The Letter : LUSENET : I Wasn't Built to Get Up at this Time : One Thread

What do you think of the whole letter situation?

-- Tim (, May 06, 2000


All right, I reread the message I posted on Katie's message board again, and I realize that I didn't explain at all what I meant by 'sticking their nose in other people's personal business,' and 'm really very sorry about the misinterpretation.

I meant that it wasn't any of the person's business in the terms that she didn't have any right to email the SCHOOL and tell them just about EVERYTHING. The person did NOT email Katie first to find out what was wrong, why she wrote those things, or if she wanted to talk to someone, or needed help working through the problems. The person emailed the SCHOOL and not Katie. That's wrong. THAT's what I meant about 'personal business.' I didn't mean completely ignoring the problem, like you said.

When you see a guy about to jump off a bridge --- right, you don't ignore them. You are supposed to try and talk him out of it, and THAT's the key.

You confront the GUY HIMSELF.

Again, I am very sorry that I didn't explain this the first time around. Erm...and sorry about the longness and all the caps.

-- Ducky (, May 07, 2000.

Well, flattered as I am that my comment on Katie's board has earned me a link here at IWBTGUATT, I still DEFINITELY think it was none of their goddamn business to interfere.

Yes, of course an online journal is public. And of course the stuff in it becomes other people's business too - in the respect that they become concerned. And yes, of course I was concerned when I read about Katie maybe possibly perhaps considering suicide, and I emailed her to say so. But emailing Katie, and writing to her school, is two totally different things.

I don't want to sound insulting, but Tim, if you've made it this far without ever considering suicide, then you're very lucky. I've considered it, many times. I'm not sure that I've ever written about it in my online journal, but that's probably just because I'm not honest enough to do it. But Katie is, and because I vaguely know what she's probably thinking, I wouldn't take it 100% seriously. I know I'm not 100% serious when I consider suicide, and so I assume that others are the same. Of course, I could be wrong, and if Katie had killed herself I would have felt terrible. But for every 1 person who commits suicide, I'd guess that there are at least 1000 who think about it.

Anyone who keeps an online journal accepts responsibility for people reading their work. But what I don't think anyone could foresee was someone acting like this. I thought I'd considered all the possibilities before I started my journal, but I never considered something like this. I just would never imagine that anyone would act like that. What they did was NOT out of concern - if it had been, they would have contacted Katie herself, if only to tell her that they wanted to tell her school what was happening.

Finally, no one seems to have thought of the worst possibility. Some people live their lives through their pages. Their pages are the be-all and end-all of their lives and their readers are their friends. If Katie was like that, and if she seriously was considering suicide, then a betrayal like that from a reader (and make no mistake, it WAS a betrayal) could have tipped them over the edge. In those circumstances, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that that letter could have led Katie to kill herself.

Think about it.

-- Helen (, May 07, 2000.

You really misinterpreted what I said. I didn't expect to write a message on one board and be scolded in someone else's journal. I was merely saying that it isn't right for a person to assume to much from an on-line diarist's journal entries. For a person to take action on those assumptions (ie, writing "the letter") is wrong. That's all I was saying. But you seemed to think I was saying something else.

A friend of mine commit suicide and I know from experience that you don't just jump into a situation where someone's life is at stake. I also know that ignorance doesn't help. I think that you really made some incorrect assumptions about what I wrote.

-- Kim (, May 07, 2000.

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