Now that I’ve decided to add a mental health section to this blog I’ve been trying to keep it from taking over. I have a lot to talk about, but I don’t want it to be the main point of this blog. Still, this is one news story that I couldn’t really back away from. It hits a little close to home and it’s pretty main stream.
In middle school I was bullied very badly, to the point I was pulled out of school (I didn’t technically finish 8th grade before I moved on to high school) and put into a private school for the following year simply to get me away from the classmates I was with. It was not a good time, all three years I was horribly depressed. I got pulled from school because I told my mom I was suicidal (more on that choice here).
One line that haunted me was “I heard you were suicidal, but I guess you couldn’t even kill yourself right.”
I mean YIKES. So needless to say I have thoughts on the Michelle Carter story, a story that is 100xs worse than mine was and ultimately lead to the death of a teenage boy.
You can read the full news story here if you haven’t already, but it has a lot more to do than simply telling someone they should kill themselves. I’m not going to go into all the details though, because plenty of people already have. Instead I’m going to go into my thoughts on it.
Twitter was lit up last Thursday when Carter was sentenced to 2.5 years. There were mixed emotions on the story. A group of people were saying “put her in there longer” and a group was saying “but she didn’t actually kill someone.”
But here is the thing, leading someone into suicide purposely, telling them to go back and do it when they try to stop, should be punished. She had been egging him and and was supposed to be someone who loved him. Then Carter used his suicide to boost her own social status, which really drives hard into what bullying is actually about. Of course people who bully are hateful, but there is a lot more too it than that. They have other drives, just as Carter did.
Will punishing Carter with involuntary manslaughter and sentencing her to 2.5 years of prison change her morals? Jail time does change some but it doesn’t change others, so it’s hard to tell. It will change her life, that’s for certain, because even if she does get released on parole she will forever have a criminal record, and in this case, I think the long term damage is more impact than the prison sentence. This case will ruin her life as she planned it. She’ll still have one, unlike the boy she drove to kill himself, but it will never overcome this case that follows her.
What I think is most important about this case is that it sends a strong message to everyone, and that is that bullying not only has serious consequences, legally and domestically (her social life that she was trying to improve will be altered very negatively).
We’ve tried countless tactics to end bullying, but none of them seem to work, and I think there are multiple reasons for that, but there hasn’t been a threat to bullies, and I think it’s time we gave them that reality check. I think this case just does that.
(If you ever need someone to talk about mental health or bullying please, please, please reach out to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org)