12 May 2014
Stupid reason to die
My cousin left no note when he committed suicide about twelve years ago. His fourteen year old son found him hanging in the basement. The family kept the cause of death to themselves and his brothers and sisters. The rest of us were told he died of a sudden, massive heart attack. We could believe it: the man was fat.
But secrets have a way of getting out, and eventually everyone knew the cause of his death. But no one knew why. His brother hired a private investigator to look into his last months in the hope that he would find something, some reason why. The investigator found nothing. In the absence of anything solid to grip on, people came up with their own theories. The theories were more revealing of the theorist than of the suicide.
Recently, the widow broke her silence. He didn't tell her of his plans, but she had a greater insight of his doings. First what she said was something we all knew: He had never once filed his income taxes. We had all heard him at one family gathering or another going on at great length how there was no law in place that forced us to file our taxes. He encouraged us all to do the same, and pitied us poor fools who felt the need to stay above board and legal.
What we did not know, and what the investigator apparently didn't turn up, was that the government came after him. He stood to lose absolutely everything: his business (which he started with his wife) his house, his car, he would lose everything, and his family would be left destitute. However, upon his death, his obligation to the government would end. The house and business and car would pass to his wife and family, and they would be safe. His family would be better off with him dead. Financially, anyway.
I pity the man, but at the same time, my mind boggles at his folly. How could he not think that the government would not one day come after him for taxes? Did the example of Al Capone teach him nothing? Capone murdered, beat, ran protection rackets, prostitution, illegal gambling, bootlegging, speakeasies, and the federal government didn't touch him for any of that. But when he didn't pay his taxes... then they lowered the boom.
Pray for this guy's soul.