As I write this, Mark Hummels is dying.
In honor of a man who is an excellent lawyer and a former respected journalist, I should be more precise, so let me try: Experts have announced that Mark Hummels, age 43, will die (if he has not already done so by the time you read this). But the goodness he represented, as manifested in his family, led to their decision to maintain his tie to this world via medical support, pending organ donations. And that is why, as of 9:00 p.m. Thursday night, he is still alive.
That heartbreaking generosity is almost certainly more than this flawed world deserves.
(Update as of 8:25 Friday morning: Mark Hummels has died.)
You have likely read the avalanche of coverage (examples here and here) we’ve already seen regarding yet another instance of an angry and/or deranged individual who used a gun to murder those he viewed as obstacles. Others were hurt in the Phoenix shooting, and a client of Mark’s, a businessman named Steven Singer, was murdered by the same gunman. One news outlet reported that the shooter’s dispute revolved around a $17,000 beef over office cubicles. The mind reels.
You can see the court docket below. It ends with the 9:30 settlement conference that was punctuated by murder.
I know; we live in a society apparently resigned to such violence. But the deep sadness is only exacerbated by recent national conversations about deaths and weaponry.
Back in 2002, I had the privilege to meet Mark. He was a law student at the time, at the University of Arizona Law School. I spoke with him briefly at a reception honoring five finalists in a law student writing competition.
I was a judge on the competition, and so I drove down to say a few words and to meet the winners.
All of the finalists were impressive, but I specifically recall speaking with Mark. Perhaps it was because he was moving from a life as a journalist to one as an attorney (and I had done the same, but in reverse). Whatever it was, I found him engaging and exactly what the profession needed—so much so that I mentioned him and the other law students in my Arizona Attorney column.
Apparently Osborn Maledon agreed with my assessment, for they hired Mark and made him a colleague. It was while in service to a client that Mark was struck down.
In an evolving news story, you can read the stunned remarks of Ninth Circuit Judge Andy Hurwitz, who once hired Mark as a law clerk. “This is a day of unspeakable sorrow. We all feel so helpless.”
Here is another image posted on Twitter, by CBS5 reporter Adam Longo.
— Adam Longo (@adamlongoCBS5) February 1, 2013
And here is one other tweet, which matches the shock of many posting about Mark:
Mark is the most decent and brilliant person you’d ever have the good fortune to know. Baffling and unfair. bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2…
— ryan berry (@ryanberr) January 31, 2013
In a violent society, we still retain the power to be shocked and horrified by violence. That is how I and many others feel on this dark winter week.
Here is a statement from Osborn Maledon. I will post information about Mark’s service when it is available. And I send my deepest condolences to Mark’s wife and their children, aged 9 and 7.
And if any reader wants to share his or her memory of Mark, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement from Osborn Maledon
Our friend and partner, Mark Hummels, was severely injured in yesterday’s senseless shooting.
We have been informed that Mark will not survive from the shooting.
We are devastated at this news about our beloved friend. Our deepest sympathy and support pour out to his wife, Dana, and their two children. The trust and affection Mark inspired in every reach of our law firm and with his clients are a lasting testament we will always cherish.
We are sad beyond measure also to have lost our long-time friend and client, Steven D. Singer, the CEO of Fusion Contact Centers, in this tragedy. Steve was a long-time client of the firm and an accomplished entrepreneur. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family as well.
Mark Hummels is the best kind of lawyer – a man who is highly capable in his practice and caring to his core about his community. Still in the early years of his career, Mark has earned many accolades for his skill as an attorney. He is president of the Phoenix Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and highly regarded by the State and Federal bench. He was recognized by “Benchmark Litigation” as a “future star” in litigation. To judges, attorneys and other professionals, he is a trusted counselor in ethics and disciplinary proceedings.
Mark also has given back to the community at large, serving on the training committee for Arizona Town Hall and providing pro bono legal services to those who could not afford counsel. This giving spirit was enhanced during his early years as a reporter for the “Santa Fe New Mexican,” an experience that honed his rare insights into people and our society.
Above all, Mark is the most decent of men. An adoring husband, dedicated father and true friend, Mark is what all of us aspire to be on our best days.
As has been reported, both Mark and Steve were engaged in a settlement conference before they were shot.
The loss of Mark and Steve in any circumstances would be a tragedy. For this to happen to them, while participating in a mediation, is beyond understanding, a terrible loss for us all.Follow @azatty