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EMC Co-Founder Commits Suicide

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the going-out-on-my-terms dept.

News 538

The Register is reporting that EMC co-founder Richard Egan has committed suicide. The article has an interesting look back at some of his accomplishments. "Egan had an amazing life, encompassing involvement in the Apollo space program, the US Marines, starting and building the most successful storage company on the planet, and becoming the US ambassador to Ireland. Finally, aged 73 and facing a lingering death, he ended the battle decisively and on his terms. He was never a shrinking violet."

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"Committed Suicide?" (5, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | about 5 years ago | (#29269689)

"Suicide" makes it sound like he was depressed. Sounds like this guy wasn't. He decided to go out on his own terms. He chose euthanasia. If only we all had such bravery when facing such a long debilitating decline.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 5 years ago | (#29269699)

What do the youth in asia have to do with this tragedy?

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (5, Insightful)

BigDXLT (1218924) | about 5 years ago | (#29269705)

Some jokes just don't work in text.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29269849)

Ah, youth in asia. Got it. Took me a minute.

Suicide Rate in Japan (5, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | about 5 years ago | (#29270089)

The suicide rate in Japan is about 51 per 100,000 people [medicalnewstoday.com] . The rate is high but is less than the rate in some European countries. The rate in Lithuania is 92 per 100,000 people.

There is a curious pattern in the suicide rates. The rates among ethnic groups who built the most prosperous, high-quality societies (i. e., Western societies) are the highest in the world. The rate in Japan and Europe is much higher than the rate in, say, Nigeria. Most African nations do have shockingly high death rates, but that is due to murder. Suicide is quite uncommon in Africa.

What Richard Egan did is very Japanese. He concluded that his life would be a burden on his family, his friends, and himself. So, he chose to die by his own sword. He died with honor.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 5 years ago | (#29269711)

define "bravery"

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 years ago | (#29269755)

Most people fear death - a lot.

He, instead of scrabbling away and clinging to anything he could (and just making it longer) like many of us would, stood tall, squared his shoulders, and walked into it's maw.

That, is bravery.

Death, is the one final unknown. Our species seems to be wired into fearing the unknown. Death, being one of the absolute unknowns, is also one of the absolute fears. The man was not afraid of this absolute.

That, is bravery.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29269835)

It could have also been desperation.

I don't fault the guy. I mean, if terminal lung cancer is as bad as it sounds, I might have pulled the trigger on my own terms too. Who in the hell want's to die an agonizing death when a bullet to the head seems like the cure in comparison?

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (2, Insightful)

paazin (719486) | about 5 years ago | (#29269879)

It could have also been desperation.

I don't fault the guy. I mean, if terminal lung cancer is as bad as it sounds, I might have pulled the trigger on my own terms too. Who in the hell want's to die an agonizing death when a bullet to the head seems like the cure in comparison?

Assuming the terminal cancer was the reason for his suicide, which is a supposition to begin with. The fact that he was caught up in a tax haven and the IRS was on his back ... well, one could imagine it can be a little more nuanced and complicated.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269955)

It could have also been desperation.

I don't fault the guy. I mean, if terminal lung cancer is as bad as it sounds, I might have pulled the trigger on my own terms too. Who in the hell want's to die an agonizing death when a bullet to the head seems like the cure in comparison?

Yes, terminal lung cancer IS as bad as it sounds. Actually, it is far worse that it could ever sound.

There are a lot of reasons why one would want to die an agonizing death instead of a rapid and pain-less death... Family, fear, religion, belief and honor are the first I can think of... Make no mistake: you never know one's mind for sure (even relatives).

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 5 years ago | (#29270075)

A quote on Slate today said that elderly suicides had declined (roughly) 30% since social security was instituted.

When I looked over the star trek memory wall (http://www.trekkieguy.com/memory01.shtml), I noted that the deaths were

a) a collection of cancers of actors in their 50's
b) a huge amount of heart attacks of actors in their 60's.
c) a sprinkling of suicides of actors in their 70's.
d) and finally a few (really small number) of actors dying of old age in their 90's.

If I had incurable cancer and knew it would end very painfully, I'd off myself first. I'd probably go as long as they gave me morphine and then heroin for the pain tho.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 5 years ago | (#29270077)

Actually, I wouldn't choose a bullet. I think jumping off Half Dome sounds a lot more fun. Or seeing exactly just how fast I can take those turns in a motorcycle on Skyline, and then push just a bit more. Go sky diving and simply don't pull the cord. How about taking an overdose of some very fun drug while enjoying the company of a well-paid lady friend? Free-climb some way-too-hard slope without a rope? Rent a Corvette, and crash it at 170Mph. See just how far you can swim into the ocean, or just how far you can free-dive, and then push a bit further. I think I'd prefer any of those to a slow painful death stretched over months or years. You only get to die once. Might as well die doing something you'd normally be to scared to try.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 years ago | (#29270269)

Ah, but a good amount of those have too much of a risk to end up a painful drawn out end.

Your corvette crash - what happens if you just end up a paralyzed vegetable? Oops!

Drowning in the ocean? No thanks... drowning is not a fun way to go, supposedly.

Drug overdose? You may end up like Ozzie without the fame to go with it.

Sky diving without a chute? You really want to watch it come? What happens if you have second thoughts, but you are terminally low in altitude?

Nah, I'd rather it be quick, and with a small as possible time difference between the decision and the actual result... or a Kevorkian approach.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about 5 years ago | (#29270295)

Actually, I wouldn't choose a bullet. I think jumping off Half Dome sounds a lot more fun. Or seeing exactly just how fast I can take those turns in a motorcycle on Skyline, and then push just a bit more. Go sky diving and simply don't pull the cord. How about taking an overdose of some very fun drug while enjoying the company of a well-paid lady friend? Free-climb some way-too-hard slope without a rope? Rent a Corvette, and crash it at 170Mph. See just how far you can swim into the ocean, or just how far you can free-dive, and then push a bit further. I think I'd prefer any of those to a slow painful death stretched over months or years. You only get to die once. Might as well die doing something you'd normally be to scared to try.

Personally, I'd rather not be the kind of jerk that leaves a huge mess for someone else to clean up when it's time to fold up my affairs, but YMMV.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269871)

Sounds like he was just afraid to die of cancer. Afraid to take his chances that the treatment would almost certainly fail. You could put a noble veneer on it, but it sounds like a decision founded on fear, not bravery. Not only that, but he didn't even have the decency to just refuse treatment and go out on a morphine drip like everyone else. You can hold on to your decency without leaving a mess and screwing with the heads of the people you left behind. His behavior is selfish. Maybe it was his right to be. But let's not pretend he was noble.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (2)

MadMartigan2001 (766552) | about 5 years ago | (#29270039)

Oh ya, "go out on a morphine drip" does not screw with peoples heads. You've obviously not been witness to what happens to people when they waste away and die. Face it, you are ridiculing this guy because he has balls you'll never have. All you can do is call him selfish to make yourself feel better for not having the guts to face your own death with your eyes wide open. you'd rather go out on drugs, numb to the whole experience, all the time, whining about people who are much stronger than you. pathetic.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270103)

Yes, because people left behind would never get screwed up seeing you die slowly and painfully, weezing (quite literally) your last in some hospital ward as you gradually lose control of your bodily functions. That would obviously be much less traumatic for them than putting your affairs in order, saying goodbye with dignity and making a (relatively) clean exit.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (5, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 5 years ago | (#29270217)

    You shouldn't have posted A/C. You're very much right.

    I saw my dad dying. It wasn't pretty. My last memories of him are in the hospital bed, which I'm sure wasn't the way he wanted to be seen going out. He was military also, but he wouldn't have chosen the gun to the head route. He fought to the end, in disbelief that he could be dying. Unfortunately, there was a burial, and now a gravestone to prove it. His mantra was "it's indigestion", when in reality it was heart attacks, which took their toll. He was smart, and he knew the truth, but sometimes we'll ignore the simple truth when it's bad enough.

    If he could have taken his last day on his terms (but not quite so messy), he may have taken that route. But I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have, simply because he refused to believe it. At very least, he could have saved himself the last day of suffering.

    My step son was almost luckier. He died quickly in the comfort of our home by natural causes (a seizure). He had already told us, he had no recollection of anything that happened during his seizures, so he was completely unaware of what happened. His mother and I were the first to find him, and despite the obvious truth, I performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. He was already rigor, but I refused to believe it. I did tell the 911 operator "he's rigor-like". Not rigor mortis. I refused to believe the truth, even though I knew better. The paramedics were kind when they showed up, but there was nothing for them to do but talk us through it.

    Damn. I was having a good night. Now I'm stuck with the memories of what happened again. They never do go away, but sometimes they can be sidetracked with better memories of the people we loved.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29270207)

Maybe "noble" isn't the right word. But, face it - we've all got to go. Why not write your own ticket? Call it fear, but I sure as hell don't want to spend months wasting away on a hospital bed. I've seen it. There are, literally, dozens of better ways to go. Having your ass shot off by a jealous husband would be better than eating your own gun barrel, but hey - it works.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 5 years ago | (#29270007)

That, or he fears pain more than death. Most people fear pain, a lot.

He, instead of fighting the pain and clinging as long as he could (and affording himself the possibility of a medical breakthrough or a medical miracle), like many of us would, simply gave up and took his ball home.

From a certain perspective, that is cowardice.

Death is a complete unknown. Rather than face the pain he knows, clinging to another few years, days, hours with loved ones, he instead walked headfirst into what could very well be worse pain and debilitation (think any religion's hell), yet clearly in a desire to avoid the pain and debilitation that he knew.

From a certain perspective, that is stupidity.

I don't think we can really judge one way or the other, though. At a certain point, it's a choice between being a burden to your family as you slowly drift into a coma and then death, or cutting off all medical treatment (and thus bills).

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#29270051)

My father in law is currently dying from terminal cancer and I reckon anybody who has seen it happen would look for a fast way out. What I am seeing now is almost indescribably horrible. I don't blame this guy one bit.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | about 5 years ago | (#29270173)

My sympathies. I watched my father die from melanoma. Actually, he died from starvation. After months of intractable pain, he quit eating and starved himself to end his pain.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | about 5 years ago | (#29270189)

My grandfather died (ostensibly) from Parkinson's. My other grandfather died (also, ostensibly) from a stroke. I say "ostensibly" because neither of these things were capable of killing the men by themselves.

In the first case, the man's wits were always totally about him, but his communication and motor skills dropped to such a useless extent that he plainly felt he was a burden. He was very intelligent, and a quiet thinker: Someone you listened to when they talked, no matter how lengthy or succinct the conversation. My family kept him alive for years too long -- he was only going to get worse, not better.

In the latter case, the man's wits weren't always about him, but he was plainly aware that he was on his last legs and wouldn't be long in this world. He was an intelligent, outgoing, and very lucky reactionist who thrived on stress: Someone you listened to very intently, even if you thought they were wrong, because their thoughts were still very useful to absorb. My family kept him alive for years too long, as well -- he had more than one stroke in the nursing home, and had a long history of cardiac problems before then.

Both were accomplished (in terms of family reverence and fiscal good fortune). They lived good, honest lives, had their shit together, and were completely loved by those around them.

But, they lived too long. They were all used up.

Death is as natural as life itself is. It is an eventuality. One can either go out on one's own terms, or one can sap the Estate for all that its worth as the State sucks it all in to maintain "healthfulness" at everyone's (including the patient) detriment.

I hope your Grandpa-in-law does well with whatever comes.

(And for a disclaimer: No, death and suicide aren't always fair, and aren't always the fair means to an end. My own sister, whom I was also very close to, killed herself while she was still young and in rather good physical health about three years ago. Something about a hose, some duct tape, a 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a secluded garage, a bunch of cocaine, a lot of unhelpful friends, and an undiagnosed case of schizophrenia combined to make this happen. I wish I could've done more for her, and will probably regret that I hadn't for the rest of my own life.)

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 5 years ago | (#29270259)

    A friend of mine went through that too. Her father died of terminal cancer. They did a lot to him, and gave him lots of drugs to help the pain, but he wasted away until his last day came. Needless to say, it was a terrible experience for her. It's something I don't ever wish on anyone.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1, Funny)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#29270069)

yeah, if he had realized that control was an illusion, if he had decided instead that it was not up to him to decide when it would end, just as it was not his decision to begin, to face debilitation and pain... he would have undone all he had done and we'd see him as a coward.

btw you are an idiot. suicide is for cowards (unless in protest). there is no honor in ending your life. Either you have the fortitude to see it through to the very end, or you don't. He didn't. Suicide doesn't diminish what he did while alive, however, it does not make him brave.

No, Its Bull Shit (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 5 years ago | (#29270099)

He was afraid of depending on others. Afraid of losing control of living life the way he wanted to. Afraid of pain, Afraid of suffering. He took his life out of fear. He is no hero, he is a coward.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270113)

He, instead of scrabbling away and clinging to anything he could (and just making it longer) like many of us would, stood tall, squared his shoulders, and walked into it's maw.

That, is bravery.

Or stupidity/arrogance/cowardice. I'm not familiar with his disease, and apparently can't be bothered to read the article, but it's possible that his quality of life could be unchanged throughout that time, likewise, it's possible (though not probable) that a suitable treatment could be found for his disease. Likewise still, it's possible that others would have preferred him to stick around awhile longer to help tie up loose ends.

Maybe none of these things are true, but I think it's important to point out that choosing to end one's life is rarely bravery. Just because he wanted to die doesn't mean that others wanted him to go.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29270265)

Lung cancer. I watched my Grandpa die of it. Try to imagine that I cut open your chest, and put a pair of perfectly healthy rats inside your chest, then sewed you back up. Imagine those rats clawing and gnawing their way back out. Not a pretty picture, huh? The comparison isn't accurate - those rats would kill you within an hour. Cancer lasts, and lasts, and lasts.......

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29270273)

Nah. We rather fear dying. When you're dead, you don't care anymore. ^^

Suicide is harder than you might think. People survived headshots, drops from 20-story buildings, even drops from fighter planes, and the slow deaths are the worst. Because in every one of them, you risk getting "saved" and living your life as a drooling cripple, incapable of killing yourself, and making a ton of money for some "health" companies.

That's why I recommend this: Lasse Gjertsen — Det Ultimate Selvmord [youtube.com] ;)

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 5 years ago | (#29269719)

While I think Bill Maher is a misogynist dickhead, he does have one great quote on suicide.

It's our way of telling God "You can't fire me. I quit!"

The sad thing is this guy should NOT have had to go in a closet and blow his head off. Never ceases to amaze me how we euthanize animals on compassionate grounds, and yet we humans, we're expected to suffer.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#29269861)

we're 'expected to suffer' because relgion *still* dominates our legal system.

remove religion and there's zero issue with people killing themselves.

it really is that simple.

and yet its not. because people won't let go of explanations that let them sleep easy at night.

even ones we know are not really true.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 5 years ago | (#29270045)

remove religion and there's zero issue with people killing themselves.
No, not really. It's usually the family and friends that suffer the most. I knew a guy with a 3 year old daughter that shot himself. That was some time ago, she's an adult now. I'm sure she still carried the scars with her.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29270049)

"May this not be that the voluntary surrender of life is an ill compliment to him who said that all things were very good?"

From Schopenhauer's "On Suicide":(Hollingdale's translation)

"Christianity carries in its innermost heart the truth that suffering(the Cross) is the true aim of life: that is why it repudiates suicide, which is opposed to this aim, while antiquity from a lower viewpoint approved of and indeed honoured it. This argument against suicide is however an ascetic one, and is therefore valid only from a far higher ethical standpoint than any which European moral philosophers have ever assumed. If we descend from this very high standpoint there no longer remains any tenable moral reason for damning suicide. It therefore seems that the extraordinary zeal in opposing it displayed by the clergy of monotheistic religions - a zeal which is not supported by the Bible or by any cogent reasons - must have some hidden reason behind it: may this not be that the voluntary surrender of life is an ill compliment to him who said that all things were very good? If so, it is another instance of the obligatory optimism of these religions, which denounces self-destruction so as not to be denounced by it."

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0, Flamebait)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#29270135)

remove religion and there's zero issue with people killing themselves

Bzzzt. Wrong. Suicide is terrible for society. Also, it has a detrimental effect on the economy (the dead don't tend to spend much). And have you heard of Darwin? It's really no good for evolution. Unless in protest, suicide is the single most selfish act a person can commit.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270279)

Late stage terminally ill are not a huge driver of the economy either, except in the market for palliative services (which won't go away if euthenasia is legalised).

Also, don't bring evolution into this. Evolution doesn't "care" what the hell you do, once you've had kids. In fact, it might even be adaptive by freeing up more resources for the next generation (increasing their functional utility).

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (5, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29269991)

Never ceases to amaze me

Doesn't surprise me. Until very recently, only the wealthy could afford the food/rest/care to even survive any serious illness. The problem of what to do with old people when the medical care is too good is a recent problem and our society hasn't cast its collective conscience's vote yet on what attitude to adopt toward human euthanasia. Eventually we'll reach a mature, stable decision one way or the other.. but you can't rush it.

Also there are a lot of thorny ethical issues. For like 25 centuries doctors have been swearing the Hippocratic oath, which explicitly states "do no harm." Doctors can't even prescribe lethal injections when a court orders execution; prisons have to get those drugs 'semi-legally' without going through a real doctor. Also there's the problem of whether the elderly will feel pressured to go to euthanasia (as seen in Soylent Green and Deus Ex) to spare the financial burden on their kids or society. And there's the catch-22 issue of sound mind: euthanasia candidates must be making a rational decision, but anyone petitioning for euthanasia is acting irrationally...

Obviously there should be a better way than taking a gun into a closet, but immediately jumping into legalizing euthanasia would be inappropriate and dangerous.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 5 years ago | (#29270097)

our society hasn't cast its collective conscience's vote yet on what attitude to adopt toward human euthanasia.

Well, if you went by the philosophies under which the US was founded then it's no one's business but the person seeking death. The problem are the religious busybodies who feel the need to butt in and interfere with people's decisions for the sake of their personal moral gratification.

For like 25 centuries doctors have been swearing the Hippocratic oath, which explicitly states "do no harm."

Is not forcing someone to live in pain, with no dignity, not causing harm? Is it truly harm if the person is granted the relief they desire? Have you hurt anyone?

anyone petitioning for euthanasia is acting irrationally...

Are they now? If there's no reasonable expectation of a cure for some terminal disease and the inevitable result is crippling disability, pain, and death, who are you to say someone who wishes to book early, preserving their dignity, is acting irrationally?

Could it not be argued that those willing to spend every last cent to stay alive, no matter how debilitating and painful life may become before death, are themselves acting irrationally?

On an unrelated note, the first quote of this paragraph was, before I previewed it, enclosed with the "blockbuster" tag. Please, anyone, tell me what I was thinking?

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Interesting)

rjh (40933) | about 5 years ago | (#29270187)

With respect to whether forcing someone to live in pain and without dignity is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath -- yes, it is. This is why so many doctors nowadays are taking continuing education classes in chronic pain management and death with dignity.

Under current ethical guidelines, a doctor is allowed to prescribe any amount of narcotic necessary to manage the pain of a terminal patient, even if that dose of narcotic will hasten the patient's death. (The law has not caught up with medical ethics, but it's in the process of doing so.)

If the only way to manage the pain of your terminal illness is to give you a dose that will hasten your death, the AMA says that if you ask for it I am allowed to ethically give it to you. The AMA also says that I should tell you that very powerful drugs are available to manage your pain, and to encourage you not to live in pain. I can't force you to take the Fentanyl patch, but I can make sure you know you have that option available to you and that no one will think less of you for it.

Pain management, dignity, hospice care, etc. -- these are all ways medicine in the US is trying to balance the Hippocratic Oath against the indignities of terminal care.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29270193)

it's no one's business but the person seeking death

Yeah, and that's exactly what the guy did. He locked the door, sat in a closet, and shot himself in the head. The point is that this shouldn't have to happen. There should be a social support structure to allow a comfortable exit under medical supervision and no brains all over the walls. And that would be society's business.

Is not forcing someone to live in pain, with no dignity, not causing harm?

Well the traditional view is that there's no worse "Harm" than death. It's part of the attitude shift that needs to take place before euthanasia is considered help not harm.

Are they now?

Oh come on we understand that it's not as logically simple as the original Catch-22 but the analogy applies.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

shermo (1284310) | about 5 years ago | (#29270171)

As someone who's watched a loved one go through leukemia, I think it's pretty obvious that oath is selectively enforced.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Informative)

Quothz (683368) | about 5 years ago | (#29270205)

For like 25 centuries doctors have been swearing the Hippocratic oath, which explicitly states "do no harm."

First off, the Hippocratic Oath does not say "do no harm". It does say that doctors should not do assisted suicides, perform abortions, or perform surgery. Luckily, doctors don't take it any more and haven't in my lifetime. I'm not sure why people think they do. Some take substitute oaths, like the Declaration of Geneva;* others take no oath.

immediately jumping into legalizing euthanasia would be inappropriate and dangerous

"Immediately"? That's a topic that's been up for debate throughout all of recorded history. Which is why the Hippocratic Oath mentions it. Generally, it's been shot down by religious leaders in western cultures because suicide is a sin. It'd be awful nice if we could get past the argument that an invisible fairy will get mad at you and address it as two questions: Does a person own his or her own life, and if so, under what criteria is suicide appropriate? For example, I could see not allowing someone suicide due to schizophrenia because it interferes with rational decision-making. I could also see it a no-no for the parent of a minor child, under the assumption that his or her duty to the child supercedes any rights to opt outta life. But just screaming that it's wrong isn't gonna last in today's secular political climate.

* Which also does not say "do no harm", but does say "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life". On the flip side, the doctor also promises to never violate human rights - some would argue that the right to die at a place and time of one's own choosing is a human right.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (-1, Troll)

cosm (1072588) | about 5 years ago | (#29269727)

Not necessarily brave. We 'all'? A lot of people experience decline, and instead of just blowing their brains out, they either a) get better, b) don't (in this case giving up isn't brave). Understandable, he is a bit over-the-hill, but suicide is devastating to those who still care about him, and wasteful act of selfishness.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (4, Insightful)

popeyethesailor (325796) | about 5 years ago | (#29269815)

Well, please read the article. He was suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer, diabetes and high BP. I'm no doctor, but that looks fairly terminal to me. Why the fuck should I hang around as a vegetable?

Suicide is devastating to those who care, yes; but in this case at least, there's no selfishness. He saw that he was beyond extended support; and decided to go. Committing suicide takes a phenomenal amount of courage, and/or some mental instability. In this case, it seems to be mostly the former. Rest in Peace.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#29270215)

Why the fuck should I hang around as a vegetable?

idk. Are you human? If so, then you should know... that's the way we die. If you can't handle it and can detach yourself from any that might care about you, then there would be no reason. However, if you are truly human, and not mentally ill, and not a coward, then in fear and trembling you will walk every last painful humiliating step until the final end. And then you will know why you experienced others suffering, and why you sufferred yourself, in a way no one could explain. Life is pain. Death is nothing. Which is more noble to endure?

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (5, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 5 years ago | (#29269885)

Oh come on. The guy had lived his life, was facing pain... for what? He wasn't a teenager, he wasn't middle aged. Doesn't a person have the right to decide when they've had enough?

You want to know selfish is? Selfish is expecting a terminally ill aged person to endure suffering to slightly prolong an existence that they no longer feel is tolerable, all so that a complete fucking stranger on the internet doesn't have to deal with a moment facing the reality that ALL PEOPLE DIE, before said geek clicks on to the next story, about robot porn or some shit.

The guy lived his life, saw the end coming and chose not to suffer. The only sad part is that our sick society is in such denial about the inevitability of death that he was forced to choose such a gruesome method rather than having the option of something more peaceful.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269999)

I think it's slowly happening, public's awareness of when suicide is a GOOD thing.

Or maybe it's just me being more selective about what social circles I participate in.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Panspechi (948400) | about 5 years ago | (#29270183)

Oh yeah... robot porn

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (0, Flamebait)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 5 years ago | (#29269753)

If only we all had such bravery when facing such a long debilitating decline.

Then ObamaCare^WKennedyCare could actually deliver cost savings!

(duck, run, flamebait)

We do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269843)

Problem is that so many of the right to lifers are fighting against suicide as well (though they love war for little to no reason).

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270025)

Oh look, there's something you don't see every day - A straw man painting with a broad brush.

Re:meh (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 5 years ago | (#29270277)

mod +1

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#29269891)

The only thing I'm opposed to was his method of "euthanasia".. Come on, firing a shotgun in the head, there are other methods that would work as well without inciting that much shock to whoever finds you lying on the floor.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

plopez (54068) | about 5 years ago | (#29270061)

exactly, firearms are often used on impulse. Which is why they are dangerous to keep lying around the house.

He could have checked into a hospice, etc.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29270033)

"Suicide" is a word - whether you connect it to depression or not is your own twisting of the term. If you kill yourself it is suicide, plain and simple. That can be good, bad, accepted, or non-accepted, but the term itself doesn't care. I could equally say that "euthanasia" sounds like he was gassed to death, when in reality he shot himself.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 5 years ago | (#29270143)

    You know, when I go, I want it on my own terms too. Shotgun to the head? That wouldn't exactly be my choice. I'm thinking of a nice IV morphine cocktail, heavy on the morphine. Quick, painless, and you're gone. Not that I'm thinking of an out, but sometimes you consider what the options are. I could live painfully in hospice care for weeks or months, or go to sleep and never wake up. If/when the day comes, I hope a doctor will be kind enough to to leave it by my bedside and walk away for 20 minutes with the EKG turned off. I've seen the way it can go. I'd prefer not to go that way.

    It's a shame that "assisted euthanasia" is not an option in most places. We can put down our pets so they don't suffer, but we don't allow the same humane treatment for ourselves.

Re:"Committed Suicide?" (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29270227)

Well, I have long planned my death. I'm going to let someone build me a nice sharp metal cone for a head, order a parachute drop, but stuff the backpack with old newspapers or bedsheets. Then when I jump, I will point my head to the biggest asshole on the planet.

It's going to be a fun couple of minutes for an old man, and it will certainly make it to the newspapers. ^^

The final answer... (1)

cosm (1072588) | about 5 years ago | (#29269693)

maybe now he can ask god for a full explanation of the navier-stokes equations. Can you twitt us the answer, Rich?

EMC (2, Insightful)

Kagura (843695) | about 5 years ago | (#29269751)

I hope you know what EMC stands for, because we're not gonna tell you.

Re:EMC (1)

cosm (1072588) | about 5 years ago | (#29269859)

I am assuming somebody founding their company with the name E=MC^2 would at least be aware of navier-stokes, but you know what happens when you assume, well, i'm not going to tell you...

THe death panels got him! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269697)

That's British healthcare for you!

Fox News is right!

Afterbirthers demand to see Obama's placenta!

The EASY way out! (5, Insightful)

ZackSchil (560462) | about 5 years ago | (#29269703)

What a coward! He should have faced his imminent slow and painful death like a man: by watching his dignity slowly fade away as he soils his bed and sobs uncontrollably about a life ill spent.

Wait, his life wasn't ill spent, so he realized that everything I just typed is bullshit. Society's attitude towards suicide is fucked up.

Rest in peace.

Re:The EASY way out! (1, Troll)

paazin (719486) | about 5 years ago | (#29269741)

Yeah this guy was a truly noble American:

He was involved in a tax shelter case in 2006. The Irish Times reported he had invested $62m in a scheme set up by KPMG partners.

What's with our obsession to praise and reward those who ultimately just take advantage of us?

Re:The EASY way out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269789)

What a shame it is to judge a life that you can't change.

Re:The EASY way out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269881)

please explain.

Re:The EASY way out! (0, Troll)

MarkRose (820682) | about 5 years ago | (#29269857)

What's more American than being an entrepreneur? And why shouldn't he do everything to keep his hard-earned wealth? Why should his hard work taken advantaged of by the government? The oppressive tax regime in the US is one of the biggest reasons why the economy tanked. Rich people don't like being robbed, and will take their money elsewhere, where they can keep it, as they should! A noble American, I agree, indeed!

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

paazin (719486) | about 5 years ago | (#29269911)

Totally - though please also allow me, who doesn't have hordes of tax-lawyers at my beck and call, to also prevent the gov't getting its grubby hands on my hard-earned tax money.

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

MarkRose (820682) | about 5 years ago | (#29270001)

The first step is to run your own business where the taxes are lower. Everyone plays the same game. Take the best position. It's never easy in the beginning though, partially for the taxation reason. I'm a fan of eliminating income tax all together. It makes zero sense to punish productive behavior.

Re:The EASY way out! (4, Insightful)

rjh (40933) | about 5 years ago | (#29269915)

"It is every American's Constitutional right to avoid paying taxes to the maximum extent permissible by law." -- Judge David R. Hansen, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

There's nothing wrong or immoral with reducing your tax bill. It's only wrong to do it in violation of the law. The IRS claims he engaged in a legal fiction to dodge taxes illegally. He claims he engaged in a legal fiction to dodge taxes legally. We decide who's right or wrong in the courts: we don't leap to judgment on Slashdot. (I know, I know, I must be new here. Check the UID, kids, I'm not.)

If the IRS is right, then yes, his actions were unjust. If he's right, then more power to him.

If you believe it's virtuous to pay more taxes than you absolutely have to, I'm sure the IRS wouldn't mind if you threw an extra couple of hundred on your check come April 15. Otherwise, let's give the dead the benefit of the doubt, and not declare him to have been taking advantage of us.

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29270083)

The interesting questions start to come up when the fact that the law is written and re-written enters the picture. If law were handed down, without further alteration, this would be unproblematic; but it isn't.

Given a modest space of time, and sufficient resources, it is possible(indeed common) to change what "the maximum extent allowed by law" is, either across the board or selectively. What then?

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 5 years ago | (#29270289)

What's with our obsession to praise and reward those who ultimately just take advantage of us?

Far better the world would be if he had been a whiny no-op like yourself, never took any risks, never produced anything worthwhile, never created thousands of jobs, never paid millions in taxes.

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

e2d2 (115622) | about 5 years ago | (#29269765)

That attitude stems from the people left behind. Maybe he prepared them, but they still live on and most people don't take a suicide of a loved one well. Maybe one day I'll face the same decision, but I doubt I'd kill myself because it would destroy my loved ones. I know what it's like to see a loved one perish in the hospital and I also currently have to assist in the care of my grandfather who's brain checked out long ago. It's not "dignified" but it is natural. Not all of life is pretty. Some of it is downright painful. That's the "gift" of self awareness.

Re:The EASY way out! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269919)

No. Not to be cruel, but it's _not_ natural. If this were in some earlier time frame, or a less "technologically advanced" environment, your relative would've been consumed by some other predator by now. It's _un_natural to develop the technology to prolong a life beyond its natural usefulness; ie. into a vegetative state. We are completely skull-fucking the "natural circle of life."

If this post comes across as unnecessarily cruel, forgive me: I'm drunk on Bacardi 151, right now, and probably shouldn't post. At least I have the wits to select "post anonymously"...

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

Therefore I am (1284262) | about 5 years ago | (#29270081)

Bacardi 151 is a form of suicide. Drink it neat for a few weeks and then kiss parts of your throat bye bye.

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#29270267)

but it's _not_ natural.

You are correct, not natural. But it _is_ civilized. Funny how civilization is so underated here on /. idk why, but it always seems to get a bad rap.

Re:The EASY way out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269773)

agreed... people only worry about how the death will effect them.. oh my, we can't let someone off themselves! what will the neighbors think!
I'm not all for suicide, but death on your own terms is how I write this.
My respect to him. He rode out life the way it should be, and enjoyed it. rest in peace, indeed.

Re:The EASY way out! (3, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 years ago | (#29269811)

There's two (well, more than that, really) sides to the suicide coin.

1. You have men like this. Men who have seen that which they have wrought, and found a life well spent. Rather than wither away and die as you say, these people deserve an 'easy out.'

2. Then, you have the "oh woe is me" crowd, where suicide is the cowards way out - because it's easier to kill themself than deal with their problems - consequences to everyone else be damned. A selfish, cowardice-ridden exit.

3. Also, you have those who genuinly have something wrong with their mind that pushes them to it. You can't blame someone for something external pushing it down on you like that.

4. Finally, unless there are more I'm too tired to think of, you have those that go for a good cause. The good soldier diving on a grenade. Sacrificing one's self for the good of many, etc - the true altruistic finale.

I think the problem is that most people hear 'suicide' and think of group #2 above, to the exclusion of all else. If only the world was that defined into black in white.

Re:The EASY way out! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29269961)

Do you think that #2 actually represents more than a trivial percentage of the suicide population(rather than being composed largely of a public misperception of the noisier members of #3?)

Given the strength of both instinctive and cultural revulsions toward death, and the overwhelmingly numerous examples of people willing to endure pretty miserable conditions and near-nil hope of improvement; I'd say that it takes a very special kind of coward to prefer death, self inflicted, to dealing with other problems. Someone who has extremely attenuated fear of death, or severely exaggerated fear of other problems, would seem to fall into #3.

Re:The EASY way out! (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29270079)

It depends. Truthfully I think there is no real distinction between #1 and #2 in your post. Reality is we all die eventually, so everyone who commits suicide is speeding up the inevitable, but in both #1 and #2 both people have problems. Death will get both eventually so saying "I'm going to die anyways" doesn't do much. Why do some people's problems (cancer) become a good enough reason to kill one's self whereas other people's problems (a lost job for example) not get the same consideration, and they get branded a "coward" for taking that same "easy out"?

I could make the same argument - why should I have to subject myself to homelessness and digging through garbage hoping for my next meal rather than going out with dignity?

Whether or not one supports suicide or not really isn't important to me, but IMHO it comes down to a Mr Miyagi situation: "Walk left side - fine; walk right side - fine; walk middle ". Either suicide is a valid say of dealing with personal problems or it's not - judging which problems are good enough to kill yourself over and which ones aren't just gets way too subjective.

Re:The EASY way out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269825)

Agreed. Suicide is _anything_ but easy. One of the scariest things I've done is to select a date & time for my "check out" and watch the minutes tick down to that moment. Obviously, I didn't go through with it, but it scared me like nothing else.

When researching "best way to commit suicide," I came across quite a few people who just don't want to be here. But those of us who want to take a "dirt nap" at our own initiative are considered "abnormal." I'm not sure that's entirely accurate; I'd guess almost 25% of the population has seriously considered suicide at one point or another.

If we really don't want to be here, for whatever reason, I don't see why we should be forced to reconsider. It's going to happen, at some point, regardless, so does it matter if it's sooner rather than later?

EMO EGAN ENDED (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269729)

EFUNERAL

An MIT educated EE billionaire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269731)

Cool. RIP. The only downside I can see is that he was a huge GWB supporter. How did he off himself?

OK, I'm a sicko, I admit it (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 5 years ago | (#29269737)

I'm getting a HUGE LOL from the

Solaris budget concerns?
You have options!

Advert on the El Reg page announcing "EMC co-founder kills himself".

Re:OK, I'm a sicko, I admit it (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 5 years ago | (#29269833)

haha

Re:OK, I'm a sicko, I admit it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269943)

this reminds me of something really hilarious i saw back in about 2001-2002 in the days when all the internet shorts were in SWF format called "serendipitous news crawls" showing hilarious and ironic combinations of crawls and spoken subject matter or main story.

Re:OK, I'm a sicko, I admit it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269989)

Did the data warehouse load? No? Blame the ETL guys. They are righting code. So it must be shit.

I'd commit suicide too if my SAN technology was so unstable it made so many SQL servers puke on there shoes and fall down.

No wait. Sorry.

Operations spilled beer on the SAN. Again. Ticket canceled.

what does this have to do with science/tech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269745)

Really nothing. I suppose we could post about the alleged Obamacare "death panels", which, maybe in this guy's case, would've taken away his guns and prevented him from taking his own life, and then raised his taxes and distributed the proceeds to illegal immigrant drug dealers.

Re:what does this have to do with science/tech? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269863)

MAKE IT ABOUT POLITICS! MAKE IT ABOUT POLITICS!

The parasitic life form screamed. It yanked at the pain centers and ticked at the pleasure center.

WHY DON'T YOU MAKE IT ABOUT POLITICS, DARLING?

The right brain felt the rumblings decided to make it about politics for the potential reward. The left brain agreed and began to spin together a narrative. It wasn't cohesive but it's enough for an impulse.

The human considered for a moment. "Oh, wow, a guy killed himself in the UK because he had terminal cancer. What a great segue into a discussion on Obama's healthcare plan and how counseling is good!" he thought.

The right brain relaxed. The left brain got to work. The parasite smiled and kicked at the bundle of nerves a few times. Good.

Never forget. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269795)

May his memory live on forever in our... network attached storage devices.

Re:Never forget. (3, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | about 5 years ago | (#29269917)

And just like that, his life was gone into flash.

Did he have to pick such a messy method? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269873)

A rich fucker like him could've easily gone to one of those clinics in Europe and ended it in a more dignified manner. Imagine the poor bastard who ended up discovering his corpse... What an asshole.

Re:Did he have to pick such a messy method? (1)

MarkRose (820682) | about 5 years ago | (#29270011)

There comes a time -- in every man's life -- when he must take splatters into his own hands.

Re:Did he have to pick such a messy method? (2, Insightful)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | about 5 years ago | (#29270059)

Don't know any details beyond what's presented in a few news articles and wikipedia, but he strikes me as a hardass Irish ex-Marine who didn't like to tiptoe around an issue. Not quite the "down a bottle of sleeping pills and a pint of alcohol then die in his sleep" type of guy. When he decided it was time to take care of business, he sure as hell didn't want to die like a pussy. Which is more dignified to you? Does it matter? Go ahead and kill yourself however you want.

Re:Did he have to pick such a messy method? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270181)

Would have been pretty funny: brains and gore everywhere, stench of decomposition, and he pissed and shit his pants.

He got on the bus (3, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | about 5 years ago | (#29269909)

He used the Hunter S. Thompson method, large caliber to the head approach.

In the same situation I would have gone to a nice comfortable hospice facility in a nice liberal country where they would have kept me comfortable until it was all over. With an army of lawyers to keep family and business associates at bay. He did have the money for it after all.

In case anyone is considering it, firearms are *not* 100% guaranteed. High probability, yes. Guaranteed, no. You can maim yourself, cause blindness, brain damage, have to eat through straws etc. Due to the circumstances we may not know exactly how long it took him to die.

Another bit of advice, make sure you get your living will and medical power of attorney put together. I've been in a situation where we just *barely* got the medical power of attorney signed in time. Without it it would have been an even worse nightmare than it was.

Re:He got on the bus (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29269959)

go fuck yourself and your bullshit. he did what he wanted and that's probably how he got to being a billionaire instead of a bitch pizza delivery boy like you.

safe and comfortable are the ways of pussies. those who step up and face things head on and deal with it plainly are those who make the real advancements. the follow through of that ideology isn't to sit and die while drugged up and listening to yanni.

Re:He got on the bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270015)

I've read about people jerking the gun at the last second and making a huge mess of things. I'm currently designing a "guillotine" type device. The neck seems like the closest thing to a single point of failure. I just need to make it happen.

Re:He got on the bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29270111)

The rope-tree-car-neck-accelerate is rated highly by many satisfied users.

Re:He got on the bus (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29270121)

Firearms to the head in general are not 100% guaranteed (I know a guy who was shot 3 times in the head and survived, albeit with severe brain damage - but it was a .22LR). Sufficiently large shotgun to the head? Pretty much guaranteed (as long as you're not a dolt and stick it under your chin rather than actually at the side of your head). Question is how presentable you want to be at your funeral, for people who care about it. A 12ga isn't going to make you look too pretty. That may sound petty, but it's a thought that crosses many people's minds. IIRC many females who commit suicide or attempt to won't shot themselves, and a primary motivation is often not wanting to mess themselves up for their funeral.

Re:He got on the bus (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 5 years ago | (#29270177)

"...and a primary motivation is often not wanting to mess themselves up for their funeral."

My method of choice is head first into a chipper-shredder. Possibly aim the output over the bay for the fish and crabs to enjoy.

Re:He got on the bus (1)

cerberusss (660701) | about 5 years ago | (#29270199)

He used the Hunter S. Thompson method, large caliber to the head approach. In case anyone is considering it, firearms are *not* 100% guaranteed. High probability, yes. Guaranteed, no.

As with all things, practice makes perfect.

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