Imagine if you send a message to the person on the other end of your cell phone, go kill yourself, or go kill yourself, the person actually commits suicide.
So, should you be jailed for killing?
In the United States, such a special case happened.
Michelle Carter, a 17-year-old American town girl, sent her boyfriend Conrad Roy this message:
Will you commit suicide today? Do it now.
When the police found him in the open parking lot, Conrad was sitting in a truck with a roaring engine and closed windows, and died of inhalation of a large amount of carbon monoxide.
The truck Conrad used to commit suicide. Figure /NBC
A year later, Michelle was put in the dock. The messages became evidence of her killing Conrad.
This is the first SMS homicide case in the United States. It is also a legal and moral luoshengmen born in the era of social media.
A homicide led by SMS
Conrad: OK, Ill do it today
Conrad: I promise you, baby
Conrad: Ill do it now
Conrad: where should I go?
Michelle: you cant break your promise. Find a quiet parking lot.
After Conrads death, the media exposed thousands of text messages that the two chatted, which shocked the entire American society.
In terms of text messages alone, Michelle seems to have been encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide, which makes many people shudder.
Her conduct is murder.
Soon, Michelle made headlines in the name of bewitching girls and became the target of public criticism.
A young girl forced her boyfriend to death with verbal violence? No media will let go of this great theme.
Nancy grace, an American TV anchor, shouted with uncontrollable anger and disgust in the live news:
Look at her face.
What appeared on the TV screen was the face of a young girl often seen in American youth films: blonde hair plaited in a twist braid on her shoulder, mouth tooted and tilted to one side, showing a little disdain.
At Nancy Graces request, the picture was enlarged, centered, and filled a whole screen.
This kind of propaganda works well.
Soon, Michelles unintentional expression was imprinted on the minds of the American people.
Even the old lady on the street was furious: I really want to say that you are a pest when you see her face.
Before she became the pest, Michelle was recognized as a bright girl.
She comes from a small town of only 8000 people in Massachusetts, with excellent performance and enthusiasm for public welfare. She is a typical American town youth.
Conrad, also from Massachusetts, is only an hours drive from Michelles home.
Later, they met several times and made an appointment to go cycling together. But most of the time, you can only maintain your feelings by texting.
In the past two years, more than 60000 messages, emails, phone calls and chat records on social software have been sent to each other.
Love in SMS.
Their conversation always revolves around three themes: love, pain and death.
Conrad is a depressive patient who has attempted suicide four times.
In one case, he swallowed a large number of sleeping pills, almost succeeded in suicide, but was found in time and sent to the hospital.
It was the last time he had died.
Conrad confessed to suffering from depression in a selfie video.
Conrad suffered a lot mentally and never gave up the idea of suicide.
He texted Michelle his thirst for deathu2014u2014
Surprisingly, in the last two weeks of Conrads life, Michelle encouraged his suicide.
Michelle has an idea for Conrad.
They seriously discussed which way to commit suicide without suffering.
Conrad was afraid of pain, and he was afraid that he would be saved if he failed to commit suicide. He found on the Internet that inhaling the colorless and tasteless carbon monoxide to commit suicide had a higher success rate.
Michelle immediately agreed:
This may be the best way You will lose consciousness, fall asleep and die without any pain.
After determining the way of suicide, Conrad has been delaying the suicide plan.
He always says to Michelle, its tonight, but often breaks his word.
Michelle is impatient, and she urges, its time, and youre ready. Why dont you act?
I know, but Im worried about my family.
Dont worry, Ill take care of your family. They will eventually accept and come out. People who commit suicide dont usually think that much, they all act directly.
Conrads mother knew that her son was texting Michelle all day long. She thought the two were just chatting. Unexpectedly, the two young people lived and talked in a very dangerous and destructive way for a long time.
No one knows about it but themselves.
Even Michelle and Conrad, perhaps, didnt realize how much they would affect each other by typing words on their phones.
When communicating through SMS for a long time, people are more likely to fall into the illusion of talking to themselves, and it is difficult to understand the semantics of each other.
At Michelles repeated urging, Conrad finally put it into action.
Then he sat quietly in the car, ready for the arrival of death.
As the concentration of carbon monoxide increased, Conrad began to feel sick, dizzy and nauseous. Then a panic hit him. He got out of the car and called Michelle.
After chatting for more than 40 minutes, Michelle said to Conrad, get back in / get back in the car.
These three words have changed the fate of two people.
Conrad did. He went back to the car full of carbon monoxide. This time, he succeeded.
During this process, the phone never hung up.
Michelle listened to Conrad moan painfully and then slowly died.
From beginning to end, she didnt persuade him to stop or call the police for help - she did nothing.
Michelle was named the worst person of 2015 by a US website.
Two days before Conrads suicide, Michelle had a rehearsal.
So, she has to make a lie come true, she has to make him commit suicide.
The prosecutor complained.
Prosecutors also believe Michelle encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide for her own sake.
In the name of Conrad, she also organized a public baseball game in the community to raise money for mental health promotion activities.
Im famous now, ha ha.
Michelle said in a text message to her classmates.
There is no doubt that Conrads cause of death is still suicide.
However, the large number of SMS has become a strong evidence. In any way, the suicide seemed to have been accomplished in Michelles elaborate plan for the next step.
Most importantly, Michelle said get back in.
The judge eventually convicted her of manslaughter and sentenced her to 15 months in prison with a five-year reprieve.
Michelle cried the moment she heard the guilty verdict.
The verdict came to an end, but netizens abuse did not stop. Nancy grace, the host, also expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict:
15 months? Are you kidding? She should have been sentenced to 20 years.
The love between lonely girls and depressed teenagers
According to the information disclosed by social media, the event has been true, and it is over.
However, in addition to the mainstream speech, there are also some different voices:
Is it killing to encourage others to commit suicide? Whats Michelles motivation? Does she mean anything?
And is her freedom of speech violated?
In HBOs street interview, there were also people who thought Michelles words were not against the law.
To answer these questions, the HBO documentary I love you, go to hell now shows a Michelle who is quite different from the media reports.
It turns out that Conrad is not the only one suffering from mental illness, Michelle also suffers from social phobia and eating disorders. Intermittent overeating often makes her feel anxious and tired.
Every time Conrad asks for a meeting, Michelle rejects it on the grounds of not confident in her body - which may be why the two meet less often.
Michelle also tried to hang herself, but retreated at the last minute.
Michelles psychoactive drugs have a tendency to induce suicide.
Whats more surprising is that Michelle, who seems like a fish in water in campus life, doesnt even have a close friend.
Yes, Michelle is keen to participate in group activities, and there are some chatty classmates in school, but no one asked her to go out on weekends. Even if she offered to invite, everyone would find an excuse to refuse.
Michelle has complained in text messages more than once that she has no friends.
In order to get everyones attention, Michelle once made up her love affair with a female classmate. She imagined that they were inseparable in school, would visit each others home, sleep in a bed, and even flirt with each other.
In a text message sent to her classmates, Michelle said affectionately, Im so obsessed with her that I dont know how to stop. I think of her when I hear every love song.
And all this - according to the testimony of the female students involved - has not happened at all.
Michelle loves to lie and gets care by lying, which seems to be an open secret among her classmates.
On the surface, everyone is kind, but in the dark, they are hiding from her consciously.
Michelle seemed to pour all her emotions into Conrad.
The intensity of the conversation was amazing, especially in the months before Conrads death, when the two chatted almost from morning to night.
They talk to each other about their mental pain, soothe and lick each others wounds, solve the depression and loneliness of adolescence through conversation, and also steal the extremely lack of care and recognition from each other.
Michelle told Conrad in a text message: you are like a beacon leading me out of the dark.
She has been urging him not to commit suicide and encouraging him to seek help from his family and psychiatrist.
However, Conrads will to commit suicide is very firm.
Michelles lawyer defended Michelle on this basis.
He is too painful to bear any longer. No one can really help him. Only death can free him.
In this way, Michelle was dragged into Conrads spiritual quagmire, deeper and deeper.
She began to believe that encouraging and helping Conrad commit suicide was the way to be really good for him.
Conrad asked Michelle to keep his suicide secret.
There is clear evidence that every time Michelle gives Conrad a suicide proposal, Conrad always says thank you - thank her for being with him and thinking about him.
Sometimes Conrad apologizes to her: am I very selfish? Im so eager to kill myself, and Im bringing you in.
Not to mention, every time they finish talking about suicide, they always end the conversation with I love you.
In thousands of text messages, similar confessions have appeared more than 300 times.
The number of I miss you is not included.
From this part of the text message, both people think they love each other deeply.
Love a person, but encourage him to commit suicide?
This incredible plot actually happened.
If you read their text messages from beginning to end, you will find that its more like a teenage romance on the wrong path than Michelles vicious killing Conrad.
Conrad is the mastermind of suicide, Michelle is the accomplice.
Defense lawyer: Conrad took Michelle and her whole life and embarked on this tragic journey.
Amanda Knox, a Los Angeles Times commentator, spoke for Michelle:
This time, the law is in trouble.
Its reminiscent of the story of Jack Kevorkian, the doctor of death.
Jack, an American pathologist, has publicly called for the right to die of terminally ill patients who are suffering from the disease.
He built a suicide machine where patients could kill themselves painlessly by injecting drugs into their veins. Since 1990, he has assisted at least 130 patients to end their lives.
Until 1999, Dr. Jack was convicted of second degree murder and jailed for eight years.
Dr. Jack and his suicide machine, he has a famous saying: death is not a crime.
But Michelles situation is a little more complicated, and she did not take any practical action - Conrad killed herself, dozens of kilometers away.
Michelles defense attorney gives an example of a person saying to another person, you jump off the bridge now, or Ill push you down.
The second half is a kind of coercion, which can be regarded as violating the law, but the first half is not.
All Michelles words encouraging suicide are the same as the first half of the sentence and should be protected by the first amendment, freedom of speech.
There is no law in Massachusetts that encourages suicide..
In other words, Conrad committed suicide entirely out of his own will.
However, the defense lawyers remarks failed to impress the judge.
According to the judge, Michelles words have a guiding role in Conrad, which is called overwhelming the will, so the first amendment does not apply here.
This time, Michelle seems to have opened a small gap in American law that regards the first amendment as sacrosanct.
A picture of Michelle in jail. She was officially jailed in February and is expected to be released in May 2020. She did not give up her appeal.
If the appeal fails, the case will become a very terrible precedent.
Once someone says you should commit suicide, and the other party really commits suicide, it is a felony of killing.
Whats more, language should not be taken out of context.
Even if it is the same sentence, different people will have different understandings. You will never be able to prove whether the speaker has good intentions or bad intentions.
Michelle was wronged by a citizen.
Another lawyer said, this is not the last case. It will set a new standard for the subsequent cases of encouraging suicide.
After Michelles three months in prison, the prediction came true.
In May, Alexander urtula, a student at Boston College, jumped off the top of the parking lot on the day of graduation, ending his 22-year-old life.
On that day, his parents came from New Jersey to attend the graduation ceremony. At last, they saw his sons cold body.
Photos of Alexander urtula provided by the prosecution.
After investigation, it was found that his girlfriend, inyoung you, a Korean international student, had been mentally controlling and abusing him. She monitored her boyfriends position at any time through mobile phone tracking software.
Even when Alexander committed suicide, she witnessed everything on the spot.
Two months before Alexanders suicide, his girlfriend sent him more than 47000 texts, including hundreds of texts ordering him to die, such as godie and gokillyyours.
Alexanders picture with his girlfriend.
Recently, inyoung you was formally charged by US prosecutors with the same crime as Michelle: manslaughter.
There is nothing new in the sun, the story is repeating.
The times are moving forward, and the law is not unchangeable.
As Amanda Knox said, people turn Michelle into evil because they want a simple answer, a non black and white answer.
Perhaps only by abandoning the black-and-white thinking and embracing the multi-dimensional and comprehensive narrative can we approach the real fairness and justice infinitely.