Here is a sad story that is also an example of something that should not be prosecuted. Back in July of 2014, a Fairfield 18 year old named Conrad Henry Roy III killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning. It turns out that his then 17-year old friend Michelle Carter had sent him some texts urging him to do so. On the basis of this action, and some time she spent on the phone with him, the young woman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Sorry my friends, prosecuting this young woman for involuntary manslaughter is just as wrong as what she did.
Now, I recognize that what she did is not “nice.” Not by a long shot. She will have to live with her conscience for the rest of her life.
But did she contribute materially to his making the decision to kill himself? Who knows?
What was her motivation in urging him to kill himself? Who knows?
- Maybe she thought it would really ease his pain.
- Maybe she was also thinking about killing herself, and wanted a companion to do it with.
- Maybe she was just a 17-year old, and as most of us know, 17-year olds are often idiots.
The first amendment arguments that her attorney has been making on her behalf were not accepted by the judge. But they should have been.
The choice to commit suicide is the last of our civil rights. Especially when someone has a terminal illness (which is a blog post for another day).
Now, before the haters pile on, I’m not saying that what this young woman did was right. It was clearly wrong. I’m also fully cognizant of the fact that there is a mental health crisis in this country related to depression, and that especially for otherwise healthy teenagers and young adults, suicide is largely an avoidable tragedy. It should be treated as the mental health crisis that it is.
Again, this young woman will have to live with her conscience for the rest of her life.
But not everything that is wrong should be prosecuted. And this is an example of that.