Yeah, it’s very sad when the brain chemicals go off kilter. And, if recognized in time, it can be treated very effectively. Did paranoia cause him to commit suicide? The Inquest couldn’t tell, but I’m sure it didn’t help.
A bit of background – Although I did not know Richard Lancelyn Green very well, I met him a few times and he’s helped me with some research projects. In fact he copied me on an e-mail about 24 hours before his death. That’s a weird feeling. As you can probably tell from my sig, I’m a bit fanatic about Sherlock Holmes, and more so about Doyle’s other writings/activities. (Hobbies can be fun and gives one a place to dispose of disposable income.) Anyway, his death has affected a lot of us in the Sherlockian world and spawned a lot of e-mails and postings to other boards I frequent.
After hearing of his death I mentally composed a MPSIMS post about suicide, how it’s a bad idea, about people I know who’ve thought about or tried it, and how it can hurt those around the victims. But, life interfered and I didn’t make time to develop the post. It would have mostly been therapeutic for myself and I’ve worked thorough issues by talking with other friends.
Richard was incredibly nice. In spite of coming from wealth he did not put on airs and would, when possible, gladly help people with inquiries. Although I didn’t know him well enough to call him a friend, he was a friend to friends of mine. Granted, when one focuses so much on a particular subject, it can be viewed as obsessive, and to outsiders seem very strange. But he attained a world-wide reputation as a leading expert in a field (big fish in a small and possibly mundane pool) which is more than most of us will be able to say.
The results of the inquest, especially when read over the Internet from a distance, are peculiar to digest and had some strange revelations. As with most unexpected deaths, there are a lots of questions that linger. Was it suicide? If so, it was either spur of the moment or the build-up was well hidden. He was upset and likely paranoid in the weeks leading up to his death, but from what I’ve heard, did not say anything too worrisome. Was it enhancement during masturbation that went awry? (I forget the proper term for it, but every few years I read something about someone dying while cutting off oxygen flow during a solo act – but usually it’s teenage boys.) That would be the “mistake” referred to. Was it murder? No. (IMHO) There were a few people who did not like him, but this is Real Life and not fiction. And we can’t even call in Holmes to investigate.
Anyway, it is strange to see the details about his death reveal themselves. And I still mourn the loss of a truly nice person and the lost potential that is usually felt by a death that comes earlier than from ripe old age.