The road trip was a great excuse to unwind after a lot of stressful security work. He ended up rejoining the industry—good luck stopping that guy from anything—and continued for many years helping other projects.
So, yes, it does sound like you were fortunate enough to cross paths with a terribly interesting individual. Cheers, in his honor.
There was another piece* posted to HN today about how psychologically traumatic and life altering it can be to kill someone accidentally under circumstances where you couldn't have predicted it nor prevented it. Veterans are often deeply scarred by their wartime experiences and may not share them in order to protect other people from the horrors of war.
My father fought in both WW2 and Vietnam. He died in his late 80s. Only after his death did it occur to me that he told humorous stories about Vietnam, but never spoke of WW2. I infer that if Vietnam was joke worthy in his eyes, WW2 was unspeakable.
I wish we had a better track record for helping veterans with the mental health issues that so often grow out of serving their country.
I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but this is bottom of the barrel stuff: off topic, disrespectful, and way below the quality line. Please don't bring it in here.
EDIT: Well, obviously not all their steps.
Seeing a suicide joke from a person I don't know in the Hacker News thread about the death an individual I respect an hour after it's been released is not my idea of funny.
Ignorance is bliss.
Taking the occasion of someone's death to smear him like this is staggering—or would be if it weren't so trivial. One expects nothing better of any internet forum, but please don't drag this one down.
"We don’t know why James took his own life; we do know, however, he long suffered from PTSD from his time serving in the Marines during the Iraq War. It was an experience that affected him in multiple ways. He often cited the Iraq War as his inspiration for wanting to help journalists and whistleblowers; it made him realize governments needed to be much more transparent and accountable."
Respectfully, I don't think this is the right thread to bring this up.
Second, your insinuation is groundless, uncivil, and gross. Please don't sink to this level if you want to keep commenting here.
Because of that and the other slop that has been posted here, I haven't been this ashamed of an HN thread in quite a while. It pains me that HN would be an example of how low the internet sinks when someone dies.
Edit: tptacek said it better than I did btw: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16110384
"The impediment to action advances action. The obstacle is the way." - Marcus Aurelius
In the face of overwhelming despair, there's always a choice you can take that is hope. Right action is training yourself to habitually choose that, and continue with it, regardless of the circumstances.
Those deepest moments of self-doubt, those are when you're able to have thoughts from that context that you couldn't when you're all happy and stuff. Those moments themselves are intrinsically valuable to be present in, and pay attention to. And by inducing them in yourself and choosing to behave properly against them, you can train yourself before the big moment comes.
I feel like this might be crazy and overly intense, but I can't really conceive of any other aspirational way of existing, so I hope its somewhat helpful!
But the truth is you are not looking hard enough. There is more depression (medical or not) than we think and like to admit. Most likely all the people around you have a reason to be depressed one way or the other. You are not the only one who fell into a hole. Some people have financial trouble, others have sick parents. Look hard enough and you will see you are not the only one.
But you might still think that all these people look happy! You need to remember that you only see another person but you can't feel their feelings and read their thoughts. If you met yourself would you really be able to tell that you are depressed? I doubt it. We learned to cover it up.
So my tip to you and everyone is to understand that being in a hole is ok and you are not as alone as you might think.
But this life we live and all the struggles are all part of the journey. there's no end-destination free of inner conflict.
It's recognizing that human suffering is universal, and having compassion for yourself. Through awareness of knowing what you're in, when you're triggered, and how - that awareness itself is HUGE. next part is to have compassion for yourself or else you will overwhelm.
I'm still struggling, a lot, but realizing that I was my own worst critic was a huge step in starting to deal with my issues.
thats an incredibly high standard and pressure to put on ourselves. You're right that we are our own harshest critic.
Have compassion for the human who can still fuck up but fuck up with knowing, because then at least you can see it and be aware of it.. and through time you can correct it.
Self compassion allows you to go through this journey without giving up.
I have been suffering for 15+ years since medical mistakes took my life and future. I have the whole cocktail of physical and mental pain as a result and every day is hell just surviving. I have lost everything including my means to meet even the basic needs of life independently and have fallen in nearly every crack when it comes to assistance as system after system failed me. I have only survived this long due to a large savings at the time of insult and a partial pension from my job. Friends and family have nearly all abandoned me. Despite my efforts haven't been able to "create" a path either.
This post is timely as I've been working on a draft for an AskHN last ditch post I intend to make soon to see if anyone has a plan or idea I have not already heard of for someone with so many limits to earn and survive. The things most people think are facts about options just don't work that way in reality. We are fighting the same issues everyone else in life is on TOP of the unimaginable physical and mental pain. Many people are left behind and many systems are broken. My life is filled with seemingly insurmountable barriers...my physical condition, access to needs, finances, age...and ending things is a daily consideration. I don't WANT to die but my wants don't pay the bills nor reduce pain. I have one option to live...start over and compete with every healthy person who is also trying to survive. I don't see how I can...
I have never talked to a suicidal person who WANTED to die when you drill down...they just wanted their pain to end (whatever that pain is) and there was no way in this life they could find to do that. For them it did pass...when they did. So that phrase brings me no comfort as intended.
My small insight as a lifelong depressive is that well-meaning people who give advice and encouragement often do so from a position of limited understanding, hopefully because they have never had to endure similar torment.
It can seem inconceivable to them that sometimes people are so destroyed that it is effectively impossible to take their advice, or derive comfort from their words.
I truly hope you find some relief that avoids the need for self-liberation.
You can email me. I have a serious medical condition and have gradually gotten healthier, created a flexible income and paid down debt. I may be able to point you in the right direction.
The role model I think about the most is David Foster Wallace. from all viewpoints but his own, a hugely successful author, journalist, and professor. Always precocious, He stuck his head through a window and got a view of marketing/consumption/entertainment/addiction/education/the direction of life in modern America that he just couldn't come back from.
He committed suicide 10 years into writing "The Pale King", a book on the IRS/tax system that explores in his words "the deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient low-level way, and which most of us spend nearly all of our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from".
Keep fighting the good fight - you never know who might end up reading or hearing your words, what new ideas might come into existence from another meeting your mind, or what tomorrow might bring.
Or a major conspiracy. My money's with Occam's razor, though.
Seems incredibly similar to this situation and on both accounts this is terribly sad to see.
You mean like rampant, baseless speculation with no knowledge of any surrounding facts?
Or maybe it's that there's a high incidence of mental illness among particularly intelligent humans, and even more particularly cryptography/privacy engineers?
The problem isn't some secret nefarious government mind control program. The problem is that we, as a society, are still very bad at caring for our most vulnerable people.
More importantly, the timing here is suspect: Many HN users are just now finding out about his death, and need time to mourn. Bringing up conspiracy theories-- even if they were true-- is poor form.
I would think people who care so much about online privacy would be capable of shutting their mouths for a short bit of time to give the friends and family of the deceased a chance to mourn. But what do I know?