The ugly phrase 'suicide by cop' speaks to the violent side of American culture. Perhaps the English equivalent might well be self-destruction by lawsuit. There are many things wrong with our libel laws for those defending lawsuits, but just occasionally they blow up in the face of those pursuing them.
The most famous - though extremely unjust - example is the martyrdom of St Oscar Wilde - among our famous Fabian forebears.
A rather happier example was Jonathan Aitken's self-immolation on "the sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play" in his case against The Guardian. This can now be celebrated in good conscience since we did not just lose one of the most arrogant members of the Tory regime, but have now gained an eloquent new voice for prison reform, now winning praise from Guardianistas.
There may be another valiant attempt at legal self-harm in the offing from Daud Abdullah of the Muslim Council of Britain. It was reported at the weekend that he is now suing Hazel Blears for defamation after the Communities Secretary challenged his signing of the Istanbul Declaration, a deeply offensive document which goes well beyond any legitimate scrutiny or criticism of Israeli policy with its racist denunciations of the "Zionist entity".
The communities secretary may be only five foot tall but I predict that this may end up a serious mismatch. It will be interesting to see whether Abdullah pursues the case (and I have my doubts) but I find it hard to belief that Blears is going to give an inch if he were to be looking to back out. (I should be clear that I write without having spoken to anybody at DCLG about this).
So here is an issue where I can heartedly agree with Shiraz Maher, recent author of the Policy Exchange report, whose comments sparked the recent Nick Cohen-Fabian row. (Indeed Abdullah might even now note the discretionary wisdom in the apparent legal inaction of Dean Godson of Policy Exchange, among the MCB's chief antagonists, after his blustering threats to sue Newsnight "relentlessly to trial or capitulation" in the row over the Hijacking of British Islam report).
My only hesitation is that the government challenging the MCB specifically could slightly play into the old "community leadership" model, when the MCB is but one of many voices reflecting different arguments within the deeply contested debates within British Muslim communities. But that is somewhat irrelevant once Abdullah puts the matter into the courts.
I am not sure this one will ever make it to court. Though it may barely merit a historical footnote compared to the tragedy of Oscar Wilde or the hubris of rehabilitation of Jonathan Aitken, were it to do so, then I predict another cautionary tale for those who resort too readily to law.
UPDATE (Thursday, 12.45pm): Martin Bright suggests on the Spectator blog that the liberal-left should be doing more to ride to Hazel Blears' defence. He suggests another letter writing campaign. I am less clear whether or not he is offering to organise this, or wishes others to do so.
And Iain Dale has (beaten Next Left to) the scoop of Hazel Blears' characteristically robust and rather appropriate response to the lawsuit.