Destruction of Gulf drives charter boat captain to suicide

It’s unclear what exactly the Gulf Coast boats hired by BP are doing because BP has sworn workers to secrecy and federal and local governments have helped BP keep reporters from filming much, but whatever’s going on has driven one ship’s captain to suicide:

Dramatic ecological disasters have usually been followed by a significant increase in post-traumatic stress disorder among residents and workers in the affected area. In a June 21 Times article, gulf shrimper Adam Trahan was quoted as saying, “I look out there and see my life ruined. … I’m just walking around in a circle. … I’ve never been this confused in my life.”

The article goes on to note that after the tragic Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, Alaska saw an increase in “suicides, domestic violence, bankruptcies and alcoholism.”

Examples of this can already be seen in the aftermath of the gulf spill: A Times article Thursday reports that William Allen Kruse, a 55-year-old fishing boat captain, apparently committed suicide this week.

“How can you deal with watching the oil kill every damn thing you ever lived for in your whole life?” charter captain Ty Fleming said of Kruse’s death.

The loss is magnified because Kruse’s suicide will forever haunt his 13-year-old son:

“There’s not a doubt in my mind, the oil spill was the cause of this,” Tom Ard, who fished alongside Kruse for 25 years, told AOL News this morning. “It was just too much for him.”

In a phone interview, Ard, 39, the president of the Orange Beach Fishing Association, said Kruse was in his prime when he killed himself and had been enjoying taking his 13-year-old son out on his boat to teach him how to fish.

“He had everything going for him. He was at the top of his game,” Ard said. “He was the kind of guy that made everyone smile, and he was one heck of a fisherman.”

…Bell remembered Kruse as a kind man. “Even in the wintertime when things got tough, if you needed a little extra cash, he was always like, ‘Here, take it,’” he said.

What was Kruse doing for BP? Scooping up dead turtles and dolphins so they wouldn’t wash up on beaches to be photographed? Spraying toxic dispersants to hide the oil? Working to help cover up the crimes of the company that destroyed your entire way of life must be horrifying. I sadly expect more suicides.

Posted by James on Friday, June 25, 2010