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21st Century Depression

October 13, 2017

 

In an age with fleeting attention spans, it is more difficult to grab the captivation of those around you. For many, this desperate search for attention comes from the desire to be acknowledged in their lives. Often, depressive periods can change one for the better, as it requires deep intra-personal thought. However, for the few who reach such a level of sadness, they can sometimes be driven to taking their own lives. 


While we mourn, honor, and strive to better the community after incidents of preventable suicides, the victim becomes a face recognizable across a community. Thus, some of these troubled individuals almost idolize victims of suicide since they are brought up on the news and often have memorials dedicated towards them. This awful conundrum brings about the idea of public, and in more recent years, live streamed suicide.


The idea of live-streaming a suicide can entice such people because it brings the individual into the spotlight to say or do whatever they want. Furthermore, the victim can make a show out of it; they can turn it into a performance. This new free-form self-expression allows the broadcasters to create their own image on an entirely personal and unbridled sense, simply because there can be no persecution after death. Our society hasn’t become so desensitized (yet) to where we brush aside suicidal people and their beliefs; like any sensible human being, we want to help those in need. Essentially, these live streams can allow the individual to get some important information “off their chest” and the community is obligated to hear it out. This thought process is truly devastating and must be these victims’ last hope.


There are countless examples within the recent years, where people have gone so far as to advertising their suicide as a viewing. Notably, back in 2008, 19-year-old Abraham Biggs posted on a bodybuilding forum that he was going to broadcast his suicide on the internet and invited those who read the message to stop by his channel on Justin.tv. For those monitoring and viewing the forum, the message was mostly ignored as it was unbelievable and likely a hoax. The worst part of the event occurred during the broadcast, where viewers used chat functions encouraging Biggs to continue his “act”, playing off the whole event as a play for attention, or a bluff. The broadcast lasted twelve hours as Biggs laid lifelessly on his bed from prescription overdose as viewers watched and commented; the feed ended when police entered his room, guns drawn.


Though not in a traditional sense, these unfortunate live-streams define the author’s entirety. For those who watch these broadcasts and either do nothing or worse, encourage the “performer” to kill themselves, should they be held liable for their actions? Perhaps it is everyone’s responsibility to understand that the internet is a public place full of horrible people who can say what they wish without reprimand. It is truly unfortunate to see individuals taking their lives for an audience as a final act of desperation. The fact that we publicize and mourn victims of suicide is a double-edged sword because it might encourage individuals who have lost hope in their search for a friend. I want to end with a plea for everyone to take the time to search for help if you or someone you know are even considering suicidal thoughts. There are many websites, hotlines, and clubs around your area that are more than happy to help anyone out. 


Full Story From:
MailOnline, Paul Thompson for. “Teenager Commits Suicide Live Online While 1,500 People Watch Video Stream.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 21 Nov. 2008, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1088173/Teenager-commits-suicide-live-online-1-500-people-watch-video-stream.html.

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