A diary opened up Nov. 8th on DailyKos which uses the tragic self-immolation of a disturbed man who left a suicide note that claimed he almost killed Donald Rumsfield, but chickened out at the last moment. The poster of the diary wants to “honor his sacrifice,” which is a metaphor for rejoicing in the pain the man’s family and friends must be feeling right now.
The attempt to lionize the suicide of a person is disgusting, dishonest, and telling. Malachi Ritscher, a local artist from Chicago, was driven by his own demons to kill himself and though he had written that his act was in protest of the Iraq war, we know it was in protest of his pain, his suffering, and his misery. Ritscher wanted, above all else, to feel important and to belong. His fellow protesters didn’t hear his cries for help, his plea for acceptance, instead they drowned out his agony with their self-absorption.
Those who are lionizing his last desperate act helped to kill him as surely as if they threw a match on him themselves. While they cried “Impeach Bush,” he simply cried. While they embraced Jihadists, he longed to be embraced. While they hated Bush, America, and anyone who didn’t agree with them he hated himself.
And when they went home at the end of every protest he waited, waited for someone to notice him, for someone to see his pain wasn’t going to end when Democrats took control in January. His pain was a never ending stream of doubt, fear and self loathing whose flow couldn’t be stemmed by projection. His pain was a fire that burned him everyday until he made it a reality. Now his fellows will warm themselves by that fire, bask in the glow of his tragedy and draw comfort from his death.
I hope he can find the piece that eluded him in life, and wish his family, or any family, never had to experience the profound grief that they are going through now. But what’s more I hope his family doesn’t come across the musings of those too shallow and cold to realize the real gravity of what has just occurred.