The lonely mind

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  1. I do not know the parents, who may, despite the story, be exemplary. There are three additional points to be considered, with the caveat that the story presented by the news release may fall considerably short of truth or reality.
    One: It was the mother’s criticism that provided the immediate trigger for the suicide, not the internet communications. They may have brought her to the edge, but did not precipitate the final act. I point this out not to cast blame upon the mother, but to deflect unreasoned hostility towards the technology. It doesn’t sound like anyone needs the interference of the law. But, if the parents did not believe they needed advice and counseling before (to deal with the apparently critical situation facing their child), I hope they will take advantage of it now (to deal with their grief and guilt stemming from the loss of that child).
    Two: This event did not occur in a vacuum. This criticism online (again, we surely are not getting the whole picture) sounds pretty innocuous to have led to suicide. If those remarks, as presented, led this girl to the end of her rope, then her rope was not very darned long, was it? There must have been far more going wrong for her than this, and this should have been discovered earlier. Could closer involvement by her parents have ameliorated the troubles she must have had? I cast no stones – my own attempt at parenting was not exemplary, but I have seen good parents. I know how the children of attentive parents react, and they don’t commit suicide.
    Three: Let us not conclude that the only answer to this is more government involvement in our lives. Regulation of the internet is not the answer. Good parenting, self-discipline, and the certain knowledge of the inevitability of eventual divine retribution has always shaped civilization well. Let us not now forsake these tools, especially in favor of a government that can’t even deliver mail or run trains profitably.
    Finally, let us offer our prayers, not only for the soul of this departed child, but for the parents as well, whose nightmare has just begun.

  2. First, most people do not commit suicide. Second, the suicide that gets reported on the national news usually does not make sense to anyone who knew the person. It is very easy as an outsider to someone’s life to point to all the good things to live for and sweep away as unimportant the things that may have triggered that person’s final act. A few myspace posts does not sound like much to adults but remember who different the world is when you are 13 and how silly lots of things are when you oversimplify.
    Polimom, I like the picture choice for “lonely” but I would also add that for Texas weather it looks nice to me.

  3. Thanks for the nice words about the photo, Jack. Our recent foggy mornings allowed me to take quite a few images that I feel good about, and none said “loneliness” more than this one does.
    About the story: As reported and read by adults, it seems to fall short… but as Jack says, that would be true about any such story about which we have no personal knowledge. Unfortunately, having intimate contact with someone who takes this journey doesn’t necessarily bring enlightenment, either.
    I have known well both adults and teens who have committed suicide. In some cases the internal pain was manifest before the end, and in some, not… and in all cases, the people left behind were baffled and consumed with guilt.
    Thirteen is very young for this, I feel, and I’m inclined to agree with Jim that reaching the end of her emotional strength didn’t take as much, perhaps, as it might have for some people. But people are individuals — far more so than we sometimes remember — and what goes on inside is ultimately a mystery to those without.

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