Life and Death in a Public Space

In Miami yesterday, a 19-year-old community college student killed himself in front of a webcam. Right. He revived an old TV show called You Can't Do That On Television. He proved that was wrong.

Some people tried to contact the service provider to call the cops. If they were in the Broward County area why didn't they do it themselves?

Some tried to talk Abraham Biggs, Jr. out of it.

Others goaded him to finish the job.

He did the latter.  He swallowed a bunch of pills and died on his bed in his father's home.  His father is a professor at Broward Community College, and his son was a student there.

Biggs, Jr. was a manic-depressive. That is to say he was bipolar. I knew the terrain a bit too well not to glimpse the desperation and inner-driven rage that took him down the path to his own death.

He did it on the internet. He was unstoppable. We've entered a new phase of suicide: death via webcam, public chat-room self-destruction. We're outdoing the Buddhist monks in South Vietnam years back who immolated themselves in public. We're arriving at the equivalent of webcam sex videos. Only this act was not virtual and nobody had to pay for it except anyone who witnessed what happened, anyone who texted OMG when they saw it was not a joke, Abraham Biggs, Jr., and of course his father. Try to imagine the lives destroyed yesterday. Try to guess the number of haunted memories.

There are mental health structures in place to help a young man like Abraham Biggs. Where were they? Why didn't this kid feel like he could go to them? Look to organizations like The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill for information about the banquet of torments in which the mentally ill live.

Look at your health insurers and ask why they will not pay parity with physical illnesses.

As them why the preexisting illness requirement makes treatment unattainable to far too many patients.

And pray for Abraham Biggs and his father.

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