Mirra was 41 when he ended it with a bullet to the head. His legacy as an award-winning X Games biker is the only thing which will live on. At the time of his death he was visiting friends in North Carolina.
Last week, a young man at the University of Arizona, here in Tucson, took his own life. By the end of 2016, 999 other students will join him in death. Most of them will be white males.
There have been so many books which have tried to make sense of why hope slips away. One of the best had been by Johns Hopkins University psychiatry professor Kay Jamison. It's "Night Falls Fast." What makes it remarkable is that, when much younger, she herself made a serious attempt to end her life.
The word "fast" says so much. Hope can vanish in a few hours. Several young white men in our recovery groups in central Connecticut seemed to be "getting the program." They were active in service. That is usually a sign of moving toward a new life. Then, we learned at various meetings they had killed themselves.
If only we as a society can learn how to transmit hope. Sometimes that can be done with just showing we care about that other person. Jamison's brother saved her life during that serious attempt by just that: caring. When darkness fell fast for me in 2003, a cognitive therapist, Amy C. Karnilowicz, cared. That was the only thing I could grab onto, at the time.