J sub D, RIP


I'm very sorry to report that John Hannah, a fixture in the Hit & Run comment threads under the handle J sub D, has died of lung cancer. His earliest comment on the site—or at least the earliest I can find—is here; his final one is here.

The last years of Hannah's life were hard ones, to judge from this Mitch Albom column. Albom's article describes a veteran who died alone, his body waiting for someone to claim it; the column is as unaware of Hannah's witty, politically charged life online as we on the Web were unaware of J sub's unhappy personal circumstances:

Hannah, as near as I can piece together, grew up somewhere in Wayne County. He served years in the Navy, reached the relatively high level of E8 (in the Navy, that would be a senior chief petty officer). At some point, perhaps a decade ago, his wife died, and he took it hard. He didn't want to live anymore.

"He just dropped out of sight," said Jim Hoffner, who oversees the kitchen at Pilgrim Church/I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries in Detroit, where, for the last five or six months, Hannah had been sleeping among other homeless men, on vinyl mats beneath wool blankets. "He was a helluva nice guy. Intelligent. He helped with the chores here. At some point every day, he would walk up to the library at Wayne State. I think he used the computers there."

He thinks. Someone else thinks. There are snippets of John Hannah from people he encountered in his final months.

He was Caucasian, thin, 5 feet 5 or so. He smoked and had lung cancer, which he accepted.

"He said he came here to die," Annette Covington related. She is the wife of the church's late pastor, Henry Covington. She knew Hannah as a quiet, decent man, who, after the kindness shown him at the shelter, said he changed his mind and wanted to live.

It was too late.

The shelter where Hannah lived has a website here; if you'd like to make a donation in J sub's memory, its contact info is here.

Jennifer Abel, who interacted frequently with Hannah on the Grylliade forum, points me to the post there where he reacted to his diagnosis:

My spirits are good if somewhat subdued for the time being. Swallowing the news was both harder and easier than I would have expected. I know that makes no sense but that's the way I am. I haven't cried or gone into woe is me mode. I'm certainly not embracing the situation but seem to be accepting the reality fairly well. Someone once said "Life's a bitch and then you die" which is only half true. "Life's a joy that has to end" might be a better way to put it.

* * *
Update: Tributes from Jennifer Abel, D.A. Ridgely, and Dr. Thoreau.

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  1. RIP J sub. The world is a lesser place without you.

  2. I found out about this just a few minutes ago from Viking Moose. I had no idea what he was going through, but I know that I’ll miss him and his great comments. I feel so helpless and sad for my virtual friend.

  3. I suspect I’m not the only one thinking, “I had no idea”. RIP.

  4. Be at peace, J sub D. We will miss you. You were an articulate and passionate voice of reason…and to that (and to you), we drink.

  5. Wow. Who knew? RIP J sub D.

  6. Bon voyage, J sub.

  7. Some commenters here, we know too much about. Others, obviously, not enough.

    Rest in peace.

    1. Yes. This.

    2. Seemed like a decent fellow. I’m sure I disagreed with a few things he wrote, but it was always about ideas, not personalities. As it should be on a public forum. RIP.

  8. Thanks for the post, Jesse. Farewell, J sub.

  9. His family found him. Apparently he had not communicated with them in quite a while. They posted a response to Albom’s column so people would understand they weren’t ignoring him.

      1. It’s in the comments of the Albom column linked above. It doesn’t seem that you can link straight to it on their site.

        1. Ahh, thanks for the heads up, I thought it might be a letter to the editor. I avoid newspaper article comments as a rule.

  10. So depressing. RIP J sub D. Jesse – thanks for the link, I intend to make a donation in J sub’s name.

  11. You’ll be greatly missed J sub.

  12. Damn, why is it so dusty in here.

    RIP, J sub.

  13. H+R + J_sub_D = :^)
    H + R – J_sub_D = ;^(

  14. RIP. He will be missed. These are the only comment threads where, even though I have never seen face to face, I truly feel like I know, the regulars. I felt like I knew him even though I never saw so much as a photo. I am deeply saddened, I truly am. All the best to his family and friends.

  15. I’ll miss John.

    In addition to what Jesse suggests, I suggest that, in John’s honor, everyone find an excuse to say “Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck” about some government outrage today.

    1. +the internet.

    2. everyone find an excuse to say “Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck” about some government outrage today.

      Oh, that’s everyday, but I’ll make sure to say it a bit louder today on J sub’s behalf.

    3. I’ll miss trolling John. I’ve been doing it under a good dozen or so pseudonyms since the late 90’s.

    4. Make that six “Fuck”s in a row.

      Godspeed, J.

  16. Now this is a worse nutpunch than what Radley usually dishes out.

    RIP. This place isn’t the same without you.

  17. This is bad, unwelcome news.

    He is missed.

  18. That sucks.

  19. I never knew. Farewell J. You always made us laugh.

  20. Fair winds and following seas brother.

    1. I don’t get to comment like I once did, but J sub D’s comments were always great. Like many others, I found myself choked up about a man I never met face to face.

      Fair winds and following seas, Senior Chief. You WILL be missed.

  21. You mean we are human beings in here? Actual people? Very sad news. I guess we all have some story or other.

  22. Wit, class, dignity, courage…

  23. His first comment here was telling me I was wrong about something? That seems apropos somehow, as I often need correction.

    1. It’ll be hard to fill J sub’s shoes, but when it comes to telling you you’re wrong, Pro L, we’ll try.

    2. It was he and I who touched-off what I think is still the longest comments session here, with 2117 entries.

      When I’m gone, anyone can say whatever they want about me, as long as it’s true, like I’m about to:

      I was never impressed with him.

      1. What higher praise could there be than to say of a man, “Billy Beck was not impressed with him?”

      2. When I’m gone, anyone can say whatever they want about me,

        Won’t it be a shock if no one says anything at all.

        1. That’s because you’re ignorant, at best. Billy’s the real deal and will be greatly missed when he’s gone.

          1. Not ignorant enough to be the proverbial turd in the punch bowl.

          2. Billy’s the real deal and will be greatly missed when he’s gone.

            And when he is, I like to think we’re not going to go casting about the Internet, seeking out threads mourning his death, in order to wave our dicks around and to try to make it all about us instead.

      3. Nobody gives a good holy fuck-all what the “guy who wants to immolate himself in front of the capitol building thinks.”

        Maybe you can show us what a badass you are and post your Social Security number again? That’ll be a larf riot.

        1. Well fuck you too, Billy B. Hope that’s honest and true to your standards.

          1. Didn’t mean for that to follow under you, really?. Fuck you threaded comments!

  24. I am sorry to hear that, we’ll miss you. My condolences to his family and friends, whomever they are.

    1. I think some of them are us. Jennifer’s take on this is very thoughtful. I recommend it.

      1. I read her post. Very nice.

  25. “Commenter elevated to headline” is almost a euphemism for passing into the afterlife.

    Here’s to you, J sub D.

  26. R.I.P. J sub D, and thank you for your service to us all, both in and out of uniform.

  27. I remember that first thread he commented on. He was a reasoned, familiar voice here. I’ll miss his input. RIP.

  28. Wow, never thought about it liek that before.

    1. Botted at your own wake. I hope that made you laugh, J sub.

    2. Even anon-bot sheds a yummy oily tear.

      RIP JsubD


      I always thought that Jsub was an engineer and that his handle was an engineering constant(maybe torsional). Like how people will type out KsubA for an acid.

      1. John from Detroit

      2. capitol l, I was the same way. I was convinced he was an engineer.

        I was going to print out his handle with the “D” subscripted, but alas, this blog evidently doesn’t support the “sub” tag.

      3. As I recall, he originally wanted to post as JD for his initials — John David — but there was already a JD here, so the newcomer called himself J sub D instead.

        1. And, IIANM, the JD in question is his evil?/good? twin and he has posted today.

          1. Yup, that’s me. I now go by “JD the elder” since someone else started using JD. (Which was predictable enough: I wasn’t posting a lot and it’s not exactly a rare nickname.)

  29. God dammit.

    RIP John Hannah, you will be missed.

  30. J sub D, you made me laugh, smile, and sometimes even think. Sleep well.

    To think, more people may have known J sub D than John Hannah. I hope he knew his contribution was/is valued. Strange to think of the intersection of virtual life and reality, and how the relationships aren’t all that different. Hard to put words to this; to only know someone by their wit.

  31. …has left the station. Ride On.

  32. Rest in Peace

  33. Very sad to hear. One of the few commenters here that I don’t think anyone hated. He will definitely be missed.

  34. Damnit. He and I had “Detroit-area Reasonoids” in common, and I’d always meant to try to hook up with him IRL for a drink sometime.

    I have to walk past Detroit City Hall later today, I’ll spit on it in his memory.

    1. That’s an outstanding idea. I think I’ll flip off the marble tower of state coercion in Albany, NY for him on my way home today and at the same time giving a thumbs up to the USS Slater on the other side.

      Thanks for your service and attitude at H&R, J sub. You will be missed.

    2. Me too. I’d always meant to contact him and propose having a coffee or beer together. Damn! And I read the Albom column and was sad about the story without even knowing I ‘knew’ him.

  35. Sad news.
    Love his last comment. I propose the next time there is a folly of high-speed rail thread his last comment should be the alttext for the requisite cho-choo pic.

  36. I will miss his smart, insightful contributions here. Very sad.

  37. Damn. J sub D, you will be missed. May your fight for liberty continue in whatever world follows this.

  38. Before any more of you up and die, I just want to say thanks to all here for making life’s daily absurdities a little easier to take.
    Except John. (Just kidding, J!)

    1. I meant commenter John. Well, fuck. Shoulda’ said “MNG.” (Remind me not to try to make a joke in obit thread.
      But I do love you guys and gals.)

      1. I second this.

        1. Citizen Nothing|5.11.11 @ 10:09AM|#

          Before any more of you up and die, I just want to say thanks to all here for making life’s daily absurdities a little easier to take.

          I second this thought.

          I don’t know how to coherently express my feelings at the moment, but as I read about J sub’s passing, it brought tears to my eyes, and I tried to explain to my wife why I was sniffling over something on my screen.

          I couldn’t then and still cannot. I just feel a loss. Some of it is about John Hannah’s last days, but mostly it is the fact that J sub D is gone. His poignant and entertaining posts are ended. A member of the tribe is absent.

          Yeah, this sounds hokey and feeble as I ‘preview’ but it’s the best I can do at the moment. I’m doing it for me, to let out in the open for me. It’s more like exhaling a long held breath.

          If I recall correctly, it was J sub D several years ago who coached me through HTML and how to ad links to my postings after a petulant and frustrated post I had about not being able to figure it out.

          And again, thanks to all here for the joy and frustration and even anger you have offered me over the years at H&R.

          Today I wear my (drink) black T-shirt in honor of J sub and everyone else.

  39. Well, fuck. It’s never the Dan Ts.

    1. My sentiments exactly.

  40. Sad.

    John should be eligible for burial in a VA cemetery. Probably needs to be cremated.

    I thought he was retired from the Navy

  41. Several H&R commenters sent donations to me after the motorcycle accident that killed my daughter and scrambled my brain and body.

    To honor J sub D, I’m making a donation to Reason, since this is where I met him.

    1. Thanks for your donation to Reason, NoStar. I live a couple of blocks from Skid Row in downtown LA, and I often wonder about the people wandering the streets outside my building. That grubby guy taking a piss on the curb might be a homeless drunk, a former college professor, a retired Navy officer, or someone’s dad. I’m glad J sub D had an outlet in which to exercise his intellect and folks with whom he could interact. Ain’t no fools suffered gladly here–and his years of swimming with you sharks is both an accomplishment and his impressive legacy.

  42. Rest in peace, J sub D.

  43. As J sub D’s “good twin” (we had a long-running joke about which of us was the good twin and which the evil twin) I’m touched to see how many people here remember him fondly. Even those of us who were relatively close to him were in the dark about some things, which was as he must have wanted it.

    1. He seemed like a cool guy, and I’ll miss his sharp writing. RIP.

  44. RIP. This sucks.

  45. You’ll be missed J sub D.

  46. RIP

    nothing to say but shocked and saddened.

  47. Did his name mean John – Donna or am I retarded?

    1. An astute and poignant guess, asdf.
      (Doesn’t mean you’re not a retard, though.)

      1. I always forget option 3.

    2. John David, his first and second names.

      I will miss him. I am sorry to hear how hard his last months were and full of admiration of the courage and grace he showed in that time.

      None of the adversity of his life ever showed his comments.

      1. I agree. I hope that I could deal with such adversity with half the dignity and strength that Jsub did.

  48. May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be ever at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    And until we meet again, may god hold you in the hollow of his hand.

  49. Sad news. J sub was a great commenter. He will be missed.

  50. Requiem in pace. I feel smarter from having read his comments.

    1. *requiescat

      my HS Latin teacher is rolling her eyes at me, again

  51. I’m relatively new here, so I am not familiar with Sr Chief Hannah’s posts. I was touched by the Detroit Free Press write up. To see so many people care for another individual, whom they barely know, is not only a measure of their own character, but also speaks to the character of J sub D.

  52. What a terrible news. I felt like I knew him.

  53. RIP J sub D. I was wondering where you had gone these last couple of weeks… You will be missed.

  54. It is the weirdest emotion, this that I now feel. I was legitimately nut-punched by this news. I live in Korea now and don’t have much opportunity to post within a reasonable time frame, so I resort to lurking.

    I know the regulars and can ascribe to them personalities and traits. “Heavy smoker who was ready to die” describes J sub D quite well in my estimation.

    It’s an unusual emotion to feel over someone whom I have never actually met. But not really, I suppose. A person’s ideas and suppositions are always the most salient bits. I was exposed to them and, being a relatively young-fuck, having turned 24 only a week ago, they were insights, along with the other regulars’, that truly helped me form my worldview and philosophy.

    For that I am grateful.

    I hope your carbon soon flows through some statist cockbite and what’s left of you becomes a fucking fatal embolism. Burst through that shit.

    Avenge yourself.

    1. I hope your carbon soon flows through some statist cockbite and what’s left of you becomes a fucking fatal embolism.

      Delivered Irish wake style…..I hope you were raising a glass!

    2. I would also like to say that I love that he never let any of his hardships through. It would have been his own business to do so, and we wouldn’t have been non-responsive, but I respect that.

      I agree with someone (who’s handle I forget) that his last months were a situation purposefully decided upon.

      I like the resolute libertarian who goes out never bitching and humble.

      Again, RIP J. Hannah; fuck hand-outs and self-pity.

  55. To sleep, perchance to dream …….

  56. I’ll miss J sub D.

    Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
    You haste away so soon;
    As yet the early-rising sun
    Has not attain’d his noon.
    Stay, stay,
    Until the hasting day
    Has run
    But to the even-song;
    And, having pray’d together, we
    Will go with you along.

    We have short time to stay, as you,
    We have as short a spring;
    As quick a growth to meet decay,
    As you, or anything.
    We die
    As your hours do, and dry
    Like to the summer’s rain;
    Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
    Ne’er to be found again.

    — Robert Herrick

  57. “At some point every day, he would walk up to the library at Wayne State. I think he used the computers there.”

    What gut-wrenching thing to read.

    1. Yes, this made me kind of sick

  58. RIP J sub.

  59. Far from being a forgotten man as Mr.Albom feared, John will be fondly remembered by a great many of us.

    1. the circumstances of his final months were significantly of his own choosing

      It doesn’t make it hurt any less.

  60. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

    He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.

    He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

    Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

    23rd Psalm

    1. Given that to the best of my recollection, J sub was an atheist, I’m sure you’re prayer would amuse him. But, as they say, it’s the thought that counts.

      RIP, J sub.

  61. Terribly sad news.

    We should never forget that there are real people behind these usernames. We should treat each other better than we do.

    He’ll be missed by everyone who knew him online.

    1. Amen to that.

    2. Amen.

      I’ll miss you, J sub D.

  62. J sub D|12.5.08 @ 11:22AM|#

    Can I say “cunt” on the internet?

    No. That would be sexist. You also can’t call her hysterical or a bitch. Somebody here once explained it all to me.

  63. The internet seems a little dimmer today. He would totally hate the schmaltz, but I’d have to ask him to suck it up and accept the emergent order of online memorial. RIP

  64. RIP Chief. I hope no one washes your coffee cup.

  65. I’ve read Hit & Run for years, though I may have only commented once or twice and have no idea what names I would have used. I don’t always read the comments, but when I would skim through, I always stopped when I saw J sub D commented. RIP.

  66. If you read the comments to the Albom article…

    I really have a sick fascination with what all the deleted posts are saying. I divert sadness to rage, and end up angry on the abstract about what anyone could possibly be saying about someone I considered a friend and one of the best commenters on this board. J sub D raged against what he felt was stupid, but without the bile so many of us express so freely.

    I’ll miss you, John Hannah. And I will stay angry for you.

    1. I suspect that many of the deleted comments to the DFP article were criticizing Hannah’s family for having “abandoned” him. FTR, Hannah broke off contact with them.

    2. Could be spam, too.

      1. True. And I bet Tonio has part of it, as well.

        1. Sug: Huh?

          1. I was saying that you and PL are both right. Typing is my 2nd language.

  67. To Reason:

    Is it possible to retire his handle?

    1. seconded.

      1. Thirded.

        1. There’s no retirement in anarchy.

    2. Good idea — like the number of a star player. They could hang a little “J sub D” banner from the top of the comments thread page.

      1. This made me laugh so hard! Im going to get into major trouble for posting while at work… but fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck them.
        Miss you JsubD.

    3. By the way, I do want to express my appreciation to Jesse for this post. I had heard a little earlier about our friend’s passing, but I still think this post is a very nice gesture.

      1. +5, Hang his handle in the rafters.

        1. J sub D|3.19.10 @ 4:09PM|#I’ve use Coke? cans, acid brushes, butter knives*, plumbing fixtures, government pens and even a stool to ingest marijuana.
          What’s the good reverend going to do about that?
          * For hashish

          Art-P.O.G.|3.19.10 @ 4:17PM|#I’m glad you used *a* stool instead of just stool to ingest marijuana.

    4. I vote for this. If there ever was a just reason to retire a handle, this would be the time.

      RIP J sub D, you are missed.

    5. Well, we can always heap abuse and sarcasm on anyone who uses it.

      Now we just gotta figure out how they’re going to know we’re doing it.

  68. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.

  69. I don’t usually post a comment, I would rather read what others are thinking. I enjoyed reading J sub post even when I did not agree with him, he will be missed and this world is a lesser place without him. He will be missed and he will be remembered by us. Kudos to for the salute to him.

  70. I don’t post here enough, but this time I felt compelled. J sub D, you and your comments will be missed.

  71. Bummer. RIP

  72. RIP you will be missed

  73. Dammit, why’d it have to be Jsub?

  74. You’ll be missed, J.

  75. So sad to hear this. RIP. I will miss seeing your moniker around here.

  76. I’m still not used to the fact that someone I’d never met, never seen, never talked to, and whose name I didn’t know can, via his wit and intelligence, matter more to me than most of the retards real life foists upon me.

    This is, at least, the second time this has happened and both for the same reason. Fuck cancer.

    1. This. Any one of my neighbors could die and it would bother me less (or honestly, im most cases, not at all).

    2. “real life foists upon me”

      That might be the key, right there. Involuntary relationships don’t mean as much to me as voluntary ones.

      1. Yep, I think you nailed it. Community and society and whatever are what we have here, not things created by artifical boundaries and governments.

        Family, friends, internet forums, whathaveyou, that is what makes communities.

        1. Well articulated by all parties.

          1. Dude! You’re still around? Awesome.

          2. Seriously, it’s high time for you and Groovus Maximus to make your ways back to HnR.

        2. I “talk” more every day with the people I know on H&R that I do with the people I work with.

        3. Amen to this, too. I posted over at Jennifer’s place about how this must be a new sociological phenomenon, to care so much about people you’ve never met. To care more about them than about the people who live next door.

          I care about all of you guys, here, and feel a little lost and helpless at hearing about the death of one of our own.

    3. else died?

    4. A few of us have connected on Facebook, which I’m always amenable to. I know that most of us remain anonymous here to keep our online life separate from our meatspace life, in case anyone wants to use something less-than-proper we said here, against us there.

      I know that not everyone here feels the same about connecting, in fact are weirded out by it, but feel free to shoot me a link to the email in my name to connect, if you’re so inclined.

  77. J sub D’s comments were some of the more valuable. His insight and wit will be missed.

  78. RIP.

  79. RIP, Jsub. Good to hear from you, No Star.

    1. Thanks Sandy,
      Moving to Mississippi to get married in Oct. 2009 and being diagnosed with stage IV in my tongue and neck in Sept. 2010 has limited my commenting time at H&R. I had 3 rounds of chemo, surgery in December, and 6 weeks of radiation ending on March 25. CAT and PET scans will be scheduled and I should get confirmation that the cancer is gone by July.

      It is good being remembered by Hit&Run; commenters. I pray J sub D knows how much we miss him.

      1. You better stay healthy, too, Captain.

      2. Hoping for the best from the scans.

        J sub D told us at Grylliade not to make a fuss, which we honored while he was alive, but we snuck in ways to tell him we wanted the best for him. I think he knew; or at least I hope so.

  80. I’m not a frequent commenter like a lot of the posters in this thread, but I lurk all the time.

    J sub’s comments were always worth reading.

    RIP, J sub D.

  81. A while back Radley Balko profiled Nick Cheolas, a young Michigander going through cancer treatment. Cheolas’s profile reads: “I don’t fight cancer because I fear death. I fight cancer because I fear Mitch Albom writing about me after death.” How ironic that J sub D would suffer such a fate. RIP.

  82. That this Mitch Albom fellow would devote his time and efforts to let the world know John hannah existed was an act of true kindness. Would that all of us might be remembered so fondly by someone who never knew us.

    Maybe it’s already been done, but I’ve forwarded the permalink to Mr. Albom so that he can know that Mr. Hannah didn’t live in complete obscurity.

  83. Well, J Sub, start the revolution on the other side. We’ll all be there to help out soon enough. RIP, brother.

  84. I didn’t know (all) those details from J sub’s life, but he was someone whose comments I always appreciated. He will genuinely be missed.

    1. Some people around these parts miss seeing your comments daily, too.

      I’ll miss his comments. I enjoyed seeing his name when browsing through and soaked up what he had to say like gravy. I would rather see JsubD scowling in contempt at one of my post ten times than I would to see Tony praising me once.

      RIP, or War in Hell, what ever you prefer, old salt.

  85. The Albom article is incorrect in one important point.

    He is not forgotten. Everyone here has given him that. He is not forgotten at all.

    1. +++++++++ a million!

  86. Damn. Hit me like a ton of bricks.

  87. RIP, J sub D, though I hardly knew you.

  88. Damn that sucks. He was definitely one of the good guys on this site.

  89. A clever ruse. Clearly J sub D was Osama bin Ladin.

    And that makes me hate OBL less, not the inverse. Happy trails.

    1. It made me sad to this Osama received an immediate burial, and John had to wait to be claimed.

      One man destroyed his fellow man, and the other created friendship, laughter and memories.

  90. RIP J sub D

  91. I cannot register to comment on the Albom article for some reason…

    Those of you that have already… have you tried linking this post? It might be some comfort to those that knew him outside of H&R.

    1. I emailed Mr. Albom the permalink to this article. I think he’ll be happy to see Mr. Hannah indeed had many admirers.

    2. I was able to register (as HRTonio) and posted the following:

      To expand and clarify sloopyinca’s comment: John Hannah was a regular commenter on the “Hit and Run” section of reason dot com, the online version of Reason magazine, a libertarian publication. John was known to us as J sub D and he was a respected member of our community. Nobody ever knew his real name, his circumstances, or the meaning of J sub D.

      Thanks, John, for your service to your country and for your insightful commentary. Although we disagreed about some topics you were principled and never vicious or personal, and that is rare these days. I particularly admire your strength of character now that I’m familiar with the circumstances of your last days. You were an unfailing advocate for liberty and personal responsibility, even though it would have been easy and understandable for you to advocate for a broadened social welfare safety net.

      Condolences to the Hannah family.

      And thanks to Mitch Albom for the article which was ultimately responsible for John’s family and (online) friends achieving closure.

      1. I was trying to register for this same purpose and was unable to do so. I was glad to see that someone else had the same thought and was able to post. I hope that John’s family discovers that he had many friends and didn’t truly live in isolation.

  92. RIP J sub D.

    You left us too soon.

  93. Definitely makes me want to clean up my commenting ways, before ball cancer or a pissed off ex-wife decide to take me out. I’d rather not have my last comment involve something on the order of 40 “Fucks” (about par) and explicit references/descriptions to necrophilia (below par).

    RIP J Sub D. You were a class act.

    1. If “Fuck off slaver” is my last post, I wont complain.

      1. If I ever get a tattoo, it will probably be something to the tune of “Fuck off slaver”.

    2. There are reasons no one knows my name.

      1. One of those reason is that his real name is Penelope Q. Butterfart.

        1. The Q doesn’t stand for anything, unfortunately.

        2. Dude, I spit my drink on my desk.

          J sub D will be missed.

      2. I hope you’re not planning on ever going to Cheers

      3. 2 reasons. 1) that statue of limitations hasn’t run. 2) You can’t get all the lube you want in prison.

  94. Godspeed and peaceful rest to JsubD from a fellow Michigander.

  95. RIP J Sub D

  96. I’m a long time lurker who rarely posts, but I will miss J sub. RIP.

  97. It’s great to see the story behind the handle. “Life’s a joy that has to end.”

    Sad and beautiful.

  98. So sorry to hear this. J sub D was one of my favorite regulars here. I will certainly miss him. Rest in stateless peace.

  99. Anybody interested in donating to the shelter where JsubD spent his final days:

    Pilgrim Church / I Am My Brother’s Keeper
    1435 Brainard
    Detroit, MI 48208

    They mention that $250 will feed and shelter a person for a month.

  100. Bummer. Sorry to hear about this.

  101. Ayn Rand thinks you guys are all idiots.

    1. Ok, I laughed.

  102. This late in the thread I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said, so +1 to all the kind words.

    I’m somewhat of an irregular here, that mostly lurking and occasionally posting, but it says a lot about the guy that we’re all so heartbroken by someone we only knew by their sarcastic political and cultural comments and opinions.

  103. Google returns over 17 thousand hits for “J Sub D” for just Today, the Internet is a lesser place.


  104. Dying is a wild night and a new road. –Dickinson

    see you somewhere beyond the barricade, friend

  105. I never met him in the flesh, but J sub D was my friend… and I never knew about his homelessness. Goddamn, am I going to miss him. Fuck.

  106. I am stunned.

    I enjoyed reading his posts here very much and mourn his loss. He was one of the posters here who nearly always had a concise, intelligent, interesting thing to write. I had wondered at his absence from these forums, but people come and go here all of the time.

    I am horrified, reading how he spent his last years and how alone he was at the end. He is missed.

    I hope he is at peace now.

    1. “I am horrified, reading how he spent his last years and how alone he was at the end . . . I hope he is at peace now.”

      It is sad to contemplate how he lived out his final years, but I bet he had a good idea of just how much he was liked around here, and that it gave him a sense of community and camaraderie that he lacked in the “real” world.

    2. I had also noticed his absence lately. I was always interested in his thoughts.


  107. RIP, J sub D. You were one of the more thoughtful and consistent among us.

  108. As a lurker and occasional poster for many years, I am very sad.

    How can someone who only touched me with words affect me so much?

  109. We miss you, you crazy minarchist mouse, you.

    Since I now know that you missed the opportunity to celebrate the demise of bin Laden, I’ll dance a little jig in your honor.

  110. Well, fuck.

  111. Sad news.

    I’ve lurked here for many years and will miss J sub D’s presence. He’s always seemed like one of the “regulars” at this forum thats always felt like a bar to me. A bar is a good place for a wake, and a wake needs some music.

    Replacements – Here Comes A Regular – Youtube

    1. nice

  112. Goodbye, J sub D.

  113. Goddamn I’m a puss. A total fucking stranger dies & I’m crying like John Boner.

    I appreciated his wit. I only rarely comment, but when I look through the comments “J sub D” was usually affixed to a comment of substance.

    I hope his family can reconcile his online personality with their personal experience of the man. I wonder how I would feel if I found out my brother had been participating a community like this for the past few years, but hadn’t spoken to me at all for years.

    or maybe his family’s a bunch of tools.

    1. Here’s a comment from someone in his family from the Freep article:

      The family is greatful of the article which helped the family locate John’s body. We had been working diligently to locate him. however, the family’s concerns come with the content and lack of work put into the article. Mr. Albom could investigate that John grew up in Wayne County, but without looking hard he could have found that his family owns his childhood home. Another brother is his last known address where he once lived. All of the effort was put into writing an attention grabbing article but not on the investigatvie part of it. John could already be buried if an investigation was done to where he lived, not just an inaccurate investigation and portrayal of his life. However, Mr. Albom did capture the struggles witht he Navy well as they would not release information pertinent to locate John’s body.

      Further, the comments made by some readers to the family and a portrayal of his service in the navy causing his problems are inaccurate. Many of his problems existed prior to the Navy. He had a pension and supportive family. Although he was sick and did not want help, his family loved him and will choose to remember him for the good, not the heartache and concerns he has cause.

  114. Just damn. I always perked up a little when I saw I was about to read a comment from J sub D.

  115. Resquiescat in pace, J sub D.

  116. I always looked forward to his comments as his insights usually matched my own. I felt a bit “tuned” to him as we were the same age. J sub D referred to his first and middle names.

    Damn, I only heard about his passing a few hours ago and I already miss him.

    Rest easy, old buddy.

    … Hobbit

  117. Long time lurker here.
    Terribly sad to learn of the way J sub D spent his final years.

    Godspeed to a man who came off as bright, intelligent, and reasonable.

  118. RIP. We’ll miss you.

  119. Farewell, J sub D. I don’t know what to say, so I’ll quote from the Burial of the Dead:

    All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

    Seems to me the best reaction: spit in the face of death. Cause you know what? Fuck death. Fuck it in its ear.

    You’ll be missed, J sub D.

  120. It’s a testament that he reached so many people, even if he wasn’t successful by the standards of “society”. RIP.

    1. He reached the rank of Senior Chief in the Navy, though, which speak volumes. That takes mettle and years, and few who enlist in the Navy a career make that rank, even if they do their twenty. Regardless of what he did after the Navy, during those years, he knew his shit and was a proven leader.

      1. Actually, Master Chief, unless he was lying, which is something that I believe would have been totally out of character for him.

        J sub D|4.3.09 @ 1:16PM|#
        Retired Master Chief Petty Officer.

        1. Even more better. And no, you just can’t imagine the guy lying about it, either.

          1. Well to be sure, I was referring to the last few years of his life, not his Navy career. It was meant to be a, “can’t judge a book by its cover” idea. Most people would automatically disregard someone in his position, but we here knew that he had a wealth of knowledge and good sense that warranted listening to.

            1. It’s okay, I know what you meant, and you’re absolutely right – he didn’t end up the way an honorable man should have. Those who knew him can take much comfort in knowing he did a hard job successfully, which puts his somewhat ignominious final days in perspective.

        2. In fairness to Albom, though, I suppose it’s quite possible that he was not in that rate for long enough to qualify for retirement as a MCPO. I’m sure others here know more about military retirement.

          A classic JsubD entry (from the thread linked above):

          J sub D|4.3.09 @ 1:31PM|#
          When is it not socially appropriate?
          Lots of times.
          Pumping gas or handling ordnance
          Operating heavy equipment
          Non-Unitarian church services
          The grocery store
          Chuck E. Cheezes
          Arraignment proceedings

          1. After reading the thread, I discovered that he was anwering my question.

            1. Did the answer satisfy you?

              Yes, the way I placed that it was not possible to see that “When is it not socially appropriate?” was actually a query to which he was replying with his usual wit and wisdom.

              Damn, I gotta stop opening this thread. It’s making my computer malfunction, the display gets all blurry.

              1. Yes. You know, it just hit me, but, he kind of reminds me of Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino. Sure, the Detroit connection would be part of it.

        3. He definitely wasn’t lying about being a master chief; the story says he reached the rank of E-8 (and the highest enlisted rank is only E-9).

          1. …and the highest enlisted rank is only E-9.

            Which is?

            It’s been forty years or more, so things may have changed, but…

            E-4 = Petty Officer 3rd class

            E-5 = Petty Officer 2nd class

            E-6 = Petty Officer 1st class

            E-7 = Chief Petty Officer

            E-8 = Senior Chief Petty Officer

            E-9 = Master Chief Petty Officer

            There were two or three Warrant Officer pay grades above that – W-1, W-2, etc. – and then the scale of O pay grades for commissioned officers.

            I don’t doubt J sub D’s word. It may be that he had passed the exam and had all the required qualifications to be a Master Chief, but had fallen victim to the Navy’s “quota” system – whereby one works one’s ass off to advance and then is told, after passing the exams with flying colors, that the Navy already has too many members of that pay grade in that rating.

  121. J sub D|3.7.11 @ 6:03PM|#

    Episiarch is the libertarian gatekeeper now? That’s rich. Is he self appointed? Do his sycophants concur?

    Episiarch is the libertarian gatekeeper this month. ‘Twas I last month and some other freedom loving stalwart will assume the duties next month. There are no regulations defining the selection to the post. It is an example of spontaneous order.

    Ended up being a little bit too true.

  122. I’m saddened by this loss. I will be praying for his family.

  123. I hereby dedicate the “Your Tears Are So Yummy and Sweet” thread to J sub D. Why? Because of this comment:

    J sub D|10.5.09 @ 6:34PM|#
    I joined the H&R peanut gallery after this thread. I’d heard about it often, seen the photo many times but this is the first time I’ve visited it.

    It’s kinda like a Hajj for reasonoids.

    In the same thread, in which he commented a bunch, he indicates a willingness to “do” the oldest Santorum daughter. Hope he got his chance.

    1. Seconded.

      1. I’ll continue to occasionally piss all over the thread but now it will be in his honor.

        1. I think he’d have expected that.

  124. Damn, it’s so weird how we get to “know” each other strictly through snarky comments. If you’d told me that J sub D was a 28-year old IT guy I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

    Anyway, we’ll miss you J sub, thanks for the good times.

    1. That’s true, he could’ve been anybody, so to speak. And absolutely none of us would ever have imagined that he walked to a library from a homeless shelter to post his comments here.

  125. Fair winds and following seas J sub. RIP.

  126. Cheers, J sub D. Many arrive and depart unnoticed, but you left your level-headed mark, and is we who are the better for it.

    Not that you knew me, but thanks for that.

  127. Fucking bummer. J Sub, where ever you are, if I could, I’d add a bit of your ashes in my next bowl in your honor.

  128. Long-time lurker, some times poster here.

    I can’t say much more than what’s been said already, but his shining presence here and across the internet will be sorely missed by all.

    Go easy into the next life John, kick some statist ass out there for us all.

  129. Rest in peace, Senior Chief.

  130. Always a great commenter, and now I find a superlative man. RIP, John. I hope we meet one day.

  131. A commenter on the Albom story recalled serving under a Chief Hannah in the early 1980s. He wondered if it was the same guy. He remembered him as the best Chief he’d known.

    It certainly would have been the right time frame.

    1. Early 1980s would put Hannah in probably his late twenties (I believe it said he died at 55?), which would make him young for a chief. Definitely very possible though, I knew chiefs who earned their khakis within seven years.

      1. To make it to Master Chief before 1993 (the year he retired+/- IIANM) would have meant he would have to have made Chief by the mid-eighties at the latest.

        1. Sounds as though he may have been a victim of the down-sizing that occured in the Navy during the early 90’s.

    1. Alright, that made me tear up.

      1. You’re not the only one.

  132. The best way to honor the departed is to learn the lessons of their lives.

    J sub D retained his courage, wit, intelligence, and dignity in spite of what were obviously some very daunting circumstances. I hope I face the challenges of my life with half of his bravery.

    Warp speed, minarchist mouse.

  133. Why couldn’t it have been Episiarch?

    1. I would even cry over him


  135. Goddamn this sucks. He was witty, and smart, and funny, and I always enjoyed his company. If he’d told us that he’d needed a hand, I would have helped. However, as others have said of him, he probably wanted to interact with us as an equal, and I respect that.

    Still, it’s a reminder of how little we know of anybody. That intelligent and witty person you know online, or from chatting in a public place, might be homeless. That homeless guy might be as sharp as anybody else you know.

    I’m glad we were able to give him an intellectual outlet, and I’m glad that the folks at the shelter were able to tend to him. I’ve sent them a donation and a note of thanks.

  136. Small donations to the funeral home might be a nice gesture. It sounds like the owner went to some expense setting J sub D up with a suit and coffin and such. I know how difficult it can be for a small business owner to do that.

    1. That’s a very good point.

  137. Will anyone one be updating this?

  138. I never thought Mitch Albom would write something useful.

    Truly a sad thing. I’d been wondering why J sub D had been silent lately; his take on things usually made me smile. I lived on the street myself at one time, and I remember quite well how important online friendships can be. When you’re homeless you become invisible to a lot of people encountered daily in real life. Having a place to discuss ideas with like-minded folks who actually pay attention and respond is invaluable; just being treated like a member of the human race who has something to contribute is like a little miracle sometimes.

    He seemed like a good and honorable man, and he’ll be missed. I’m sure that those of you he was close to online, here and elsewhere, helped make the last part of his life a little richer.

  139. RIP JsubD.

    Am I the only one who thought his handle had something to do with a Law Degree?

    Jesse, thank you for this very nice post.

    I’m also glad to see no asshole has come here to rip on libertarians. I was expecting to see someone mouth off, but it’s nice to see that (for the time being) this hasn’t happened.

    Please don

  140. ate to the Charity.

  141. RIP J sub D. You will be missed.

  142. RIP J sub D, you’ll be missed.

  143. seated at piano – RIP

    Goodbye Detroit’s rose
    May you ever grow in our hearts
    You were the grace that placed itself
    Where lives were torn apart
    You called out to our country
    And you whispered to those in pain
    Now you belong to heaven
    And the stars spell out your name

    And it seems to me you lived your life
    Like a candle in the wind
    Never fading with the sunset
    When the rain set in
    And your footsteps will always fall you
    Along Detroit’s greenest hills
    Your candle’s burned out long before
    Your legend ever will

    Loveliness we’ve lost
    These empty days without your witty remarks
    This torch we’ll always carry
    For our nation’s golden child
    And even though we try
    The truth brings us to tears
    All our words cannot express
    The joy you brought us through the years

    And it seems to me you lived your life
    Like a candle in the wind
    Never fading with the sunset
    When the rain set in
    And your footsteps will always fall you
    Along Detroit’s greenest hills
    Your candle’s burned out long before
    Your legend ever will

    Goodbye Detroit’s rose
    May you ever grow in our hearts
    You were the grace that placed itself
    Where lives were torn apart
    Goodbye Detroit’s rose
    From a country lost without your soul
    Who’ll miss the wings of your compassion
    More than you’ll ever know

    And it seems to me you lived your life
    Like a candle in the wind
    Never fading with the sunset
    When the rain set in
    And you footsteps will always fall you
    Along Detroit’s greenest hills
    Your candle’s burned out long before
    Your legend never will

    1. OK, now it’s getting stupid.

  144. Wow. Been a long time since I’ve been around these parts. This is a strong reminder of why I need to come back every now and then. Many of the names still sound familiar, including the one that brought me back. Shit.

  145. Sad news.

  146. RIP, J sub D. I’m glad I knew you, though I’m sorry I never met you. And now I know your name.

  147. DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
    For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
    Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
    Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
    Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
    Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
    And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
    And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
    One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
    And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

    — John Donne

  148. RIP
    Que descanses en paz.
    I never met John in person but I considered him my friend… and my fake internet husband.
    I am very saddened by this news, but I smile remebering his witty comments, his justified rage and the time shared together here on these tubes.

  149. J sub D, was a friend of mine.

    1. I was a friend of J sub D (grabs a keyboard from the pile).

      1. Was going to make this joke earlier.

        J sub D was a friend of mine, when joe was being a dick, he helped me argue against him. [Takes baliset]

  150. I was so tickled when I found out a few years ago that J sub D and I shared essentially the same name. Now, I’m just really sad.

  151. I hope my survivors will think the world a better place for my having lived and a worse one for my having died.

    I’ll make that toast for J sub D.


  152. Sorry to see him go. Like others here, I had no idea what he was going through. I hope things are easier for him now. Rest in peace.

  153. Speaking of missing H&R commenters, has anyone heard anything out of Old Mexican lately? I haven’t seen a comment by him since before the death of bin Laden – although I haven’t really looked either.

    1. I, too, have noted his absence.

      1. He posted April 6 on his blog.

  154. One time, I was trying to do this joke about J Sub being a gay navy guy, cuz I was an army guy and it is kind of like an inside joke that all navy guys are fags…. cuz they are. Anyway, I fucked the joke up and he didn’t get bent.

    I gonna go get some jager.

  155. I don’t believe in some afterlife — what we have now is what we get — so I’m glad I got to express affection to J sub D before he died.

    I was shedding tears when I read this earlier.

    OK, still am, typing this.

    I initially thought the “sub” part was because he’d served on a submarine, but apparently not.

    Bye, dude. =(

  156. Here’s to you John David Hannah. RIP

  157. I’m mostly a lurker here though I jump in sometimes. I remember reading J sub Ds comments from 2007 onwards (when I first discovered Reason). It’s weird this feeling of loss for someone having never met or spoken to. 🙁

  158. Late to offer my condolences because I was briefly hospitalized yesterday, but this is a shame. Jsub always seemed like a decent enough chap and he will be missed.

  159. In know why people keep saying why am I upset? I only knew him here, and I never met him
    I should say, I feel I understand why.

    We are not supposed to end our lives alone, and in pain. I hope there was kindness shown to him as he lay there knowing he was dying. Did they give him enough morphine? Was there someone who understood his intelligence? I noticed others thought he was a lawyer, as did I.

    He was not a homeless man because he had a home here

  160. It was a pleasure bouncing ideas off of you, J sub D.

    Rest in peace.

  161. I was off and am now only learning of the news.
    It was sad to learn of the news and the backstory is heart wrenching.
    It is sad but also perhaps glorius about humans that the death of someone we know only so fleetingly can so deeply affect us.
    Godspeed J sub D

  162. Damn.

    R.I.P. J sub D

  163. I was traveling earlier this week, and just saw this story pop up. I knew from several of his comments that he was older, but none of the other backstory. I remember reading his comments, and enjoying them when they were frequent in a thread.

    He will be missed.

  164. i thinks i interest in it.

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