Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mike's Suicidal Tendencies

By Jenna Orkin

   In response to the internet sages who have concluded, - in the face of all known evidence from the people who were most intimately familiar with him as well as with the admittedly real dangers that had faced him over the course of his life as an investigative journalist, - that Mike did not kill himself but was in fact murdered, his suicidal ideation goes back at least eight years. As a small example, below are excerpts from a few of his emails sent from Venezuela in 2006. In addition, he would call at any and all hours to be talked out of jumping from the roof or offing himself in some other way.

A foray into the seedier barrios of Caracas during a protest was one part journalistic adventure but one bigger part, courting danger. For a hero's death was devoutly to be wished. Failing that, he'd settle - as happened in the end - for death by any means available. On one occasion, he confessed to having tied his necktie around his neck as part of an effort to hang himself - and you can be sure I would not put forth such an implausible notion if it were not true - from the shower fixture. He said that he didn't go through with it because he wished to spare his roommate at the time, Carlos Ruiz, the trauma of finding him the next morning.

   He finally left Venezuela in November, ending up, after a detour to Canada, at my apartment. But his reprieve from the alien environment that had not welcomed him the way he had dreamed brought only brief respite. For the next fourteen months, he contemplated suicide on an almost daily basis so that whenever I went to work or the grocery store, I made him promise not to kill himself before I came back. His word - his "honor" - mattered to him more than anything so we took it one day at a time, a notion that was familiar to him from AA.

   More on this period in due course.

To Jenna Orkin, 9-24-2006
...Every day I long for death because I just don´t see how this current limbo is ever going to end. I just keep waking up and going through motions. I wrote a new article today and start another tomorrow. I do miss the US and especially my loved ones but I know I can´t ever go home. That would betray my moral decision and put my life at greater risk than I feel it is here.
I may wind up being the writer that no country wants. Then what?
Sigh. I´ve been doing the anger thing, especially at those close to me who betrayed me so deeply. That´s what´s really taken the heart out of me...

To colleagues at, 9-26-2006
...I am flat out of energy, spirit and hope now...
I am ready to die and the only thing I want to know is that I am totally clean with all the people who are FTW.
I saw a great documentary on Socrates last night. They made him drink hemlock because he kept throwing peoplés [sic] bullshit and sloppy thinking in their faces.
Sounds a little familiar. I am not trying to torment or worry any of those who love me and care for me. I am hanging by a thread here. best, Mike

To colleagues regarding plans for dissolution of and Mike's possible return to the US, 10-19-2006 :
...anythng I do now will be out of the public eye. Guidance yes, but I need to get offstage for a good long while. That is both a pressure and a drug I need to detox from...
With the push of a button [referring to the 'send' key] the world leaves my shoulders.

Recipients unrecorded, 10-19-2006 21:32
...The bridge is still calling. I say that not to threaten or pressure. I share it just to get it out of my head. I have had two close suicides and the breakup of an engagement in less than three years. Only now am I coming to grips with all of that and much more...

Mike's suicide note is available here.


ProvidenceMine said...

I couldn't believe it when I heard it on I just heard him this past Sunday with Carolyn Baker. What a shock.

This man was just a huge influence on my life.

I am saddened by this tragic news.

Godspeed to you, Michael. You were one of the best teachers in my life. Learned more from you than I ever did listening to mainstream media.


Mike B said...

I was deeply saddened by the news of Mike's departure, and am so sorry for those who knew him personally.
I was not shocked however, because through the sincerity of how he went about his work, people who never met him in person still knew him...he wasn't edited.
Rest easy my youtube teacher, you deserve all the peace the universe can offer. You were loved, and although we are sad today, those of us who spent countless hours listening understand, forgive, thank, and continue to love and listen to you.

Brendan Carmody said...

I used to visit this blog,dislike Facebook

I miss mike and wish I had been more involved in recent time, I guess everyone thinks they could have swayed his course, he had it well planed, with as little to no harm that could be done to the larger and close knit community around him on his departure