For many of these public suicides, the motive was not out of depression or mental illness but rather to make a very serious statement against a political position. Thich Quang Duc is perhaps the most well known for his public suicide when he, a Buddhist monk set himself ablaze in Saigon and sat silently as he burned to death wehile a crowd – journalists included – stood and watched. But Duc is just one who sacrificed his own life for a political agenda as others like Roman Lakanta, Malachi Ritscher and Ryszard Siwiec performed the same self-immolation in political protest.
Others who chose to end their lives in a very public way were believed to be suffering from personal struggles which led them to a place of desperation and eventually death. Pennsylvania Treasurer Budd Dwyer famously shot himself as television cameras rolled during a press conference he called after his conviction on bribery charges. Dimitris Christoulas felt he had no other option when he committed suicide in Greece after his pension was slashed by the government. Jodon F. Romero was being chased by police in Florida when he chose to end his own life on live national television, care of Fox News.
Whatever the reason or the manner, each of these men and women will always be connected for their choice to commit suicide with the world watching. They may not be the most famous suicide deaths but all occurred with various eyes, sometimes even live television cameras, watching.