Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Friday March 22, @06:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the fare-ye-well dept.

This month, on the 24th March, it will be 5 years since MDC, denied essential medication, ended his life.

Why was Michael David Crawford different? - well, he wasn't. In many ways he was just like many of us. By profession he was a software engineer. He wrote software for OSX. He first became well known - or reasonably so in our circles - for being on Kuro5hin. However, he was certainly different from many of us for the physical and mental health, and social problems that he experienced. Despite all of these things though he remained polite and open to having an interesting discussion on any technical issue that arose, both on Kuro5hin and subsequently here on SN. Someone who knew him far better than I did wrote about him here some 12 years ago. If you search on your favourite search engine I think that you will find his name appears quite a few times.

His journal on SN is still there for all to read although it does not do him justice. He was a 'nice guy' and intelligent too.

For example, in 2010 he was interviewed on CNN discussing employment problems that were being experienced by software engineers at that time. But this youtube link was not his only 'appearance' on that site. For some reason he thought others might want to hear him sing and elsewhere he thought that we all ought to know that he invented the internet. That last link perhaps shows the battle that he was having with mental problems yet here on this site he remained the same old 'MDC' that we had known since the start of SN and even before then for some of us.

An Anonymous Coward has reminded us:

Remember in his last words here, he begged us for help. For Theophylline or Aminophylline, or even bananas; he begged for help with "the desire to take my own life. I'll explain later, I can't just now as I cannot breathe and so am fighting for consciousness ... I Beg Of You! ... Please FIND SOME WAY I DO NOT HAVE TO DIE!"

Remember him. A good person, sometimes bewildered at the senseless cruelty of others, and at his best, indignant and retributive against those cruelties. Not a Vigilante, just a human who wanted children to be safe. Smart but too much of a misfit for society to let him live happily and productively for very long at a stretch.

MDC with hair:
MDC without hair:

On this site it was our own takyon who broke the news to us that he had lost his struggle. But on the same day several other sites covered the loss that the community was feeling, including this page from HackerNews.

Please, if you have the time, tell us your memories of MDC. He was one of us, and he is not forgotten.

Thank you to all of those who have contributed submissions to make sure that we remembered MDC.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Meta: Michael David Crawford Passes Away 168 comments

Mike Crawford Is Dead, Contributed to Mac System 7.5.X and Activist

Some of you might know him on the west coast. He worked for Apple fixing/debugging System 7.5.X and attended Cal Tech. He was an activist for the mentally ill and homeless. He was openly bisexual and open about his schizoaffective disorder. His Facebook page.

I had helped him with his project Soggy Jobs which is unfinished. It was his project he needed a business model for.

He was on CNN about the taking away of tax credit from software engineers.

His website is here.

He was a member here at Hacker News.

He had serious physical illnesses that made him suffer and he took his own life.

I was an online friend of his, and I too suffer from schizoaffective disorder.

His wish was not to be forgotten to be remembered through his works. To at least have a Wikipedia article written on him or some other Wiki. Wikipedia named him non-notable about ten years ago. But if you met him, he'd always show you respect and even if he disagreed with you he was nice about it.

takyon: Here is MDC's last post on Warp Life, and Last Will And Testament. User page. Twitter.

Original Submission

This discussion was created by janrinok (52) for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Tork on Friday March 22, @07:11PM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @07:11PM (#1349885)
    I said he'd be remembered well, I think he was and that brings me comfort. ❤️
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @07:49PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @07:49PM (#1349888)

    He's gone, and one of my great regrets is not doing anything to help him practically. Moral support is very important as well. Too many good people leave us too early. It was pretty clear from his posts here the depth of his suffering and the enormity of the challenges he faced in ordinary life, but in spite of that his human spirit shone through. It is indeed a tragedy that the world lost him.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by janrinok on Friday March 22, @08:37PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @08:37PM (#1349895) Journal

      He wanted to be remembered - you are remembering him now. I think he will be satisfied with that.

      We can all look back and ask ourselves what we could have done, what we should have done. All we can do now is remember him.

      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by acid andy on Saturday March 23, @12:04AM

      by acid andy (1683) on Saturday March 23, @12:04AM (#1349918) Homepage Journal

      I have similar feelings. I didn't know how to help him. Supportive words weren't enough. I doubt anyone could get him the meds he needed. I could have sent money if he had a way to receive it but I get a sense that alone would not have been enough either. His condition worsened fast.

      We miss you, Michael.

      Consumerism is poison.
  • (Score: 2) by mrpg on Friday March 22, @09:09PM

    by mrpg (5708) <> on Friday March 22, @09:09PM (#1349897) Homepage

    I would like to donate ten $ to some ONG, did he have any favorite? I read he was a volunteer.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gaaark on Friday March 22, @10:18PM (5 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Friday March 22, @10:18PM (#1349909) Journal

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---

    My sanity has gotten so much better after learning from him what it's like to be civil... and human.


    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by mrpg on Friday March 22, @10:41PM (4 children)

      by mrpg (5708) <> on Friday March 22, @10:41PM (#1349913) Homepage

      Yes, he was educated. I read he lost his wife, when, how?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by choose another one on Saturday March 23, @12:32AM (3 children)

        by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 23, @12:32AM (#1349920)

        He left a public will which states he was divorced. Severe mental illness will do that, at a guess. []

        • (Score: 2) by mrpg on Saturday March 23, @12:41AM (2 children)

          by mrpg (5708) <> on Saturday March 23, @12:41AM (#1349921) Homepage

          Oh ok, I read somewhere in those links that he "lost his wife".

          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by choose another one on Saturday March 23, @12:30PM (1 child)

            by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 23, @12:30PM (#1349962)

            Not sure if that was MDCs phrasing or someone else's, I do think it has a normal or common meaning but outside of normal/common, I can see that divorce could easily be described that way.

            My marriage may well be headed in similar direction, currently I'm still stubbornly holding on to hope where there is none, what has happened isn't her fault or mine, it's what has been done to her and it's something (I now know) that few marriages survive. How will I describe it in future? - I don't know, maybe I'll be clear unambiguous and factual and just say we're separated or divorced, but maybe I'll say what I feel which on a good day would be "I lost my wife" and on a bad day would be "my wife was taken from me".

            life sucks. I'm not mentally ill like MDC, but I do have multiple physical problems which (let's be honest) in turn impact mental health, on the other hand MDC believed he had multiple physical problems, which may have been delusions caused by his mental health, or not. I have no idea what happened in MDCs case but I can easily see that he might have regarded it, and described it, as that he "lost his wife" - to his own illness. I can empathise, I feel (some of) his pain. RIP

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Sunday March 24, @01:49PM

              by mcgrew (701) <> on Sunday March 24, @01:49PM (#1350096) Homepage Journal

              Indeed, my mental health would have suffered less when "evil-X" as I called her on K5 left us if she had died. It might have been easier on the kids, too.

              It was hard to get over. I feel like a widower with a flesh and blood ghost that occasionally haunts me. It's hard to imagine what it would have done had I already had mental health problems like MDC had. The Paxil Diaries was basically a collection of K5 diaries. I remember kind words from MDC (I don't remember him ever being called "Mike" or "Dave") about my ex leaving, but I don't remember what they were, it was two decades ago.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Friday March 22, @11:22PM

    by VLM (445) on Friday March 22, @11:22PM (#1349914)

    He was a very genuine dude. Had problems, but was genuine.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by pdfernhout on Saturday March 23, @11:31PM (2 children)

    by pdfernhout (5984) on Saturday March 23, @11:31PM (#1350020) Homepage

    I've collected here may be of help to others: []

    Someday more of our society may put more of these ideas in action. The collection does show that their are many people out there trying to help others -- even as there are also many ongoing challenged from "The Pleasure Trap" and "Supernormal Stimuli" and "The Acceleration of Addictiveness" and so on (names of resources that relate to their key idea).

    A key point from one item there on "Therapeutic Lifestyle Change": []
    "We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life. (Stephen Ilardi, PhD)"

    There are a bunch of resources there for people with Autism-spectrum issues.

    This link isn't there, but may apply somewhat for Michael (even as he probably had other challenges too)?
    "6 Reasons Autistic People Are at Greater Risk of Suicide" []
    "Autistic people are at far higher risk of suicide than the general population.
    Cognitive inflexibility, mental health issues, and social isolation may all increase autistic people's risk of suicide.
    Family members, friends, and practitioners should be aware of the differences in autistic risk markers for suicide."

    I've now seen claims of anywhere from 3X to 10X elevated risk. In particular, people with mild autism can potentially burnout in their 30s and 40s from trying to appear normal the previous decades.

    See also, as maybe more applied to Michael if he had other issues:
    Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial (2015) by Peter C. Gøtzsche, M.D. []
    "DEADLY PSYCHIATRY AND ORGANISED DENIAL explains in evidence-based detail why the way we currently use psychiatric drugs does far more harm than good. Professor, Doctor of Medical Science, Peter C. Gøtzsche documents that psychiatric drugs kill more than half a million people every year among those aged 65 and above in the United States and Europe. This makes psychiatric drugs the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. Gøtzsche explains that we could reduce our current usage of psychotropic drugs by 98% and at the same time improve patients' mental and physical health and survival. It can be difficult, however, to come off the drugs, as many people become dependent on them. As the withdrawal symptoms can be severe, long-lasting and even dangerous, slow tapering is usually necessary.
          In his book, Gøtzsche debunks the many myths that leading psychiatrists - very often on drug industry payroll - have created and nurtured over decades in order to conceal the fact that biological psychiatry has generally been a failure. Biological psychiatry sees drugs as the "solution" for virtually all problems, in marked contrast to the patients' views. Most patients don't respond to the drugs they receive but, unfortunately, the psychiatrists' frustrations over the lack of progress often lead to more diagnoses, more drugs and higher doses, harming the patients further."

    Stuff like PSSD and related blame-the-victim it is all in you head gaslighting by psychiatrists for decades also does not help: []
    "Sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of Serotonergic antidepressants (SA) treatment, and persists in some patients despite drug discontinuation, a condition termed post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD). " []
    "The duration of use of antidepressants that led to PSSD in a previous study was anywhere between four days to 2.5 years; the duration of PSSD after drug discontinuation ranged from one month to 16 years (at the time of the study) ..."

    Despite those papers suggesting it is "rare" I've seen estimates if can be 60% or more: []
    "Antidepressants like fluoxetine double the risk of suicide and aggression in children and adolescents, they often lead to decreased quality of life, they cause sexual dysfunction in about 50 percent of users, and these harms may continue long after they try to quit." []
    " The overall incidence of sexual dysfunction was 59.1% (604/1022) when all antidepressants were considered as a whole. There were relevant differences when the incidence of any type of sexual dysfunction was compared among different drugs: fluoxetine, 57.7% (161/279); sertraline, 62.9% (100/159); fluvoxamine, 62.3% (48/77); paroxetine, 70.7% (147/208); citalopram, 72.7% (48/66); venlafaxine, 67.3% (37/55); mirtazapine, 24.4% (12/49); nefazodone, 8% (4/50); amineptine, 6.9% (2/29); and moclobemide, 3.9% (1/26). Men had a higher frequency of sexual dysfunction (62.4%) than women (56.9%), although women had higher severity. About 40% of patients showed low tolerance of their sexual dysfunction."

    You can search on Reddit or wherever to find out what "showed low tolerance of their sexual dysfunction" translates to in terms of emotions...

    On percentages recently: []
    "More women than ever are on antidepressants, over 20 percent of us, according to the CDC."

    Just think on the social meaning of 10% of the population (20% * 50%) having their sexual function taken away from them though prescription drug use -- while at the same time such people usually being told it is all in their head. Surprised there has not been an enormous front-page news class action lawsuit yet.

    Anyway, that is all to show what a cruel and dysfunctional "mental health" system we have overall.

    And things can be even worse for providers if a provider cares. One comment from a retired nurse posted here:
    "Why I Quit Being a Therapist -- Six Reasons by Daniel Mackler" []
    "The thing I learned about health care is that it’s not healthy and no one cares. If you do care it destroys your health."

    I mention that comment in a memorial to a friend from college who became a psychiatrist and apparently killed herself in her mid-40s: []

    We need to do better for everyone involved -- especially considering the USA now spends more that $4.5 trillion a year on so-called health care! It should be considered a national scandal at this point. But the interwoven habits of mind, perspectives, and social power relationships that created such a dysfunctional system are so entrenched it is hard to change them. Especially in the USA: []

    Related resource trying to make change: []

    RIP Michael David Crawford. I hope you are on to good things.

    The biggest challenge of the 21st century: the irony of technologies of abundance used by scarcity-minded people.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by mcgrew on Sunday March 24, @01:53PM

      by mcgrew (701) <> on Sunday March 24, @01:53PM (#1350097) Homepage Journal

      I have something the Sacklers, Waltons, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, or any other addict can NEVER have.

      I have enough. I pity the mammon worshipers.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday March 24, @07:33PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 24, @07:33PM (#1350118) Journal
      Thank you.
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by kazzie on Sunday March 24, @07:07PM

    by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 24, @07:07PM (#1350117)

    I find myself surprised that it's only been five years. Perhaps that's an indication of how much has gone on in that time (globally and personally), or maybe it's just that my recollction of him is mainly of the many years before then, when he was a regular member of this community.

    The memories I have are of an individual who had a notable writing style. His posts sometimes took a bit of effort to dig through, but there was often a nugget of insight worth finding. I considered him to be yet another facet of the colourful, rich fabric that is this community.

    I have only vague memories of MDCs latter days. The mention of bananas rings a bell, for certain. The calls for help were ones I didn't feel (for reasons of distance, or inexperience) I could respond to. And all too suddenly, an announcement came on the front page. I hadn't understood the severity of his situation at all.

    I never had a good understanding of his career and technical background, not even after his death was announced. (Perhaps the surprise of the news overshadowed that.) I'm glad of the summary and links posted above, as it's helped me build a more complete picture of a gentleman I once knew, if at a distance.