This is not something out of Euripides. This stuff happens around the corner from you and from me and what a stupendous waste of two lives. A tragic story that highlights the immense fragility of the human mind. Any rational third party can see that killing yourself and your child (in a custody battle or even for any other reason) deprives you of all the future joy that could come from a continuing relationship with that child. Where it’s a custody battle that mother wins: there is still (i) the possibility of continuing access (ii) the probability of someday re-commencing relationship assuming mother relocates out of town either for good reasons or out of spite (iii) the option of having other children.
But oftentimes we, as humans, can’t see the road for the fog; the fog of our own distress. And when we are choked up by the emotion of the moment and the “apparent” hopelessness of our situation it’s frequently the case that we go “off the rails”. This is human nature and maybe never entirely avoidable. Arguably this man loved his son deeply and the thought of being separated was too much. But then again he did not value the life of the child above his own heartbreak and/or he hated the mother so much that punishing her was more important: “If I can’t have him neither will you”. Or he just went crazy. Considering that four years ago, these two were making love with tremendous joy and hope and it’s come to this. She will now be haunted and scarred by this for the rest of her life. A sad waste of, really, three lives.
Some other stories of fathers going off the rails: