Father Appalled by Virtual Audience that Egged on his Son’s Suicide

November 24, 2008 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

The father of a college student whose suicide was broadcast live over a
webcam said Saturday he was appalled by the virtual audience that egged
on his son and called for tougher regulation of Internet sites.

Abraham Biggs Sr. said those who watched and the Web site operators share some blame in his 19-year-old son’s death.

“I
think they are all equally wrong,” he said. “It’s a person’s life that
we’re talking about. And as a human being, you don’t watch someone in
trouble and sit back and just watch.”

Police
found Abraham Biggs Jr. dead in his father’s bed Wednesday, 12 hours
after he first declared on the Web site for bodybuilders that he
planned to take his own life. He took a fatal drug overdose
in front of an Internet audience. Although some viewers contacted the
Web site to notify police, authorities did not reach his house in time.

Biggs, who has said he was at work during the episode, said he had not known about his son’s online presence.

“I
think after this incident and probably other incidents that have
occurred in the past, they all point to some kind of regulation is
necessary,” Biggs said. “I think it is wrong to have this happen for
hours without any action being taken from the people in charge. Where
were they all the time?”

The younger Biggs posted a link from the Web site to Justin.tv, which allows users to broadcast live with their webcams.

A
computer user who claimed to have watched said that after swallowing
some pills, Biggs went to sleep and appeared to be breathing for a few
hours while others cracked jokes. Some users told investigators they
did not take him seriously because he had threatened suicide on the
site before.

Biggs Sr. said he believes the webcast was a cry for help.

“But
rather than get help, he was ignored,” Biggs said. “I would not want to
see anything like that on the Internet and not try and get help for
that young man. I think that’s what the average person would do. Any
normal person would do. I’m really appalled.”

Pembroke Pines Police Department Sgt. Bryan Davis said no new information on the case was available Saturday.

Biggs Sr. said funeral arrangements have not yet been set for his son, who he said loved helping others.

“He
was a good kid. Good kid,” Biggs Sr. said. “It’s a shame I wasn’t there
to help him. It’s a big loss to me. I wish I was there to help him —
since nobody else would.”

An autopsy concluded Biggs died from a combination of opiates and benzodiazepine, which his family said was prescribed for his bipolar disorder.

“Abe, i still wish this was all a joke,” a friend wrote on the teenager’s MySpace page.

It
is unclear how many people watched it happen. The Web site would not
say how many people were watching the broadcast. The site as a whole
had 672,000 unique visitors in October, according to Nielsen.

Biggs
was not the first person to commit suicide with a webcam rolling. But
the drawn-out drama — and the reaction of those watching — was seen as
an extreme example of young people’s penchant for sharing intimate
details about themselves over the Internet.

Source: AP

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Entry filed under: African-American, National. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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