More on Michelle Carter

Many media outlets have reached out to me for further comment on Michelle Carter’s verdict and sentencing in response to my op-ed published in the L.A. Times . I have declined these invitations, because I do not want to make this about me, but I do think it is worthwhile to respond to some of the critical commentary I’ve received, particularly on Twitter. This commentary can be roughly divided into six types:

1. Michelle Carter doesn’t deserve our sympathy. If she had been black, she would have received a harsher sentence.

It’s true that black people very often receive harsher sentences than white people for the same crimes. This incredible injustice is also reflected in wrongful convictions. The majority of wrongfully convicted people in this country are black men.

But you don’t solve injustice by replicating it. The proper response is to bring the downtrodden up, not to push the privileged down. Advocating a harsh sentence for Michelle Carter does nothing to alleviate the harsh sentences handed down to black people.

2. Michelle Carter doesn’t deserve our sympathy. Conrad Roy III would be alive today were it not for her. Her words killed him. She is a criminal and deserved to receive a harsher sentence.

I agree that what Carter did was wrong. I do not dismiss or condone her actions. However, I do caution against conflating wrongdoing with criminal wrongdoing. One is a moral concern, the other is a legal concern. The ACLU argues that finding Carter guilty of manslaughter sets a dangerous legal precedent threatening our freedom of speech. Carter’s influence may have aggravated Roy’s mental illness, but her words did not literally kill him. The only thing that literally killed Roy were his own actions. He was sick, he was vulnerable, but he was never without agency.

3. Michelle Carter is evil. Fuck her and her eyebrows.

What first caught my attention about Carter’s case was the fact that the prosecution, media, and public were portraying her as a selfish, attention-seeking femme fatale who used her Circe-like powers to force her male companion to commit a terrible act he otherwise wouldn’t have committed. Having been wrongly accused of the very same thing, alarm bells went off.

Evil is the easiest scapegoat. It’s also not real. If we hope to understand Carter (and Roy’s) motivations, we need to refrain from boxing them into unreal, subhuman stereotypes (mind controller and mental slave). And even if Carter were as two-dimensionally “evil” as they say, we, as decent, civilized people, should check ourselves when we find that we are mobbing and crying out for blood. It’s in this spirit that wrongful convictions are born.

And one more thing: the many throw-away, tongue-in-cheeks remarks trolling Carter for aspects of her appearance (“She deserves another two years just for her eyebrows!”) do nothing but perpetuate the idea that a woman’s worth is in what she looks like. Wanting to punish Carter doesn’t give you permission to be a misogynist.

4. What Michelle Carter did was wrong. Even if she shouldn’t have been found legally culpable, she deserves punishment.

I’m going to go out on a limb now, but…maybe nobody deserves punishment. Not even the worst criminals. Everyone in society deserves to be safe from wrongdoing. Victims deserve to have their wounds cared for and acknowledged.

What do criminals deserve? As broken members of society, maybe they deserve our help. As the criminal justice and anti-death penalty advocate Bryan Stevenson says, “Each one of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” Help may require custody, supervision, or even incarceration—all things that impinge upon a person’s individual freedom—but punishment beyond these measures may not be necessary.

Punishing a criminal doesn’t undo the crime. And if the standard forms of punishment in the U.S. do a poor job of rehabilitation (and there’s good reason to think that’s true), and if the severity of a punishment does little to deter crime , then the only reason to punish is vengeance. And vengeance makes us barbaric. I bet most of the people crying out, “Lock her up!” have never actually been to prison and have no idea what it does to you.

In an ideal society, we wouldn’t use punishment to alleviate our outrage and pain. These are legitimate feelings, and addressing them is a legitimate social task, but there are healthier ways to deal with pain than inflicting pain on others.

5. I thought you were innocent, but now I believe you are guilty.

Thinking that my moral and legal position on Michelle Carter’s case has any bearing whatsoever on the objective evidence which determined my exoneration is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to wrongful convictions. Your gut reactions to another person have no bearing on the factual evidence that determines that person’s guilt or innocence. Gut reactions do provide useful information, but only about yourself.

6. This whole story is sad and confusing. We have to draw a line somewhere, but where? I feel bad for everyone involved and don’t know what to think. Can I feel sympathy for Carter and Roy (and Roy’s family) at the same time?

Believe it or not, yes.

From my own experience, I find that people often succumb to the single-victim fallacy—the idea that, in tragic situations like these, there are good guys and bad guys on opposite sides, and no crossover, nothing in between. People convinced by this fallacy argue that any acknowledgement of my victimization necessarily diminishes the acknowledgement of Meredith Kercher’s. And people convinced by this fallacy argue that any compassion for Carter’s flawed humanity necessarily diminishes the gravity of her actions and the tragedy of Roy’s death.

But they are wrong.

My goal in writing the op-ed was to point out that there is another valid response to tragedy: compassion. I’ve had to work hard through my own outrage over the injustice I suffered in order to empathize with my prosecutor, the Perugian police, and all those who spew hatred at me daily. I worked hard because I didn’t just want to feel righteous anger, I wanted to understand. And I’ve discovered that the key to my understanding is compassion. Compassion is practical—it makes us more effective, clear-eyed truth-seekers. Compassion is empowering—it opens the doors to reconciliation. And compassion is just—we only compound injustice when the worst of someone else brings out the worst in us.

Published by the Westside Seattle 08/05/17.

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29 Responses to More on Michelle Carter

  1. Jesse Levine says:

    You guys are only supporting Amanda Knox’s opinion simply because she is Amanda Knox!

  2. Jesse Levine says:

    No one deserves punishment? I was raised taught to understand that actions have consequences. If someone breaks a law they should suffer the consequence, no one should be allowed to hurt people without facing somekind of consequence. God forbid, Nazi’s should murder and kill without being punished!

  3. Jesse Levine says:

    Hi Amanda I am shocked and dismayed to see you advocating for a sociopath and someone who manipulated someone into killing themselves. I always believed you were innocent and I still do, but shame on you for rushing to defend someone who is NOT like you.

    • Tom Zupancic says:

      Jesse,

      Are you aware that Michelle Carter was 17 years old when all of this happened? (I’m sure, no doubt, you were the epitome of rationality when you were 17). But nevertheless, is it possible to consider the possibility that you do not know everything?

  4. just a parent says:

    Amanda:

    I am dismayed that you continue to receive hate mail, and after some deliberation I have a notion what may be the reason. Maybe it’s all wrong, but here’s what I think until someone persuasively refutes me or posits a better explanation:

    I believe your venomous correspondents must nearly all be male, if not entirely male, and that crime and justice, culpability and truth are no concern whatever to them in matters of this sort. Rather, I think what impels them is the sexual supremacy of woman, which perhaps derives from the anatomical fact that women are better equipped to attract men than men are equipped to attract women. For some men this makes a rage of what for most of us is but an occasional aggravation.

    My mind cannot plough deep enough to comprehend how this rage forms itself into misogyny, but I believe it does, and that it is the source of harassments intended to intimidate or shame or at least veil the spirit of woman. Indeed, it is by their resort to such conduct that misogynists most surely may be identified. They employ a vernacular no less well-worn and easily understood than that of racism, and the femme fatale portrayal is certainly a prominent usage, among many others. It is not necessary that a woman provoke these men in some way to become their target, only that she post herself at the wrong place and time, however unwittingly, which is what happened to you ten years ago in October when certain law enforcers sought to obscure their inept interactions with a known knife-wielder. Once the accusation against you was made with full resort to every tactic of prejudicial spin those authorities could devise the misogynists could not help but become invested in your destruction, and in denying them that outcome – thus far, at least, for they still seek it – you acquired their everlasting antipathy. For them no gentleness or compassion or nobility of character in a woman can ever excuse a backbone of steel. Not to overdraw the analogy, but to misogynists you are a bit as Whitaker Chambers was to the communists sixty years ago, whose reputation after all this time must still endure their smears. Some impulses by others are forever an enmity that will not be placated by anything less than abject surrender, and to treat with them is folly.

    Regardless one’s take on Michelle Carter – and my own outlook is not far from yours – you are right to defend her against usages that are essentially an oppression of woman. That oppression drives a great deal of mischief across the world, except “mischief” is probably the wrong word – “savagery” may be more like it. Just ask Malala Yousafzai. It is an undercurrent that makes your experience about more than wrongful conviction, holds you prominent in the public’s awareness, and folds you into a far bigger tribe than perhaps you heretofore have realized.

    One last thing. There is a whisper I have heard more than once – at gazing upon our star wading enormous into Pamlico Sound; while trekking along an Appalachian Trail ridge through a chill early morning fog blowing up the wooded slope like an infiltrating ghost army; when paused in Medicine Bow for a melodic mystery that was aspens in the wind; in craving for the earth’s rotation to halt between a purple-pink sunset and an incandescent cosmos over the Sierras; upon mounting a revetment at La Push before a riot of color laying over the sea as though from a submerged sun to a prism sky – “be still, and know that I am God.” Perhaps somewhere in your peregrinations through philosophy and morality and wrong and evil you may hear it too.

    Keep your chin up, kiddo, and never bend to the bullies.

    • Tom Zupancic says:

      Just a parent,

      Great post.

      I’m not sure about Amanda, but in my own peregrinations through philosophy and morality and wrong and evil I have heard a whisper too. Much like you, actually.

      Whatever. I just can’t articulate it like you.

      In case people missed it, you wrote;

      “One last thing. There is a whisper I have heard more than once – at gazing upon our star wading enormous into Pamlico Sound; while trekking along an Appalachian Trail ridge through a chill early morning fog blowing up the wooded slope like an infiltrating ghost army; when paused in Medicine Bow for a melodic mystery that was aspens in the wind; in craving for the earth’s rotation to halt between a purple-pink sunset and an incandescent cosmos over the Sierras; upon mounting a revetment at La Push before a riot of color laying over the sea as though from a submerged sun to a prism sky – “be still, and know that I am God.” Perhaps somewhere in your peregrinations through philosophy and morality and wrong and evil you may hear it too.”

    • Jesse Levine says:

      You defend michelle because you think it has to do with oppressing woman. The woman is a murderer, enough said.

    • Jesse Levine says:

      Seriously you are making this about some kind of feminist cause? I don’t have a problem with women, I do have a problem with a women or a man who manipulates someone into killing themselves.

  5. jkly says:

    I think you’re very smart Amanda, and once I researched your case and understood all the facts, I never believed you were a murderer.

    I also found myself agreeing with most of your article and I agree it can be argued that this sets a dangerous precedent against Freedom of Speech. At the same time it could also be argued that, cyberbullying is freedom of Speech, harassment could be considered Freedom of Speech. I probably don’t even need to be saying this to you, I’m sure you’ve had more than your fair share of that, but some people aren’t as tough as you are.

    But the main part I have a problem with is this quote from you:

    “I’m going to go out on a limb now, but…maybe nobody deserves punishment. Not even the worst criminals. Everyone in society deserves to be safe from wrongdoing. Victims deserve to have their wounds cared for and acknowledged.”

    It’s the use of the word “nobody” that really bugs me.

    You don’t believe that Rudy Guede is deserving of punishment and needs more understanding from people? He’s done nothing but lie and fail to take responsibility for what the evidence indicates that he did and he’ll probably continue to lie and point the finger at you and Raffaele until the day he dies. From what I’ve seen from him as of yet, trying to be understanding towards him equates making yourself vulnerable to further manipulation. He doesn’t appear to care about what he did to you and Raffaele or about what he did to Meredith.

    From what I can tell he only cares about what benefits him. Some people are wired differently.

    As to how this ties in to Michelle Carter, while I agree that she isn’t 100% responsible for her boyfriend committing suicide, I disagree that “understanding” is what she deserves. Understanding was probably what her boyfriend deserved, but she continued to egg him on to commit suicide.

    What’s far more disturbing about this is that she was on the phone with him while she knew he was trying to do harm to himself and she did nothing to stop it. What’s more, when he got out of the car, she told him to get back in it. That to me demonstrates a special and alarming type of callousness.

    Helping someone commit suicide is illegal in many jurisdictions. She just got lucky that it wasn’t in hers.

    Either way, I don’t think she’s deserving of sympathy. You’d be giving her exactly she wants, since it appears to be what motivated her actions in the first place.

    • jkly says:

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that punishing a criminal does not undo the crime, but not punishing a criminal enables them to commit further crimes.

      Not everyone responds to compassion, sympathy and kindness the same way you do. Some people see it as a weakness and all they are interested in is finding a way to take advantage of it.

    • Tom Mininger says:

      Your line “…I’m sure you’ve had more than your fair share of that, but some people aren’t as tough as you are.” really has me thinking about Amanda’s perspective on this case. No one has been harassed more than she has in the 21st century, yet she still feels that Roy was never without agency and is responsible for his own actions. She has personal experience with prison and doesn’t want Carter sent there, and she is a spokeswoman against misogyny.

      I feel like Amanda may be too emotionally close to a case like this, yet at the same time offers unique observations. The concept of restorative justice clashing with the reality that some percentage of offenders are not wired to feel empathy and never will. Where does Carter fit in? We may all have suspicions as to her future behavior, but imo 17 was too young to draw a conclusion.

  6. William says:

    I read Amanda’s article that appeared in the L.A. Slimes. The tone accused the court of wrongfully convicting Michelle Carter. Nope. Amanda proposed that instead of jail the Judge should have prescribed therapy for Michelle. This is presumptuous. The Judge clearly explained the reasons he convicted Carter. His decision turned primarily on Michelle’s insistence that Conrad get back into the truck, an environment she knew was toxic to human life. He had many other factors as well.

    Michelle was only 17, but a normal girl of that age would have demanded that Conrad stop his bullshit, shut down the generator, and stay out of the truck while she called for help. Michelle had complete control of him and she enjoyed that feeling of power. She needs therapy for sure. Should the sentence have been longer? Probably, but the judge cut her some slack due to her age at the time of the crime.

    I can’t figure Conrad Roy. He must have indeed been clinically depressed. Michelle is a fine looking hide and a normal young man Conrade’s age would have been shaggin’ her at every opportunity. I don’t think he ever did, a pity. If you can’t tempt a young fellow with a willing pretty girl, something is wrong.

    In the above article Amanda wrote: “It’s true that black people very often receive harsher sentences than white people for the same crimes. This incredible injustice is also reflected in wrongful convictions. The majority of wrongfully convicted people in this country are black men.”

    This is a trope cited often. Slicing and dicing the stats will show the reason blacks receive harsh sentences; they are simply the most violent criminal group in America followed by Hispanics, (see the FBI crime stats). Whites are the third most violent followed last by Asians. American Injuns fit in there somewhere but they are on reservations so who cares. I learned in Alaska you never turn your back on an Eskimo. Just give them a bottle of whiskey and they’re fine for a few hours. You can protect yourself from a huge Alaskan bear by carrying a .50 Desert Eagle. From Eskimos, well, you have the law.

    More blacks are wrongly convicted. Maybe that’s because for this inherently violent group cops cast a wide net, and percentage wise this results in more false convictions. Adjusting the arrest figures to a per capita basis, I doubt there are statistically significant differences between white and black wrongful convictions.

    In Amanda’s home town, Seattle, blacks are only 8 percent of the population, yet they commit half of the murders. Recently, in Seattle, one of O’bummer’s ‘dreamers’ let loose on the street by the King County sheriff raped and nearly killed a young woman at her apartment gym. Had the suck-up sheriff turned this cretin over to ICE, the girl would be happily pursuing her life. As it is she’ll never again develop normal trusting relationships, especially with men who may indeed really care for her.

    John Urquhart, sheriff of King County is a real dipshit. He was never a street cop and served most of his time in uniform as a reserve deputy and later office boy. Had he carried a badge and gun and worked the mean streets of Seattle year in and year out, confronting the underbelly of society, his attitude would be different. Some soft headed fool named Ron interviewed the ole sheriff
    and asked him if black lives mattered. John Urquhart’s answer went something like: “Of course black lives matter. I’ve made it a priority that as sheriff to kiss every black ass in the county, and some of those at least twice.” He went on to explain he would not cooperate with ICE, hence the aforementioned illegal Mexican was allowed on the streets resulting in the rape and near murder of a promising young woman.

    Here’s an observation posted on another website about Seattle by someone living there. It describes the situation around the King County courthouse permitted to exist by the pretend sheriff.

    “White Seattle libtards voted to change the namesake of King County from Senator Rufus King to Martin Luther King, Jr. The official King County logo is now a dumb black and white designey picture of MLK’s face. The interior walls of the courthouse lobby are covered in the most embarrassingly libtarded “progressive” mural-vomit canonizing MLK and blacks that I have ever seen in my entire life. Meanwhile, black crackhead drug-dealing rapists sell their illegal wares 6 FEET OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE FRONT DOOR (which is glass), in full view of the various law enforcement personnel who are there, who don’t seem to care. NO SHIT. I’m not making any of this up or exaggerating it at all. I have seen it all with my own eyes.”

    Amanda:

    I watched video of your presentation to the law-yah’s group in LA. You have turned out to be a good speaker and in this presentation you let a little of your human warmth show, finally, and that’s a good thing. Too often you come across guarded and cold.

    The following recent audio is an interview with Michelle Malkin, a conservative writer and author who lives in the Seattle area I think. In the interview you are mentioned in a positive way by Michelle. She discusses several wrongful convictions and the misuse of forensic science by detectives and prosecutors. She mentions the various innocence movements and gives them kudos for their important work. Your efforts for those wrongfully convicted is God’s work indeed. However, a word of caution. Since there are big dollars involved in overturned convictions, scam artist have quickly moved in. There’s a danger these will become simply extortion efforts much like the scams and rackets run by the discredited $PLC ($outhern Poverty Liars Center).

    BTW I perused your instagram photos. One caught my attention. That was titled, “A gas chamber at Dachau Concentration Camp”. There were no homicidal gas chambers at Dachau. Indeed there were no such gas chambers in the whole of Germany or the territory occupied by Germany during WWII. At that time the only homicidal gas chambers in operation in the entire world were those in California, Arizona, Misssissippi, and perhaps New Mexico for the purpose of criminal executions.

    Here’s the link mentioned above. It’s long but worthwhile.

    http://cdn.freedomainradio.com/FDR_3784_Michelle_Malkin.mp3

  7. Stephane G says:

    I read about this case some time ago, but do not know enough to discuss it in details. Anyway it seems to me that your two last articles raise 3 important issues.

    Firstly there is the problem of criminal liability for participation in a suicide and the negation of suicide as a deliberate act of free will from the perpetuator / victim. Not to mention the surprising legal qualification of the facts in this case. I share the insightful analysis you gave in your op ed and the interesting points made by some commentators here.

    Secondly, I believe an important distinction must be made between morality and legality. Thomas Aquinas once wrote: « laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition. (…) human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue… ». Let me add that legal certainty and equality before the law are two fundamental requirements of the rule of law. In my opinion, morality is vague, unwritten, in constant evolution, heavily relies on cultural, religious, political or local considerations, and therefore fails to meet such principles. A legal system solely based on morality would then probably be quite unfair.

    Finally, you raised the question of the justifications for punishment in a society. I’ll set restorative justice aside this time, and will focus on traditional penal responses that are still widely in use. As you have rightly pointed out, the efficiency of legal punishment as a mean of deterrence and rehabilitation is disputable as we can deduct it from statistics and observation, and incapacitation is not only limited in time (except when the sentence is death) but in many cases, it is also meaningless (when, for example, the crime has been committed with a very specific goal and there would be no apparent reason for the criminal to strike again). So the main justification we are left with, and that stands in almost all cases, is retribution.

    For many years, I also rejected vengeance and considered it a barbaric solution and I still do. But retribution is not exactly vengeance. It is a punishment that requires an acceptable and accepted authority that is expected to respect equality and pronounce a sentence proportionate to the offense, and is only aimed at the perpetuator. Unlike vengeance, the victim or its represntatives are not supposed nor allowed to take justice into their own hands. Which also brings us to this explanation and justification for retribution itself: it has been argued that it was a mean to avoid mob justice, vendettas, self-appointed avengers, and all kinds of reactions that indeed are often far more barbaric solutions. I may seem to surrender to human nature but, being what it is, I sadly came to think that, when considered on a wide scale, an institutionalized form of revenge is possibly the most civilized answer a society can give to a criminal offense.

    In any case, and like Tom said, I once again tip my hat to the courage of your convictions.

  8. Jacqueline Rodriguez says:

    You’ve given me a lot to think about about Carter. I believed her to be absolutely guilty, but having read your piece, I’m re-evaluating that. So glad to have found your blog.

  9. Whitney says:

    I suffer from mental illness. Does that make me unaccountable for my actions? My free will choices? Do I deserve a “get out of jail free card?”
    We who suffer from these “unseen” illnesses must learn coping skills particular to our own problems.
    Those of us with depression learn the importance proper nutrition plays. We must watch our vitamin D and B complex levels. The role magnesium plays. How important getting out into nature is. Figuring out what soothes us and what triggers us. Coming to understand that as our biology cycles so does our depression. Good days, bad days, debilitating days. Days of peace.
    What does not change is our innate sense of right and wrong. That is separate from our illness.
    I know to kill a helpless animal is wrong now matter how deep I am into my depression. No one has to tell me that. I know stealing what is not mine is wrong. I know that debasing another human being because I am in the pit of despair is not right.
    Michelle Carter’s free will choices are separate from her mental health issues. She choice to act in a callous, abhorrent and appalling manner. To use mental illness as an excuse for her actions is unthinkable to many of us who manage to keep our illness separate from societal obligations of decency.
    I 100% support the innocence of both you and Raffaele.
    But I am adamant in my opposition to your views on Michelle Carter. She was a direct catalyst as to why Conrad died that day. Would he have killed himself another day? Perhaps. But that has no weight in this discussion. On THAT day Michelle bares responsibility for his death. In my opinion she deserves a longer sentence. Does she need mental health help as well? Yes, but that fact does not release her from her inhuman, horrible disgusting choices that resulted in Conrad’s death.
    There was another article on Facebook recently. Two people sat by and recorded a man drowning. After he died while they mocked his pleas for help, they posted the video of his death. Are those two mentally ill? Of course they are, no mentally healthy human being would be involved in such a heinous situation.
    Are you saying they would be “wrongfully convicted” as well if they are held accountable for their free will choice to watch that poor man drown without even attempting to save his life?
    If you are, then shame on you! Choices have consequences, no matter who you are. Living in a free society means adhering to a certain set of guidelines. Both Michelle Carter and these two crossed the line. They deserve punishment for that.
    I suspect many of your supporters and fellow exonerees will disagree with your stance here. At least I hope so.

    • Peter Henderson says:

      The concept of mental illness is obviously difficult to sort out. I used to hold your view that anyone who murdered or helped cause the death of an innocent person must be insane. I expressed this view to a man who was a prominent psychiatrist with the New York State Dept. of Mental Health. He sharply disagreed. He said most murderers are as sane as you or me. Their problem is not some malfunction in their brains but rather that their brains are fine with bad stuff. You can call that a malfunction, but then anything anyone does that you disapprove becomes a fruit of mental illness for which they cannot be blamed. And once we remove “the blame game” we remove the basis for freedom. If nobody can be held accountable for their actions, why allow them the freedom to act as they choose?

  10. Dennis says:

    Amanda, in the interests of seeking truth, why, in your Westside Bar Association speech, did you accuse Giuliano Mignini of narrow mindedness but didn’t disclose why he actually might have had perfectly good reasons to suspect you. For example, Sollecito said that nothing had been stolen, you saw a bloodied bathmat and unflushed toilet and didn’t knock on Meredith’s door,
    you and Sollecito’s changing alibis.
    Meredith lost her life. Surely you want to tell the truth?

    • Tom Zupancic says:

      Huh? What? This tangential comment by Dennis is both irrelevant and confusing.

      “Michelle Carter deserves sympathy and help”, is about a tragic and complex suicide case. It is about the fundamental purposes and processes of the legal system that affected in this case and how they could be improved.

      • Dennis says:

        If people are going to comment about a tragic and COMPLEX case then they should start by setting a good example themselves.
        She spoke for 45 minutes and when it came to why she was accused she said it was because the prosecutor had tunnel vision.
        To leave out the reasons the prosecutor was rightly justified to suspect both her and Sollecito is deceiving, (in my book).

    • Peter Henderson says:

      Amanda and her supporters have insisted all along that there was no evidence against her, but whether or not she did the crime there was certainly evidence. The Italian justice system was not designed by Josef Stalin.

  11. Lee Pahdi says:

    Yes’m, you is tight right! This here legal system is twisted like a typhooned pretzel. From “Take a long walk off a short pier” to “I hope you die” are common everyday insults in our tidy whitey socio-political melange of cultures. How did the sophomoric slag get to be so sensitive? Everything from “cyber-bullying to “hate speech” are catch phrases to label “others’ who don’t agree with you. Regarding the case you commented on: Depending on which side of the stamp you lick, this lady confidant could have been trying reverse psychology to shock this depressed deranged dude back to any senses he may have had left. In that case her efforts could be construed as “heroic”. Another point the defense counsel may have missed: Oftentimes, when we hear others cry wolf ad absurdum, after awhile we say okay “do it” ( already). It should never have gone to trial.

  12. Tom Mininger says:

    I recommend watching the segment of this 48 Hours where adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz discusses this case as a neutral observer (not a prosecution or defense witness). He debunks the defense’s SSRI hallucination theory and describes the virtual presence of texting. Its dangerous mix of being instantaneous but impairing the sense of responsibility. And he reminds that adolescents are the most susceptible to peer pressure.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texting-suicide-trial-sentencing-michelle-carter-conrad-roy-death-by-text/

    I can’t imagine the reaction you must of had to irresponsible media portrayals of Carter after what you went through. But from what I’ve read and watched so far, I think the prosecution behaved responsibly in this case, unlike the reckless fantasizing by the state in your case. And I think this Massachusetts judge tried hard to do the right thing.

    I can’t see Michelle Carter as a victim in this case. Nor can I find sympathy for her at the moment. She will be defined in large part by her 2 weeks of goading Roy into suicide. But I can struggle for compassion and to think beyond blame as to how can we use this tragedy to help teens deal with depression, including Carter. When I watch human beings in adult bodies waiting outside the courthouse for their big chance to hurl insults at Carter… I say to myself “I don’t want to be like them.” Being part of a mob impairs the sense of responsibility. Let’s us off the hook. I want to use higher brain function to work for solutions.

  13. Vicki says:

    I agree that it is a dangerous precedent. However, we have already held people criminally responsible for persuading others to commit suicide or murder. Charles Manson being a prime example. While I agree that just labeling someone as evil is unfair and unjust, the fact is that there are people who have no empathy, no sense of feeling shame for their actions. You must have met people like this in prison, although they are everywhere. I’ve heard one in 25, although some insist on a much higher percentage. In short, I will agree to disagree with your views on Carter. However, I am glad you present them and are able to have a platform for your views. I hope you haven’t had to deal with too much vitriol from others.

    • William says:

      Vicki, strange you mentioned Charles Manson during these first days of August.

      On August 8-10 forty eight years ago under a dark moon, in silence, and with no breeze to carry sounds, Manson sent his army, dressed in black, into Los Angeles to kill and spread terror. The raid on Cielo Drive began at approximately 12:15 am on 9 August and ended some thirty minutes later leaving five people dead including Sharon Tate and her unborn baby, which makes the count really six. The kill team, which didn’t include Manson, left no usable evidence or witnesses. The next night Manson did go with his soldiers. He entered the LaBianca house and tied up the two victims. He took off, leaving Tex and two girls to do the killings.

      The jury convicted Manson on conspiracy to commit murder claiming he set up both the Tate and LaBianca hits. The prosecutor had almost no evidence against any of the suspects, especially Manson. Vincent Bugliosi sold the ranch to get the convictions by giving total immunity to one of the killers for her testimony. He invented a bogus race war to frighten the jury and inflame the emotions of the city.

      All the killings were sad, but the saddest for me was that of gentle, caring, Abigail Folger at Cielo. Stabbed and bleeding, she had run from the house pursued by one Patricia Krenwinkel with knife in hand. Abigail fell onto the ground on her back gasping blood from her mouth, looking up at Pat and Tex begging, “Please stop stabbing me, I’m already dead”.

      Sharon’s last words were, “Oh mother, oh mother.” Actress Sharon Tate defined female beauty in the 1960s.

      I wonder what Meredith’s last words were. Guede hasn’t had the courage to tell us yet.

      The following lines are for Meredith.

      “As the flowers are all made sweeter by the sunshine and the dew,
      so this old world is made brighter by the lives of folks like you.”

      (by Bonnie Parker, 1910-1934)

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