have much hope and then . . . There are these moments of beauty, a million people marching for justice, Dan. Stars in the night sky in the desert, your caring voice. I love you.”

“. . . just make sure you get me in the air . . . been buried too long . . . xoxo”

“Dan, I want to know what you know, please write. This is what I listened to this morning in my own Dark Side of the Moon: On Being — The Soul in Depression.”

“I have 2day . . . no point anymore . . . pretty much need to see things in these last days.”

“I love you.”

“. . . just put me in the air . . . all I ask . . .”

“I hope you will bury me first, Dear Heart. In the desert.”

“. . . won’t be around then Sis . . .”

“I need you to be, Dan.”

“We all do — you, me, Hank.”

“. . . Ter . . . I’m not fuckin’ around . . . mental illness is taking me out.”

“I believe you can get help, Dan. I hear you — and I am listening to what you are saying. There are medications that really can help, but you need a doctor and to take them on a schedule. You know this—”

“. . . evolve . . . I can deal with that.”

“I know you suffer — God knows, you are one of the strongest people I know, and most tender and smart. You are a beautiful soul, Dan.”

“. . . my brother said the same thing this afternoon . . .”

“Do you believe us?”

“. . . si . . .”

“I believe the three of us are evolving together — each in our own ways. Did you listen to that podcast I sent you? It’s powerful.”

“. . . agree . . . I just need a back door . . .”

“What do you mean?”

“. . . w/u and hank to deal w/it”

“Deal with what? Forgive me, I just need to understand what you are saying — a back door?”

“. . . come on . . . i’m not spelling it out.”

“. . . i don’t want to be here anymore . . . pretty simple . . . you understand that . . . i hope anyway.”

“Dan, I trust you and honor who you are and where you are. And I will forever believe in your greatness of spirit, as you continue to face and embody the vitality and courage of staying with the struggle. I understand. But it breaks my heart. I think there are roads not yet taken for you, Dan. And medication could help you return to yourself. I will just be honest, but you have to want that — and I know you are tired. But life is life. And creativity is in you to express. This I believe.”

“. . . my legacy was being addicted . . . I could never beat it . . . but I was a sensitive/intelligent soul . . .”

“You still could beat it. That is not your legacy. Your illness has been part of your addiction, but that is not your legacy. You ARE a sensitive/intelligent soul. I love you, Dan.”

“. . . ditto . . . just need to find some air for a spell . . . xxx”

“Dan, would you want to see Jonah Yellowman, a Navajo healer, this summer? He lives in Monument Valley, he’s the spiritual adviser for Bears Ears.”

“. . . sure . . .”


A few weeks pass. He sends me the song “Simple Man.”

“. . . so much right and wrong in my life . . . bipolar”

“Thank you for the music, Dan. How are you today?”

“. . . i’m ok. . . .”

“. . . good day 2day . . .”


Weeks pass, no word, and then, this:

“For the Love of God — Listen to this song, Ter”

“I love you. How are you?”

“. . . I think I have victory over dirt . . . finally . . .”

“What do you mean?”

“. . . i’ve done it all . . . nothing else to prove . . . open a new chapter . . . xxx”


* * *

He sends me a link of Kim Kardashian addressing Congress and meeting with Trump.

“. . . is this really where we’re at . . . ? . . . time to exit . . . i’m cracking the sky right now . . . luv ya . . .”

“I love you, my beautiful brother. Paint. Write. Dream. For me. Xxx T”

“. . . can you call me . . . it’s real important.”

I called Dan. He told me he had bought a rope. That he was going to go out “gently.

I said I would never let him go, nor would I ever give up on the Earth.

Please write that addicts are good people, sis. And then he said something that haunts me still: “Why can’t you see it, Ter. We’re fucked. You keep hoping things will change. I’m fucked. The planet is fucked. It’s time to exit. Face it, sis. It’s time to let me go, time to let it all go.”

There was a long pause. Neither of us spoke.

Let me go.

I said I would never let him go, nor would I ever give up on the Earth.

After our call, he texted me: “Let go. Repeat: I bought the rope, Ter. I’m going out gently. No guns. I would not do that to my brain. I will not disappear in the desert. You will not have to worry.”

I texted him again:

“Please. I will never give up on you or your joy, Dan. You are alive, a testament to your strength and will for Beauty even in suffering. I love you.”

“. . . I’m goin’ offline tomorrow for my sanity . . . knock if need be.”

A month later, May 9, 2018:

“. . . Ter . . . I’m suffering big time right now from deep loneliness . . . my question . . . ? . . . Do I reach outward to institutions or go inward to art . . .”

“Both, my dear heart, each supports the other . . . Paint, write, photograph. Seek the insight and help of an institution to steady your mind and then create out of what you are seeing, feeling, and learning once again. Please believe in your own creation born out of suffering and live. I love you, my beautiful brave brother.”

No response.

June 7, 2018:

“Tempest Family Name Meaning . . . English (Yorkshire): nickname for someone with a blustery temperament, from Middle English, Old French tempest(e) ‘storm’ (Latin tempestas ‘weather,’ ‘season,’ a derivative of tempus ‘time’).”

“It’s in our name, Sis . . . the weather is changing . . .”

The last text I received from my brother was on June 8, the same day Anthony Bourdain hung himself.

“. . . r u okay?”

I was out of range, traveling. I had been bitten a few days before by a brown recluse spider. Dad had told him. What I should have asked was “R u okay?” But I didn’t. Instead, I wrote this:

“I am okay. Skin didn’t go necrotic. Lucky. But it was scary. I see you have tried to call several times. We are in a remote place where phone service is slight. Thank you. I love you. T”


No one heard from Dan after June 8. He hung himself forty-nine days later. Who did he talk to? Where was he during those long summer days? Alone — holed up in his apartment? Downtown, mingling with the homeless? In the end, this was where he found his community, these were his peers with whom he found comfort and was comfortable. Were there moments of insight and peace, having made a decision to end his life, or was it only darkness? What do you do with all that darkness? Our brother Hank asked, “Where does darkness go?” Why that day? That moment? Where were we? He had a family. We were not there. My brother died of isolation — knock if need be.

I never did.

“Doesn’t the blood of every suicide splash back on our faces?” David Sedaris wrote about his sister’s death by suicide.

My brother hung himself.

They found him on his knees.

I am on my knees.

I cannot breathe.

When you lose a sibling, you lose yourself.

We were a tribe of four: three boys and a girl. Steve, Dan, and Hank. I was the oldest. Steve died from lymphoma in 2005. He was forty-seven years old. Dan died by his own hand. He was fifty-six years old. Hank and I are survivors. We know our DNA is a perfect match after being tested to see if we were a match for our brother Steve, who needed a bone marrow transplant in 2004. We were not a match for our brother and could not give him our cells. We struggled then. We are struggling now. But this death is different from the others. Death by suicide has teeth, and when it bites, it will not let you loose.

A noose. My brother’s suicide is a noose around my neck and it is tightening. The questions left will never be answered.

Grief is a physical landscape where no place feels safe. It is a state of being where sorrow holds the eyes steady. I stare. I stare out the window. Hours pass without moving. I stare at people who talk to me and hear nothing they say. I stare at burning candles. I stare at the sea. I stare into darkness unable to sleep. And when I do sleep, it offers the comfort of forgetting until I wake up and pain is there to greet me. The next day, flares of anger erupt unexpectedly. When I am able to function out of necessity, showing up to work, going to the grocery store, I get ambushed: a piece of music, a sentence, a memory, a person. The tears stream down my cheeks. No one can help me. Grief is my brother, my sibling. When I embrace grief, I am embracing him. This is how I feel him near. I ache. My heart hurts. We loved each other. Grief is my companion now. Everyone and everything else is a distraction. Sometimes appreciated. Sometimes resented. People don’t know what to say. I want them to say something. Alone in an empty parking lot, I scribbled a note on a piece of paper and pinned it on my jacket that said, “My brother committed suicide — Please talk to me.” I walked in circles for more than an hour, but there was nobody there. I didn’t really want to talk. I needed someone to notice what couldn’t be seen; I wanted another chance at loving Dan better.

Grief is a physical landscape where no place feels safe.

In my private moments I believed I could help save a piece of land or save a species, a prairie dog or grizzly bear, but now I know I couldn’t even save my brother. Grief burns through the bullshit. Death by suicide. Dan warned me. I chose not to see it, I chose denial instead of action. I heard his words, but I failed to hear the pain. In the end, it’s rarely the large gestures that count, it’s the small ones. I knew my brother was suffering. I knew he was in pain. I knew he was alone. I could have knocked on his door and held him.

But I didn’t. I just kept living my life as though everything was fine.

That’s one side of the story. Here’s the other side. Dan was an alcoholic, an addict. He lied. He lied for decades. He told me stories in which, against all odds, he was always the hero, the strong one, the one who fought for justice, the one who watched, the one who outsmarted everyone and survived. He told me these stories so many times, I believed him. A mythology grew around him, part cowboy with two-toned boots worn out through hard living, part Seneca the wise, brilliant one, steeped in philosophical puzzles and truths. The six-foot- three armed outlaw and sage. On a good day, he could outwork anyone in the trenches with his strength and stamina. He read and understood the texts of Nietzsche and Husserl and Heidegger and Wittgenstein as thoughtfully as any scholar I knew, because he had lived the questions of what it means to be human and embody existential angst. I loved our conversations for all he saw that I missed. He painted wild nature and his own inner nature in bold colors and strokes. He lived in a ruthless duality like the black-and-white pastel that hangs in my study. And in moments of levity, we laughed, we laughed and gossiped and teased each other. He told me whatever story he knew would lure me in, and it did. I believed he was sober. I believed he was no longer using. I believed the red rash on his body was bed bugs, not scabies. When he asked for money, I gave it to him. And when things got bad, when he was barely bones from not eating, when he was on the streets of Salt Lake City or passed out in a motel room drunk from apricot brandy or beer, I was there to rescue him. I was always there by his side, both of us with our cowboy boots kicking up the dirt in the big moments between life and death, but rarely was I there in the small ones, the everyday moments of darkness and depression that he bore alone.


I heard his words, but I failed to hear the pain. In the end, it’s rarely the large gestures that count, it’s the small ones. I knew my brother was suffering. I knew he was in pain. I knew he was alone. I could have knocked on his door and held him.

November, 2018

Santa Sabina Center, California, with Terry Tempest Williams:

Do you know what I noticed the other day? The light on the speedometer is dimming…

Driving home from the protest to protect Mueller, to remind anyone who would listen that no one is above the law.

The light on the speedometer is dimming.

“Oh no.” I gently pat the dashboard.

D’s truck…’94 Ford Ranger…black…24 years old now. My son is 24.

The ‘Bitter End’ still pinned to the visor…right where you left it.

‘I walk through the world because I love it.’ -Mary Oliver

What I read walking the walls of the cloister, thinking of you.

I think you loved it.

I do.

And it broke your heart.

And it breaks mine.


Fr. Richard Rohr:

 ‘There is a light in us that only darkness itself can illuminate. It is the glowing calm that comes over us when we finally surrender to the ultimate truth of creation: that there is a God and we are not it. . . . Then the clarity of it all is startling. Life is not about us; we are about the project of finding Life. At that moment, spiritual vision illuminates all the rest of life. And it is that light that shines in darkness.’ And here’s the podcast that TTW’s brother urged her to listen to in his final days.

On Being

The Soul In Depression

We’re fluent in the languages of psychology and medication, but the word “depression” does not do justice to this human experience. Depression is also spiritual territory. It is a shadow side of human vitality and as such teaches us about vitality. And what if depression is possible for the same reason that love is possible?

Climate Change Linked to Suicide Increase

July 27, 2018

New research from Stanford University finds that higher temperatures are leading to more suicides. And by 2050, the study predicts, thousands of additional suicides will have occurred in North America alone due to the rising temperatures caused by climate change.

Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the study examined decades of county-level suicide data — nearly 1.5 million observations spanning all of the United States and Mexico — as well as data that tracked monthly temperatures in each area. The team used data going back as far as 1968.

According to the research, a monthly rise in temperature of 1 degree Celsius leads to “about a 1 to 2 percent increase in the suicide rate,” says Dr. Marshall Burke, assistant professor of earth system science at Stanford University and lead author of the study.

Burke says there is “emerging physiological evidence” that the parts of the brain involved with regulating emotion are also used when dealing with heat. While “there is a plausible link here,” he says, the mechanism linking heat to suicide remains an open question.

“We need a movement in this country, more than anywhere, that makes it unacceptable for political leaders to […] not meet their climate obligations, or to deny that climate change is even a real thing,” he says.

-WBUR, Justin Kaplan

Full article: 

This is how we roll…grassroots.

September 2, 2016

NPR/September 2, 2016

‘There’s a new push in the national conversation about gun violence that is attempting to sidestep the political rancor, to find common ground on one thing — guns and suicide. The campaign in Colorado is called the Colorado Gun Shop Project.

The ‘poster reads, Gun Owners Can Help! Under a photo of a lone elk in the mountains, it lists signs someone may be suicidal and a phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


There’s now an 11th commandment on gun safety rules: Consider off-site storage — family, friends, some shooting clubs, police departments or gun shops — if a family member may be suicidal. Clark says most people don’t realize that the majority of gun deaths are not homicides but suicide.

survey of hospital emergency rooms by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 found an estimated 21,175 suicides involving firearms compared with 11,208 homicides involving guns.’

Full article:


12 Critical Gun Safety Rules You Can’t Ignore

September 14, 2015

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