Fla. teen commits suicide with live Web audience

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Lucky13, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    By RASHA MADKOUR, Associated Press Writer Rasha Madkour, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 11 mins ago

    MIAMI – A college student committed suicide by taking a drug overdose in front of a live webcam as some computer users egged him on, others tried to talk him out of it, and another messaged OMG in horror when it became clear it was no joke. Some watchers contacted the Web site to notify police, but by the time officers entered Abraham Biggs' home — a scene also captured on the Internet — it was too late.

    Biggs, a 19-year-old Broward College student who suffered from what his family said was bipolar disorder, or manic depression, lay dead on his bed in his father's Pembroke Pines house Wednesday afternoon, the camera still running 12 hours after Biggs announced his intentions online around 3 a.m.

    It was unclear how many people watched it unfold.

    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.

    Biggs' family was infuriated that no one acted sooner to save him, neither the viewers nor the Web site that hosted the live video, Justin.tv. The Web site shows a video image, with a space alongside where computer users can instantly post comments.

    Only when police arrived did the Web feed stop, "so that's 12 hours of watching," said the victim's sister, Rosalind Bigg. "They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours."

    She added: "It didn't have to be."

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

    Biggs announced his plans to kill himself over a Web site for bodybuilders, authorities said. But some users told investigators they did not take him seriously because he had threatened suicide on the site before.

    Some members of his virtual audience encouraged him to do it, others tried to talk him out of it, and some discussed whether he was taking a dose big enough to kill himself, said Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner's office.

    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.

    Someone notified the moderator of the bodybuilding site, who traced Biggs' location and called police, Crane said.

    As police entered the room, the audience's reaction was filled with Internet shorthand: "OMFG," one wrote, meaning "Oh, my God." Others, either not knowing what they were seeing, or not caring, wrote "lol," which means "laughing out loud," and "hahahah."

    An online video purportedly from Biggs' webcam shows a gun-wielding officer entering a bedroom, where a man is lying on a bed, his face turned away from the camera. The officer begins to examine him, as the camera lens is covered. Authorities could not immediately verify the authenticity of the video, though it matched their description of what occurred.

    Montana Miller, an assistant professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said Biggs' very public suicide was not shocking, given the way teenagers chronicle every facet of their lives on sites like Facebook and MySpace.

    "If it's not recorded or documented then it doesn't even seem worthwhile," she said. "For today's generation it might seem, `What's the point of doing it if everyone isn't going to see it?'"

    She likened Biggs' death to other public ways of committing suicide, like jumping off a bridge.

    Crane said she knows of a case in which a Florida man shot himself in the head in front of an online audience, though she didn't know how much viewers saw. In Britain last year, a man hanged himself while chatting online.

    In a statement, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said: "We regret that this has occurred and want to respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time."

    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.

    Miami lawyer William Hill said there is probably nothing that could be done legally to those who watched and did not act. As for whether the Web site could be held liable, Hill said there doesn't seem to be much of a case for negligence.

    "There could conceivably be some liability if they knew this was happening and they had some ability to intervene and didn't take action," said Hill, who does business litigation and has represented a number of Internet-based clients. But "I think it would be a stretch."

    Condolences poured into Biggs' MySpace page, where the mostly unsmiling teen is seen posing in a series of pictures with various young women. On the bodybuilding Web site, Biggs used the screen name CandyJunkie. His Justin.tv alias was "feels_like_ecstacy."

    Rosalind Bigg described her brother as an outgoing person who struck up conversations with Starbucks baristas and enjoyed taking his young nieces to Chuck E. Cheese. He was health-conscious and exercised but was not a bodybuilder, she said.

    "This is very, very sudden and unexpected for us," the sister said. "It boggles the mind. We don't understand."
    ___

    Associated Press Writers Jessica Gresko and Lisa Orkin Emmanuel and the AP News Research Center in New York contributed to this report.

    (This version CORRECTS sister's last name in next-to-last graf.)
     
  2. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    "As police entered the room, the audience's reaction was filled with Internet shorthand: "OMFG," one wrote, meaning "Oh, my God." Others, either not knowing what they were seeing, or not caring, wrote "lol," which means "laughing out loud," and "hahahah"

    Seriously WTF is wrong with these kids? the ones that wrote lol or hahaha

    Feel bad for the poor guy

    I am so embarrassed of my generation ,to me the majority of them are a bunch of arrogent ,unappreciative mean wankas
     
  3. Henk

    Henk Active Member

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    That is scary.
     
  4. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    The world is a very sad place...
     
  5. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    For all my love of technology and things that go beep, I do despair sometimes over its de-humanizing influence. While the immediacy of contact that an IM or E-Mail has its merits, without a doubt, it removes you from a sense of being connected with the other person. It seems the sense of being removed is directly proportionate to how casual the contact is. An e-mail from an old friend is closer than abbreviated postings on some annonymous weblog.

    I've been a psych nurse for 18 years and this is very shocking to me, and I've seen some things. My sympathies to his family.
    Derek
     
  6. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    My condolences, deepest and most heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family....:(
     
  7. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    My sympathies to his family.

    109, I feel the same way as you are. The majority of our generation is filled with people like that; it sickens me.
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The dead guy was looking for attention and he got it , its sad but it bothers me not
     
  9. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    By SARAH LARIMER, Associated Press Writer Sarah Larimer, Associated Press Writer – 43 mins ago

    MIAMI – 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."

    Miami lawyer William Hill said there is probably nothing that could be done legally to those who watched and did not act. As for whether the Web site could be held liable, Hill said there doesn't seem to be much of a case for negligence.

    "There could conceivably be some liability if they knew this was happening and they had some ability to intervene and didn't take action," said Hill, who does business litigation and has represented a number of Internet-based clients. But "I think it would be a stretch."

    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.

    In a statement, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said: "We regret that this has occurred and want to respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time."

    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.
     
  10. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    This is one sick effin world.
     
  11. Screaming Eagle

    Screaming Eagle Active Member

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    jeez, I am with daniel on this.
     
  12. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    WTF!

    I can not believe that people would actually encourage him and laugh.

    This world is in such a sad state. Think about it, this is the youth that is our future!
     
  13. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    Thats why I'm embarrassed DerAdler

    I'm glad I'm not the only one
     
  14. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Yup, can't say I'm proud of my generation.
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I don't think its any different then my generation who rubber neck at accidents , walk by people in distress , what needs to be checked out is the reason somebody has enough time to watch a guy sleep to death How would you know if he was just faking . there was nothing graphic .
     
  16. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    True, but with my generation; when people do stuff like this, they post it on the web for the whole world to see.
     
  17. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    Yes I hear what your saying.Kids/teenagers simply have to much time on thier hand and engage in the wrong activities

    What I'm saying is that's why I'm embarrassed even if the guy was joking .How the hell is that funny? who would joke about something that serious?

    Its Pathetic
     
  18. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    well then I'm pathetic . as for watchong it I wouldn't but who wants to watch some one sleep
     
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