Rick Springer Dies By Own Hand – October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

GERLACH, NEVADA – Anti-nuclear activist Rick Springer was found deceased at his ranch in Garlach, Nev. last week. he was 59.

Though initially believed to be the victim of a heart attack, the Washoe County Coroner’s Office said that Springer died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Rick Springer

Springer, who lived in Arcata for a time, founded the Hundredth Monkey anti-nuclear activist group. He gained renown for interrupting a speech by President Ronald  Reagan in Las Vegas, smashing a statuette and attempting to gain public attention for a nearby nuclear test he was protesting.

“He was one of those guys that wore his heart on his sleeve,” said John Springer, Rick’s brother. “But when he made up his mind, he followed through with it.”

In recent years, Springer had roamed the U.S. and Mexico with some burros, teaching environmental values. He had since settled at a ranch in Nevada, and was married just a few weeks ago.

John Springer said the sequence of events has left the family puzzled. “We’re all trying to deal with that,” he said. He plans to visit investigating detectives and make sure that that the suicide ruling is accurate, “We want to know why,” he said. “Maybe there needs to be more to it.”

Friends and acquaintances filled the North Coast Journal’s blog with sad remembrances.

“Rick was one of my heroes, a total inspiration to face horrible realities in a powerful way,” said Stacey Depolo. “I was so proud of him the day he confronted Reagan and got us the press coverage we couldn’t get any other way, for one of the most important issues of our time. We had such a journey together on the 100th Monkey trek to Nevada, and his courage became a source of strength for me for years to come. I will never forget him and I hope his spirit has a smooth transition.”

“I was proud to call him my friend,” said Jim Smith.