It’s been a wild ride for my family and me over the last couple of weeks, and I want to thank everyone for their supportive emails. I’ve gotten some time to catch up on the news while I’ve been sick. There’s a lot stuff going on out there in the world. Some of it is really getting nasty. The World Health Organization said that the economic upheaval would push people to the brink, but I never thought that its impact on people’s mental health would reach so far up the economic food chain.
I’m really amazed by all the high profile suicides that are hitting the headlines. This is scary stuff. The first suicide that grabbed my attention involved the death of French investment manager Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet. He was found sitting at his desk with both wrists slashed after Bernard Madoff swindled him out of $1.4 billion. Then German billionaire Adolf Merckle committed suicide. The pharmaceutical mogul jumped in front of a train in the darkness near his villa in the southern town of Blaubeuren. He killed himself because his business empire was falling apart.
Every suicide is tragic, so what draws our attention to the news when someone who is rich and famous commits suicide? I think it’s because people believe that the rich are different from the rest of us. They aren’t. People commit suicide because of loss, and the wealthy have their own set of problems. Of course they aren’t going to end up sleeping on a park bench and eating out of a garbage can, but their life can stink just as bad as anyone else’s. People are losing their homes, their jobs, and everything they’ve worked for all of their lives. Even the rich and famous are under siege. I think that we’re going to read about more billionaires killing themselves before this economic tailspin is all over. The real shame is that we are never going to hear about the little guys that couldn’t take it anymore.