Thursday, November 27, 2008

Depravity Defined

What would cause a group of people to watch and encourage as someone distraught commits suicide? Of course, it happened online -- and maybe that contributed to their emotional detachment. But the comments of "OMG", "LOL" and "hahahaha" as 19-year-old Abraham Briggs of Florida purposely overdosed on camera are more than troubling. I mean, it's one thing to watch something like that in helpless horror (if you are a part of that chat room) but to be entertained by it? What is that about?

Then, in Great Britain, 42-year-old Kevin Whitrick, father of two children, hung himself on webcam in an internet chatroom. One of the chatters said, "Go on, jump! I'm waiting. Look at him wriggling, he can't even kill himself properly!" There were chatters talking to him over text chat, microphones and video -- some urged him not to do it, but others were egging him on. 

Suzanne Gonzales, 19, also in Florida, committed suicide after frequenting for nine weeks an Internet newsgroup called ASH (Alt.Suicide.Holiday). This group glorifies killing oneself, using phrases such as "transitioning," "exiting," and "catching the bus" to describe the act. An ASH member called "River" wrote, "Suzy had me proof-read her notes and we went over all the details of her exit, just to be safe." SAFE?!? What, exactly, is a safe death, pray tell?

And then there's 13-year-old Megan Meier who, upon having a "boy" tell her that this world would be better without her, wrote back that he was the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over and went to her room and hung herself. In this case, though, it wasn't a "boy" at all -- but a neighborhood mom of a girl who had been fighting with Megan. The mother was convicted this week on three misdemeanor charges and has not yet been sentenced. She could face up to three years in prison and $300,000 in fines. 

I would ask what this world is coming to, but I'm afraid of getting an answer...

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