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Debt Help

The Debt & Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Gruesome Suicide Next Door

picture of apartment after fiery suicideI got home late last night, having spent the evening hanging out with friends. When I drove through the security gate of my apartment complex, I noticed some police activity at a building that's a good distance away from my building. I parked my car near my place, stepped into the house for a few minutes to rehydrate, then walked about a quarter mile to where I spotted the police cars. The police had just left, but Larry, a security guard I know, was still hanging around the building. I asked him what happened. At first, he didn't want to tell me because he was told by the cops to keep quiet about the details. But I was able to get him to talk with a little prodding and a bribe in the form of a can of Cherry Coke I had in the car.

Turns out there was a fire in a downstairs apartment. The blaze produced so much smoke that the building had to be evacuated. Larry told me that the fire started in the bathroom and spread throughout the apartment. A middle-aged woman had committed suicide. Apparently, she poured gasoline into the bathtub, jumped in then sparked up a cigarette lighter. Larry let me into the crime scene for a minute so that I could satisfy my curiosity. The electricity was out in the bathroom so I couldn't turn on any lights in there. I couldn't see anything in the bathroom, but I was able to see that the rest of the apartment was a complete mess. Larry told me that if I went into the bathroom with a flashlight, I would have been able to see burnt flesh everywhere.

So, obviously, my next question was why. I was almost certain that it had something to do with the stock market (it crashed last week) but I was wrong. Larry informed me that the suicide note made no mention of finances at all. The victim was distraught because her partner had recently ended their romantic relationship.

What a strange way to end one's life. Surely some pills or a handgun would have been far less painful. Why gasoline?

I don't believe in suicide, but I do believe that euthanasia is acceptable in some very extreme circumstances, like if an individual is in constant and overwhelming pain, and there is no other way to end the suffering. To force someone to life a full life in terrible pain is cruel and should not be permitted in any civilized nation.

Suicide because you were jilted by your partner? I can't go for that. Suicide because you lost all your money in the stock market? Give me a break. Suicide because some debt collectors won't stop calling? Please!

But it happens:



Know your rights! Debt collectors who call and harass consumers are breaking the law, and they know it. If you are being harassed, visit Nolo.com and download a Demand Collection Agency Cease Contact form. Cost is $4.99. Or use one of the many form letters available for free on the Internet.

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