“Suicidal Tendencies” From Our March 6, 1996 Edition

Did a Portland publication goad three Brits to pull the trigger?


Last weekend, Portland publisher Jim Goad made news again when British tabloids linked his writings to the bizarre suicides of three young British neo-Nazis in Arizona and California. At the time, the connection to the ANSWER Me! publisher was tenuous at best, consisting of phone calls made to Goad's Portland voice-mail system by 23-year-old Jane Greenhow, who shot herself in Northern California on Feb. 22.

On Tuesday, however, Goad was pulled even further into the controversy after he received a note and $2,100 in money orders from one of the dead Britons, who mailed the package to Goad two days before killing herself.

The three suicides have prompted a firestorm of coverage in British tabloids, including wildly speculative reports that the young Britons had plotted to kill Bob Dole. On Feb. 21, Stefan Bateman and Ruth Fleming, both 22, rented ,38-special and .357-magnum revolvers from a Mesa, Ariz., gun range, took a few practice shots, and then turned the guns on themselves. Witnesses said they fell to the ground simultaneously.

The following day, Jane Greenhow (Fleming's and Bateman's roommate in England who had traveled with them to the United States) drove up a remote Northern California road near Lake Shasta and shot herself with a 10mm Glock pistol. Like her two friends, she was found clad in black paramilitary garb.

Unlike Fleming and Bateman, Greenhow left a suicide note at the scene of her death, addressed to her Glock. Also found in her car were notes declaiming British society and praising Nazism, along with a phony check for 6 million pounds, made out for "one per Jew," apparently one pound for every Jew
killed in the Holocaust.

Investigators found telephone records indicating that Greenhow, an honor student and the daughter of a senior Ministry of Defense official in charge of Royal Air Force Logistics, had placed numerous calls to Goad's published phone line, a voice-mail box in Portland. Goad reported receiving a lot of hang-up calls to the mailbox in the past month. Goad described a brief call on Feb. 16 in which an "incredibly depressed"-sounding young English woman discussed little beyond requesting confirmation of his address.

Goads' publication ANSWER Me! featured the article "Killing Me Softly, Roughly, and Just About Every Other Fucking Way Imaginable: 100 Spectacular Suicides." The 1993 issue devotes almost 60 pages to suicide, a subject Goad treats with little reverence.

In the article's introduction, Goad wrote, "It's one of life's cru- el paradoxes that truly worthless people never appreciate their worthlessness and thus aren't prone to commit suicide. That's why we have room in our other- wise impregnable hearts for the individuals on this list…if there were more people like them, this world wouldn't be half as bad. Ironically, it's the nonsuicidal who make life unbearable."

Greenhow might have taken Goad's musings a bit too seriously.

On the morning of March 4, Goad received a letter from Greenhow, along with three $700 money orders—two of which were made out to him, and one to his wife, Debbie, who is Jewish.

Greenhow's letter read:

"Jim and Debbie: You can't reply. I'm dead. This is the money I had left. I knew that if you had it, you'd use it to contribute to your good, and not the 'greater good.' the 'common good.' If you don't want it, don't take it. To try and explain all in a letter is futile. I acted. If I thought explaining to anyone else would do any good, I'd be alive, and stupid. —Jane."

According to Jim Goad, the money orders were dated Feb. 16, and the letter was post-marked Feb. 20. "My first instinct was to give these to a suicide hotline, or something," Goad says. "But that's not how she wanted it spent. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm really just sort of confused."

Goad has no idea why the letter took almost two weeks to reach his post-office box.

He says he told the Shasta County Sheriffs Department about the note and money the day he received them and is considering sending the money back to the woman's parents.

Goad says he is "pretty depressed" about the whole incident. When queried about whether there was any tie between his publication's advocacy of suicide and the three deaths, he says he's not to blame. "It's probably the result of bad parenting and forces way beyond my control." He did say, how- ever, that "she didn't mention any specific articles or anything, but they did have our address."