A Show of Death
Such stories give one a sense that reality is slipping away:
The family of a college student who killed himself live on the Internet say they’re horrified his life ended before a virtual audience, and infuriated that viewers of the live webcam or operators of the Web site that hosted it didn’t act sooner to save him.
Only after police arrived to find Abraham Biggs dead in his father’s bed did the Web feed stop Wednesday – 12 hours after the 19-year-old Broward College student first declared on a Web site that he hated himself and planned to die.
Obviously, the technology is not centrally to blame, but I do wonder how much the reinforcement of an audience dulls the natural reluctance to do one’s self harm with a reluctance to admit weakness by pulling back from the edge. This incident is eerily similar to the 2003 death of Brandon Vedas, who, although he hadn’t declared his intention to kill himself, was intent on showing his online audience how “hardcore” he was.