… Far from sending any sort of message, a suicide leaves layers upon layers of questions, particularly so when the “victim” is a public figure whose action is intimately related in one way or another to the business of The People. As Benign0 asked a few days ago:
“Who are we to judge Angelo Reyes? Who are we to presume to judge the circumstances of his death — an apparent suicide as the Media reports say? And if indeed, Reyes killed himself do we really believe that the state of his mind moments before his death could ever be knowable?”
Indeed, it can’t be; the person who takes his own life must be in a very dark place, a place that means something, but means something to him and him alone. Sometimes the motivation, or rather an aspect of it, is circumstantially apparent; Budd Dwyer, for example, could save his pension and insurance for his family (and the huge legal bills he had incurred) by dying in office. But he never gave that reason, and the reasons he did give made no sense to anyone, and maybe didn’t even make sense to him. And as much can be said of the clues Angelo Reyes left behind in his distraught ramblings to a few friends in his last days.
Any judgment of the suicide itself is pure speculation; it is as prejudicial to consider the dead man “honorable” for choosing to be that way as it is to characterize the suicide as an admission of guilt. Those are nothing more than characterizations of our own reactions to it, and not any sort of truth. The suicide takes the truth with him, and that’s what makes it an ultimately selfish act. Whether there is honor or shame in the act, however, is a matter of sentiment; taboos, after all, are relative. In the end, that is the real tragedy of suicide: that so deliberate an act changes so little.