Friday, November 21, 2008

My Personal Memorial for Abraham Biggs

Good Morning Bloggers - I came across a pretty horrible story in the London Times this morning about a 19-year old boy who committed suicide while being watched by up to 1,500 viewers on a live Internet site.

I wrote once before on this blog about a gay teenager in Derby, UK, who jumped to his death from the roof of a building while being mocked and encouraged to jump by people on the ground. The story was shocking to say the least.

So now we have another teenager dying while being encouraged by others who were watching online. Yes, sadly, Abraham Biggs from Broward County, Florida, took an overdose of pills while broadcasting himself on Justin.tv, a live video streaming website.

He told those watching that he was going to commit suicide and went so far as to post a suicide note on another forum before taking the pills and turning on his webcam. Supposedly those watching knew very well was he was up to, yet they did not call the police.

The Times reports that the "19-year-old lay on his bed and only after several hours of no movement did others begin to take him seriously. With the video still running, forum members managed to contact the local police who eventually broke down the door, found the body and switched off the camera. Up to 1,500 people were viewing the feed, according to one report."

Many thought he was joking. Well, I hope they can live with themselves after they failed to take him seriously. Their irrational belief that he was joking led directly to his death. I hate to say it, but I think they're partly responsible. I know myself, and I know that I would have assumed the worst and tried to intervene.

The Times says that he apparently had threatened before to commit suicide. Who cares, the boy was obviously in need of HELP! Somebody should have done something. "On Wednesday he went to the bodybuilding.com forum and detailed the amount of drugs he was going to take. The moderators of the forum reportedly did not take him seriously because of his past threats and other forum members encouraged him to carry out his threat." WOW, what a bunch of assholes! The whole story makes me sick!

They supposedly continued to insult him as he lay motionless on the bed after taking the pills. "One forum member pleaded with other forum members to contact the police and tried to e-mail the Miami-Dade police. He borrowed his father's mobile and spoke to police who directed him to the Broward County Sheriff's Department. About an hour later, the authorities arrived at the teenager's house."

Incredibly, video clips have been posted on the net and copies of the suicide note can also be found. I don't know what to think about the world we live in today. I'm sure many right-wing Republicans who believe the world will fall apart without everybody embracing Jesus will blame it on corrupt morals caused by a lack of religion in our lives, or families without moral leadership. That is BS!

Society creates the conditions for acts of violence - on others or ourselves - at multiple levels. I think it has nothing to do with religious oversight; it as to do with a lack of societal and personal responsibility. We seem to live in a world where people don't take their own actions, much less those of others, very seriously. It's crazy.

Remember, we are all our brothers keeper. We are all responsible. People need to STOP ACTING LIKE IDIOTS and take more responsibility. We should never assume that people are pretending to drown, or choke, or commit suicide. They are nothing to joke about. ALWAYS ASSUME THE WORST! Always try to HELP and to hell with the consequences. If it turns out to be a joke, well then, shrug it off. It's a poor reflection on them, not us.

So, I never knew you Abraham, but I would like to say that you deserved better. People should have helped you. I would have helped you. People should have cared more. I regret that you had to die because we live in a society that does too little, too late. My personal memorial to you Abraham is to promise to act if I ever see anybody hurting like you did. I promise to do something. No matter what, I promise to take them seriously.

Rest in peace Abraham.

Personal Memorial for Abraham Biggs - Michael

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

you say that those egging him on wont be able to live with themselves? give it a break. no one cares about some loser who kills himself for attention. he's just another disturbed attention whore. i wish i could have seen it

Michael Boh said...

Well boys and girls, gutless Anonymous is either somebody pulling our leg, or a complete spineless MORON, kind of like those I was referring to in my piece. If it's the latter, give ME a break and GET THE HELL AWAY FROM US - God give me strength - Michael

sweettee215 said...

Thank you for posting this. So sad what caused this young man to take his life. Thank you for your concern and time towards helping others in this situation.

different anonymous said...

Is it sad? Yes. Is it tragic? Of course. Does my heart go out to the loved ones he left behind? Absolutely.

I am not, however, surprised.

Americans have a pattern of turning a blind eye on others misfortunes (I don't have the citations for the studies, but there are plenty out there -- the one that comes to mind involved a couple having an increasingly volatile argument on a sidewalk in NYC -- and yet, no one called police, stopped to break it up, or tried to protect the young lady when her partner started grabbing her and pulling her)

Our legal system has consistently reaffirmed this course of action -- we have no duty to stop and help others in distress. In fact, if an individual did stop and try to help -- unsuccessfully -- he or she would likely be liable to the injured party for damages. Ah, yes, the old adage rings true... No good deed is left unpunished.

By no means am I saying or suggesting that this is right or wrong -- that's just where we stand as a nation.

Maybe this time will be different. Maybe people will channel the outrage into action... for Abraham.

I hope they do -- and I hope they do so carefully and thoughtfully.

Is internet regulation (which his dad has called for in recent days) the right answer? No. It is in direct conflict with a number of core American principles and values; it calls for a tremendous investment of resources that, quite frankly, we can't very well afford at the moment, and it is violative of the current US policy on the Internet (CDA, 1996: no internet regulation.)

This young man's death is a wake up call to all of us -- spend a few minutes at www.hopeline.com and read over the warning signs. call your friends and family once in a while -- let them know you care (even the difficult ones) -- especially as we proceed full-speed ahead into the holiday season.

Buffalo said...

This could spark an interesting morality discussion.

Anonymous 2 - some states do have good samaritan laws to protect those who do give aid and punish those who should have, but didn't.
Can't remember which states and am too lazy to do the research.

I am a little ambivalent about interceding in a potential suicide. Although I have intervened on a couple of occasions I'm not sure that was my place or right.