Why I DON’T Think “Gray State” Director David Crowley Was Assassinated

TND Exclusive: David Kirk West, The News Doctors

As many of you probably know by now, David Crowley, the writer/director behind the planned feature film “Gray State,” was found dead along with his wife and 5 year old daughter over the weekend in what appears to be a murder-suicide that happened around Christmas. I hesitate to even bring some of this stuff up and get involved in this whole ordeal in the wake of such a tragedy, but there’s been SO MUCH conspiracy theorizing surrounding his death that I really feel I should say something. Because for several reasons I just don’t think he was assassinated. I hope to God that he and his family were killed in a botched home invasion or something like that, because I liked Crowley, but honestly… I have a bad feeling that the whole “murder-suicide” angle the media has been reporting is exactly right.

I actually knew David Crowley. Not incredibly well, really, but he was a fellow libertarian filmmaker and someone I would have counted as a casual friend. I first reached out to him in December 2011 while I was working on One Man’s Terrorist and I ran across the very first Gray State-related video he ever released. I thought it was awesome to see another libertarian filmmaker out there making films with similar subject matter. After that, we chatted a fair bit on Facebook and email, met up and hung out at “Paul Fest” in August 2012, exchanged script notes on each other’s projects, and talked about potentially working together in the future. He always seemed to be a good guy to me. Hardworking, intelligent, and intense. Sometimes a bit cryptic and short online, but generally friendly, and much more laid back in person.

David Kirk West and the Buck The System Crew with David Crowley and the Gray State crew at Paul Fest 2012.

David Kirk West and the “Buck The System” crew with David Crowley and the Gray State crew at Paul Fest 2012.

To be honest, for once I can actually totally understand all the conspiracy theorizing. This situation is weird, it seems out of character, and given the subject matter of Gray State, well… I can definitely see how it looks like an assassination. Hell, as someone who spends a lot of time debunking conspiracy theories, I’ve often joked that even if *I* were ever to die of anything other than old age it’d inspire a lot of conspiracy theories. So I totally understand why so many of you immediately thought that this seemed incredibly suspicious, but please allow me to present you with some reasons why you should at least keep your mind open to the idea that this really was the murder-suicide the media has been reporting it as.

In 2012 and 2013 we chatted relatively regularly, but over the last year or so my contact with him was pretty sporadic. After I learned of his death, I went back and read through our last few conversations. When I did that, something hit me… He was having money issues. He told me over a year ago that he “finally went broke,” and on that occasion and another several months later, he asked me how I made ends meet as someone who does filmmaking sort of full time. I’ve attached screen grabs of these conversations, but I mostly want to share with you the second instance of this, because last June he said something to me that, in hindsight, is incredibly chilling:

David Crowley, 6/19/14:

Screen capture of Facebook instant message communication to David Kirk West; click to enlarge

Screen capture of Facebook instant messages communication to David Kirk West between November 24, 2013 and June 19, 2014; click to enlarge

“let me ask you something

how do you live with filmmaking as your profession? last we talked you do the odd paid gig now and then

how do you stay motivated? don’t you panic when things get slow? Don’t you stress and worry? I can’t get away from evil thoughts some days.”

This is BY FAR the best (though not the ONLY) evidence I have that the murder-suicide angle is accurate. At the time, I didn’t really think anything of his “evil thoughts” comment. I figured he meant that he was feeling dejected due to “Gray State” not taking off quite the way he’d hoped and that he was considering abandoning the project or something. I didn’t ask him to elaborate on it, and we just shifted into talking about filmmaking contests and YouTube revenue as a source of income for the next half hour.

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