Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine 1936-2009: What if It's Suicide?

I was very sad to see this headline: "Actor David Carradine found dead" (CNN (June 4, 2009)).

David Carradine, a capable actor, was found hanging in his hotel room's closet. An investigation is being carried out in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was filming a movie: but at this point, it looks like he may have killed himself.

A British news outlet reprinted excerpts from a five-year-old interview that seems to support the 'suicide' idea:
"In a 2004 interview which may have foretold his death, Carradine said: "I remember one time sitting in the window of the third or fourth floor of the Plaza Hotel for about an hour, thinking about just tipping off. And that was at a time when I was having more fun than you could imagine.

" 'I just thought, "Who the ---- cares, man? Why don't I just split?" Of course I didn't, so there you go.'..."

"...'Look, there was a period in my life when I had a single action Colt 45, loaded, in my desk drawer. And every night I'd take it out and think about blowing my head off, and then decide not to and go on with my life. Put it back in the drawer and open up the laptop and continue writing my autobiography or whatever. But it was just to see.'..." (
On the other hand, at the time of his death, David Carradine's career was going well - and he was involved with filming a movie. Not the sort of situation I'd think would prompt someone to end his life.
"...Police provided Carradine's family with information about their investigation, said Tiffany Smith, Carradine's personal co-manager.

"Smith said that she was 'in complete shock' and that suggestions that Carradine took his own life are unbelievable.

" 'Knowing David, he would never commit suicide,' and his death comes at a time when his 'career is on a roll,' she said...." (CNN)
Researching this post, I found that David Carradine had interests in arts other than acting:
"...His earliest work was as a sculptor and painter; skills he still maintains to this day. David is also an accomplished composer, musician, musical performer and songwriter...." (The Official David Carradine™ Website)
None of which necessarily has much to do with how his life ended.

I hope that David Carradine did not take his own life. The Catholic Church teaches that murder is wrong: even if the person you kill is yourself. I discussed that in another post (January 28, 2009).

One alternative - that someone else killed him - is also unpleasant, since in that case someone else committed a mortal sin. It's possible that David Carradine's death was an accident. Presumably, Bangkok authorities will determine what happened after their investigation is complete.

Catholic Teaching on Suicide: There is Hope

The Catholic Church recognizes that psychological conditions can diminish the responsibility of someone who takes his or her own life. Diminish, but not remove. That does not mean that the Church teaches that all suicides go to Hell, no matter what. The Church has been dealing with human beings and God for about two millennia now, and has, I think, some idea of how complicated life can be.
"We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives." (2283) (January 28, 2009)

What This Family Did

When I told the rest of the family about David Carradine's death, and the possibility that it was suicide, the five of us who were in the house at the time prayed - the St. Michael's prayer.

Which brings me to another topic - which will wait for another post.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.