David Buckel activist self immolation suicide protest death: LGBT rights lawyer and environmental activist takes own life protesting ecological destruction.
During Saturday morning’s suicide, the famed 60 year old attorney left behind a suicide note in which Buckel told of his intention of burning himself to death with ‘fossil fuel’ in a bid to show how mankind was likewise killing itself.
The activist’s note was recovered in a manila envelope marked ‘To The Police,’ which was found inside a shopping cart Buckel had discarded at the scene.
Began the hand written letter which the environmental advocate had also emailed to the New York Times, ‘My name is David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide,’
‘I apologize to you for the mess,’
‘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.’
‘A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life… Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purchase in death.’
‘I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others.’
In his note, Buckel compared his macabre demise with the suicides of those who set themselves afire to protest China’s occupation of Tibet.
Continued the letter, ‘This is not new, as many have chose to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see,’
‘Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard.’
David Buckel activist self immolation suicide protest death: A fighter of discrimination.
Buckel’s self immolation led to passerby’s expressing shock and horror upon coming across the man’s charred corpse.
Told Irena Ryjova, 44 who came past the ‘mass’ just after 7 am, an hour after Buckel burned himself, ‘It was just lying there, on its back, knees slightly bent like someone would lie on the sand at the beach’.
Offered local mother, Dana Lall via the nypost, ‘It’s a shock; it’s a shame’.
Told bike rider, Rochelle Krause, ‘I rode by (the body) several times,’
‘The first time I tried to convince myself it was a mannequin. But then the fire department showed up.’
Police pronounced Buckel dead at 6.30am.
As a senior attorney with LGBT civil rights organization, Lambda Legal defense, Buckel was a lead lawyer in a 2000 lawsuit on behalf of transgender ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ rape-murder victim Brandon Teena, helping the family recover additional damages from neglectful Nebraska law enforcement.
The 1999 movie earned actress, Hilary Swank an Oscar for her portrayal of Teena.
‘It’s a very important case, not only within Nebraska but nationally,’ Buckel told the Daily Nebraskan newspaper in 2001, after helping win an $80,000 judgment.
Buckel also fought for the right of gay high school students in Salt Lake City to organize a club, and argued against discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America and the military.
‘The thoroughness, the detail and the careful reasoning in the opinion means that other courts around the nation will be paying attention,’ he said.
In another pivotal case, Buckel won a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in 2006 acknowledging that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual married couples.
He also fought for the right of gay high-school students in Salt Lake City to organize a club, and argued against discrimination in the Boy Scoutss of America and the military.
— Brenda Platt (@PlattBrenda) April 15, 2018
David Buckel remembered:
More recently, Buckel worked as an urban gardener and ecologist with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, helping run what he called the largest composting program in the country to use only renewable sources of energy.
‘There’s no denying that sticking with renewable resources means a lot of elbow grease with pitchforks and shovels,’ he wrote in a 2016 article on the Botanic Garden Web site. ‘But it is incredibly satisfying work.’
Susan Sommer, a former Lambda Legal attorney told the Times that Buckel ‘was all about justice, but he was also all about what it means to be human.’