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Luke Pease’ good friend built an elaborate suicide machine. In the end, he didn’t need it.

When my best friend, kindred spirit and confidante told me he was building a suicide machine, I wasn’t sure how to react - other than to offer my help of course.

Steve had seen his mother ‘lying gaga’ in a hospital bed for two years before dying, and didn’t fancy repeating the experience himself. A borderline diabetic with neuropathy eating his nervous system, extremities first, he’d already lost a big toe, and with the constant substance abuse with which he’d battered his body for its entire adult existence, some other bits didn’t look that secure.

Steve kept me updated. 'Nitrogen, you’ve gotta use nitrogen, and don’t mess it up.'

He bought two industrial sized bottles, installed dual valves, two masks and redundant tubing. There was no single point of failure. In fact Steve, a first class engineer who’d provided expertise around the world, took such pride in the engineering, that I feared he wouldn’t resist using it. Lying in bed, awake, his body numb and painful, what could be easier than to reach for the mask and enjoy the beauty of his engineering?


Years earlier Steve had been knocked unconscious, and knew nothing until he awoke in the ambulance. ‘Pease’ he’d said to me, wistfulness and regret in his voice, ‘that wouldn’t have been a bad way to go.’

He’d made his peace with God – there isn’t one. He told me if he had life to do over, he’d do it all again, the same way. Steve’s physical pain didn’t stretch to the psychological, he was ready.

I asked him to call me when the time came. He refused – don’t get involved, leave it for the police, he said.

And then he joined a gym, where every day he’d walk the treadmill. Half a mile at one mile per hour. He looked healthier, his skin colorful and his face rested. But the renaissance was brief.

On November 24th, Steve returned home, stumbled and smacked his head on the front steps, where his abused body gave out. He died right there, just a few feet from his final project.

With a Perspective, I’m Luke Pease.

In his spare time, you will find Luke playing guitar or paragliding at Mussel Rock in Pacifica.