Reading Time: 3 minutes As we near the end of 2020 and the first global pandemic I've lived through, I'm low on ideas for maintaining social and creative connections when I have no inner life.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It probably goes without saying that when we die, we just die.

Which is not what a Minnesota guy named Pedro Ruiz, 22, was thinking last year when he talked his pregnant girlfriend Monalisa Perez, 20, into shooting a 50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun point-blank into a hardcover encyclopedia he was holding against his chest.

In this context, we should note there’s no evidence whatsoever that after we die, we somehow transcend material reality altogether (while our bodies still remain curiously intact) and are transported to a manifestly nonexistent place called Heaven, where we somehow exist in eternal bliss forever in the presence of a supreme divinity named “God.”

Unless, of course, we are incorrigibly bad persons, in which case we purportedly go south (although the evidence is very thin). Way south. All the way to Dante’s inferno. Hell. That’s what the Bible’s 2,000-year-old texts tell us, and many gullible folks, far too many, believe.

Yet, as we should know by now, belief is not fact and is not credible without fact. Without fact to substantiate it, in fact, belief is the equivalent of dreaming. It is wholly imaginary with no physical bridge to realty — wishful, magical musing.

No fear?

So, why wasn’t Mr. Ruiz afraid his experiment might go south? He explained in a disturbingly casual video preceding the shooting in which he fairly referred to himself as “the crazy Pedro.”

“The most trustworthy person that I trust in this world is my girlfriend, Monalisa,” he said. “So, if I die, I’m pretty much ready to go to heaven right now. … If I die, I’ll be ready for Jesus. He probably won’t accept me into the pearly gates because of how stupid this is, but I have confidence that my girlfriend will hit the book and not me.”

He did not add “should there be a heaven,” indicating any doubt in the actual existence of such a bad-decision-canceling place, which very conceivably might have rationally influenced his decision in the first place.

Ruiz also offered some chilling real-world motivations for this suicidal YouTube stunt.

“I want to bring to you guys stuff that will make the blood pump out of your veins. … My purpose is to be crazier than thee, crazier than (top reality stunt stars). I may fail, but if I do I want to die trying. But I don’t want to talk about dying, I want to talk about bringing you guys fun,  adrenaline-pumping, crazy videos.”

He said he was doing it all for clicks and tweets and notoriety, to shock “my fans.”

The couple hoped to post this momentous video on YouTube. One of the most sad, terrifying things I ever read in my life is a transcript released by authorities yesterday of the moments just before Perez pulled the trigger.

What, me worry?

But by fully believing in a realm where earthly errors are disappeared and infinite happiness reigns forever, it’s almost reasonable not to worry about decisions in the here and now, right?

Yet, initially, Miss Perez was reasonably skeptical of Ruiz’s plan, and “scared” to carry it out. In the video, she worries:

“Babe, if I kill you what’s gonna happen to my life? Like, no, this is not okay. I don’t want to be responsible.”

If only.

Ultimately, she fired into the thick encyclopedia Ruiz held against his chest. Inevitably, the large-caliber bullet zipped right through it, instantly killing the  hopelessly over-hopeful Ruiz.

Norman County Attorney James Brue, later said statements in the video by star-crossed couple were “clearly offensive to common sensibilities.”

180 days in jail

Perez was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 180 days in jail to be served in annual 30-day spans for six years. Ruiz sentenced himself to immortal nothingness (as far as can be determined), the perfect, endless bliss he imagined a nonexistent illusion. He has not confirmed his arrival in paradise.

So, the moral of this story is if you or anyone you know is considering a similar stunt undergirded with similar supernatural beliefs and social-media motivations, don’t do it.

In the end, such an irresponsible act will inflict enormous, often lifelong pain on those you and other self-destroyers love and care about in the real world and leave behind. And there is no credible reason to expect that yours and others’ ill-advised deaths with translate into immortal joy in some distant, happy, invisible other rworld.

Please, if you’re thinking anything remotely like Pedro Ruiz did, perish the thought.

Really, it’s terrifying that such advice is even necessary.

Please sign up for new-post notifications (top right). Shares, comments appreciated!


Rick Snedeker is a retired American journalist/editor who now writes in various media and pens nonfiction books. He has received nine past top South Dakota state awards for newspaper column, editorial,...

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments