This short diary is meant to inform those who followed the posts of Dave Smith, who went by the username, Translator, on DKos, that Dave has died. I don't know too many details, but understand that either yesterday or the day before he took his own life with one of his many guns. A little more will follow after the orange dingbat.
I knew Dave in the late seventies, early eighties from our days at the University of Arkansas. I moved on to pursue my PhD at Indiana in 1984. Dave left Fayetteville to further his studies in 1985. After that, we did not really have much contact, though I heard about him from mutual friends, and I'm sure that he learned of my life and activities the same way.
Dave and I recently reconnected on Facebook. That was a pleasure, but it was also sad confirmation of what those friends had been reporting over the last few years: that Dave was a troubled soul, in much emotional pain. The comments and messages he posted on FB were clearly cries for help, but, at the same time, he did not seem open to suggestions that he get that help. That is an old story, and one that has, unfortunately, been repeated lived (and died) by numerous (almost too many to count) friends who've committed suicide. Dave knew some of those friends as well. I tried, feebly, I can say in retrospect, to prod him in the right direction occasionally. But I had neither the time nor energy to make him a project. I know that others did, and I appreciate their efforts. In the end, what happened was his decision. A bad decision, but his.
But enough of that. I confess that I have not read any of his diaries on DKos, but I note from his profile (Dave's DKos profile) that he had 366 followers who kept up with his writings on science, popular culture (we shared an affinity for The Who), and life growing up in Hackett, Arkansas. I felt they should know he was gone.
Dave was a brilliant man, a successful scientist at one time, a father and, at one time, a husband. He, like many of us, lacked self control. Only most of us survive the perverse need to be a prodigal son/daughter. Dave did not. He will be missed.
Dave and I were part of a group of partying wild folks back in the day. Sadly, more than one have taken his way out.
When a mutual friend of ours, Kevin, emailed me yesterday with the news, I called him and we chatted for about an hour. Kevin knows I do (actually, I lurk) DKos and he wondered how Dave's readers would know of Dave's death. I said I'd post something. I figured that Dave didn't have many readers, that his were just a few ramblings that show up on a recent diaries list then disappear to virtual oblivion. How wrong I was. Evidently, there is a treasury I have to explore, and real person, with whom I had lost contact, to know again. I have some reading to do.