When a young person takes his or her life it is of course a sad story. A life snuffed before it has begun.
When it happens with an audience, on the internet, it becomes national news.
…and a threat to the first amendment.
MIAMI (AP) — The father of a college student whose suicide was broadcast live over a webcam said Saturday he was appalled by the virtual audience that egged on his son and called for tougher regulation of Internet sites.
I can’t imagine the devastation and loss this father feels. Maybe it is the depth of that sorrow, looking for some meaning or utility for his son’s death that leaves him thinking that a law restricting the internet, or holding providers culpable could have prevented his son’s suicide.
Police found Abraham Biggs Jr. dead in his father’s bed Wednesday, 12 hours after he first declared on the website for bodybuilders that he planned to take his own life. He took a fatal drug overdose in front of an Internet audience. Although some viewers contacted the website to notify police, authorities did not reach his house in time.
“I think after this incident and probably other incidents that have occurred in the past, they all point to some kind of regulation is necessary,” Biggs said. “I think it is wrong to have this happen for hours without any action being taken from the people in charge. Where were they all the time?”
Bigg’s son suffered from bipolar disease and had previously threatened to commit suicide at least once before he took his own life.
Let’s hope lawmakers don’t leverage this type of event coupled with recent talk of resurrecting the “Fairness Doctrine” to restrict unfettered self expression and the free flow information on the internet.
That would also be a tragedy.