Apparently, nobody caught the irony in the fact that during the same week that Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted for killing Philando Castile – which essentially suggests that Mr. Castile is responsible for his own death – that a 20 year-old named Michelle Carter was convicted for forcing the suicide of one then-18 year-old Conrad Roy III.
Now, the mere notion of a “forced” suicide is a contradiction in terms far enough apart to be an oxymoron.
Suicide is, if anything, deciding to kill yourself.
So the notion that anybody can actually force you to do it – and this includes issuing ultimatums – either introduces a new definition or calls for a new term.
And, to be sure, Conrad was unhappy.
He was so unhappy, in fact, that he had attempted suicide before.
But the reason that Ms. Carter has been convicted was that on the pivotal night when he did, in fact, succeed by filling the cab of his truck with carbon monoxide, Conrad had actually changed his mind midway and Ms. Carter talked him back into it.
Now, for my money, this act can be interpreted two ways; the first would be the way that the courts saw it thereby making Ms. Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the second is the way I see it.
It all goes back to standardization.
And being that we’re all different, standardization becomes impossible.
Simple logic should demonstrate that if you like fire and snakes and there is a hell, your hell wouldn’t include fire and snakes.
It should also tell you that the fact that we disagree over whether or not there’s a hell and whether or not there’s even a God nullifies standardization.
That fact that we argue over LeBron versus KD, Kendrick and Drake and anything else proves that truth, like the notion of good, evil and everything else is subjective.
Therefore, although I might – and do – take the Panglossian perspective on this plane of existence being “the best of all possible worlds”, it would be insane for me not to realize that this very same place is probably someone else’s dogshit.
Still, there are those that would argue that suicide is a “sin” because life is a “gift from God” implying, ridiculously, that you not only must like every gift you’ve been given but use it to the discretion of the giver.
Life is a “gift” that you ain’t even ask for.
And once it’s yours, you can do what the fuck you want with it including getting rid of it.
Besides – Transatlantic slavery junkies get ready to get mad – nobody can make you do anything.
Even during slavery there were slave suicides, mass rebellions and mass runaways.
There were slaves that washed themselves into the sea in groups and simply refused to work, lashes be damned, went on hunger strikes and died.
And what about you, individual Black person, how hard would it be to make you a slave right now considering all that you know?
So no, those that consented to slavery were either filled with eternal hope for a brighter tomorrow, or had accepted the conditioning that slavery was their natural state.
All this being said, even I’m not heartless enough to suggest that if someone can talk you into suicide over the phone that you deserve to die.
Still, right before going to England years ago for a book tour, I got the jitters at the last second.
Thank God my girlfriend at the time reassured me and sent me on my way.
I’d have been miserable if I had stayed here.