The Death of Tooker Gomberg

Gosh, I was extremely upset at hearing of the suicide of activist Tooker Gomberg this week. I shook his hand and chatted with him once, and had seen and read about him many times. This guy was a real-life go-getter for all things green. He hated cars and passionately rode his bike everywhere. He made friendly political stunts and promoted forward-thinking lifestlyes. He actually made changes, too. To find out he killed himself drew very particular feelings from me. Since I, too, suffer from depression, I must admit that I related to him on more levels than I feel I should admit to. I’m sure that the thoughts he harboured also course through my own mind. It sometimes seems hopeless trying to change things to the degree that our planet needs. It’s one of those fights that the majority of humans don’t really care too much about. It’s against a passive and ignorant population. But mark my words: I don’t disrespect anybody in that statement. The phenomenon simply happens to be the result of public education and influences.
People in general only react to immediate and tangible occurrences. For example, in Toronto, if there is a dog attack, there will be police, ambulance, and animal control all upon your doorstep within 10 minutes of the reporting phone call. This is because a dog bite is something immediate. People can see it and react to it right away. There’s nothing subtle or hidden about it. And of course, it threatens the “all-important” human being.
But take the destruction of an entire ecosystem — say, a forest. The only officials to show up are the police, and they only come to enforce the forest’s destruction and keep away its eco-happy defenders. Unfortunately for the forest, humans don’t think about the long-term harm to themselves, let alone the other creatures killed instantly in the process.
I firmly believe that this backwards thinking comes from our ease in turning a blind eye to things that don’t affect us immediately. A polluting truck, food containing steroids, or a lake you can’t swim in are other examples. Incredibly, most people would agree that these things are all “bad”, but they do not threaten them with the immediacy of a dog bite. Therefore, they usually don’t care enough to do anything about it.
So, I think Tooker Gomberg took his own life because he couldn’t hack the relentless and never-ending frustration with the awful way that our world works. I’m amazed that most of us do.