Some American teen has committed online suicide (article from the Register):
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.
Predictably typical mob mentality took place:
After blogging about his overdose, he could be seen lying in his bed for as long as 12 hours. Some watchers urged him to take more drugs. Others attempted to talk him out of it. Still others questioned whether the dose he took was enough to kill him.
And then, eventually:
At one point, a visitor to bodybuilding.com notified a site moderator of Briggs’ intentions, and the police were called. When the police arrived at his home, he was dead. Among the last images captured: An officer with gun drawn enters the room and begins examining the body. Then the video lens is covered.
Before there are any reactions to this story, let’s ask the question: is this the first time this has happened? No! Another American teen committed online suicide in 2003. As from a BBC article:
Brandon Vedas, a 21-year-old computer expert from Arizona, USA, killed himself with a lethal dose of prescription drugs in January while chatting to online buddies.
And yes, there was the usual online mob mentality:
On the night he died he had a captive audience watching him boast about his drug tolerance and take a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. The transcript showed that, while some cautioned him against taking too many, others egged him on.
Then, there was the 7 online suicides in Japan in 2005, and then in 2007 there was a man that hung himself online. Interestingly, in the 2007 suicide story, there was this comment made during the ordeal:
According to media reports, one online chatter, in light mood, urged him: “Go on, jump! I’m waiting. Look at him wriggling, he can’t even kill himself properly!”
And, so, ad nauseum, the cycle will continue.
My question: why? Why commit suicide online? For immortality? You can prove something to strangers? It’s like that sexual act where you nearly strangle yourself during orgasm to intensify the experience – so, you nearly kill yourself online, hoping someone would intervene? Why do you need people to see you commit suicide?
And then, on the flip side: why are we watching this? Is this our innate curiousity and attraction to seeing disaters unfolding? Our eagerness to be part of the action, but only at audience level?
Last comment – “online suicide” is a bit of a pun, because the phrase refers to web sites killing themselves (through bad marketing, site design, business model) in full view of the online community. Ironic that. Only difference is that we don’t egg on these sites … hmmm … maybe we should?