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Thomas James Ball

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Thomas James Ball
Thomas James Ball.jpg
Lived February 21, 1953-June 15, 2011
Occupation activist
Spouse Karen Ball

Thomas James Ball (1953-2011) was a soldier, a father, and a men's rights activist. He came into the national spotlight through his self-immolation, an act of protest against feminism, family courts, and misandry.


Thomas James Ball was born on February 21, 1953. He grew up in Holden, MA and graduated from Wachusett Regional High School and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ball was a Sergeant in the Army National Guard. After 21 years of service in the armed forces, Ball worked in the private sector as a service advisor for New England car dealerships. He eventually moved to Winchendon, Mass, with wife (at the time) Karen Ball and their three children (Sara J. Ball, Melissa A. Ball and Kevin T. Ball). Thomas and Karen Ball were married from 1990 to 2002. Karen Ball filed for divorce in April 2001. Ball was having difficulty finding work to pay his court mandated child support payments, and at the time of his death he was facing jail for owing about $ 3000.[1] The finding of contempt filed on June 6, 2011 in Cheshire Country Superior Court ordered Mr. Ball to jail:

"B. Order Respondent to be confined in the Cheshire Country House of Corrections until such time as he has paid Ms. Ball the full amount of the 50 % of medical expenses due for the period May 9, 2006 through April 6, 2011, in the amount of 2,062.19." [2][3]

Thomas Ball's last residence was in Holden, Mass.[4]

Thomas Ball's immolation:
"He died for your children"
Thomas James Ball 2012 -
1 year after[5]

Political Suicide

Thomas James Ball's self-immolation[wp] took place near the main rear entrance of the Cheshire County[wp] Superior Court House, sandwiched between the Ashuelot River and Robin Hood Park. Just before 5:30 on the evening of June 15, 2011, he doused himself with gasoline and set himself ablaze, in a calm and confident manner. Witness Sean Desio described Ball's demeanour as "like he was just chilling there, doing yoga or something."[6] After the fire was burning, Ball refused help from several nearby men.[7]

Ball made no sound while he was burning. Witness Dan Koski describes "I saw a man standing on fire. He walked around a little bit, walked on to the grass, collapsed on all fours and literally sat there and burned." After Ball collapsed, witness Jerry Goodrich describes the intense flames as being "over his head, and when he was on the ground, they were probably a good foot over his body".[7] Thomas James Ball expired a few minutes after setting himself ablaze.

Reaction to Suicide

At first, coverage of Thomas James Ball's suicide was limited to local news organizations such as Free Keene. Various men's rights groups discussed Ball's actions, his motivations, and his mistreatment by family courts. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] The event was first carried by the national media when the International Business Times ran a story on June 17.[1] Coverage expanded after that, including mention on presidential candidate Ron Paul's[wp] web site [13] and on the Lew Rockwell's[wp] web site. [14]

Mission Statement

Ball sent a "last will and testament" to a local news organization, the "Union Leader", explaining the motivations for his self immolation.[15][16] Bell's statement is critical of family courts and Child Protective Services (CPS). This may have played a part in Bell's decision to take his own life. According to research[17] approximately 330 people commit suicide monthly in the U.S. in response to the way family courts and CPS handle divorce, domestic violence and child support. The study points out that the suicide rate for divorced men is 9.94 times higher than the suicide rate for divorced women.[18][19]

Ball concluded his letter with parting words for his children:

Quote: «I have three things to say to my children. First, Daddy loves you. Second, you are my three most favorite people in the world. And last, that you are to stick together no matter how old you get or how far apart you live. Because it is like Grandma always said. The only thing you really have in this world is your family.»[16]


Quote: «This country is run by idiots.» - Thomas James Ball[16]

Amanda Marcotte[wp] has finally responded (according to Ball's suicide) on her twitter:

Quote: «It's not uncommon for abusers to turn to self-harm to continue exerting control over their victims -[20]
Quote: «Apparently the old general was right. Death is not the worst of evil.» - Thomas James Ball[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hao Li: American Father Self-Immolates To Protest Against Family Courts, International Business Times on June 17, 2011 (Ball claimed to have served in the US Army for 21 years. He also claimed the Ball family has been serving the US military since the Revolutionary War.)
  2. Thomas James Ball Self-Immolated in Protest of the "Justice" System (link broken)
  3. Pdf-icon-extern.svg Karen Ball's Verified Motion for Finding of Contempt Against Respondent Thomas James Ball[ext] - CHESHIRE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, 2011, June 6 (4 pages)
  4. Police: Man Found On Fire Near Courthouse Dies (Investigators Say Man Set Himself On Fire), WMUR New Hampshire on June 16, 2011
  5. Memorialize Thomas James Ball - 1 Year Later - FatherLess Day, Thomas James Ball Blog on June 15, 2012
  6. Will King: Things I Don't Believe, Part V, The Schenectady Blog on June 17, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 Meghan Pierce: Keene suicide saw jail in his future, New Hampshire Union Leader on June 16, 2011
  8. John Hembling: A Father Burns Himself to Death, A Voice for Men on June 16, 2011
  9. Paul Elam: A Father's Day Letter to President Obama, A Voice for Men on June 17, 2011
  10. John Hembling: The Indifference to Male Pain, A Voice for Men on June 18, 2011
  11. Ian Freeman: NH: Thomas James Ball Self-Immolated in Protest of the "Justice" System, Save Services on June 16, 2011
  12. Distraught Father Barred from Seeing Kids Self-Immolates[webarchive], Anti Misandry on June 17, 2011 (archived on August 31, 2011)
  13. Tom Ball Kills Himself in Front of NH Courthouse, Daily Paul on 16 June 16, 2011
  14. William Norman Grigg: When the State Breaks a Man, on June 20, 2011
  15. Tom Ball: Murdered by the Family Courts[webarchive], A Voice for Men (archived on June 23, 2011)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Thomas James Ball: Last Statement
  17. Augustine J. Kposowa, "Marital Status and Suicide in National Longitudinal Mortality Study", Journal of Epideiology and Community Health, Vol. 54, April 2000, p. 256
  18. Male Suicide: The Dirty Secret that is NO Secret, Thomas James Ball Blog on June 13, 2012
  19. Modern Men and Suicide, Thomas James Ball Blog on May 6, 2012
  20. Amanda Marcotte Continues To Say That Men Use Suicide To Hurt Women, Thomas James Ball Blog on June 2, 2012

See also

External links

This article based initially on an article Thomas James Ball (June 22, 2011) from the free Encyklopedia Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article is published under the dual license GNU-License for free Documentation and Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Original deleted on June 23, 2011 in Wikipedia.