Death by Text

A teenager sent her depressed boyfriend hundreds of messages encouraging him to commit suicide.
Does that make her his killer?

By MARIN COGAN

Excerpt:
… Roy spent Saturday, July 12, with his mother and two younger sisters. He had graduated from high school a month earlier with a 3.88 grade point average; he had been accepted to Fitchburg State University but had decided not to go. His mom tried to get her son to talk as they walked along the beach with their dog that day, but, she would later say, he seemed distracted by his phone. He seemed like he wanted to sit in the car and text.

Lynn would learn only later that the person on the other end of those messages was Carter. The conversation was about Roy’s plan to commit suicide.

At 4:19 that morning, Carter messaged him. “You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.”

“I don’t get it either,” he wrote back. “I don’t know.”

Carter: “So I guess you aren’t going to do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.”

Roy: “I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.”

Carter: “No you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it.”

Later in the afternoon, he wrote her again.

“I’m determined,” he said. “I’m ready.”

“Good because it’s time, babe,” she wrote back. “You know that. When you get back from the beach you’ve gotta go do it. You’re ready. You’re determined. It’s the best time to do it.”

***

After having discussed this complex topic with my friend, I still think (he doesn’t) that Carter shares responsibility for her boyfriend’s death. What do you think?

 

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14 Comments

  1. When people are depressed they have a chance to rise above this. If she goaded him then that would make her an accessory. Would a person with HIV that doesn’t protect himself against infecting somebody else would you not call him a murderer in the end. There is so much of this story that is missing how are we to know the whole truth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, we really don’t have enough information. Re your question- I think everyone is responsible for himself i.e. for protecting himself. If someone who knows he has HIV doesn’t protect himself to avoid infecting another, still the other is responsible for himself, so it wouldn’t be murder but manslaughter or however you would call it… I think legally it probably would also be relevant if the two talked about the issue before and whether the infected lied/denied his infection.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I know clinically depressed people who have been living or lived with depression for years and who were never really able to rise above it. Medication helped them feel better for a while but the black hole was always there…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve experienced the opposite with people. Some moods changed and some were dark until an advocate asked to have their medication changed and when medication changed they did remarkably well. Psychiatrist thinks they are gods and possibly couldn’t listen to somebody else.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a fine line here, but the girlfriend in my opinion goes beyond been suportive and is actually goading him into killing himself. I think for what it’s worth that she didn’t seem to be ready to support his possible change of heart. .Yes I find her guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the visit and comment bg. Yes, I also think she went too far and actually goaded him into doing it. My friend, on the other hand, says that from the full article it becomes obvious that he had been suffering for a long time and had already attempted to take his life. She actually respected his feelings and his wish to put an end to his suffering and that’s why she helped him. Death is a tabu for us, something terrible we don’t like facing or talking about. But she saw beyond and helped him find the relief he desperately longed for.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeanne and thanks for the comment. My spontaneous reaction was like yours… how could she! But when I heard my friend’s opinion I slightly changed my mind. He thinks that she, being someone who really loved the young man, only helped him end his suffering by doing something that he had been wanting to carry out for years. She respected his feelings and his wish, inspite of society’s tabu regarding death and suicide. He had been wanting to put an end to his torture for years and had already attempted to commit suicide. She “only” helped him finally find the long longed-for relief

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Complicated and personal so I am not the most objective, while respectful of other insights. Honestly, the desire comes from within, and those who desperately cling to another person’s life, as losing their own life, are lost. Those who let go, lose another, but not themselves. So very, very sad.

        Thanks for posting a thoughtful conversation. Much needed.

        Like

  3. Interesting. Complex, no question about that. As for “shared responsibility” one could say “supportive”.

    There isn’t enough information in Tubularsock’s opinion to really get a full picture of the situation.

    This type of thing is difficult for Tubularsock because Tubularsock can not even conceive killing HIMSELF. Or anyone else for that matter.

    It would be interesting to know the girlfriend’s motive on being so supportive. Odd.

    We are each responsible for ourselves. The buck stops there!

    Thanks heila.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The more I think about the situation the more I tend to agree with my friend who says that from the full article we can understand that he had been suffering for a long time and had already attempted to take his life. She helped him because she really cared for him and respected his feelings and his wish to put an end to his suffering, regardless of man’s general tabu and fear regarding death. And yes, in the end it is his decision and his reponsibilty.
      I am very happy Tubularsock has no intention of killing himself or anyone else because I absolutely wouldn’t want to miss his inspiring comments! 😉 Thanks for the visit.

      Like

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