God bless Larry Manzanares. May he rest in peace.
Most of us know the story. Larry Manzanares, Harvard grad, ex-Denver County and District Court Judge, ex-Denver City Attorney, fatally shot himself Friday, under a bridge in Eisenhower Park in South Denver. Manzanares committed suicide a short time after he was advised of the totality of charges against him. Additional revelations with regard to Manzanares’s alleged misdeeds (or stupidity) included the publicly disclosed fact that substantial pornography had been discovered (and had attempted to be erased) on the allegedly stolen laptop that remains the linchpin of this story.
Truth telling is that component of ethical behavior that establishes the extent to which one is perceived to possess integrity. Lots of folks saw Manzanares as a bastion of integrity. Push, however, came to shove, and, in the end, it is my belief that that painful secret in the belly of Manzanares–that his personal integrity had been compromised by no one except himself–became the voracious hydra with which he could not deal.
To be trite: The truth will set you free. That’s one reason why I blog. Over a thousand entries since I began posting back in June of 2004, both on this site and over at the Blogspot site, have pretty much laid me bare. It feels good to let it out.
The ultimate tragedy, of course, is the loss to the family. Dare I wonder if Larry Manzanares considered the consequences his family would suffer–lightly mentioning the loss of whatever life insurance may have been forthcoming if the death had been “natural”–by his selfish, yes, selfish act?
Then comes the predictable retribution against the media for exposing, in lurid detail, the facts of the Manzanares case. The media killed Larry Manzanares. Nope. Don’t think so. What killed Manzanares was his shame.
Yes, and then comes the also predictable demagoguery from Latino sources who, never at a loss to raise the specter of ethnicity, declare–as did Rosemary Rodriguez, former Denver city councilperson and now U.S. Election Assistance commissioner–“It’s a bad time to be a Hispanic in trouble in this city.”
Tina Griego, columnist for the Rocky notes in a piece, June 25th: “I am taken aback when a few at the gathering say they believe the decision was made to enlarge Manzanares’ mug shot on the front page because he was Latino. They argue the paper has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of bias against Latinos in its coverage. The message behind that large photo, one of the women argues, in yeah, he might have gone to Harvard and become a judge, but he was a Mexican and bad from the get-go…”
To Griego’s credit, she observes: “But this is not an ethnic story. It is a human one. Manzanares was a husband and a father. He was a friend and colleague to many. He was a judge and community leader. It is profoundly sad that, in the end, his vision tunneled to a single, irrevocable decision.”
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!”
And, comes the time when one understands they have, indeed, not been true to themselves, much less their friends, much less their family, the fix requires courage, integrity, humility. Suicide does not encompass courage, integrity, humility.