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Michelle Carter

Thursday 1/23/20

What a dark period for humanity. Michelle Carter was released from jail today. I think there are literally millions of people who do things as bad as what she does, people who traffic in forms of behavior and communication that end lives in all kinds of ways. I think there are millions of people who do this who are adults, who are not, as she was at the time, a child.


I think it would be perfectly natural for me to end my life on account of how thousands of people in publishing behave and have behaved towards me. It would be unnatural insofar as what I have to give the world, the stakes for the world should I be able to reach the world, and the good that will accomplish. A person wrote me the other day and said that on behalf of humankind, I must not give up. I certainly had a wife who did something worse than what Michelle Carter did. Where do we litigate, then? Who do we put in jail? Millions? I just read 200 comments on Twitter regarding this young person's release. She's twenty-three now. Of course it was horrible what she did. And the poor family whose son is gone and never coming back will never get over that, they will likely not move within a single centimeter of even beginning to get over that. They can hate this young woman as much as they want, but I hope they are able to let that hate go in time, because I imagine their son would not wish for hate to consume the remaining portions of their lives.


But you do not take the life of a young person, a sick young person, who has hopefully been getting help and will continue to get the help she needs, from the world as well. I don't believe that we are murderers because of our words, because you might be low some day, someone might call you whatever, that could be the final straw, could trigger a million other things, you hang yourself. The person who called you whatever should not go to jail. They shouldn't. Now, they might suck and they could have known what you were dealing with and said it anyway, but that is different than murder.


What I see in these comments laced with so much hate--murderous hate, almost--is proof of one sick, broken person after another. People every bit as sick and broken as this young woman was at seventeen, if not more so. They could kill. If she killed, they could kill. (I think they'd have no problem killing her or getting her to kill herself, if they had that power.) And a lot of them could kill more.


Do people not understand sickness and depression? Mental illness? I ask that rhetorically, because so many of these outright monsters on Twitter are sick and depressed. That's why they behave as they do. Comport themselves on there as they do. I think very few of them get any help for it, and I think most of them stand a lesser chance of contributing something to humanity than I hope this young woman now has or will have.


I am not defending her actions. No one would. She wouldn't, I would imagine. But it is indefensible to want to destroy her, torture her, want her life to be over. And my goodness, the endless playing of the race card, a card that is only and ever played by racists, in witless "jokes"--i.e., "sounds white to me."


She texted someone. She didn't shoot them in the head. And you are not very bright if you don't understand that there are words you can use to speed someone along the path to suicide that are quite different than, "you should kill yourself."


So how do we ferret out the truths about those words and phrases when they are not overt words that ring the bell? Where does the litigation stop at that point? What do you want to do with a sick kid at seventeen? Just end her? End her for fifty, sixty, seventy years. Just fucking end her and bury her. I mean, what the hell?