January 7th, 2009

Dumpster Suicide: Selfish or Thoughtful—or Scheming

I can't stop thinking about this story, which recently unfolded locally:

Randal Ray Rockwell, 59, was found at the west bound I-40 rest stop near Benson on Tuesday. A worker made the discovery when taking out the trash.

Rockwell's body was taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy. The Medical Examiner says he died of a single gunshot wound to the head and has ruled the death a suicide.

(Copyright ©2009 WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

As if suicide doesn't raise enough questions, carrying it out in a dumpster adds yet another level (or two, or three) of complexity in reason. People say that suicide is a very selfish act, mostly with regards to the devastation left behind for the living.

But what about that choice of venue? I can envision it as a last thoughtful thought. Here's how. It seems to me that one of the worst things about a gun-to-the-head suicide befalls the person who discovers such an act. There's all that mess. In that regard, what better place than a dumpster to avoid all that? And even better, there's a chance that no one will have to "stumble onto the scene" at all.

As is usually the case, especially with no note, there are so many questions—and possibilities. And in reading just a few comments to the news story above, I know there are many that would never enter my mind, like this one on scheming:

You gotta admit that if you want to completely get rid of the body, it's a great way to do it. Unfortunately, he just didn't hide himself well enough at the bottom of the trash.

But why would he want to do such a thing?

Suppose he had a huge life insurance policy. If he committed suicide, the policy typically does not get paid and his family is screwed. But he kills himself in a dumpster, all they find is his car and no trace of him. After a time, he is presumed dead and insurance pays off. Meanwhile, his body is buried in some huge landfill, never to be seen again.

Pretty neat trick actually.
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Just a blah day...

Today's synopsis in an unordered list:

  • I devised my blog entry about the dumpster suicide, which was "threaded" at 30THREADS by my friend Ginny.

  • I had a Chicken Curry dish at lunch that was so spicy that I had to blow my nose when I was done. Good stuff.

  • I had all kinds of good intentions, skipping dancing tonight.

  • However, I didn't work on my China presentation, as I had hoped.

  • However, I didn't do any grant work for Manbites Dog, as I had hoped.

  • I synced my Palm Pilot in such a way today that I lost all of the holiday card exchange tracking information that I've been updating since my first holiday card arrived early in December. After several of these, I decided to just "let it all go," and give everyone a metaphorical "free spin" this year. It's way too much work to go back and recreate everything, which I could from the pile of cards. Not doing it.

  • I got to bed early.