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07 November 2011

23-Year Old Ashlie Gough Identified as Woman Found Dead at Occupy Vancouver


From the British Columbia news service:

VANCOUVER – The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of the person who died at the Occupy Vancouver encampment on Nov. 5, 2011.

The deceased is Ashlie Gough, aged 23, of Victoria. She was found unresponsive in a tent at the site about 4:40 p.m. Despite aggressive resuscitative efforts, she could not be revived.

All indications are that her death was the result of a drug overdose, but this has yet to be confirmed by the coroner.

Earlier I condemned the culture of lawlessness fostered within the “Occupy” encampments, and I am still furious to think that the drugs which killed her may have been supplied by another resident of the camp. Perhaps someone more affluent than her, because it’s pretty clear from her Facebook account that she had been living in poverty.

But it also seems doubtful that she was a completely innocent victim. No, apparently her life had been in a downward spiral for some time. It’s unclear exactly when and why things started going wrong for Ashlie Gough. Perhaps she just made some very bad choices.

And then to her death at Occupy Vancouver at the age of 23…well, it’s enough to break my heart. Rest in peace.


Correction (11/7): When I originally wrote this post I expressed an opinion that Ashlie Gough appeared to have been in something of a “downward spiral” in the years preceding her untimely passing.

I formed this opinion based on a review of a series of photos in her Facebook account from the 2008-2009 timeframe, which had been linked elsewhere in the media, and which I found very dispiriting. In expressing this opinion my intent was not to disparage her, or cause any additional pain for her friends or family, but rather to express what I saw as the tragedy of a life cut way too short.

I’ve subsequently heard from several of her close friends who have convinced me that my characterization of her as being in a “downward spiral” was inaccurate, as things had turned around for her in recent years. I’ve seen other credible information now which attests to this fact.

It’s easy to forget how even a niche, political blog in California can reach the world via the power of Google, and in retrospect I should have been more careful with the words I chose. For those that knew Ashlie, I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

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