Sometime on Wednesday, Abraham Biggs took his last breath. The South Florida teen died of a lethal drug overdose in front of a live online webcam – for the entire world to see.
Biggs, 19, reportedly was being treated for depression and bipolar disorder and had been prescribed at least one of the medications officials say he used to commit suicide. His unfortunate demise was broadcast over Justin.tv – a shared Internet video site.
There are several things, besides the obvious, that disturb me about this story.
Reports say the teen began blogging about his plan more than 12 hours before he was found, but some users said they didn’t take him seriously because he had made statements previously about committing suicide.
I don’t care if someone – especially a young person – says he or she wants to end his or her life and describes how he or she is going to do it. They eventually will do it, if allowed.
Biggs’ family was aware he was struggling, to which his father reportedly said, he’d been "doing better" and was "a good kid." The signs were there: Good kid, probably good student, depressed, showed an interest in dying and seemed to spend a lot of time online since he had a webcam.
Of course, I am saddened about the entire incident and my condolences go out to the Biggs’ family. But why did the adults in his life not see the signs? And why did it take someone so long to decide to contact the muscle-building site where Biggs was blogging?
I am surprised that no one at Justin.tv, which is comprised of a staff of about 11, didn’t have a better monitoring system to know what is streaming across their Web site – considering the fact the video ran for more than 12 hours.
Even the senior medical examiner in Broward County said if only someone had acted sooner, most likely, young Biggs would have lived through his attempt.
I have children and I know … when I see signs of frustration and depression, I step up monitoring where they are, whom they are with and how much time they hang out on social networks.
I can only hope that the Biggs’ loss will help some other family – or child – in the future ... and encourage someone to act sooner the next time.