My friend, Dave Hand writes a blog. In this posting he discusses the recent suicide of a young college student who was outed as a homosexual by his roommate by a video the roommate took in the dorm-room and then posted on the internet. Dave brings up a good point, however, I disagree with him. All without being disagreeable, because that's the kinda friends we've been since his kid sister and I were in school together swapping romance novels.
I wrote there that I consider suicide, in 99% of the cases, to be the most selfish act I know. This is not one of that 99%. I firmly hold that Dharun Ravi to be more culpable because, if not for his posting of that video on the internet, chances are that the young man would not have jumped from the bridge, killing himself.
Let me explain, because I know many people "get it" but many do not. In the state of Texas it is a capital crime to commit murder in the commission of another felony. So say you rob a bank, that is a felony. In your attempt to evade punishment after committing the crime, you jump in to a car and the driver then hits a jaywalker, all people in that car are guilty of capital murder. They can be given the death penalty, even though they were just riding in the car, and the driver will also be prosecuted for the bank robbery, even though he never entered the bank. He knew they were robbing the bank, knew he would be driving the get away vehicle, and had knowledge beforehand. He's just as guilty of robbing that bank as the ones who were physically in the bank. We so absolutely no gray areas about this.
Now, if suicide is the murder of oneself, then the person who illegally took a video in the dorm room (they have the rules because of the pervasive problem of video surveillance) and the posted illegal video on the internet. Then, not only did he just hang the picture up, he invited many other college students to view the video. Dharun Ravi is the driver of the get away car. He's the wheelman. He drove that young man to suicide as surely as if he had physically pushed him off the bridge.
I may be biased, being in Texas, and all, but I was heavily influenced by an Agatha Christie novel, Curtain, the last Poirot novel, wherein Hastings follows a murderer, who never physically kills anyone. It's a fascinating book.
Personal responsibility is an unknown in today's world. The roommate still thinks he did nothing wrong. His contemporaries can't figure out what the big deal is. Karma is a wonderful equalizer, and I am a patient woman. I'm going to be watching Dharun Ravi very closely. He now has attorneys defending his right to video tape after he signed papers he would not do so in his dorm room as it is considered an invasion of privacy. I wonder how private a person Dharun Ravi is? Wouldn't it be fun to find out?