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[This is a difficult thing for me to write about, and when Seth Cohn sent me an email with the tragic news, I knew that I had to tell people about what happened...]
I first met Larry Fullmer through various emails while working on the Badnarik campaign. He was never one to shy away from heated debates in the campaign blog’s comments and had a fiery tenacity for liberty. A self-avowed Libertarian for 40 years, Larry refused to back down from his ideals, firmly rooted in liberty, and bordering on anarcho-capitalism. There was a rare soul on the Badnarik forums and blog (and beyond) who didn’t know Larry, and his reputation for brash righteousness preceded him outside of the digital realm, as no Libertarian worth his salt didn’t know him from the legend that others told. Larry had a flair for verbally exploring conspiracy theories, and while I grimaced at times at seeing his all caps-lock verbal tirades against Peroutka supporters who were trying to demoralize our supporters — hoping his behavior and coarse language wouldn’t reflect badly on the campaign — I also secretly enjoyed seeing him stir things up and get people energized and riled up.
But Larry was still just a man, and like all of us he struggled with his demons. Sadly, his final outreaches for help were not enough for his family to stop him from killing himself this afternoon. Even more tragic is the circumstances in which he spent his final moments, in confrontation with police who had arrived at the bequest of his sister to check up on him. Most likely, Larry did not realize what was occuring, and killed himself sometime during a prolonged afternoon stand-off in which an arguably exaggerated show of force (S.W.A.T. sniper and law-enforcement in paramilitary uniform) surrounded his home before finally deploying five cannisters of tear-gas and raiding the home in order to save him from himself. But Larry had apparently taken his own life hours earlier, and there was nothing to do except clear the tear-gas and cordon the area with police tape.
In a tragic irony, Larry Fullmer spent his final moments exercising his personal liberty as he saw fit — taking his own life at his own choosing — instead of allowing the government to save him with brute force.
We’ll miss you Libertarian Larry. Rest in Peace.
UPDATE: Tim West adds his condolences: “I’m a better libertarian today because I knew Larry Fullmer, and so are many others who he met and “had discussions” with over his 30+ years activity in the LP. That’s the best legacy he could have left us.”
UPDATE 2: The Missouri Libertarian also chimes in: “I admire the work he did in contacting newspapers and the media about the Libertarian Party, and while I disagreed with him many times I had a lot of respect for anyone that would say what they thought and believed. Libertarian Larry will be missed.”
UPDATE 3: Tom Knapp adds his condolences and posts a link to the obituary. He also encourages everyone to “use the ‘feedback’ form to tell Pocatello about him.” Not a bad idea and would be a fitting sendup for Larry.
UPDATE 4: Even Michael Badnarik has kind words (for anyone not familiar, Larry was the guy at the 2004 LP Convention who rightfully “freaked” when he learned Badnarik had no driver’s license and hadn’t filed taxes in several years, something we had to downplay later much to our chagrine).
» Deadly day in Pocatello: Standoff drives residents from neighborhood [Pocatello Idaho State Journal]