I lost a co-worker and a friend this week.
The story about what happened came out slowly over that time. No one wants to talk about suicide. No one wants to talk about pain.
Dan was the janitor for our building. He was socially awkward and probably mentally challenged. He was a few years on one side or another of 60 years old. He was skinny and carried himself like someone who was in a lot of pain, although I never heard him complain of it.
When he first started working in our building he did not talk to anyone. But once he got to know the people he revealed himself to be quite friendly and charming with a wicked sense of humor. And he cared a lot about doing a good job. He would kid around and tease others—often about sports teams but other things as well. He could pile it on as thick as anyone. And he was fun to be around.
I remember through a fog a conversation I had with him last week. It was one of those insignificant, random musings. He said something about the FBI being out to get him. Playing along with his joke, I said they were out to get me too. There may have been a mention of black helicopters. The conversation did not last long—he rushed back to work. He kind of gritted his teeth, but otherwise did not seem upset.
It turns out Dan lived in a room in the basement of a co-worker’s house. Dan was not very computer literate, but his friend set him up with a computer and got him hooked up to the internet. His computer became infected with a virus, called the “FBI MoneyPack virus.”
As near as I can tell, this virus locks the computer screen, and puts up a message that the FBI has locked the computer because the user has violated a federal regulation, and lists a number of possible violations including child pornography, copyright infringement, and apparently a host of others. It instructs the user to send two hundred dollars within three days to a MoneyPack site, and states that the FBI will file charges if the money is not sent.
So my socially isolated friend worried and stewed and lost sleep. He was unsuccessful in his attempts to communicate what was going on. He sat down and wrote a suicide note to the FBI and another to the co-worker that he lived with. In the middle of the night he committed suicide in a manner that was the most painful you can imagine, and in a manner that was painful to his friend who found him.
Dan was killed by cyber bullying of a computer virus.
I miss Dan. My co-workers miss Dan. Our hearts go out to the man who gave him a home—he and his wife have not been able to return to that home yet.
I don’t know what else to say…