Kitten Calfee sent us the following statement regarding the suicide that took place last Thursday morning at Burning Man. He was part of the Comfort & Joy theme camp where a man decided to end his life by hanging himself. Laughing Squid extends our most sincere condolences his family and friends.
On the morning of Thursday, August 30th a young man from Colorado
chose to end his life in the rafters of a public tent at the Comfort &
Joy Burning Man theme camp.
Though he was unknown to us, in the wake of his passing we’re learning
from those who knew him that he was creative, kind, unconventional and
smart, and that he was regarded with affection by many.
His final act, committed in solitude, has one lasting effect as it
brings us together to mark his passing. To all who have offered our
camp their sympathy and support during this time, thank you. To all
who knew him, please accept our sincere condolences.
It is estimated that there was an one hour interval between the last
visit to the tent by a camp member, and the discovery of the body by a
second camp member. It is believed that the tent was unoccupied
during this time, and that there were no witnesses to the suicide.
One other individual, not associated in any way with the camp, was in
the tent at the time the body was discovered. Emergency personnel
were immediately contacted by camp members. Authorities responded
within minutes and closed the scene upon arrival.
The Black Rock City Rangers, Sheriffs and other law enforcement
officials who assisted us with this incident were very professional,
supportive, and helpful to us at a difficult time. We are grateful
for their services. We are also thankful for the warm and organized
support we have received from the grief counselors from the Black Rock
City Mental Health Team. They helped us openly discuss what had
happened and come to a shared understanding of the morning’s events.
Much of our camp was quarantined while the coroners did their jobs and
we canceled that day’s events (a yoga class, a queer discussion group,
glitter body painting and a watercolor painting workshop).
As a camp, we decided to make a contribution to David Best’s Temple of
Forgiveness, where people can mourn, remember, write messages and
leave items to be ceremonially burned on Sunday night. We felt the
rope the young man used represented the terrible violence he committed
upon himself and the people around him. By sending the rope up in
flames, we hoped to allow some of that pain to disperse. None of us
believe that this young man wanted to trouble us with his actions.
The members of Comfort & Joy extend their deepest sympathy to all who
knew this young man. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and
special people in his life. Although we will never know or understand
him the way you did, he indeed touched us as well, made us grow, and
hopefully become better individuals. May the rest of his journey be
peaceful and lead him to the joy we all seek in our lives.
We look forward to continuing our mission of creating positive, warm
and supportive queer community both in Black Rock City and the Bay
With love and respect,
The Comfort & Joy Family