An uncommon suicide

Sports writer Martin Manley committed suicide yesterday on his 60th birthday. Unlike most suicides that leave people wondering fruitlessly what caused it, he decided to create an elaborate website that has a long explanation and is prepaid five years in advance.

So why did he kill himself? He goes through each of the commonly assumed reasons for suicide to show that none applied to him. He was healthy, happy, and had no financial worries. He gives four reasons for his action, one of which is that he just did not want to get old and wanted to go out ‘on top’.

The thought of being in a nursing home, physically or mentally disabled, was the single scariest thing I had ever thought about – at least on this earth. So, in order to make sure that it never happened, I determined that I would have to end things when I was still semi-intelligent and physically able. That’s what I mean by saying “Because I can.”

I didn’t want to die alone. I didn’t want to die of old age. I didn’t want to die after years of unproductivity. I didn’t want to die having my chin and my butt wiped by someone who might forget which cloth they used for which. I didn’t want to die of a stroke or cancer or heart attack or Alzheimer’s. I decided I was gettin’ out while the gettin’ was good and while I could still produce this website!

He seems to have put a lot of thought into it and acted quite rationally.

Quite extraordinary.


  1. wtfwhatever says

    What the hell? Rational? What did you smoke today?

    This guy describes himself as:

    not in trouble legally
    had no financial problems
    had no losses in his life of loved ones
    and plenty of social activities

    with a few memory problems but is clearly not diagnosed with Alzheimers

    Given all that, his fear of dying in a nursing home,or disabled was IRRATIONAL. His first reason “Fear of his decline” is not a reason to commit suicide at 60 when healthy. It is a reason for this jackass to start lobbying congress and other people to allow for assisted suicides when appropriate.

    And his 3rd and 4th reason, “Hurricane Sandy and other disasters” and “Economic collapse is inevitable” are reasons to turn off the TV not turn off your life.

    Reason 2: is that he wanted to leave money to others. I think Mano, you should ask his survivors how they feel about his suicide and their inheritance.

    As many middle aged men in divorce, I am in poor health, with various legal problems, massive financial problems, loss of loved ones (death and the loss of my children from my life), with poor work outlook, and few friends, and I often wish for death.

    But this guy was an irrational asshole.

    I would have loved to have that fucker’s problems.

  2. steve oberski says

    What a sad sack, self pitying, disgusting whiner you are.

    I suspect that most of your problems are of your own making.

  3. wtfwhatever says

    What a mensch you are, and your perspicacity!

    Telling a guy that has mentioned several times of having suicidal thoughts that he is a “sad sack, self-pitying, disgusting whiner” whose problems are of his own making.

    Good jorb!

  4. steve oberski says

    Case in point.

    Stop your whining, take control of your life.

    And stop being such an asshole.

  5. wtfwhatever says

    Thank you,

    In the aftermath of the biggest depression since the great depression, you tell a middle-aged person having a hard time finding a job to “stop whining, take control of your life”.

    You must certainly be one of those progressive atheist skeptics I hear so much about at FTB.

  6. steve oberski says

    One wonders why such a “woe is me” sack of shit like you did not accord Taslima the same considerations that you demand when you make comments like:

    Because cunt, it was 1982, and the US was coming out of Vietnam and Watergate and the storytellers told a story of a man of peace and integrity that America could look towards in order to reshape itself and revalidate itself as a country of peace, honor, and integrity?

    But what you are saying bitch, is not knew. Since 1982, all of this has become widely known.

    So what’s your fucking point except demonstrating your head is up your ass?

  7. wtfwhatever says

    * Suicide among males is four times higher than among females and represents 79% of all U.S. suicides.

    * The National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, MD found that divorced people are three
    times as likely to commit suicide.

    * Divorce ranks as the number one factor linked with suicide rates in major U.S. cities, ranking above all other physical, financial, and psychological factors.

    The Word Health Organization found that divorce was the only consistent factor in factors for suicide in 13 European countries.

    * Divorced men are 4X more likely to commit suicide than divorced women according to a University of Colorado study.

    Certainly suicide is linked to mental health problems like depression and anxiety – it almost has to occur in their presence – but there are other factors involved. And it is these external factors that, according to the researchers, need some attention. The new study was commissioned by the organization Samaritans, and carried out by a team of researchers in Great Britain.

    One of the risk factors for suicide in men seems to be middle age. Historically, younger men were at greater risk than older ones, but this has changed in recent decades. Now, middle-aged men experience the lowest levels of well-being and the highest suicide rates (especially if they are of lower socioeconomic class; more on this later). In fact, well-being for both sexes follows a U-shaped curve, with well-being bottoming out in the middle years.

    The study found that the suicide rate was ten times higher in men of lower socioeconomic status than in affluent men. The link between suicide and unemployment has been known for some time, but the authors discuss the reasons why, beyond losing a job, socioeconomic class might affect suicide risk. One factor is the increasing “‘feminisation’ of employment (shift towards a more service-oriented economy),” which may cause men to feel like they have less room in the professional world. The authors write that “men in lower socioeconomic groups now have less access to jobs that allow for the expression of working-class masculinity, and have thus lost a source of masculine identity and ‘pride.’” Yet losing a job may still make men feel like a “double failure, since they are unable to meet two central demands of the masculine role: being employed; and ‘providing’ for the family.”

    Another interesting finding is that while divorce and separation are linked to suicide risk in both sexes, divorced/separated men seem particularly vulnerable to suicidal “ideation” (thoughts and planning) and to suicide itself. This may make sense, since it’s been shown that men derive more mental and physical health benefits from marriage than do women (although it’s good for both sexes) – so the breakdown of a marriage could lead to more detrimental outcomes for men. That said, there’s still a lot of pressure on men to fill out the masculine husband role, whatever socioeconomic class one is in, and the reality is that today this classic role may be somewhat unrealistic. “There is a large and unbridgeable gap between the culturally authorised idea of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and the reality of everyday survival for men in crisis,” write the authors. One way of taking back one’s own masculinity, they suggest, is to take one’s own life.

  8. wtfwhatever says

    Mano, the above post contains links pertaining to suicide trends in men, middle aged men, divorced men. Can you retrieve it from moderation please?

    Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm.

    More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the findings in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.

    Suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly, and the surge in suicide rates among middle-aged Americans is surprising.

    From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7. Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, far more men take their own lives. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.

    The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rates jumped by nearly 50 percent, to about 30 per 100,000. For women, the largest increase was seen in those ages 60 to 64, among whom rates increased by nearly 60 percent, to 7.0 per 100,000.

  9. wtfwhatever says

    So here’s my question Mano,

    Why is Martin Manley”s suicide considered by PZ and you somehow extraordinary, well thought out, rational?

    What about the other Vietnam of suicides every year? (30K dead vs. 50K dead.)

    What portion of those should we as skeptical atheists consider rational?

    And what does it say about society to consider the suicides of people facing divorce issues, employment issues, health issues to be rational?

    Why do you “privilege” Manley’s suicide by calling it rational and extraordinary, when presumably you will look at the 30K of people every year and consider their suicides irrational?

    What the hell am I hearing from Atheist pages today that considers Manley, in good health according to his own claims, no financial problems, no mental issues, TO BE A GOOD SUICIDE!? Or considers him some sort of model for suicide!?

    This is sickness Mano, it is a sickness in atheism pretending to be smarter than the religious.

    The poor dumb shit for brains who was divorced, lost his kids, and driven to the poorhouse and harassed by his ex and her lawyers?

    I understand that’s schmuck’s suicide. That’s the asshole Mano that we should be feeling for.

    But Manley? Fuck that guy. His suicide was narcissistic, attention whoring, and lazy.

  10. wtfwhatever says

    Taslima constantly spouts misandry. And she has no sense of context.

    Your dislike of my post there is fine but doesn’t rationalize your egging on a person that discusses suicidal thoughts.

    It’s just your deflection from your realization what a horrible human you are.

  11. steve oberski says

    So if I understand you correctly, your get to deflect discussion away from your massively misogynistic, assholish, trolling behaviour by using the suicide word laced with a steaming turd of self pity ?

  12. SecMilChap says

    It seems worth noting that a number of folks in The Netherlands are seeking to have an additional category added to their law allowing physician-assisted death. This is the notion of a ‘completed life’, a position open to anyone over age 70 who has grown children, no more career activity, is (perhaps) alone, and really doesn’t want to face the warehouse for living corpses that’s everyone’s destiny in “The Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Brave”. Perhaps nursing homes are better in NL, but better enough, I suspect. I think 60 is a little early, but I’m 75 and still functioning passably. I have a half-dozen chronic problems that could worsen and lead me to decide: enough it enough. Criticism and name-calling of someone who wrote honestly about his situation and feelings seems senseless and useless to me. Only the man writing knew how he felt. I’ve seen the best friend I ever had become nearly demented from all the chemicals used to ‘fight’ depression. If that were my only gateway to being without depression, I’m sure I take that Final Exit, too.

  13. Mano Singham says

    Thanks for the links to the articles.

    I did not say Manley’s act was good. I am not sure how one would make such a judgment about a suicide. I said it was rational because he has clearly put a lot of thought into it and prepared carefully. He has explained clearly his reasons for it and I could understand them. Whether one agrees with them or not, it was clearly not an impulsive act.

    As for being extraordinary, I thought that spoke for itself. I have never heard of any suicide like this.

    I am sorry that your circumstances have given you suicidal thoughts. As I said in an earlier post on this subject, suicide is one of those things that are hard to generalize about since the motives are often so complex and hidden.

  14. hturren says

    It was pretty clear to me that he had early-onset dementia. He decided to end it while he was still rational. If I could know in advance that I could become a heavy burden on my family, I’d probably do the same.

  15. says

    anyone over age 70 who has grown children

    … Because “everyone knows” you can’t live a fulfilled life without children. :/
    It’s funny because suicide is the ultimate choice (per Camus) and choosing whether to create a new life is another one. Why can’t we have equal acceptance on both of those decisions?

  16. Jonny Vincent says

    Why can’t we have equal acceptance on both of those decisions?

    Because we are slaves-in-denial.

    Slave-owners don’t let their slaves escape that easily. They ensure the process is as traumatic and stigmatised as imaginable. Or slaves would all kick along rather than suffer, if their eyes were opened to the reality of their misery.

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