Charles W. Murphy, 56, is the fourth professional associated with that stunner of a swindle to commit suicide. He jumped to his death in Manhattan from the Sofitel building.
Those deaths included Madoff's own son Mark who hung himself. The other two had been French aristocrat Rene Thierry Magon De La Villenhuchet and a former Army officer William Foxton.
The mastermind of the Ponzi scheme Bernie Madoff seems immune from the jinx. From media reports, he appears to be thriving in prison. In fact, he has celebrity status.
Murphy has been with Fairfield Greenwich Group which was a feeder fund to Madoff's. About $7 billion of clients' funds were lost. Later Murphy went on to work at the Paulson Hedge Fund. He was a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Naively the media such as the Daily Mail had stated that the reason for the suicide is unknown. That kind of statement assumes that we really can understand what cluster of thought processes and what events represented the tipping points in the decision to take one's life.
So much has been written about suicide. One of the most recent has been by the mother of Columbine teen killer/suicide Dylan Klebold. That's Sue Klebold.
In her book "A Mother's Reckoning" she interprets some of the experts' theories about suicide. For example, they indicate that a potential suicide can operate on two tracks. One is the everyday. Dylan had gone to his prom and visited colleges. The other is the planning how to do themselves in. Dylan had collected guns.
What she adds to that is that there are subtle signs which signal that something is awry. Dylan had been acting just a little off. Sue and his husband had planned to talk with him. After Sue shared this insight, other mothers applied it. One told Sue that it had prevented the suicide of her daughter who had been raped, kept that a secret and was moving along the continuum toward suicide.
In addition, what is now common knowledge is that there seems to be a family suicide gene. Both the Plath and Hemingway families had multiple suicides.
The Eastern European side of my own family has also had ongoing suicides. Those, of course, motivated me to study the phenomenon. And that research might have kept me alive. Just this week in my support group, as the other members were sharing their woes, I piped out: "I am doing great. Many in my family have done themselves in. Here I am, still alive, and older than any of them."
Preventing suicide, including one's own, might entail embracing how close to the edge you might be. That becomes the platform to take an inventory of what's going on in your interior and external life.
Researchers might shift their attention from investigating the "causes" of suicide to what strategies and tactics keep those at risk open to another day struggling to navigate life on planet earth.
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