Should anyone happen across this post, please note that I continue to pursue answers to the questions that persist in the story that surrounds the
death of Michael Hastings…and…that
does not mean there is anything wrong with you for not doing the same.
As stated in the post above, I began another thread
regarding an interview
with Michael’s older brother, Jonathan Hastings.
I found little in said interview to help resolve the persisting questions…and, would like to post some views & observations regarding the same –
– since – only those who’ve been interested-enough to follow this thread are in a position to weigh the merits (or lack,
) of said observations. (in my humble and very inconsequential opinion –
1st – we find that Michael Hastings had only two siblings…and he was the “middle” of the three. They were each, brothers, and the eldest –
Jonathan (3 years older
) – was “the family member” that had arrived in the last day or two prior to the accident, and Jeff
(2 years younger
) was *reportedly
* scheduled to arrive later on the day of the accident.
(PR – is the interviewer, calling himself/themself “Paleo Retiree”, and JH – refers to Jonathan Hastings, Michael’s
…PR – I know you flew out to check on Mike just a day or two before the crash.
JH – As I told the police out in L.A., a few days before he died, Mike called me and I got the impression that he was having a manic episode,
similar to one he had had 15 years ago which he had referred to in his writing. At that time, drugs had been involved, and I suspected that might be
the case again. I immediately booked a flight to L.A. for the next day, with the thought that maybe I could convince him to come back to Vermont to
dry out or (less likely) get him to go to detox /rehab there in L.A. When I got to L.A. and saw him, I immediately realized that he
was not going to go willingly. I started to make arrangements with our brother to fly out and help me possibly force Mike into checking himself into
a hospital or detox center. I’d thought that I had at least convinced Mike to just stay in his apartment and chill out for the next few days, but
he snuck out on me when I was sleeping. He crashed his car before anyone could do anything to help him…
With no intent of attempting to minimize or discount the observations and views of ShadellacZumbrum
’s earlier comments regarding
circumstances surrounding the family’s
attempted Intervention…but, rather, to address this “newer” information, and place what
we know into a context that accurately reflects the same…
“This was a spur of the moment attempt…at an Intervention…AND…it was based not on a full family consensus…but
rather, upon one family-member’s interpretation/perception of a phone conversation…within less than 5 days of the ‘Grand
Now, in drawing attention to this – please understand that I am not concluding that this means JH
was wrong in his interpretation/perception
of what was going on in the life/psyche/mind of his brother…but, it does tend to place asterisks around said interpretation…especially in light
…PRWhat was college like for Mike?
JH He went to Connecticut College for a year, and I got the impression he partied a lot. And that led to him leaving school and
the beginnings of his mental health issues.
PR Was he ashamed of it?
JH That’s a tough question. On the one hand, he was open about it, referred to it in his writing, and he even wrote a memoir all about it.
He wasn’t afraid of people knowing – he wanted people to know, but, of course, he wanted people to know on his terms and from his POV.
PR – When and how did the mental difficulties come on?
JH – The summer after his first year he had a really bad manic/delusional/paranoid episode. It was probably brought on by drug use, but by
the time he was in the middle of it, it was going on its own power. He ended up in detox/rehab for most of the summer, and he didn’t go back to
PR – Was he generally unstable when he was young? Did he cause the family some anxiety as a kid?
JH – He was definitely a worry even before his college breakdown. He partied in high school, and I guess everyone does. But he had come
close to being expelled and getting into serious trouble a few times. There was some relief from my parents when he went off to college. But that
environment turned out to be really bad for him. He started using all sorts of drugs and it triggered a kind of manic episode. When he went home for
summer after his first year of college, he wasn’t in good shape and ended up crashing a car, getting arrested, and going to detox/rehab. Though
later he told it as a kind of gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson-style adventure, it was a really traumatic experience for him and my family. But he was
always looking for risks: even after he sobered up and got his life on tract and had his career underway he still wanted to push the envelope, such as
having himself assigned to Newsweek’s Iraq bureau.
PR – What did he finally do for his degree?
JH – Once he got sober he took some continuing ed. classes around Burlington, at UVM and at the local community college, and then he finally
moved to NYC with me and finished his degree at NYU. Once he got sober, he was a really conscientious student. It helped that he was only taking
classes he was interested in – journalism, writing, media studies, video editing, etc…
I have an elder sister and a younger brother… All three were born within 3 ½ years of each other.
In my experience and observation/s…elder siblings (especially of the same sex
) rarely pay much attention to the youngers once the
social scene (puberty
) enters the equation (with a few exceptions
I won’t move that thought much further, and rather, leave it to weigh against/with your own experience & observation…
In some regards, the entire interview seems to come off as sibling rivalry…and little more.
Among the Comments that followed said blog/article, JH
responded to a question regarding the observations of Jeremy Scahill regarding
Michael’s demeanor as of 5 days prior to the crash, as follows:
…Jon Hastings says:
November 7, 2013 at 9:38 am
I don’t know Jeremy Scahill, and only barely know Ali Gharib. I’m not sure how long they knew Mike or what they knew about his history. People who
had known Mike for a long time had been concerned for at least a few months (though until that last weekend, it didn’t seem like it would turn into
a crisis). However, I think Scahill is probably right that Mike seemed full of life. He was in the early phases of a manic episode — “full of
life” doesn’t contradict that at all.
I had spoken with Mike on the phone about two weeks beforehand. He was calling me to talk about the work he was doing on John McTiernan’s story, and
we really stuck to talking about “just business”. (We also talked about Barrett Brown’s case at that time). …
Of course – JH could
be right… Could be
that Jeremy Scahill & Ali Gharib didn’t know Michael well enough, or for long
enough…to be capable of judging his demeanor &/or mindset better than his own brother…and “people who had known Mike for a long time”…
On the other hand…as was offered (for possibility
) earlier in this thread…the “affiant” appears to be in the very
vulnerable position of “having to defend their actions”…in addition to
attempting to make certain that blame does not fall on
) them, their actions or their “intellectually superior” observations.
Now – who, of Michael Hastings “long-term friends & acquaintances”, were around him through the last “few months” of his life?
Hmmm… Seems to me that he was a “long way from home”.
consider the apparent disconnect between…
• People who had known Mike…had been concerned for at least a few months…
• …Scahill is probably right that Mike seemed full of life…[being] in the early phases of a manic episode.
• …until that last weekend, it didn’t seem like it would turn into a crisis.
Was it only “after the fact” that these “long-term friends & acquaintances” came forward with their observations?
What a bunch of chicken sh*t
friends and acquaintances…if the first anyone said anything about these observations (that had been
apparently piling up for a few months, at least
) was in consolation to the brother that…from all we know now…could be the primary
agitator… ? ? ?
Through the interview, quite a bit of space is dedicated to demonstrating that Michael Hastings WAS NOT!!!
the kind of
that should be held in any regard, as…he had no agenda higher than personal promotion.
Yet – such sentiments are far more idealistic than the reality of modern life will allow.
And…back to the statement – “When I got to L.A. and saw him, I immediately realized that he was not going to go (to rehab/detox
A “manic episode”… Hmmm… Doesn’t this generally go hand-in-hand with – Manic Depressive / Bipolar Disorder…?
According to my understanding…such a condition is characterized by PERIODIC episodes of Manic followed by Depressive phases. (…with
“periodic” being the focus of this observation…
To have been as active as Michael was in social media (Twitter, for example – giving televised interviews, for another
condition would surely have surfaced, and become evident in/through the last months of his life… Or – at least – I would expect it to…
Yet – the only reports we have of such exceptional behavior coming from one brother, and from the hosts of a weekend “concert getaway” two
His Twitter feed betrayed no sense of “losing grip”. His video interviews, while showing animated emotion, regarded subject matter that he was
becoming more intimately invested in…
Yet – we are to believe that…between June 12th and June 14th, 15th or 16th…he went from being able to FOOL someone (Jeremy
) that he spent the entire day with
…and an illustrious group of professional associates (in a friendly quasi-domestic
)…to…losing his grip SO BADLY, that he bolted like a spoiled brat…and killed himself in the process…?
…and…all of this…after sending the email to colleagues…and a bcc to someone he hadn’t communicated with for 4 to 6 months… ? ? ?
I’m sorry, but…all the insights given by Jonathan Hastings have done, for me are…to intensify the mystery.
Is it possible that he was correct?
Of course it is.
I’m sure, I’ll be back.