Next to the charred remains of David Buckel, 60, was a typed suicide note that explained he burned himself to death with fossil fuel to “reflect how mankind was likewise killing itself, according to reports.
LGBT civil rights lawyer sets himself on fire in protest suicide
The note was in a manila envelope marked To the Police, and was placed inside a black metal pushcart Buckel left at the scene. The note was also sent to the New York Times, the report states.
Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result, Buckels note stated. My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.
Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purpose in death, he added.
Buckels protest on Saturday created a horrifying scene for passersby, the Post reported.
Its a shock; its a shame, said mom Dana Lall, who was leading a group of Catholic-school kids past the scene on their way to a baseball game.
Buckel was a senior attorney with Lambda Legal defense. He served as the lead attorney in a 2000 lawsuit on behalf of transgender Boys Dont Cry rape-murder victim Brandon Teena.
Hilary Swank earned an Oscar for her role of Teena in the 1999 movie by the same name.
Its a very important case, not only within Nebraska but nationally, Buckel had told the Daily Nebraskan newspaper in 2001. He had also helped the family win an $80,000 judgment, the Post reported.
This is a tremendous loss for our Lambda Legal family, but also for the entire movement for social justice, the organization tweeted Saturday night.
Buckel was involved in a series of other high-profile cases, including a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in 2006 that recognized gay couples as having the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual married couples.
More recently, Buckel was an urban gardener and ecologist with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He ran was he called the largest composting program in the country that used renewable sources of energy, the Post reported.
Theres no denying that sticking with renewable resources means a lot of elbow grease with pitchforks and shovels, he wrote in a 2016 article on the Botanic Garden Web site. But it is incredibly satisfying work.
A prominent LGBTQ civil rights has died after setting himself on fire in a busy New York park on Saturday morning.
David Buckel, 60, left a suicide note saying he had used “fossil fuel” to ignite himself to symbolise what humans are doing to Earth.
He added: “Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather.
“Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result — my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”
Buckel was a senior counsel and director of the Marriage Project for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ advocacy group. He argued in many landmark cases involving LGBTQ youth, including a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and its former ban on gay members.
Horrified and saddened by the news about David Buckel, who I worked with many years ago at @LambdaLegal. My heart goes out to his loved ones.
So very sad at David Buckels death. I applaud his efforts on behalf of LGBT lives and rights. I share his dismay at the state of the environment. And I lament his decision to take his life (in so terrible a way) as his final act. Id much rather he were alive. #RIP
Buckel’s body was noticed at Prospect Park before first responders arrived on the scene.
Irene Ryjova, a 44-year-old woman who was rollerblading in the park early Saturday, told the New York Post she saw the body lying on the floor “like someone would lie on the sand at the beach.”
In his suicide note, Buckel recalled the Tibetan monk protesters who have set themselves on fire in protest of the Chinese occupation in Tibet, according to the New York Daily News.
“This is not new, as many have chose to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see,” Buckel reportedly wrote.
“Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard.”
Camilla Taylor, director of Lambda Legal, said in a statement to HuffPost that their organisation will honour Buckel’s life by “continuing to fight for equality.”
“The news of David’s death is heartbreaking,” Taylor said.
“David was a brilliant legal visionary. David helped create Lambda Legal’s focus on LGBT youth,” Taylor continued, detailing Buckel’s work on a case that led a federal court to rule that schools “have an obligation to prevent anti-gay bullying.”
She added: “His thoughtful and engaging advocacy broke through many stubborn misconceptions and showed it was possible and necessary for our movement to speak up for bullied, ostracized LGBT young people.”