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 Comfort & Joy.
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 Area.
With love and respect,
The Comfort & Joy Family