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Saturday, July 19, 2014

We Have Lost Our Beloved Friend, Dan Markel

We write this together, all of us, as a community. Our friend Dan Markel has been taken from us, suddenly and terribly. His law school, the Florida State University College of Law, will issue an announcement in due time. We do not have all the details, but our understanding is that Dan was shot and killed. Painful as it is to say that, and as little as we know, the early news reports left enough room for speculation that it seemed necessary to say that much. The terrible, senseless nature of his loss makes it all the harder to bear. 

All of us here on Prawfsblawg live in different places and come from different backgrounds. What we have in common, with many others, is Dan. His network of friends and loved ones--and he had a great deal of love for all his many friends, as we did and do for him--is enormous. His boundless energy was at the center of this community; it made it run, it gave it life. We are stunned and bereaved by his loss, and our thoughts go to his two little boys, who were precious to him, and to his family. Many, many people loved him and are grieving today. Baruch dayan emet.

Matt Bodie

Rick Garnett

Paul Horwitz

Rick Hills

Lyrissa Lidsky

Ethan Leib

Orly Lobel

Jonathan Simon

Steve Vladeck

Howard Wasserman



Posted by Paul Horwitz on July 19, 2014 at 05:50 PM | Permalink


For everyone who posted or considered posting above, a call for memories from Danny's family. From Shelly Markel, Danny's sister:

Dear friends,

We have been so appreciative of all the amazing tributes and memories shared about Danny and we would really like to collect them all in one place. So we are sending out a call for memories of Danny. Please feel free to share this information.

Written reflections, photos, video, audio, excerpts from correspondence are all welcomed. These will be made into a book and digital media compilation that we will share at an appropriate time with Danny's two boys, Benjamin and Lincoln.

Please visit www.rememberingdanny.com to share your submissions with us.

We’d also love to receive any videos you have of Danny, and any video messages you may have or would like to create. For instructions on what to do with those larger files or any questions please email us at [email protected].

Thank you!

The Markel family

Posted by: Emily Satterthwaite | Aug 28, 2014 11:56:36 AM

Thoughts and prayers to Dan's family. Hoping that justice is served. The legal community has truly lost a great teacher.

Posted by: Sean | Aug 8, 2014 8:21:50 AM

I am shocked and saddened to hear this! I only knew Dan through my guest blogging on Prawfs, but I just had to write a note to express my condolences. He was always so lively, energetic, witty, and smart on the blog, so I can only imagine how that must have paled to interacting with him in person. I will keep his family and friends in my prayers.

Posted by: Kelly Anders | Jul 25, 2014 3:46:49 PM

OMG, I just saw this today in the ABA Journal I am glad I got to know you during my brief time at FSU, and I appreciate all of your helpfulness and kindness, both when I was there and afterwards. RIP Dan. You deserved better.

Posted by: Joe Leahy | Jul 25, 2014 1:26:23 PM

I'm so sad and shocked at this tragedy. Dan was such a generous and outgoing person, reaching out to everyone, and I loved seeing his love for his children. My heart goes out to them and his family.

Posted by: Bethany Berger | Jul 24, 2014 2:45:13 PM

I'd known Dan since law school. Dan was a great guy to talk ideas with: collegial, but unsparing. He also lent a lot of people a hand, academically or otherwise, when there was quite obviously nothing in it for him. Danny, old friend, you will be missed.

Posted by: Brendan Maher | Jul 24, 2014 11:54:51 AM

Someone earlier said that Dan was a force of nature. That's how I feel as well: I admired Dan. He was intellectually involved with virtually every idea and person in criminal theory. He had original ideas, which he thought out to the roots and held with conviction; he saw clearly that the ideas were not just a matter of intellectual gamesmanship but a matter of justice. He was decent. I think it might be clearest and simplest just to say he had a sense of justice. And he was kind: I'm younger and newer to the field of criminal theory than Dan, and I will always be grateful for the way he welcomed me into the fold. It is unbearably painful to think of what this crime means for his two children. I hope above all that those two boys will somehow find a way to live at peace with the memory of their father, remembering his love for them and knowing that he was a man of brilliance, goodness, and passion.

Posted by: Joshua Kleinfeld | Jul 24, 2014 11:35:59 AM

Would it be possible to post a mailing address to send cards for those of us unable to attend the funeral in Toronto?

Posted by: Tim Markey | Jul 23, 2014 6:41:21 AM

I want to offer a personal, unusual perspective on Dan, which shines light on his character.

Dan banned me from posting comments on Prawfs in 2006. At the time, I was a squirrely, arrogant Biglaw associate who visited this site to procrastinate in the middle of the day, and I had neither hope nor desire for the academy. Consequently, when I thought a blog post was loony, I was happy to comment as much. (What did I care what a bunch of out-of-touch law professors thought?) That led to the blockage of my IP address.

Later, as I matured and grew closer to the academy, and started to offer thoughtful comments on Prawfs, Dan never held anything against me. He surely had reason to hold a grudge-- I sent him a snarky email after my banishment.

Dan could have torpedoed my candidacy when I was on the market, but he did not. I enjoyed my subsequent job talk at FSU and still remember firmly shaking his hand. He gave me nothing but kind words right before the Big Event.

I should emphasize that I never made direct reparations for my prior behavior. Dan was just patient with me as I developed as a human being and a scholar, and once I started to engage thoughtfully rather than sardonically, he welcomed me. I never got to apologize to him.

I did not get to know Dan as well as I liked. I enjoyed having dinner with him in Iowa City when he visited last. And we shared a late night beer with a small group at SEALS, for which I now feel privileged. At the time, I sensed he was a little detached and distracted, for reasons that now seem clear. But he still offered me nothing but honest advice and mentoring about building a scholarly profile.

I've struggled to post this, because I did not know Dan as well as others, and my shock and sadness surely pales in comparison to that felt by others. And I feel some guilt in making this post, because, I think, subconsciously, I am ultimately trying to handle feelings that I don't know what else to do with, and am not principally trying to make any type of meaningful contribution.

But I think it is worthwhile for people to know that Dan extended his friendship and mentoring even to persons who did not deserve it -- he was not a mere networker or schmoozer. I think he legitimately liked seeing people succeed, even if he watched the ascension of someone who was rude to him previously.

I'm now entrenched enough in the legal academy to see that professors can be quite nasty to one another for even a trifle, but Dan never did anything to soil my career. He must have seen something in me that I didn't, and he gave me a chance. I'm forever grateful for that.

Dan, please forgive another self-indulgent post from me. You will be missed.

Posted by: andy | Jul 23, 2014 4:01:33 AM

I only just heard of the senseless death of Dan Markel. Both Joseph and Lorna Lewis are terrible shocked. We have known the family for several years. Our prayers and thoughts are with them. Dan was such a fine young man...I am lost for words. What a loss for those of us who knew him and loved him.
May he rest in peace!

[email protected]

Posted by: Lorna Lewis | Jul 22, 2014 10:56:58 PM

I was so delighted when, years ago, Dan renewed friendship, across the years and miles, via Facebook. I knew Dan in Lowell House when he was an undergraduate at Harvard. There are no words to express our sadness at his death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Posted by: Tim Markey | Jul 22, 2014 8:22:01 AM

What’s truly amazing, as reflected in the remembrances here and elsewhere, is the sheer number of people whose lives Dan touched in a meaningful way. I had always thought of him as connected, but to say that now is to understate things so completely as to risk missing the mark entirely. I wasn’t a close friend, but even so I can say without a doubt that my career would not have been the same had my path not crossed his. What’s overwhelming is how many others can say the same thing, and all of us in a meaningful way. I will honor his memory by trying to be better – as a colleague, as a teacher, as a scholar, and as a dad.

Posted by: Chad Oldfather | Jul 21, 2014 8:26:03 PM

From Jay Michaelson. Thanks for saying so much of what is, for me, still inarticulable.

Posted by: Emily Satterthwaite | Jul 21, 2014 5:24:32 PM

This is incredibly sad news. Dan was warm, devout, generous, kind even to those who could do nothing for him, and always confident. And he really loved those boys. Just heart-breaking.

Posted by: Samuel Bray | Jul 21, 2014 4:14:41 PM

All I can do is add to the mosaic of thoughts from people who knew Dan much better. Danny was a guy who would take the initiative to help you out, on things big and small. I won't forget his kind words and advice. Reflecting over the past few days, I realized that we should take a few lessons from Dan to heart. One of them is that we don't know how much a little bit of kindness and generosity here and there can affect people in the aggregate. Just read everything above and on his Facebook page. We should honor him by trying to do more of that in our own lives.

I vividly recall Dan arriving at the ASU conference for junior faculty in 2011, wearing his super-cool sunglasses at a spring-training baseball game. I jokingly asked him if he was a little bit "old" for hanging around with us newbies. (I'm a year older than Dan.) He laughed and said, "I'll never, ever be too old for this." Oh, the cruelty of it all. That's how I'll remember him.

Posted by: David Friedman | Jul 21, 2014 3:50:19 PM

This is devastating. Dan was such a lively presence in the world. My thoughts are with his family, and especially his kids.

Posted by: Bill Araiza | Jul 21, 2014 3:15:34 PM

Dan was a rigorous academic and a kind friend. This tragedy is unspeakable. I hope his family can find comfort in one another during this terrible time. Thank you for allowing us to comfort one another in this on-line shiva.

Posted by: Nicole Huberfeld | Jul 21, 2014 3:01:40 PM

Dan was a true mensch and a great guy.

Posted by: Zev Eigen | Jul 21, 2014 12:38:16 PM

I had last spoken with Dan on Thursday, July 10th, at Local 61 in Brooklyn, when we were both coincidentally in town. (I had been vacationing in Greenport, LI but had come back to town for an advisory committee hearing).

As usual, we chatted serendipitously about this and that -- our favorite places in Tel Aviv (e.g., Yarkon Park), blogging issues (e.g., the care and feeding of trolls, or not), how and when to write amicus briefs, the new love in his life, and, most important, his kids. (He hurried over to my apartment to re-charge his i-pad so he could Skype "good night" to them).

I did not typically see Dan very frequently in person -- maybe two or three times a year or so, when he was passing through NYC. With Dan, however, it did not take much face time to maintain close friendships. Like an ounce of gold spread across a church dome, Dan seemed to make tiny snippets of time count in maintaining friendships with literally hundreds of people in his orbit of friends, held together by an occasional email, a quick bite at a bar, a few words at a crim law theory conference or prawfsblawg fest. He was like a human Grand Central Station, bustling with extraordinary energy to bring people together, using his blog in a self-effacing way to connect people with books, jobs, ideas, each other.

When someone like Dan is torn out of the web, it leaves a lot of loose ends.

Posted by: Rick Hills | Jul 21, 2014 11:48:51 AM

Steph and I are heartbroken at Dan's loss. We met him in college and have been friends ever since. An anecdote: we haven't crossed paths much in the last couple of years, but I sent out a mass email for a fundraiser about two weeks ago. Dan was the first person to respond with a donation, about one minute after I sent the email.
We will miss you.

Posted by: Yair Listokin | Jul 21, 2014 10:47:37 AM

My condolences to his friends and family, especially his young children.

My niece goes to Tallahassee. It looks nice in photographs, it's the state capital, etc. When I went down for her graduation (I had been to UF several times, never to FSU) I was struck by how dirty and crime-ridden the town was. Really nasty little place. Just wandering a little off campus in any direction and the place felt shady. One of her friends was robbed at gunpoint in a gas station in the early evening. There was another apparent armed confrontation between a student and someone involved in the drug trade somehow, so I'm told.

Nasty, nasty, nasty place. I'm sorry that this man died, and I'm sorry he had to live in that disgusting town in the first place.

[Moderator comment: I'm keeping this comment, because we didn't say anything by way of caution in the post itself--it seemed out of place to do so, and obviously the general and very respectful outpouring suggests that it wasn't necessary--and because I am sure it was sincerely meant. But please, let us treat this as a place for remembrances or condolences only. Doubtless there are and will be many other places to discuss the terrible crime itself. I intend no offense to this commenter when I observe that I will police this thread and prune it as necessary, although I doubt much policing will be needed. I'll leave it at that and hope people don't feel a need to respond, kindly or unkindly, to this comment or my annotation. Thanks, all.]

Posted by: Drew | Jul 21, 2014 10:17:08 AM

I didn't know Dan personally and we wrote in different fields, but I know of his work and how highly it is respected. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Posted by: Scott Gerber | Jul 21, 2014 8:56:19 AM

Been thinking about this song today:


Posted by: Matt Bodie | Jul 21, 2014 1:14:22 AM

I just learned of Dan's death via Glenn Reynolds' blog. Only last week I reread one of his articles on punitive damages, in researching a cert. petition I'm filing tomorrow. I didn't know him well, but with his typical thoroughness Dan contacted me once or twice years ago regarding some of my past work in this field, and I was planning to send him a copy of the petition to seek his reactions. What a huge loss for the many people whose lives Dan touched, both professionally and personally, however much that pales in comparison to the loss for his children and the rest of his family. The news is very difficult to absorb. At least we have a forum for expressing our thoughts, and for being reminded of the huge impact Dan had in a life cut decades short.

Posted by: Ken Chesebro | Jul 21, 2014 1:12:31 AM

Miss you, pal. As you used to write, xoxo.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 20, 2014 11:56:31 PM

This is very sad news. I didn't know Dan well, but we were classmates in law school and in many of the same classes, including a number with the late David Charny (who I know was a big influence on Dan, as he was on me) and Dan Kahan's evidence class, which Professor Kahan mentions earlier in this string. I well remember Dan's energy and ambition and I will miss knowing that he is out there in academia always pushing forward.

Posted by: Sam Williamson | Jul 20, 2014 10:40:06 PM

I am so sorry for Dan's deeply loved family. His recently volunteered and exceptionally constructive comments on a paper in progress are sitting on my desk. It will be so hard to go back to them as I had planned, knowing that there won't be another exchange together on our work, as for so many, many of us. This is utterly outrageous for so many reasons.

Posted by: Sam Buell | Jul 20, 2014 8:56:52 PM

Dan Markel will always remain prominent in my mind as the epitome of what an inquisitive, probing intellect should look like. Being taken from us in this fashion feels too tragic, too sensless, to be real. Dan, thank you for being an amazing teacher and mentor. Thank you for being an even better friend.

Posted by: Luke | Jul 20, 2014 8:39:14 PM

This is awful news. I am glad to have been Dan's classmate, friend, and colleague. I'll miss him, as will FSU and the entire law-school community. Greatest condolences to Linc, Ben, and the rest of Dan's family.

Posted by: Mike Dimino | Jul 20, 2014 7:08:53 PM

My heart aches for Dan's family. And what a hole Dan's death leaves in our community. I will miss his generosity of spirit, his curiosity, his boundless energy, the joy he took in being a father, his amazing ability to bring people together. One story that personifies Dan for me: the day I arrived in Tallahassee to begin my semester at FSU, my phone began to ring maybe 10 minutes after I arrived in town. It was Dan, welcoming me to town and inviting me to dinner that night--as he did for every Shabbat and every holiday and so many other times in the months that followed.

Posted by: Susan Bandes | Jul 20, 2014 6:52:52 PM

Feeling indescribably sad today, but also immensely lucky to have been able to share ideas & friendship w/ Dan since he first grabbed my attention as a curious & brilliant student in my evidence course back in 1999...

Posted by: Dan Kahan | Jul 20, 2014 5:48:58 PM

I'll add a couple words here if I may, albeit fairly cheesy ones. I was rereading The World According to Garp earlier this week, and I am thinking a good deal about one of Garp's nicknames: "Captain Energy." A good title for Dan, certainly: he had more sheer energy than just about anyone I know, and part of what I find painful right now is the simple feeling that one could have looked up fifty years from now and seen him pursuing things with undiminished verve and commitment, or gotten a "what's up" call from out of nowhere. He was a warm, generous guy. The academy has no shortage of introverts, but not him; an obvious reason so many people are so stunned right now is not just the suddenness of the loss, but that he simply knew and befriended so many, many people. He was deeply attached to his family, warm and downright gloopy about them. He was ambitious, as many driven people in this or any other profession are. But as all the tributes to his generosity suggest, and I think this is a tremendously valuable trait in an ambitious world, he was equally interested, or more, in everyone else's success; he wanted the circle to be larger and better, not more exclusive. Most of all, again, I will miss his warmth and energy. And although a lot of us are feeling a sense of personal loss, his family and closest loved ones are the ones I am thinking about the most, with sorrow for this sudden, terrible theft of what should have been a great deal more time.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Jul 20, 2014 5:42:37 PM

Such a profound, shocking, senseless loss. My heart goes out to Dan's children, family, and countless friends. May the outpouring of support here and elsewhere serve as testament to a life well-lived.

Posted by: Gregg Macey | Jul 20, 2014 5:36:48 PM

I am deeply sad at the catastrophic loss of Dan's vibrant voice and incisive mind. Our understanding of criminal law, responsibility, and sentencing will be less without his insights and analysis. May God comfort his family and friends.

Posted by: Linda Meyer | Jul 20, 2014 5:27:19 PM

Like many of you, I'm devastated by this tragic and senseless crime and am at a loss for words. Dan, you are and will forever be missed. RIP.

Posted by: Anita Anand | Jul 20, 2014 5:09:56 PM

A terrible and senseless tragedy. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues.


Posted by: U_N | Jul 20, 2014 4:39:09 PM

What a loss to our academic community and to Danny's family. He was as good a father as a person could be. And who could network better? Be more inclusive? More energetic? More intellectually honest and focused? Few of us cause significant ripples. Danny is surely one of those who have. What a treat for us all to have had him in our lives. Wherever Danny is, would anyone be surprised if he were organizing a discussion group? Neil Philip Cohen

Posted by: Neil Philip Cohen | Jul 20, 2014 4:30:09 PM


Posted by: Joe | Jul 20, 2014 3:28:45 PM

I still can't believe it's true. Dan was a true pioneer in the legal academy and his blogging, among his many achievements, was path-breaking in our industry. His legacy in our profession will be felt for years, especially as more of our writing and commentary is made on-line.

More importantly, Dan was a great person and a terrific dad. I'll never forget meeting him at the new law professors conference in 2005 and just instantly clicking with him. He was a great guy and he will be sorely missed.

Posted by: Mike McCann | Jul 20, 2014 2:52:28 PM

Still stunned, shocked, and saddened by Dan's loss, I want to echo the beautiful words expressed by so many above. I knew Dan since law school, and he was remarkably supportive and instrumental in helping me to break into the legal academy years later -- including introducing me to many of you at an AALS Prawfs happy hour in 2009. I hadn't seen Dan in years, but he treated me like an ancient friend. I have posted some additional memories on my own faculty blog -- http://professors.nesl.edu/2014/07/in-memoriam-dan-markel-1972-2014.html.

My heart breaks for his family and friends, especially Ben and Lincoln. May his memory be for a blessing.

Posted by: Jordy Singer | Jul 20, 2014 2:27:05 PM

One more comment (and I beg your indulgence - we revert to our base pathologies in times like this and mine is as manic expressive), but Howard's and other's posts reminded me of something.

As I was walking the dogs this morning from my home in Cambridge, MA, I could not get out of my mind Dan's place in the chain of causation in something as nominally trivial as the friends I've made in the morning off-leash park at the corner of Walden and Raymond Streets. By the magic of archives, you can read Dan's first PrawfsBlawg on April 5, 2005, while he was still a lawyer in Washington, DC, getting ready to head to FSU as an assistant professor. Back then, just a few blogs - now institutions like Volokh Conspiracy or Balkinization - were out there. In April 2005 I was still the GC of Great Lakes Chemical, living in Indianapolis, dipping my toes in academic authorship and figuring out what to do with my professional life when we closed the sale of the company. Somehow I found my way to PrawfsBlawg, and started commenting regularly and not anonymously. My first academic conference was the Law & Society Annual Meeting in Baltimore in 2006, just before I went to Tulane, and there Dan asked if I wanted to guest on the blog, and things took off career-wise from there. Among my fondest memories of my academic career is of the evening on a patio of some bar near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore where Dan and his PrawfsBlawg mates, the people who I had come to know virtually, came to life. They are still among my best friends in the academy.

In the complexity metaphor of the butterfly flapping its wings, there is no end (Ein Sof) to the chain of causation. Many of us are lawyers so we can quibble about proximateness, but it's likely that but for Dan I wouldn't be sitting at this desk in this house with this job, walking my dogs to meet those particular friends in that particular park.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jul 20, 2014 2:11:31 PM

My name is Kelly Grant and I'm a reporter with The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto, Canada.

First, my deepest sympathies to you all on the loss of Dan. It sounds like he was a wonderful scholar, teacher, father and friend.

We're working on a story about Dan for tomorrow's paper. I would love to include remembrances from people who knew and loved him well. If any of you have time for an interview, I can be reached at the numbers below.

All the best,
Kelly Grant
The Globe and Mail
office: 416-585-5334
cell: 647-688-4214

Posted by: Kelly Grant | Jul 20, 2014 1:48:15 PM

I just learned this horrible news and I am utterly shocked and horrifed. I met Danny in 2011 and he gave me the opportunity to blog here, as well. He was kind, funny, and just wonderful, as all of you note above. Terrible loss to our community and to the community of all humanity at large. Our world is bereft.

Posted by: Debbie Borman | Jul 20, 2014 1:04:28 PM

Such sad news. Such a loss for all of us and our academic community.

Posted by: Miriam Cherry | Jul 20, 2014 12:31:50 PM

I'm so sorry to hear this. Dan was very kind and generous to me. He was smart and had quite a spark. He spoke often of his love for twin sons. My heart goes out to them and his other family and close friends.

Posted by: Jen Kreder | Jul 20, 2014 12:12:16 PM

May his family, friends, and students find strength and be comforted.

Posted by: Adriane | Jul 20, 2014 11:28:06 AM

This is such incredibly sad and tragic news. Dan has always been a shining example of what is best in his generation of law teachers and scholars--brilliant, kind, insightful, energetic. That continues to be the case. I am very sad, but proud to have known and been influenced by him.

Posted by: Gregory Bowman | Jul 20, 2014 11:26:23 AM

I am proud that my name is on this original post, which I am happy to see has produced an outpouring of support and tribute to our friend and colleague in this time of great sadness. Nothing better demonstrates Dan's success in building this community.

I also want to add my personal thoughts to that conversation. My scholarly career changed for the better when Dan invited me to join Prawfs in 2007 (first as a guest and then permanently). Professionally, I owe Dan more than I could ever recount or repay. Personally, he was a good friend and I am forever grateful for how he reached out to my family and me over our recent losses.

Alav Ha-sholom

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Jul 20, 2014 10:32:24 AM

What terrible news, and what a terrible loss! My condolences to his family and loved ones.

Posted by: Ben Barros | Jul 20, 2014 10:27:08 AM

What heartbreaking news. Dan and his work were full of such energy. I was just recently reading some of his courageous writing on retributivism and political transition. While his scholarship will continue to live and thrive on its own, it would also be wonderful to come together and celebrate it. Peace to all in these painful times.

Posted by: Mark Drumbl | Jul 20, 2014 10:09:01 AM

Dan was a remarkable man and I will miss him. I remember in 2009 when he invited my whole class into his home where we ate dinner with his family and critiqued each classmates' papers for hours. He treated his students like they were part of his family. I left his course with the impression that he not only wanted you to be the best attorney you could be, but also the best person you could be, including passionately serving your community.

Words cannot express how deeply Dan affected the people around him. The world has lost a great man and a truly brilliant legal mind.

Posted by: Joshua Brian | Jul 20, 2014 10:03:04 AM

Horrific, incomprehensible. I pray for Dan and his family. Baruch dayan emet; na mo ah mi to fu.

Posted by: David Law | Jul 20, 2014 9:14:23 AM

He was a great law professor because you could tell he was interested in how it was done, how to do it right, and most importantly saw you, the student, actually out there doing it.

I took two of his classes. We became friends. I graduated. I made some rude comments on here about politics. We stopped being friends but still kept in touch periodically.

He was a liver of life. A vibrant intelligence. Gone. We are the less for it.

I am sad.

Posted by: Bart | Jul 20, 2014 9:12:59 AM

What a terrible, tragic loss to the academic community, FSU Law School, and most of all, to the people who knew and loved Dan. My deepest condolences go out to Linc, Ben, and Wendi and the rest of Dan's family and friends. I sincerely hope that the investigators on this case bring whoever committed this horrible, senseless crime to swift justice.

Posted by: Gennifer Bridges | Jul 20, 2014 9:10:58 AM

Dan so enriched our academic community, welcoming me, and I expect many others, to the world of legal academia with enthusiasm and joy. I hope that we can will find a suitable way to honor his contributions.

Posted by: Katy Kuh | Jul 20, 2014 9:03:26 AM

Dan was a great law professor colleague.
I am shocked and saddened.

Posted by: Thaddeus Mason Pope | Jul 20, 2014 7:49:36 AM

I'll mourn, as I often do, with my words, and then hope that this post and the associated comments stay at the top of the scroll for a week - a blogger's Shiva, as it were, and how appropriate in so many ways for Danny.

I am Jewish, raised Reform, not observant, not religious or theist in any traditional sense, but moderately well versed in literature, liturgy, and culture. Nevertheless, I have only seen here and on Facebook for the first time the phrase "Baruch Dayan Emet," meaning "blessed is the judge of truth," and have since learned it is prayer expressed upon hearing terrible news.

That's so Jewish because it says so much and so little, and is so capable of so many readings. For me, it doesn't say, in an attempt to explain this awful thing, that it was God's will, because how could a good God will this? Some others, I've seen today, understand "Baruch Dayan Emet" to be a statement of submission to something like a will of God. Sorry. I can't go there. The articulation of the following paradox actually goes back to the philosopher Pierre Bayle, but wise American rabbis like Harold Kushner and Harold Schulweis have suggested, in their own rationalizations of bad things happening to good people, that God can be all-good or all-powerful but not both. I prefer to think of the prayer as a statement of humility in the face of a world that poses just this paradox of ultimate goodness and ultimate power. If God is metaphor for all-good, there are indeed metaphors of Godliness that are appropriate to my memories of Danny - as love, as force, as mentor, as father, as friend, as sunshine, as moderate, as reason, as leader. No mere collection of chemicals and biophysics created a soul like Danny's; that was a gift of some singularity in the universe - our god is nameless and, as the Kabbalists say, Ein Sof, there is no end. If we feel that way, as rational and as skeptical as we might be, we can never ascribe to the certitude of atheism. Beyond the ritual, beyond the liturgy, beyond the history, beyond the metaphors, beyond the teleology, and even beyond the concept of mystery itself, there is no end.

The prayer doesn't tell me to accept that what has happened here is anything but evil manifest in the world. It simply reflects that however this world got put together, it was put together with the irreconcilable capacities, on one hand, for good and great lives like Danny's and, on the other, for cutting lives like those far too short by human acts of unspeakable evil. How are we supposed to come to terms with that?

If another metaphor for God is the Judge of Truth, and that metaphoric godliness is something to which we aspire, then it seems to me that we are telling ourselves never to be resigned to evil, to strive to make ourselves judges of truth, even as we acknowledge that any final reconciliation will exceed our reach. Because other than the blessing of Dan's life and his memory, there's nothing good today.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jul 20, 2014 6:12:44 AM

So sad to hear the news. Dan was the kind of person you could just meet once and feel like you'd known him a long time. He was so generous with his time and his mind, and, as so many have said, he built connections, networks, and institutions not out of a sense of self-aggrandizement, but out of what I can only call a desire to serve others. I know Dan had his share of troubles in the past couple of years. I only hope he has found peace.

Posted by: David Ball | Jul 20, 2014 4:52:37 AM

Such a tragic, senseless loss. I admired Dan for his kindness, his intellect, his inclusiveness, and above all his unabashed devotion to his boys. If there is a Prawfs or other fund being put together for them, please do post information.

Posted by: Nadine Farid Johnson | Jul 20, 2014 2:14:46 AM

Dan was the center of a remarkable network of wonderful people – he introduced me to many of the friends I hold dear today. As his own friend, Dan always made you feel as if you were the only person that mattered. He was always incredibly generous with his time, wise counsel, and genuine, warm attention. Danny, we will never forget you. You were a great man.

Posted by: Ben Depoorter | Jul 20, 2014 1:14:58 AM

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