He was trying to persuade insurgents to surrender when he was hit by sniper fire. He soon became the first US Casualty in Iraq in 2008. (There's more about the circumstances of his death at Rocky Mountain News.)
Olmsted had prepared a 'Final Post' in case he was killed in Iraq and primed another blogger to publish it the day after his death. It's a surreal thing to read and I'm not really sure what to make of it all. I've certainly never seen anything quite like it before.
(My immediate and rather strange thought is that sombody could prepare a whole raft of blog posts to be published after their death and thus 'live on' in the digital world.)
Here are some extracts:
- "This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits."
- "What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss."
- "Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer."
- "I do ask (not that I'm in a position to enforce this) that no one try to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side."
- "I write this in part, admittedly, because I would like to think that there's at least a little something out there to remember me by. Granted, this site will eventually vanish, being ephemeral in a very real sense of the word, but at least for a time it can serve as a tiny record of my contributions to the world."
- "This is the hardest part. While I certainly have no desire to die, at this point I no longer have any worries. That is not true of the woman who made my life something to enjoy rather than something merely to survive."