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Lawyer Sets Self on Fire in Protest

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

In an act of protest against fossil fuels, civil rights champion and attorney David Buckley committed suicide via self-immolation.

The attorney was a mere 60 years old and had devoted the early part of his second act to environmental causes. His actions, according to a note found by his body, and emails he sent before carrying out his plan, attempted to raise awareness of mankind's destruction of the environment via burning fossil fuels.

Community in Mourning

For those that knew David, the news was beyond shocking. While his friends and family knew that he was passionate about environmental causes, his actions were wholly unexpected. A mentee of his at the Red Hook Community Farm realized after waking up to the news that David had been teaching him over the past couple weeks how to do everything he did for the farm, from filling out paperwork to maintaining the farm's contact list.

David was not just an advocate for the environment, he was perhaps best known for his work on behalf of the LGBT community. He led several high profile cases, including same-sex marriage initiatives. Interestingly, he had become known in his community as a master composter.

Making this even more tragic, David left behind his partner of 34 years as well as a college age daughter.

Are You an Attorney Contemplating Suicide or Know One? Get Help Now

Although David Buckley is making headlines, like most victims of suicide, his message is likely being obscured by reporting. Generally, suicide is the result of mental health issues. Unfortunately, victims often don't get the help they need because the signs can be rather subtle.

Some of these subtle signs can include: Feeling hopeless, rage, or uncontrollable anger; Acting out recklessly; Increase of drug and/or alcohol use; Feeling trapped, anxious, agitated, or unstable; Withdrawing from friends and family; Dramatic mood swings.

If you need help, and you're in a crisis or contemplating suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or even start the conversation via text by sending the word "START" to 741-741. Also, many bar associations have lawyer assistance programs that may be able to make a referral to a qualified mental health professional, as can a primary care doctor.

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