The Florida teen whose lethal drug overdose was broadcast live over the net earlier this week began blogging about his intended suicide 12 hours before. As reported by the AP, 19-year-old college student Abraham Briggs died Wednesday afternoon in his bed after ingesting a lethal mixture of drugs used to treat depression. As …
Exactly *what* surprises you?
Some people are arseholes. I thought everybody knew that.
Just goes to show how fucked up people can be. (People watching, not the poor boy)
I wonder if people egging him on were suffering from some kind of bystander effect by proxy thinking that 'well the whole internet is watching so I'm not going to do anything' or they are actually a bunch of sick c*nts.
You would hope that somehow people could be prosecuted for encouraging him, but realistly it's never going to happen.
uhm, is it just me...
... all sadness of the whole tragedy aside, is it just me or is the idea that officers coming to the rescue of someone EVIDENTLY ALONE & PASSED OUT FOR HOURS (ok, dead...) kicking down the door with guns drawn slightly on the off side? I'm European, maybe I just don't get it. Of course you can never be too careful around severe substance abuse, but is this some "I'll kill those drugs right out of you" approach?
and still, who cares?
Other than he Darwinated in front of a webcam, he's not any different than all the other losers that go "oh woe is me!" every year. I don't see an IT angle here other than "can I have his computer?"
@Ed - Guns
It was a very unusual situation - a death being broadcast live on the Internet. The officer was just ensuring his own protection. He probably had no idea about the method of death - for all he knew the guy was sitting there bleeding to death holding a gun.
It sounds like the officer ensured his own safety, the safety of the victim (unfortunately dead) and then acted to ensure the victims dignity by covering the webcam. What more could he do?
Why don't you try putting yourself alone into situations where people are frequently armed, drugged up and not thinking straight every day? You may find you are careful to ensure your return to your family each evening.
Maybe he got what he wanted...?
Might be distasteful to the "why didn't someone stop him?" crowd, but perhaps this kid really was carrying out a carefully-planned and deliberate act, and perhaps there was no reason why anyone should feel entitled to obstruct him in that.
Maybe Abe didn't want to be alone at the end, but knew that if he asked loved ones to be with him they'd interfere? Maybe he really wanted to send a *fuck you* to as many humans as possible, by the medium of webTV?
Yes it's sad for the family when people suicide, but (assuming they're exercising informed consent) it's their choice, not ours. There's this assumption that we're entitled to grab any poor loser who's crawling out of the swamp and pull them back in, because we know what's best for them. Again emphasising informed consent, I don't think we have that right at all.
Some people encouraging him...
... may have been under the nothing-on-the-Internet-is-real effect. Whatever pleasure you get from even pretending to egg on a suicidal person is sick, granted, but I can't quite blame people if they just didn't take the situation seriously. After you encounter enough trolling, you may learn that it's generally quite foolish to feel some serious emotional reaction to something you found online. This could easily have been made up - bigger and dumber pranks have happened. A big psuedo-anonymous environment does not foster trust, so it's a terrible place to turn when you need to be taken seriously - such as in the typical cry-out-for-help suicide.
@ Armus Squelprom / Christopher Martin
Whilst your comments may well be valid for those who stood back, didn't interfere and/or didn't try to change his mind, I find it hard to see how such thinking justifies encouraging a person to take their own life.
Impossible to differentiate from a hoax
How could the people watching the feed (if anybody _was_ watching; in other stories on this the site admins won't say) or reading his writings know the guy was serious? How does dying of a tranquilizer overdose look different than falling asleep?
I used to spend far too much time on IRC in my younger days and I once saw others pranked into calling the police local to where someone lived. I don't remember the pretense very well-- I think it was supposedly a break-in.
I am 59 now, happy and successful - but I was there (ie sucidal) 38 years ago. I had a lousy 4th year at university (after doing well for three years) when I suffered from depression, drink problems, debt and the constant anxiety of falling further and further behind with my studies. The one problem fed all the others, and i just drank all the more and got deeper into it...
My own hints to my friends that i would do it went unnoticed... OK, I failed and ended up in hospital - but that was only because of my lack of understanding of pharmacology, and not in any way because the attempt was half-hearted
One lesson I learned that year was that you must never, ever take any threat of suicide lightly. Never. OK, if it's someone on a server and you don't know them then you might think you have no way of influencing things - but maybe you should step in, even if if the guy in question turns out to just to be a bit drunk.
If any of my friends over the years have ever even mentioned death I have listened to them very seriously and talked to them equally seriously (but of course sympathetically).
Again, not so easy when someone is 5000 miles away and might just be an idiot - but I do ask people to treat these threats seriously.
I too have been there, although without the courage to actually carry out the act. But still, the thought and the intent was very real indeed.
I feel really pleased for those that have never felt the urge or need to end their own life. But for those of us that have, the report of this young mans death is very much more sad indeed - made even more so by the fact that 'the watchers' who encouraged him showed, if nothing else, an incredible lack of maturity or care. It matters not whether they considered this young mans actions an act - the fact is that they took the time to be voyeurs in this mans last hours not knowing if it was real or not.
The fact that there's no way that they could have been sure should have had them picking up a phone and getting him some help.
I disgusts me to think that some of those voyeurs got some kind of cheap thrill from watching this young mans demise. Even if they didn't think it was real, they still took the time to watch it.
How very sad have we, as humans, become?
It's sad but...
There are different forms of suicide.
Someone who is in excruciating incurable pain and is going to die very soon.
Someone who is uncontrollably depressed and has done everything they can with drugs and therapy to make themselves feel just a bit better; but never can or ever will.
Someone who has seriously had their lives go downhill very fast and they really truly see no hope of ever making it through (even though others are far worse off than they are).
Someone who is just playing around and doesn't realize the true danger and it's unchangeable consequence.
Someone who thinks that everyone is against them; real or not; believes they are unloved and feels depressed about it (even though they haven't experienced life yet to make a proper realization).
Perhaps most people know someone in any of those categories. I do.
As for the f*ckt*rds that egged the kid on...what goes around comes around baby and you will get your chance to suffer one day either directly or indirectly..
As for those who tried to help...thanks for trying.
What really gets me
is that the police were called so late, and not even by anyone who had viewed the live webcam! Why did not a single person viewing the overdose on the webcam stream try to call the police? It's a classic case of "someone else will take care of it".
It's the internet...
So what if people encouraged it? Look at the 6th person from the top who posted a message.. "My Preferred Method " By BLoad Posted Saturday 22nd November 2008 18:12 GMT
For some reason he is hinting at suicide, but how many people have just grabbed their phone and called the police? What if I told you guys my life sucks and im gonna an hero right now?
Anyone call the police yet? Come on, seriously I am gonna do it right now, are you ready???
Did you call the now maybe?
Are you perhaps thinking "What is this tool doing posting on the register about killing himself"
Are you perhaps thinking "Either do it or shut up, christ."
If I actually did go through with it right now, and you didn't call the police would it be fair for someone to criticise you in the same way that people are doing above and in the other comments related to this case?
Incidentally, what I typed was merely to demonstrate my point, I am not going to kill myself.
Many of the people who set up their own webcams or upload videos to Youtube do so because they thrive on the theatre of the enterprise, and people watch for exactly the same reasons. There are a lot of actors, putting on performances to entertain. Given the extremely low number of people who have killed themselves 'live', I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that many of those watching had no idea he was serious. It may seem sick that he was being egged on, but that may have all been part of the pantomime. Macabre? Yes. Evil? No.
From what I've read of the incident, he simply 'fell asleep' on camera. Now perhaps a particularly astute viewer (incidentally we've no idea what kind of audience he was streaming to - they could have all been kids like him?) could have got in contact with the authorities straight away, as it's certainly better safe than sorry. However, it's not as if he was slowly bleeding to death in front of their eyes.
Finally - bruceld et al - it seems to me that, by hoping the viewers "...will get (their) chance to suffer one day..." you're far worse than anyone who egged him on. Firstly, you're leaping in to judge and condemn people in the harshest terms with practically no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the events. Secondly you prance around in self-righteous indignation while openly displaying the vile savagery of your own minds. Your purile "down with these sickos! lets torture them!" brand of vengeance is both irrational and pathetically hypocritical.
Humans have a fascination with death rather. I didn't watch it myself, I didn't know about it, whether or not I would have, I don't know. The thing is, everyone said the people watching were sick to watch that, how ever I think that is just a part of human behaviour, something we like to deny. The whole thing was nothing really, pick up a history book, something about Colosseums and what used to go on in those. Or the French revolution, How many watched the heads of the monarchs roll? Witch hunts, people getting burned at the stake, hung or other public executions. All of these were at some point or other turned into little more than a form of public entertainment. Its something that we have a fascination of, death voyeurism. We deny it, but we do. We love that sort of thing. Why do we assume we are any more (for want of a better word) moral than our ancestors?
As usual we have a bunch of pricks hiding behing the net. Is it a crime in the US to encourage somebody to take their own life? If it is I hope the police track down these idiots and prosecute them.
There are far too many tossers on the net who think that they can say and do what they like online because they are anonymous. Sometimes though it backfires. Some arsehole kid was harassing and threatening a friend of mine online a few years ago. He thought hiding behind an anonymous proxy made him safe. Unfortunately for him the extended internet community we were part of meant that people, knew people who knew people and it wasn't too long before we'd tracked the idiot down to his home address in Austin, TX. An email to his father threatening to involve the police elicited a written apology and the father promised us his son would be barred from using the net for some considerable time. There's one little prick who realised he was not as anonymous as he thought. I for one wanted to involve the police rather than his father but was outvoted.
@ Bad Beaver
Although guns might be a bit on the strong side, I get the impression that it's policy here in the UK to treat the suicidle as a potential threat. I had to phone an ambulance for a friend of mine after she texted me to say she'd taken a load of pills to kill herself, and the operator was quite stern about asking if she was prone to violence.
It's fair enough, I guess. When someone's at the point of suicide, it's not as if they've got a great deal left to lose, and nor will they be in an especially rational state.
..an overdose of drugs prescribed *to treat depression*
Should they, perhaps, not give them out in sufficient numbers to cause death to people who may well be inclined to use them that way?
Not blaming the authorities, if someone wants to kill themselves then that is their prerogative, going to all the trouble of allowing people to witness it.. I can't help but wonder if they expected to get stopped by the police/ambulance/etc before the end.
Go on, do it!
Some reports in the printed media are using this as a reason to bring up the 'Let's control the internet' angle, as if the government controlling the internet would have stopped this. Personally I think this is completely irrelevant, the internet didn't encourage him to commit suicide, he obviously had some problems that he felt were beyond his control that were nothing to do with the internet and which unfortunately those around him didn't recognise. The only internet angle is that he tried to reach out through the 'net to other people, presumably in an attempt to gain the attention he was lacking in real life that could have helped him.
Unfortunately this won't stop fucktards like Herr Schmidt claiming it as a reason for the government to control the internet, which if they show the same competence as they've done with the economy should bring it to a complete halt around mid-April 2009.
There was a movie...
...called "Untraceable", in which a psychopathic killer who was also an IT expert lured people into his basement den, where he would set them up in a slow-death mechanism live on webcam. This mechanism was actuated by people visiting his website, called "killwithme.com". The more people visited the website to view the cam coverage, the faster the death-mechanism proceeded. The movie showed large numbers of commenters on the site's chat thread gloating about the dying victim.
As a result of this movie, there really is a site called www.killwithme.com, whose entry page looks exactly like the site in the movie. Click the "Enter" button, and the site will pop up a confirmation dialog warning you that entering this site will harm innocent people (Continue? Yes/No). The last time I looked at it, it said 87% of visitors ignored the warning (so 13% heeded it). (And yes, I did click Yes on my first visit to see what was actually on the site!)
Granted, people visiting the site would do so because they had seen the movie, and would know that it was not actually real (so clicking Yes wouldn't really cause someone harm) - but I believe the real-life figure for such a site, if one actually existed that really did cause someone's death, would not be too far different from this.
So it would be interesting to read the blog comments on this suicide's cam page to compare the number of people who egged him on or mocked him, to the number of people who tried to stop or discourage him. I have a nasty suspicion that the killwithme.com ratio of 87:13 would not be too far out in this case...
You forgot all the rubbernecking that goes on every time there is any type of accident on the road. Same phenomenon. And most people have experienced that one.
If people want to stop stuff like this happening, the answer doesn't have anything to do with the internet.
First of all, people need to stop getting so hysterical about suicide. In the end, it is the victims decision, and it is not often one that they've taken lightly. People don't do it "For a laugh" or assume they'll be alright afterwards.
Second of all, the medical profession needs to do a good deal more than it does to help people with depression. Giving people pills that are at best ineffective and then washing your hands of the whole thing isn't helping. Not everyone can afford counselling, and not many employers are accepting of the regular absences you require to attend it.
The question we should be asking.
How much did Google make from the ads on his site while all the sickos were taking a shufty at the corpse?
If the wages of sin are death, is a small percentage of that a slight cold?
Re:@Ed - Guns
Agreed - if the officer had burst in with a gun and then shot the body then that would have been an overreaction but as it stands he probably hadn't been given full details of the incident. Somebody rang in saying that a teen "may" have committed suicide on camera, so the chances are that was the message the copper got.
The whole thing is very sad, but it's not the fault of the internet - as much as certain media sources with one hand in the governments pockets would try to convince you otherwise.
thread from google cache
this is the (now deleted) thread
I'm told the bodybuilding misc part of the forum gets a lot of trolls, worse than 4chan and such
so anyone posting stuff is basicly asking for such replys
I was a Samaritan for years and spent a lot of my free time listening to people die by their own hand....does that make me sick? I think not because I left due to one case which shook me up badly, a 'comfort holiday' became permanent...we all have 'the one' which will hit us. But the point is, people, set upon a course of suicide will be incredibly lonely, set on their decision and all you can do is respect that and be there, not let go alone, even if you're a complete stranger....maybe that makes it easier to confess all?
Ok some (if not all) of the watchers are sick bunnies without a doubt and maybe got some obscure form of kick out of this....it also shows how genuinely detached from reality some of these people really are doesn't it? No-one who is aware of the consequences or has any idea about real life con encourage someone to end their life....that's just sick.
However it was, as someone mentioned, what this person seemed to want.....the internet may have well been their life (as is so often the case these days with many) and it ended there too, in a way
There is no such thing as informed consent as far as suicide is concerned because a suicidal person is by definition mentally ill, in need of help and unable to make rational and informed choices. Personally I'd like to see those who encouraged him to do it forced to do a few hundred hours of community service, e.g. cleaning up in old people's homes or picking up all the litter and cleaning graffiti in their neighbourhoods to encourage them to value their own and other people's lives a bit more. Sick bastards in need of reform who need to value freedom of choice a bit more by seeing what it's like having a few hundred hours of their own freedom taken away from them, for encouraging someone else to throw all of their potential for freedom of choice away.
How are we supposed to know it wasn't a stunt?
Plenty of fakers out there. Back in the days of MSN run chatrooms on IRC there would be at least one a week in the main channel threatening to off themselves. All just people wanting attention with no intention of actually joining the choir invisible. I told one the flaws in their plan and how to do it properly as not be become a drain on the NHS when they mess it up, only to be called "a sick bastard" by them.
And theres all the David Blane wannabes that will fake a death on video.
Did he give out his address? If so, how are the authorities supposed to find him? Besides a call to 911 of "I've just seen someone kill themselves on the net" would be met with confusion or 'are you sure its not fake/a recording'
Unless they knew the kid in person, how is a person supposed to call the authorities?
"Quick, someone on the internet is trying to kill themselves".
The better course would have been to contact the site, though there might be little they can do - who here inputs their real address and/or phone details into sites like these? You're left getting them to use the IP logged.. using a proxy? oh dear. Real IP? well you'll need to draw up a warrent for the personal details of whoever had that IP at that time.
By then the kid would be dead.
Maybe this shows a need for an emergency IP to home details function, but then you're setting a dangerous precident for the authorities to burst your door down in minutes should anyone not take a fancy to what you're doing.
The reason behind many of our feelings on this will be due to how truly helpless we are to respond to this kinda thing.
Very sad indeed.
We now live in such a desensitised society, violence means so little these days. The quality of entertainment is such that we have trained ourselves to enjoy real suffering as much as portrayed fictional violence. I listen to a lot of violent and extreme music, but I can't stand gore or horror flicks. I don't want to be desensitised, I want to be shocked when I read the plight of others, in the hope that I will realise that I am OK and I should always make sure I try my best to help ensure others are OK.
This really is quite sad that a human being, so lonely and at end of their tether would feel the need to leave in such a voyeristic way, screaming a cry for help, yet it was percieved as nothing more than cheap entertainment. What did it achieve in the end? Will you rememeber his name in a day ? A week? A year? Unlikely that you can remember his name even now, only 5 mins after reading it...
I love horror movies but I'm never going to lose sight of reality or become desensitised to real horror. It's only people with already existing personality issues who can be blase or cruel about the genuine suffering of others.
I probably won't remember this kid's name in a week, no, but there are others that I do, and I am sorry for this one today. That's about all anyone can be. If you were fully engaged with this stuff and you really felt every awful unneccessary death, you'd never get out of bed. You have to filter it out, it's just part of living, y'know?
"There is no such thing as informed consent as far as suicide is concerned because a suicidal person is by definition mentally ill, in need of help and unable to make rational and informed choices"
This is a load of BOLLOX!
A person, completely sane and rational, can decide to take their own life. I have personally taken time at other points in my life to weigh up the pros and cons of life, and (in my case) came to the descision that suicide wasn't the answer.
The line of thought to which you subscribe seems to be "If he doesn't think like me, he's insane", which is a BAD road to go down. Just because you have never rationally evaluated suicide and found it is the preferred course of action doesn't mean noone else has.
Yes, in many cases the person is NOT in full controll of their faculties. In this kids case, for example, he was clinically depressed. Maybe if he had seen a shrink or some such he would not have wanted to do this anymore. But this does not apply to everyone.
Take the example of someone who has a terminal illness, and will last a couple of years at most in excruciating pain. Would that person be "by definition mentally ill" if they wanted to end their own life?
Think before you comment!
All too common...
After a cousin of mine committed suicide to the horrible things an uncle of her had done to her, the family of that uncle protected him and pretended he had done nothing wrong (even though she wasn't the first girl he had abused...).
I've been struggling with thoughts of giving up the past years (still am). Having to live with a physical condition which the doctors can't seem to put a label on which fits, yet which makes every day life quite difficult causes a lot of emotional stress and pain. Eventually one begins to see just one way out the situation. When I mentioned this on a number of forums there were indeed people who encouraged me to do it, others said I wouldn't do it, that I was just faking it, and so on. This article is therefore almost a carbon-copy of what I have experienced (minus the suicide of course, so far I haven't succeeded yet, let alone on cam).
Yet it's not just the internet... people will happily walk past someone who is getting beaten up in the middle of the street. Imagine holding a knife to your wrist while in a public place. Will anybody give you any attention, let alone help you? Doubtful.
Worst part is of course when nobody who does want to help seems able to do something. Even if this guy had lived, would he have recovered and lived on to die of a natural cause many years later? It's always tricker than it seems.
Told you I was hardcore....
'Take the example of someone who has a terminal illness, and will last a couple of years at most in excruciating pain. Would that person be "by definition mentally ill" if they wanted to end their own life?'
Being in persistent and excruciating pain makes someone unable to make rational choices, regardless of whether or not they can be considered to be mentally capable in other respects.
And who is going to condemn such a person to 2 years in excruciating pain anyway ? I have heard representatives from the hospices movement, who do not kill people, and whose purpose in life is to care for those with terminal illnesses, who would consider your description of someone's prospects to represent gross mismanagement of the medical condition of the patient concerned. They are not in the business of condemning the terminally ill to years of excruciating pain. In such cases the purpose of ethical medical treatment is neither to maximise the duration of life, nor to support the cop-out of suicide through treatment which directly kills the patient, but to do the best they can for the quality of remaining life of the patient by helping them manage the pain.
The case being discussed above isn't that of someone who was terminally ill. This was a depressed teenager, who could presumably have been helped and treated, and whose life potential would have been seen as having value by anyone whose ethics are worthy of consideration.
Assisted suicide in connection with those with terminal illnesses is a separate debate, and personally I do not and never could support legalisation of this means of hastening the demise of the inconvenient, whatever claimed "safeguards" those who propose this might come up with.
life's a bitch, get used to it.
to anyone who contemplated suicide, stop and think about what comes afterwards. nothing, nada, zilch. you're never going to talk to loved ones again, no one will give a shit about you, you'll never enjoy a good movie, a nice song, good food. you'll never experience love, intimacy, closeness, friendship. you'll never know the meaning of hope, sadness, laughter........
everyone's got problems to deal with. only losers choose to wallow in self pity, make a big deal and choose the stupid way out.
Complicity of the voyeur
Like the question of the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it, we should ask: "Would this boy have killed himself if no one were watching?" Or perhaps he was a kind of Schroedinger's Tennager, if you will. Did the act of opening the webcam window trigger his death? Was he simultaneously alive and dead until those RTMP packets started to arrive?
J's ghoulish rubbernecking motorists, who slow down to inspect a car crash, illustrate a related point: death is indeed a spectator sport. I think it was Tibor Fischer who compared us to the zebras who cannot tear themselves away from a pride of lions feasting one one of their own. There, but for the grace of God, go we all.
Cry for Help
I'm not trying to be heartless, but he was a suicidal teenager. Surely he was irresponsible enough to kill himself in a dramatic, memorable fashion if he really wanted to?
He'd not even have to hurt anyone else, just find a house with a (presumably insured) very fast car on the drive, break into the house, nick the keys, go get pissed, put a flare in the petrol tank, phone the police and hurtle off the side of a cliff after lighting the flare. Or hire the car. Hell, get into debt and buy the car- it's not like you'll have to make further payments on it...
Or blow yourself up in a "chemistry experiment gone wrong". Huff acetylene and go for a ciggie? Sign up for the Military even- you'll end up with some purpose in your life AND the chance that you'll die.
My point is this was probably a cry for help rather than someone who actually wanted to die for a purpose (rather than because they perceived themselves to not have one). The 12-hour warning he gave was another indicator.
And this wasn't a Darwin award as they didn't do anything really mindbogglingly stupid, unless his plan was to get people from the Internet to help save someone they watched die.
If I was to ever take my life I'd die of old age before the preparations were finished. The first Full HD suicide video in Dolby 7.1 & stereoscope'd bullet-time.
so what ?
He is free to do what he wants, including taking his life and including broadcasting it to those who CHOOSE to watch, if he so wishes.
I am wondering how they managed to track him down legally? I'm not comfortable with the idea that people can't talk about (committing?) suicide or mess about on camera without police turning up at their door.
I have already heard of someone who made heat of the moment venting comments on a forum and had the police turn up, his details taken and the 'incident' logged in the police files.
As for the family, well it's typical that they would blame strangers for his death rather than themselves or say, the actual person who took his life: himself.
It is an extremely sad case, especially when you read what he wrote before he killed himself. But these things happen and no-one should be held responsible for the actions of someone else. Full stop. I think in this day and age the possibility of witnessing a suicide like this is a real possibility and we need to get used to the idea. And if people want to do it...as extreme as it is...I don't really see what the problem is. The only problem is moral/ethical and I am not in favor of tightening those laws. People should be free. And being free includes the freedom to do bad or questionable things.
Maybe it will be a new alternative to school shootings? I have to say it is better if they make themselves famous by harming themselves only, rather than taking out a whole class
If suicidal people do not want to be told to do it, then they should not talk about it to people who will be honest or potentially provoking. They should talk to a THERAPIST, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including the opinion that suicide is a good idea. You do not have to do what other people say.
Why is it that 10 people can tell a suicidal person not to do it, and 2 people can shout 'do it' yet the minority are blamed if the person goes on to commit suicide? Is telling someone to go ahead with their suicide anymore convincing than trying to talk them out of it ??
@ Richard Kay
"a suicidal person is by definition mentally ill"
Sorry, but that's utter tripe. What about people who are suffering the last, agonising weeks of a degrading terminal illness? You evidently consider them all ineligible for the basic human right to self-determination, as you later write "persistent and excruciating pain makes someone unable to make rational choices".
Live *your* life as *you* wish to Richard , but you have no business attempting to impose this asshat philosophy upon *others*.
(Go, because sometimes people decide that it's time to)