Budd Dwyer

For some reason I find myself thinking about Budd Dwyer, the former Pennsylvania treasurer who, in 1987, held a press conference, handed out letters to be given to different people, then removed a gun from a paper bag, stuck it beneath his chin and killed himself—all on television.

Here’s the trailer for a documentary about his life.

Most people reading this probably have no idea whereof I speak. But, on January 22, 1987, I was a 14-year-old kid watching the news when I saw the report about Dwyer. The TV showed most of the man’s final minutes of life, and the video came to a hault only when he was about to press the trigger. Thanks to the wonder of YouTube (sarcasm intended here), one can watch the entire episode. It is beyond disturbing.

Not sure why I’m blogging about this, except to say that Dwyer’s suicide has never left me. I remember it in the same way I think of the Challenger explosion and 9.11


1 thought on “Budd Dwyer”

  1. I grew up in PA and also remember that day like it was yesterday. I was snowing like hell that day–I don’t know why I remember that.

    At least one Pittsburgh station (KDKA, I believe) did run the video in its entirety which, at the time, was shocking. Actually, it’s still pretty shocking that a station would do that.

    The visual is perhaps less chilling than the audio, with people screaming and going completely crazy. I don’t recommend it.

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