“Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result — my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.” — David Buckel
NEW YORK (AP) — A well-known gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate burned himself to death in New York City on Saturday (April 14, 2018) in a grisly protest against ecological destruction.
The charred remains of 60-year-old David Buckel were found by passers-by in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Police said he was pronounced dead at about 6:30 a.m.
Buckel was the lead attorney in in a lawsuit involving Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska. Hilary Swank won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Teena in the 1999 movie “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Buckel also served as marriage project director at Lambda Legal, a national organization that fights for LGBT rights, where he was the strategist behind same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.
The suicide note left by Buckel in a shopping cart near his body said he hoped his death was honorable and might serve others as he disclosed the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make vigorous efforts.
[As it stands, the complete suicide note has not yet been released. And will be made available here upon release]
Suicide Note details:
“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather. Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result – my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”
“Many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help,” Buckel wrote, adding
Mr. Buckel, noting that he was privileged with “good health to the final moment,” wanted his immolation (self-sacrifice) to lead to increased action; expressly stating that “donating to organizations was not enough.”
“Privilege is derived from the suffering of Others” – David Buckel
Susan Sommer, a former Lambda Legal attorney who is now the general counsel for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, told the Times that Buckel “was all about justice, but he was also all about what it means to be human.”
Sommer added, “He was a very smart and methodical lawyer. He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory.”