A prominent LGBT rights lawyer and environmental advocate was found dead in NY on Saturday (April 14), after reportedly setting himself on fire using fossil fuel in a protest against ecological destruction.
The body of David S. Buckel, 60, was found near Prospect Park's baseball fields about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday after a passerby reported a severely burned individual, the New York Police Department said.
According to the New York Daily News, Buckel left a handwritten note at the scene, which said he'd self-immolated with "fossil fuel" as a symbol for the environment's destruction.
Buckel wrote that pollution was ravaging the planet and hoped his death would serve as a symbol.
In 1993 her served as the lead attorney for the lawsuit involving the murder of transgender teenager Brandon Teena.
Buckel, who had recently turned his energies to environmental causes, is known for directing major same-sex marriage cases in Iowa and New Jersey in his role as marriage project director for Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization that promotes civil rights for the LGBT community.
Another note found near his body, which was also emailed to local news outlets, said his self-immolation was a call to action, according to The New York Times.
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"My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves", Buckel wrote.
In his note, Buckel compared his macabre demise with the suicides of those who set themselves afire to protest China's occupation of Tibet. "We will honor his life by continuing his fight for a better world".
Buckel's self immolation led to passerby's expressing shock and horror upon coming across the man's charred corpse.
"Honourable goal in life invites honourable objective in death". Teena's story was portrayed in the movie "Boys Don't Cry". "He will be remembered for his kindness, devotion, and vision for justice", Camilla Taylor, director of constitutional litigation and acting legal director, said.
"Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard". David was a lovely human being who was universally kind to everyone at Lambda Legal, committed to his clients, and devoted to our work'.
The 1987 Cornell Law School graduate argued during his career against the Boy Scout ban on gays and for the establishment of a gay student club at a Utah high school.
Susan Sommer, a former Lambda Legal attorney who is now the general counsel for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, told the Times that Buckel 'was all about justice, but he was also all about what it means to be human'. "We were a little freaked out", the jogger told the Daily News.