Mike Laws

Patron Meritorious
Yesterday a professional acquiescence of mine committed suicide. He was never involved in the cult, I first met him 12 years ago when I was at a real low in my life, a time where contemplating suicide would not have been a stretch.

With Mark Bakers comments on the thread on Biggis death/possible suicide, and others, I had been contemplating the subject in a more pure and unbiased form.

What is interesting to me is the exact juxtaposed position of our lives over the past 12 years. When I entered the environmental industry in this area, he was one of the big names, larger than life, lots of money, walked and lived with a huge swagger. I was, in reality, a struggling recovering cultist, trying to build a future with nothing, less than nothing. I had lost my relationship with my kids through a form of disconnection, divorced from an OT VII Class VI because I was not good looking enough for her to be with broke. I was a pariah in the COS because I blew the whistle on an OT VIII OT achievement award winner and mission holder while I was an ex SO DB. I was trying to save my marriage by giving her everything I had while she was already screwing some other guy in my home that I paid for. Wound up literally living out of my car while starting my new life.

12 years later, I am close to the top of my game, he shoots himself in his mothers home. He got into drugs, bankrupted his small business that generated some 3 million dollars last year from the BP spill, I hired some of his best employees after he closed his doors. His wife left him and last week announced that she was getting re-married. He left two kids around 20 years of age.

Though we were acquiescences and did some business together, we were not close, because our values and interests seemed different. He bought and drove a brand new hummer, I have a 10 year old explorer with a quarter of a million miles on it, torn leather seats because my dog goes with me almost everywhere. He built a mansion of a home, heavily mortgaged, which he lost. I bought an old farm house destroyed by hurricane Rita for cash, re-built and extended it mostly by myself over 3 years and built a nice home that I owe nothing on and is homesteaded. Some people loved him, others hated him, he always treated me fairly, he knew how to play the game, and I lost lots of potential advancement because I didn't/wouldn't or couldnt play the game like he did. I liked the guy. Found his life interesting and entertaining. Learned from watching him.

When I was down and out, my kids, the thought of my kids and the future stopped me from seriously considering suicide as an exit strategy. Even if I was unable to support them properly at the time, the idea that they did not deserve a looser or failure as a dad kept me going. Same with my family.

When I look at his suicide, in his mothers house, leaving two young adults with that as an example, doing so the week his ex announces her engagement, I can find nothing noble or honorable in it at all. His mother has to live in the house he blew himself away in. His kids are just forming their lives without him, having his actions make their future that much harder.

I don't and can't believe suicide is a viable option to any circumstances in life today other than PERHAPS relief to a slow, painful fatal disease.

Didn't want to derail the Biggi thread, but am curious to other peoples thoughts.

Captain Koolaid

Patron Meritorious
For some people too much success is a curse. They lose perspective and make unsound financial decisions. Many lottery winners end up poorer than before the big payday. It's mostly about upbringing, some parents teach their kids to stay within their means, and they usually turn out okay.

It's important to realise that suicide is often not primarily an act of desperation, it's a form of revenge. The message to the people close to the person is "You didn't realise how much I suffered and you didn't do enough to support me." Suicide guarantees that the friends and relatives suffer - for the rest of their lives.


Angelic Poster
Such an important subject. I will chime in later when I have more time. I don't think suicide is a very simple subject. At least it isn't for me.

Mike, I do want to say I'm sorry for your loss and was disturbed by the news about Biggi's death. I didn't know her and learned of her death and that you two were a couple only recently, on the other thread.


Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
I've had the displeasure to be close enough to a family that had a suicide of their son in his mid thirties. Got to console the mother and the siblings for days. That was so long ago his then babies have grown up, married, and had children of their own.
The mother and siblings of that young man remain so horribly impacted that to this day I can still see it wriiten all over them and effects of the weight of carrying their own burdens about it.

With another person was out of town on vacation and got word he aduly daighter had committed suicide. As they rudhed to leave her husband fell on the ice and got what turned into life threatening head injures and he went to ICU. Long story short, I got to be with her and convince her she had to stay with her husband and have her divorced daughter cremated and make later undetermined plans to spread the ashes. She did. After months of rehab her husband recovered, almost fully. My friend didn't speak to me for 5 years after all that. Oh, the then 11 son of the suicide woman? Grew up, uh, troubled. Now some 25 years later he is a hopeless alcoholic drug adict.
My friend and her husband are now both long death.

( I don't delve into why when someone I know has a major disaster it seems they always call me to come hold their hands, but they do - and I do )

I could on about suicides and the horror I have seen it leave on those they left behind.
In the two instances above I know what drove them into what they did: broken loves.

While the person who does suicide may be thinking only of what they can not bear they obviously are not thinking of the burden they are about to leave on all their loved ones for the rest of their lives.

And, the exception I have to suicide is painful terminal illness or loss of mental capacity. I happen to not want to live enough to experience all the dignity stripped out of my life while I lay bed ridden dying.

Why? Because I have been allowed to sit and care for loved ones as they slip away from a terminal disease and see them wish it would just end.

Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
Mike, I too want to thank you for bringing up suicide as a topic.

It is a complex and incredibly hurtful experience that is IMHO is not discussed nearly enough.

When one gets faced with it out of the blue it can get very very tough to handle.


Ordinary Human
I've seen a family destroyed by a suicide too. It's a terribly sad thing to see. The ones who are left behind pay a very high price.


Angelic Poster
"Suicide" doesn't get nearly enough attention. Among my acquaintances, the subject itself is so taboo that it's socially unacceptable to discuss it seriously.

Thus far, suicide has not been a serious option for me. I’ve been pretty healthy and lucky and, although life has buffeted me with inevitable losses, I’ve not been hit too hard. Or at least I’ve always been able to stand back up when I was knocked down.

But recently -- with major family illness, sometimes overwhelming caregiver responsibilities and family conflicts -- I've caught myself occasionally thinking: If I just didn’t wake up tonight, I would avoid all this stress and some very painful decisions. Despite that, I have not come close to considering doing anything to hurt myself.

Still, the stress I’m under has given me much more empathy and understanding for people who are hit with literally more than they may be able to bear.

Related to our discussion of suicide is our common history that we should “just make [life] go right” in spite of all odds. I do believe “making it go right” is a good way to live – UNLESS that way of living blinds us to the option we should always retain (and sometimes did not retain) to change our direction and goals, to revisit our past decisions and change our minds. Often it is our ability, luck and freedom to see things afresh and find new options that permit us to find our way out of the overwhelming maze in which we’re lost.

However, I have no doubt that sometimes life for some people really is just too fucking much to bear. These are the times when friends and family can help us … but only if they are paying attention and willing to help and only if we are unafraid and unashamed to admit, “Uncle! I really need some help here! I am drowning!”

I appreciate the truth of what Captain Koolaid said above – that suicide is [sometimes] an act of revenge on those who allegedly didn’t adequately support the person who suicided. However, that interpretation ignores the plight of those who descend to such depths of exhaustion, pain, grief and apathy and a conviction that they’ve simply run out of any other imaginable or visible options.

Then there are the suicides characterized by a wise person who once worked with deeply troubled people, some of whom had wound up killing themselves (I'm paraphrasing this next bit): Some people who suicide do so almost on impulse, momentarily overwhelmed by events that most people would not imagine could lead to such an irreversible decision.

In closing, the family conflicts I'm now involved with regarding the future care of a family elder has taught me that MY EXPERIENCE with a phase or aspect of life is not necessarily THE SAME EXPERIENCE someone else has or will undergo.

We all want to find commonalities between our own and others' lives. However, we are not all the same, and our lives and choices (though they may have similarities) should perhaps be viewed as unique, just as we wish to be regarded as uniquely individual.

I don't know how much sense the above comments make, but they're some things I've been meditating on lately.


Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
Here is a little different view of suicide....

The young man I mentioned who did a suicide by hanging and here is what I think happened.

His common law wife had asked him to move out and he had said far and wide he'd only be cattied off kicking and screaming as he was not to leave willingly.

The day of his death he had been drinking. He was known for his not holding his liquor.

He was found in a little ravine well within voice range of the house. The windshield of the pickup truck was pretty well kicked in.

My theory has always been that he went down there to set a scene and make a plea to her to not kick him out . He got his little drama scene all set and slipped off the cab of the pick up and that was that.

Oh, I also know the girl who found the body a week after he did it.

Later turns out his wife was leaving him for his business partner.
And, turns out, he had been having a long standing affair with his business partners wife.

The funeral was damn near Hatfield and McCoys bad.

But, I still think it was a botched bid for sympathy...ot whatever.

OK one more. I discussed this suicide with a minister friend of mine in terms of how strongly I felt a suicide was a " make wrong " and while I had a lot of unresolved anger towards the person about that at the same time I needed to comfort the family and loved ones. And those kind of aspects of, at the time, what I thought of a person who did suicide.

His then 18 year old son was in earshot of both sides of the conversation that we held in the garage. Less than a week later that son blew his brains out with a shotgun standing right where his dad and I had stood to talk about the whys and wherefores of suicide.

And I went over and helped clean up the garage. Etc.
My minister friend retired. Left his wife. Wandered off to who knows where.

Another friend on the day he was to retire from the military put on his dress blues, wrote out his last wishes, laid down oh his bed and ate his revolver. Knew his wife and kids very well. Another funeral. Another to this day devasted family.

hemselthis the more of it that pops up, gets sorted through, and, hopefully, put to rest once and for all.

And, for the record, so many of my friends in scientology who died of some terminal disease discovered far far too late? I consider them close to suicide as they blinded themself to their on health needs while trying to make somebody elses dreams come true. And they died while the church fradulently collected their money.

Ans people have the nerve to ask me why I think Hubbard was so dispicable?
I guess my answer is look at that pile of bodies.

Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
And as an aside - and a brief if unsual show of kindness towards somebody I really don't like at all - David Miscaige ought to be under suicide watch ( if he already isn't ).

He is failing big time and so completely , the stress of it has to be mounting by the moment.

Good twin

The way I look at it is really simple. Since leaving the cult I have come to the conclusion that nobody is perfect. Or another way to look at is that everyone is perfectly what they are and no more or less. But......each of us has our own shortcomings and flaws.

Some of us are arrogant assholes and others of us are pathetic victims vying for attention. I have known attention whores and sneaky snakes in the grass. But EVERYONE on this planet is part of the human condition. We are human. We are not super beings. We are not Homo Novis. We honestly are not the upper ten percent of any other percent.

I also have come to believe that there is a certain amount of balance. With great blessings come great curses. Some of the most talented and influential people have died tragically. Nothing comes easy and without a price. So.....

Find a way to be as honest as you can with yourself and learn to love yourself as much as possible including your warts. The flaws you have are what make you unique and special as much as any talents or achievements. Some people die young. Some die of disease. Some died accidentally. Some take their own lives.

At this point in my life I refuse to be judgmental about it. My closest friend killed himself when the cult rejected him. He had a twin brother who killed himself before ever joining the cult. My friend might have come to this end even sooner if he had lead the life he was leading before Scientology. He had that in him; that idea that death could be a solution.

The disturbing part is the lack of compassion we gave him as trained and dedicated indoctrinated Scientologists. He had a weakness. Don't we all?

Winston Smith

Flunked Scientology
Suicide only hurts the survivors and is devastating. The "victim" of suicide never seems to think of those he/she leaves behind, and those are the real victims. My father committed suicide when I was eleven years old, my sister was 13 and brother 15. I will just say that not having a father was very sad for me, and mothers are not dads and will never be dads.

Every time an uncle or other male relative came to see us, I had them out in the yard throwing a baseball or football with me. Most here know other aspects of my life, ie the horrendous medical history I have survived. Bet no one here knew this. It is too difficult for me to talk about much.

There must be some higher purpose in life than just getting stuff. Suicide is never a solution to anything, rather it is a cause of untold sorrow.

Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
I had a school friend who had hit a road side while trying to read directions. he was lost while FLYING his airpalne. Was trying to see which way he was headed. He survived!

A few years later he was still flying a Piper Tri Pacer and was jaw jacking to anybody that would listen that he could do a loop in his. ( OK, 40 years ago that now relic was hot stuff ! )

I pulled him aside and asked him to stop talking like that as he knew as well as I did it was not an aerobatic aircraft and most likely could not sustain those kinds of loads.
And there wewre plenty of aerobatic airplanes available at the field he could loops until he got tired of doing loops. He agreed. I left

Later that day I heard he did attempt a loop in his Tri Pacer over the airport.
At the top of the loop it was hard to tell whether the windshield caved in first or the main spare broke. Anyway, rubble of what once was a perfectly good aircraft made a heap in the middle of the runway.

I later found out he was very depressed over some business dealings gone south.

The considerable insurance on him was paid to his widow as an accidential death.
She asked me to keep my mouth shut about anything I could add at the time as she had her own suspecions but she also had kids to raise.

She is now long gone, too.


Silver Meritorious Patron
I have known a few people who committed suicide, a cousin and a friend's brother by hanging, the son of a cousin by leaping in front of a train. One that affected me most was a friend who gassed himself in the car.

He was a gay guy, in his late 50s. It was a terrible shock to all who knew him — devastation doesn't half describe it. We all loved him so much, all his many, many friends, past lovers, and his family.

He was a wonderful person to know. Every conversation with him was so interesting, whether in person, on the phone or by email. He had definite opinions about many things and we could rant away for ages, always with humour thrown in.

He was very comfortable with his homosexuality, actually proud of it, and felt sorry for those like me who weren't gay! He didn't have aids. It was and is very difficult to understand why he took his life.

He was very close to his family, especially his 2 sisters — and 2 nieces who were of university age and had enjoyed an enriching relationship with him since their birth. He shared with them his love for books and literature. They, like all of us, enjoyed the wonderful discussions that would take place in his company. This was right up to the day before he took his life. None of them suspected he even thought about doing it.

We all knew though that it would not have been anything but a carefully considered and thought out plan. That was his nature. He organized it so that a friend would find him, not a family member.

But when I talked and wept together with his sister, she said that he had lived his life in recent years as though he had given up. He hadn't worked for ages, except helping out friends with computer problems and in a friend's book shop. He had in fact given up contacting me, and his sister told me he had cut ties with many others. We lived in different cities, but his phone number went dead, as did his email contact address.

I had written him a letter some months before, to give him the opportunity to reply or not. I didn't want to force the contact. I had discovered his new phone number, and wished afterwards that I had taken the chance to speak with him. His family found my letter on his bedside table. That was a comfort to me, knowing that he had read it and perhaps left it there to be found.

For ages after, I kept 'telling' him how much we all loved him. If we had told him before he took his life, would it have made any difference?

I still have a heavy heart when I think about Ashley.

I know his family will never get over it.

We are torn between thinking that we have to respect his wish to do this, and feeling utterly bereft without him, and wishing that somehow we could have prevented it.
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Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
You bring up a wonderful point about telling people we love that we do love them - and telling them often.

There are two sides to that. I want to tell the people I love how I feel about them because I want them to know how I feel just in case I have a heart attack or die in my sleep or a piano falls on my head - there is that side of it, too.

And people i love and loved for years that may have said something harsh - or I did - and bam gone. I've known it happen and people so hurt by the last words were an argument, etc. And I have made damn sure my friends and family KNOW that no few momenys or minutes or even days can in anyway over ride many many years of love.

Either got to be a bright young person or get old enough to gain the experience to know you got to let the people you care about that you care.

And most of us can look back and find a time when maybe we could have done differently - true, but as a dear friend of mine says " Hey, you did the could with what you knew then". And so it is, we can go forward with what we learn and we can't go back and change the, all is left is move on from here and use what we got.


Patron with Honors
Mike, you said, "I don't and can't believe suicide is a viable option to any circumstances in life today other than PERHAPS relief to a slow, painful fatal disease." And the old English teacher in me wants to point out that suicide, by definition, is never a "viable" option, viability requiring life as an outcome.

But quite apart from indulging the pedant in myself, I have given the topic of suicide a lot of consideration over the years since I was age 15. My grandmother committed suicide by jumping out of a 4th story window in her apartment building. It came as a hell of a shock to me, even though it was apparent that she was an embittered, pessimistic old woman - as my father once wrote in a letter to me at summer camp - "Things haven't changed in the weeks you've been at camp...your grandmother is still forever crossing the river Styx." But still, it did not once occur to me she was suicidal. I was unaware of all the other attempts she had made prior to the last, successful one. It was not until many years later that my family told me about her turning on the gas with her head in the oven only to be discovered by her children - my father and his siblings - as they returned home from school. Nor was I aware of her numerous attempts with pills and wine that were characterized at the time for me by my parents as Grandma's heart condition.

So, at the time of her death, and for quite a while thereafter, I had some strongly held opinions regarding the selfish illegitimacy of suicide (her death ripped my father's already dysfunctional family to shreds) - opinions so deeply entrenched in this lone personal experience that it did not occur to me that, 9 months after his mother's suicide, my father's death in a skydiving accident in which he did not pull the ripcord could possibly itself be a suicide.

Forty years and too many other experiences to recount later, both personally and pastorally, I can't form a single statement about suicide. Not too many months ago I officiated a funeral for an abusive, alcoholic father of one of my confirmation students who drove out to a country road and shot himself to death after his wife told him she was going to divorce him. For once, he couldn't find her to beat on, so he blew his brains out to get back at her. Not one thought for his two children.

The year before, the sunniest, most beautiful and beloved young man, grandson of two of my parishioners and nephew of several others, shot himself after breaking up with his girlfriend. He loved his whole, extended, close-knit family, a love that was fully reciprocal. In the morning he was making plans with his grandfather to check their wildlife camera. By 4:30 p.m. he was dead. The hardest part for them was in trying to fathom how he would ever have done anything to hurt them. Suicide was an action wholly opposite to the rest of his life and actions.

So try as I might, I can't find a single statement to make that covers the variety of suicides I've known. Some folks wrestle with depression for years until suicide seems the only way out. Others seem to just happen upon it at a propitious moment and set of circumstances, and the act is done almost before it is a thought. And some folks like my grandma have a little of both of those situations going on - making low-risk/high visibility attempts for years in a ploy for attention, until the scales tip toward deadly seriousness.

Suicide certainly seems to be the ultimately selfish act, but as to why it occurs among the least self-centered as well as among the most is a deep mystery that eludes such simple evaluation. As well as we know other folks, we don't know what is transpiring in their inmost thoughts. Some things just never make sense. Forty years later, that's all I can say for sure.

Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
Suicide is a wide subject, I deeply appreciate all who post here - and all of you who do read this.

This is not the 'fun' reading section.

Thank you, each and every one of you for coming her and getting this far.


Thanks so much for bringing up this topic. Like many who've posted here, I've lived through the suicides of family and friends. I've seriously contemplated suicide—never attempted it—six times in my life that I can remember. One of those times was at the tip-top of the Flagship Apollo's foremast, nearly 50' in the air. But that's a long story. Needless to say, I'm still here and 63 years old nowadays.

For the past 15 years, I've been travelling—giving lectures on college and university campuses as a result of some books I'd written in the field of gender studies. This brought me in contact with college age lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender youth—as well as youth who hadn't yet decided their sexual orientation or gender identities. So many of them had suicide on their minds—too many of them killed themselves.

I'd finished my work in gender studies, and I was looking around for the next thing to write about. Five years ago, I wrote a book called "Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws" — and this brought me face to face with the nature of America's bully culture. Bullies—and everyone on this board has known bullies—make life less worth living. LRH ruled with a bully mentality—Miscavige even more so.

Aside from bullies, there are as many reasons people wanna kill themselves as there are people who think about it—and I don't think it's possible to stop any of them, not if they really want to do it. But I believe it's incumbent upon us to let those people know they've got alternatives. Here's what I tell people in the book, and in my lectures today:

Do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living. Anything. Anything at all. It can be illegal, unethical, immoral, even self-harming—anything it takes to make your life more worth living. The only rule you'd have to follow to make that work is don't be mean. If you're not mean, fuck it—keep yourself alive.

So, two things I'm working on: I'm calling out bullies, and I'm asking people to please stay alive. That's the current phase of my life's work. I talk about both these topics daily on my Twitter feed, and I've got a blog that's mostly dedicated to the subject of staying alive.

Thanks again for bringing this up here—all of us have lived through a bully religion and no matter how much it's scarred us, a little or a lot, I'm glad we're still alive.




I can honestly say that in all of my life, no matter how fucked up things may have gotten, I never at any moment ever considered "suicide". I have never spent even a second thinking about it as a "solution" to anything. So, I sort of have a difficult time understanding others who do.

I agree with other posters who have said that the main "victims" of suicide are the survivors. I HAVE seen people use threats of suicide as a way to "cave others in" or "make others wrong". I suppose, in some regards, commiting suicide can be the "final make wrong" to those alive. "I am now dead because you didn't make me happy or care enough for me".

It seems to me that a person without an overexaggerated sense of "self" (ego) would not and could not consider suicide. I may be wrong. People who contemplate suicide often are severely wrapped up in their own crap. Me-me-me-me-me-me . . . . (the "mantra" of the ego)

But, I do understand its possible use in incurable nasty illnesses that prevent any possible future "quality of life". Sometimes "pulling the plug" (on the life support system) IS the best option.

Now, I wonder when the C of S will get behind the Kevorkian mindset. Because, if it became totally acceptable in society for people "to choose death as a viable option", then the C of S could get its aging senior population in the Sea Org to "choose death as the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics".

Old people who can't produce in the Sea Org, to the SO, become "out exchange", and a "burden on us realizing the goal of clearing the planet". Of course, the Church would misrepresent the actual realities with some version of "I choose to end my life because it is no longer of a quality required for me to want to continue to live". "I am a thetan, and not a body, so I would not really be killng myself".
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Gold Meritorious Patron
For some people too much success is a curse. They lose perspective and make unsound financial decisions. Many lottery winners end up poorer than before the big payday. It's mostly about upbringing, some parents teach their kids to stay within their means, and they usually turn out okay.

It's important to realise that suicide is often not primarily an act of desperation, it's a form of revenge. The message to the people close to the person is "You didn't realise how much I suffered and you didn't do enough to support me." Suicide guarantees that the friends and relatives suffer - for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes, oft times, this is true. However, some people are so low, in so much anguish, that it seems the only viable way to get out. That is not true, IMHO - but when people are depressed, and that deep in financial woe, due to own mishandlings, and misdealings - the error of one's way, so to speak - to them it seems the only exit stragedy. They are not flexible or adaptable enough, anymore, to handle it. They are not angry with those left behind, or even thinking of them - and their anguish at the suicide, when deciding to do it and acting upon it.


My condolences Mike Laws, for the loss of a former colleague. :rose:


Angelic Poster
Bump because I like this thread and hope others will see it and comment.