Sports Columnists Maps Out His Suicide Plan: “I want to control the time and manner and circumstances of my death”

mmWho is Martin Manley? No one. And he would have been the first to have said so. He was just a guy who wrote analytical newspaper columns about sports, a self-described “stats freak” and fan of Bill James, the baseball statistician made famous in “Moneyball” for his empirical analysis of the game.

So, like Mr. JamesMr. Manley set about weighing the pros and cons of ending his own life. “I wanted to have one of the most organized good-byes in recorded history, and I think I will be successful,” he wrote. “The key has always been to do it before it becomes impossible to accomplish what I’m doing now — because then it’s too late and I would simply be along for the ride to the inevitable cliff. And that has always been an unacceptable conclusion to my life.”

On his 60th birthday, this past Thursday, he drove to the parking lot of the Overland Park police department outside Kansas City, Kan., and shot himself in the head. He sent letters to all his friends, to his brother and sister, timed to arrive that day. More, he left a website detailing every step of his decision — making him the first man in history (he says) to have done so.

The site (once found at but ironically removed by Yahoo because it “violated our terms of service”) is a window into the mind of a suicidal man. Although he says this — “The major reasons adults commit suicide — health, legal, financial, loss of loved ones, loneliness or depression … none of those issues are relevant to me” — a psychologist might find plenty in his thousands of words to diagnose him with acute narcissism or delusions of grandeur or clinical depression.

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But looking past that, he certainly answered all the questions he knew his decision would raise. With pithy headings like “Why Suicide?” and “Why Not?” and “Why Age 60?” and “Self-Serving?” he explained on his site, simply and succinctly. “Do I want to live as long as humanly possible OR do I want to control the time and manner and circumstances of my death? That was my choice (and yours). I chose what was most appealing to me.”


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