On August 15th, a sports writer and statistician by the name of Martin Manley chose to take his own life. This, unfortunately, isn’t a terribly uncommon or noteworthy thing; however, what makes this particular case interesting is the amount of thought that went into Manley’s decision. Manley killed himself on his 60th birthday — having planned out every meticulous detail of the suicide 14 months prior — and left a website in his wake that attempts to let everyone else understand his decision. The website can be found here. Manley quite eloquently reflects on his life, describes the thought process he went through in his decision and how he went about planning his suicide, and many other things.
The website is fascinating. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand or fully support suicide, but Manley’s lucid writing certainly allows me to get close to comprehension. The website also raises a few interesting points for consideration, such as how one’s perspective on the world changes when he is fully aware of when he is going to die and the things one can accomplish by looking at the world in that manner. The level of self-awareness Manley displays throughout his writing is actually a little jarring, since I wouldn’t necessarily expect someone who made a decision like this to be able to view his situation with such clarity.
A bit of controversy was also raised from this news story: Manley bought the domain and paid for his website to stay up for 5 years, but when the story broke, Yahoo! took down the website due to a violation of the terms of service, thinking the website was championing suicide. I don’t think this is really a fair decision on Yahoo!’s part, given Manley makes it clear several times that he is a very unique individual; he doesn’t recommend anyone else take the path he chose. It’s an interesting issue that’s probably pretty borderline, but I think as long as the site is paid for and not promoting anything illegal, it should be allowed to stay up. In my opinion, it might be more prudent to leave the website up but attach some sort of disclaimer that explains that Yahoo! doesn’t condone suicide. Regardless of where you stand in this particular argument, I don’t think there’s any denying that Manley’s website is engrossing and gives us some great insight into the mind of a man that decided he just didn’t want to live any longer.