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Did Michelle Carter commit a legitimate crime?
in Politics

By piloteerpiloteer 523 Pts edited July 2019
I would like to explore the ethical and moral aspects of this case.

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  • I believe that whether she is guilty of a crime entirely depends on if her intention at the time she texted the message she believed that it would result in his death. 

    Anyway you look at it her behavior was apprehensible.  

    She knew he was in a fragile state and I believe she had the moral and ethical responsibility to at the least hangup and call 911.
  • @all4actt

    Reprehensible, maybe, but a crime? Both people involved here had mental health issues and Mr, Roy had sought therapy, and was on a medication that was known to cause suicidal thoughts in young people. He was mentally and physically abused by his father and grandfather. He and his girlfriend had entered into a suicide pact. Miss Carter's intentions may not be relevant because she thought that he was suffering and needed to get out of his suffering. In cases of assisted suicide, the intention is to end someone's life if they are suffering. Obviously, neither person had any proper credentials to do such a thing. Nor did they first the actual criteria for being candidates of needing assisted suicide, but malicious intention was not present when she acted as she did. She gained nothing from Mr Roy's heartbreaking, but ultimate action.

    "The case also attempts to redefine the social spectrum and which attitudes and behaviors would qualify as criminal that were not considered criminal before."

    What standard will be set by this ruling? Are we as individuals responsible for the actions of people with mental illness, even so far as just our words can be considered criminal? How far can this interpretation be taken, and can people who actually have no intention of causing any harm to another individual be implemented in a crime based on the actions of the mentally ill  individual? Judge Moniz claimed that Mr, Roy had "broken the chain of self-causation towards his suicide when he exited the truck". Where is the precedent, or standard for "self-causation" set or defined legally? There is a standard for causation, but that is to establish a motive on the part of the defendant, so the judge made it clear that the ruling was not based on the actions of the defendant, but the actions of the victims reactions to the defendants actions. This could be a slippery slope of legal precedents that may chisel away our freedom of expression, and may turn the legal standard for malicious intention upside down. So much so that we could be charged for crimes without even having any intention to do so.

     Is it conceivable that a clumsily placed comment that was designed as a playful jab could cause a person with a mental illness to take their own life? Is it conceivable that a totally neutral comment could be misinterpreted as malicious by a person with a mental illness, which could cause them to harm themselves or others, or take their own, or others lives? Sadly, the answer to those questions is yes. I'm not saying that that's what happened in this particular case, but the standard has been set. We don't need to physically carry out the act ourselves or by way of an intermediate agent. Nor do we have to have a malicious intention as was traditionally defined legally. Are we actually comfortable with embracing a legal precedents based on social feelings rather than legal standards? 

  • piloteer

    I agree what is said to a mentally ill person can result in unitentional actions and in most cases it is not the comment that is the real cause of the mentally ill persons actions.

    This case is different.  It is a matter of one person telling another to literally continue an action that would immediatly result in his death.

    It is not the same as someone who randomly tells a person to go jump off a bridge for whatever reason. In most cases that person doesn't really expect that the result of that comment is going to result in the other person actually jumping off a bridge. Although said to the wrong person it could result in that person doing just that.  In this scenario the person making the remark has no real intent that what they said would cause the second person to actually do it.

    In this case it was pretty clear that any reasonable person (which is the standard that most laws are based on) would know by instructing him to get back in the truck would result in his death.  Which leads you to believe that her intent was for him to die.

    While you aquate this to someone who is acting in a merciful way by the way of assisted suicide tells me that you to believe she knew that her action would result in his death.  Which would make her guilty of the crime on which she was convicted.

  • @all4actt

    I tried to word my reply as many ways as I could, but each time I came up with a new angle, realized it was wrong. The legal precedents are exactly the same as when Osama Bin Laden convinced people to commit acts of terror, or when Charles Manson convinced his followers to kill. They convinced people under mental duress to commit murder, that they themselves did not commit. I don't believe those people were innocent, and I guess I can no longer question the ruling of the judge on his verdict that Miss Carter was guilty. I will ask that this discussion be taken down, because I cannot in good conscience defend the actions of Miss Carter. It was nice discussing this topic with you. Thanx!!!
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