From FTW to WTF?!
Part 1: Why Did Mike Do It?
By Wesley T. Miller
President & CEO, Collapse Network, Inc.
May 3, 2014 - Lake Oswego, OR
On a stunningly beautiful day at a funeral home overlooking the San Francisco Bay, Jack Martin, Jessy Re and I arrived at the appointed hour to pay our last respects to Mike Ruppert's physical body. In Mike's typical dramatic fashion, he was actually late to his own funeral. The car carrying Mike’s body was late to arrive for his cremation. It was a welcome delay, though, as it gave us more time to absorb the surreal.
After privately viewing (and video recording) Mike’s body, Jessy Re, Jack and I paid our final respects to Mike’s physical incarnation, followed by our witnessing of Mike's cremation (which I also videoed). While waiting for Mike’s ashes to be processed for return to Jessy, we spent the afternoon together talking about what happened, and trying to digest all of the things that were going on in Mike’s mind leading up to his final act. (Jessy told me later that the cremation was the most painful thing she has ever done, ever. Her chest burned inside all day.) Mike was a very complex person, and he left unmistakable messages for many of us that we had just started to figure out.
I spent the better part of last week sleeping in Mike's last home, the trailer on Jack Martin's property. It didn't feel weird or "creepy" in any way. In fact, I felt a sense of calm and peace being there. It was part of the process I needed to go through to say goodbye to Mike, and in that process, fulfill my obligations to Mike to both investigate the circumstances of his death and try to make sense out of it. I assume you have already viewed the article and video I posted on "The Death of Michael C. Ruppert". If not, please view it before continuing with this article, as this is a continuation of that video report.
In sorting through Mike's recent past and the events leading up to his suicide, I have spoken directly to all of the people closest to Mike in great detail. There seems to be a general agreement from those I spoke with that I am in the right position to attempt to aggregate the story of Mike's end, through his eyes. We have been blessed with help from other media outlets, particularly Cherispeak.com, for compiling and reporting the details and timeline of Mike's last days. I am not going to repeat all those details here; rather, what I am attempting is an effort to understand the "why" behind Mike's final act.
My (Brief) History with MCR
My personal history with Mike began in October of 2009 after Mike asked for legal help on his blog in appealing his Oregon sexual harassment administrative judgment. I had been following Mike's work since 2005, and had kept up on his move back to the United States. I was one of the many people - before the movie "CoLLapse"came out - who took an active interest in what was happening to the man. As fate would have it, I am licensed to practice law in Oregon, and I had the time available to volunteer. I valued the work Mike had done in the past - he opened my eyes like no one else - and I saw he was in trouble, beyond just the legal issues. I wanted to help, so I stepped forward.
Although he refused to talk anything about peak oil, 9-11, collapse (beyond promoting the movie "CoLLapse"), Mike and I hit it off right away. He was a self-proclaimed singer and songwriter, working hard toward the release of his first album with best friend and bandmate Doug Lewis. The band was New White Trash, and their first album was called "Double-Wide". That was Mike, always part prophet.
Mike and I met face-to-face for the first time when he came to Portland for the premier of "CoLLapse." He came to my house and I cooked him (and Lisa Mann and her husband) dinner with my family. Over the course of dinner, he revealed to us that he had tried to hang himself in Venezuela. As that was not public knowledge at the time, my radar was set off instantly. He was giving me his first warning that he was suicidal.
Within a few weeks, as Mike came to know that I was "for real," he immediately set upon me additional responsibilities, including writing a new Will for him that named me as Executor and a Living Will with specific end of life directives. When I asked him what he wanted done with his body, he replied instantly and emphatically, "Fucking compost me! I'm serious." And he was. At the time, he expressed assassination concerns as the reason behind the new documents (I would come to learn that he WANTED to be martyred). But the seed of the other reason had been planted in my mind already, and from that time forward I was always concerned that he would end his own life.
Winter marched on, "CoLLapse" did not catch fire with the public, and Mike fell on worse times. There was nothing coming in from the movie at that time. He was struggling very hard financially, just to pay his rent, as the movie portrayed in its closing segment. Fortunately for Mike, someone else saw his struggle and was captivated by Mike's message in "CoLLapse." That person was Mel Gibson. Yes, THE Mel Gibson.
Mr. Gibson had seen a screening of "CoLLapse" with director Chris Smith in NYC, and asked to see "what's on the floor" (meaning cutting room floor). Chris sent Mr. Gibson the footage, and some days later Mike's assistant (volunteer) took a call from Mel himself. In classic Ruppert flare, Mike took the call knowing who was on the other end, and Mike's first words, in flawless Scottish imitation, were, "Well, we didn't get dressed up for nothin'!" They became instant friends, with Mike choosing to accept a Christmas dinner invitation with the Gibson family over the invitation to be with my family (as if there was a choice?!).
Mike and Mel spent some time together in the following months. By February, Mike was very down and out financially. It was clear that he needed to make an income somehow, but who would hire a 59 –year-old "radical" like Mike Ruppert? Mike grudgingly accepted that he had to go backwards in order to go forward - he had to go back to doing what he thought he was free of, analyzing world events and helping people prepare for what he believed was the imminent collapse of human industrial civilization. It was his area of expertise, but he was not eager to take on the weight of the world again. After one visit with Mel, at the end of which Mr. Gibson handed Mike an envelope filled with $5,000 cash (just as an effort to help a friend), Mike decided to pay his rent and use the remaining funds to start forming CollapseNet.
Mike's Pattern of Pushing People Away
Allow me to jump ahead to Mike's departure from active involvement with CollapseNet (I'll have more about the CollapseNet story in the next major part of this series). The short story is that Mike was becoming more and more involved in his quest for spirituality, and he was captivated by the Mayan calendar "end" date of 12-21-2012. Virtually all of the volunteers and independent contractors came to CollapseNet because of Mike's message in the film "CoLLapse," which we all viewed objectively and saw as an "a-spiritual" message. To be blunt, none of the CollapseNet senior staff felt comfortable going down Mike's spiritual path, and to take CollapseNet down that road threatened all the previous sound, logical investigative reporting Mike had done over the years. CollapseNet's management team, including me, was about to leave CollapseNet, but Mike out-maneuvered us and left first, giving up 35% of his stock to those volunteers (Mike retained 20%). While he expressed that he wanted to leave something behind for us while he went on his spiritual journey - he wanted to leave us as a "hero" - there was much more to it. I would come to find out that this was part of a larger long-term pattern of dissociation that Mike did when he became suicidal.
CollapseNet's revenues were already in a nose dive before Mike left (following the “Say My Fucking Name” video), and the situation got far worse after he left, so there wasn't much help we could provide financially. Mike impoverished himself again, eventually getting himself evicted from the rental property he had in Sebastopol, making his circumstances as depressing and dark as they could be. He was in self-pity and depression mode all the way, and he told me both in writing and over the phone that he was about to kill himself (on July 19, 2013) when Doug called and offered Mike the prospect of going to Colorado. Mike took Doug’s call as a message from Spirit, so he put away the gun, packed his bags and went to Colorado on his spiritual quest.
After speaking with Doug at length, Mike’s pattern of dissociative behavior while contemplating suicide became very clear. Shortly after arriving at Doug’s house, Mike made a new Will naming Doug as Executor and giving new directives. As you can see from the Apocalypse, Man videos, Mike still had suicide on his mind when he moved to Crestone. It never left him. Just prior to moving to Calistoga, Mike started pushing away those closest to him again. Mike pushed away Doug, to the point of hurting Doug as best he could by renouncing their entire friendship near the end. His decision to move was very abrupt to Jesse, but Mike immediately expressed wanting her to follow and be with him. She agreed.
When Mike moved to Calistoga, he immediately repeated the same behavior with Jack. At the beginning of March, Mike made another Will naming Jack as the Executor and giving new directives. It is very clear to all of Mike’s inner circle that Mike chose Jack to carry the burden of Mike’s suicide, and Mike had confidence that Jack would see Mike’s wishes through.
Jessy Re walked away from her life in Crestone and followed Mike to California at the beginning of April. They were together for over a week before she took her son up to Oregon. Mike made sure he would be alone that day. Mike’s planning was meticulous and he made every effort to make sure that no one would be present to stop him, or even know what he was planning to do.
The basic pattern of Mike’s dissociative behavior over the last few years went something like this:
· In 2006 Mike abruptly leaves FTW, pushes away friends and colleagues, moves to Venezuela. Then he tries to kill himself.
· In 2007-8 Mike moves back to U.S., has to promise Jenna every single day that he will not kill himself.
· In 2009, meets Wes, does a new Will, admits suicidal tendencies.
· In 2012, Mike abruptly leaves CollapseNet, pushes away friends and colleagues, almost commits suicide by gun.
· Mike moves to CO, does new Will with Doug, admits he went there to kill himself (Apocolypse, Man).
· In March 2014, Mike abruptly leaves Colorado, pushes away his best friend
· Mike moves to Calistoga, does new Will with Jack.
· In April 2014, Jessy moves to Calistoga, Mike plans his suicide for when she was out of state.
There are likely more instances that can be added to this list, but this should be enough to make the point.
One note that should be added to this story is Mike’s last trip to Seattle, just weeks before he died, in order to do some filming to pitch a potential series akin to the Apocalypse, Man videos. Mike was put up in a fancy downtown hotel. Coming from Crestone and his deep spiritual journey, Mike expressed how much it felt like he was going into the Matrix and coming out again. He was already completely detached from that urban industrialized world, and he felt alien as he walked through it in the flesh. Just having that experience shook Mike very hard. For him, it was not unlike the kid from the movie “The Sixth Sense” – all Mike saw were dead people.
Mike’s Spiritual Path
For some time now, Mike has been embracing spirituality, from a devout 12-stepper to a self-proclaimed “Gaian,” then diving into a pursuit of Native American culture and spirituality. He was through with “Cartesian analysis” and was seeking some kind of spiritual relief from the burdens of the world he saw around us. Mike found what he sought in Crestone.
Mike had been seeking a “warrior’s death” from before I ever met him. He wanted to die a martyr for his cause. I even dedicated my “OWS Explained to a 5 Year Old” video to Mike because he was on the front lines at Occupy Santa Rosa and he fully expected – maybe even WANTED - to get his head bashed in before it was over. That destiny of martyrdom was constantly denied him, and at the end, he admitted as much in an email to Jessy Re when he said, in essence, that “They” were no longer interested in killing him, it was too late to matter. So Mike needed to find another way to have his “honorable death,” to be the hero dying for his cause.
In Mike’s quest for knowledge, he had many teachers and guides in Native American rituals and spirituality, and he honored them all. Mike said in his notes (synthesized here) that his final act was a sacrifice of flesh and blood for the children, so that it may bring light and love into the world. It was in Mike’s selective interpretation of Native American culture that he found a way that allowed him to die as a sacrifice to his fellow man. To have his “honorable death.”
Although I have not yet spoken to a Lakota elder, it is the general feeling amongst his friends that Mike’s interpretation of that culture was misplaced or misinterpreted to fit Mike’s ultimate goal of suicide. Mike had found his spiritual path toward his long-time interest in killing himself. He found a way to justify the act in his own mind, heart and spirit.
Mike’s Mental State on That Day
Now that the foundation of Mike’s pattern of dissociation while contemplating or planning suicide has been established, and we have an understanding of Mike’s sense of spiritual sacrifice, I want to address why Mike felt that there was “no more time.”
Mike believed with absolute certainty in human Near Term Extinction brought on by imminent climate collapse, the ongoing poisoning of the Pacific Ocean due to the continuous dumping of millions of gallons of radioactive waste water from Fukushima, together with the dire threat to human existence presented by the instability of Fukushima Fuel Pool #4. This is an abbreviated list, for sure, but he was completely convinced that these issues alone doomed humanity to extinction within the next 5 to 15 years. He also believed that the only possible hope that the human species has to avert climate collapse was the immediate complete collapse of human industrial civilization, which in itself would guarantee the short-term deaths of at least 5 billion people.
Heavy shit, indeed.
In Mike’s mind, we are all already dead. His only question, and greatest fear, is how soon?
Mike was very good at identifying the right issues, seeing patterns and figuring out the direction of events, but his biggest analytical flaw was always trying to put a date-certain on doom. He had some big hits, but also some big misses. I am not in a position to confirm or dispute Mike’s analysis, and I am personally uncomfortable with making predictions with specific timelines, but you need to know that Mike’s general concerns are shared by many so-called mainstream scientists. CollapseNet will return to these issues in depth in the weeks ahead.
Returning to Mike’s state of mind, everyone in Mike’s circle of friends has lived with the knowledge that Mike’s suicidal ideations, his battle with depression and other mental health issues over the years, and the weight of the survival of the human species on his shoulders as if it were his personal responsibility, was BOUND to lead Mike to this day. And now he had found his own spiritual justification to allow him to commit his final act. So the question really turns from why Mike chose to finally do it to what was in his mind when he committed to his last act.
I have never seen a person more in love than Jessy Re was, and still is, with Mike Ruppert. That love was absolutely reciprocated by Mike. Jessy played for me the last half-dozen or so voice-mails that she had from Mike, and I can tell you without equivocation that Mike sounded happier and more full of life than I have ever heard him. Each call was showered with multiple versions of “I love you so much” and “I am so happy to be with you” and “I can’t wait to be together again.” Mike sounded like he was thunderstruck in love with Jessy, like a teenager who fell in love for the first time, and I saw for myself that Jessy is completely and totally sincere in her love for Mike. She was absolutely committed to living her life with him, and Mike left her believing that he felt the same way.
Right after Mike left Crestone, Jessy began shedding her possessions and prepared to move to Calistoga to be with Mike. During this time, Mike continuously expressed his ever-long desire to be with Jessy, to share their lives together. She arrived with her son, and very little money or “stuff,” on April 1st. (April Fool’s Day!!)
From all the information I have gathered, it is apparent that Mike was actively planning his suicide from the time he made his abrupt decision to move back to California. I do not believe that Mike thought that Jessy would follow him to California. In fact, he was blown away that she actually gave up her life to follow him halfway across the continent. No one had ever done anything close to that in demonstrating love for Michael C. Ruppert, and he treasured that knowledge and love like nothing else he had ever experienced.
On April 12, the day before Mike’s suicide, Jessy and her son went to Oregon to visit with other family and friends. I’m shorting the details intentionally here, but Mike’s stated intention was to give him time to find a bigger place for the three of them, and he thought they’d be happier in Oregon for a few days while new living arrangements were made. Jessy believed him. That is all she wanted.
That is how Mike’s relationship was with Jessy at the end.
As I sat at Mike’s desk and digested all of these pieces, a memory of one of my favorite books from college, Fool’s Die by Mario Puzo, leapt into my head. The book opens with a degenerate gambler playing baccarat in Las Vegas. The character had already lost everything – his house, retirement, college funds, family – but this time he was on an incredible winning streak and couldn’t lose! He wins over a half-million dollars, gets comp’ed in the casino’s Presidential Suite, goes to his room, and shortly thereafter puts a gun to his head and kills himself. Why? As the story unfolds, you come to understand that for that character, his life would NEVER be better than it was at that moment in time. By killing himself, his family would keep the money, and he would never have to face another loss, EVER.
I believe with all my heart and all my knowledge that that analogy fits Mike’s death perfectly. He wanted to go out at his personal emotional top – totally in love with someone who was totally in love with him. Mike believed with all his heart that we’re all dead anyway, so the only future he had to look forward to was one of horrific loss. He could only live to maybe lose the love he had at that time, the greatest love he had ever known, or maybe later suffer while watching the loss of a future for him, Jessy and her son. He had planned his suicide event for many, many years, and he had actively planned the final day for weeks at the least. Knowing that the love of his life sacrificed all to be with him, and was totally committed to him, was likely the best feeling he had ever had, or would have. He didn’t want to live any longer and risk losing that greatest of highs.
So he committed to his plan, and carried it out.
Please do not misinterpret anything I say here. Jessy Re is not at fault for Mike’s suicide any more than me, or Doug Lewis, or Jack, or Carolyn, or Jenna, or any other person on earth. NONE OF US could save Mike, and all of us tried along the way.
What I do want to express clearly is that I believe Mike decided to end his life at the best place he thought his life could ever be. He carried too much pain for far too long – he was ready to die, as he expressed in Apocalypse, Man. Mike was tired, to the soul. Now, finally, at long last, he found a spiritual path that he thought excused his act, and someone who loved him more than he had ever known and who would mourn him forever. It was Mike’s emotional peak after completing his earthly tasks, and he wanted to go out on that emotional top.
Jessy Re has added much more to complete that picture. She believes that because of the deep connection they shared, that Mike trusted the unconditional love Jessy had for him, and that their love gave him a safe way out, knowing she'd love him and forgive him no matter what. Jessy knows he was tired, and that he didn't feel good. In Mike’s own words, he was terrified of the state of the world. Jessy believes what I said above, but she also made me see that it was more than just an emotional high. It was equally an emotional low. Mike was completely exhausted.
Mike didn’t have much, but what he had he left to Jessy, of course. He had to die a “hero” to her…
Jessy Re read and approved of this article prior to publication