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Rebecca Sedwick suicide: Should bullies be charged when their victims commit suicide?

Asked by: chrumbelievable
  • Yes They Should Be

    Because, bullies basically force them to the edge. It destroys the victim in many ways; self esteem, depression, and panic attacks. Its backs the victim up into a corner and make him/her think "I cannot stop this" and mentally force them to self harm or such.
    The bully clearly, mentally tormented to the point where she committed suicide. Like klinestife stated, cause and effect. Cause: Mentally Tormented. Effect: Victim commits suicide.

  • Simple Cause and Effect

    The opposing arguments state that it was of the victim's own volition to commit suicide, and the bullies had no way of knowing suicide would happen. While the latter statement may be true, the former is definitely not. Your statements imply that the girl would have committed suicide even if there were no bullies, which is clearly not the case. She was mentally tormented to the point where she became extremely self conscious and insecure. The bullies may not have given her that push off the tower, but they might as well have taken her to the top and told her to jump off.

  • They are ultimately responsible

    I wouldn't charge them with murder, but I would charge them with a lesser degree, like manslaughter. Ultimately, the bully caused the suicide, and he or she should answer for what they caused. It's as simple as that. Bullies should reap what they sew, and should be liable for what they bring about.

    Posted by: bsh1
  • Of Human Behaviour

    I believe yes on the contingent the bullied is sent to counselling. You see, all human behaviour is informed by the environment. That means that everyone is 'normal' according to their background (upbringing, culture, subculture, &c). For example in ancient Rome young children would be excited and well-behaved so they could go and see Christians being fed to lions each week. Were those children disturbed? No, that behaviour was normal according to that culture.

    As someone who was bullied at school it took a long time for me, even as a scientist, to reconcile the fact that the people who had bullied me were acting under what they believed to be normal behaviour. Why? Because they were raised in a distorted environment. If you are raised an a distorted environment then your behaviour will reflect that. If you are raised in Nazi Germany where all you heard all day is Nazi propaganda with no other influences, the chances are you would become a Nazi, you wouldn't know any other way (this is why books were burned in Nazi Germany). In North Korea you grow to love the Great Leader and to naturally aspire to Serve the State and believe that everyone beyond your borders is a corrupted malcontent. That is normal behaviour to them because they don't know any other way.

    When people bully others, there is something that made them that way. Something in their environment that informs and reinforces that sort of behaviour. The bully naturally should be charged for his actions because the victim probably would not have committed suicide had it not been for that (the above logic is applicable to our victim), but the bully should have the chance to be helped out of his or her way of thinking. I don't believe that simply a bully into prison is the answer because their behaviour stands a higher chance of being further distorted in prison than it does through proper counseling and rehabilitation.

  • There should always be consequences for horribly inappropriate behavior.

    We're talking about REALLY bad behavior here people. The truth is that the VAST majority of people do not go killing themselves for no good reason. Studies have shown, and doctors and psychiatrists agree, that the affects of mental abuse can be far worse than physical abuse and yet ridiculous people think that you should only punish people who physically hurt or kill someone as if that were the only way to hurt someone else. If a person is mugged, they will still value themselves and their own life. If a person is beaten, they will still fight to survive. Once the physical abuse has ended, it can have some affect afterwards, but it always pales in comparison to the long-term affects of a similar level of mental abuse. It never ends for a person who has been mentally abused. The torture just goes on and on and on. A person has to be at the absolute lowest state to be able to hold so little value in their own life that they would actually go so far as to kill themselves.

    Now, I have to agree that it is going overboard to say that a person deserves a murder sentence for bullying, but I do think that there should be fines and possible prison time relative to the level of abuse and the affects on the person abused. We should have a no tolerance policy for this type of behavior. There is no way to justify abusing another person and no one should have the right to do so. We should not permit it as a society. In a lot of cases, bullies can have very crappy parents who don't really care what their children do (not always, but often). Fines would strongly encourage parents to take action to stop this behavior. In the case where the parents aren't so bad but are just unaware, this would bring it to their attention in a way that cannot be ignored. A LOT of people are suffering and dying as a result of this behavior. It is ridiculous to say,"she decided to kill herself, that's not the bully's fault", because it completely ignores the fact that even if the abuse was not the only reason, it is still painfully obvious that the abuse was one of the primary reasons, or the only primary reason, she did it. It also implies that the bully has every right to do as he/she did and that it is somehow cruel or inappropriate to give consequences for such disgusting behavior. If we fold our arms and just sit back and do nothing, then that is exactly how much that will be fixed.....Absolutely nothing! It reminds me of those people that see a person being murdered and don't even have the decency to call the police, saying to themselves,"It's none of my business!" This is NOT o.K. People. Why does anyone find it to be acceptable behavior to torture another person like this?!

  • Yes, either the bullies or their parents.

    Looking at the case of Rebecca Sedwick in particular, it is blatantly obvious that bullies like this need to be prosecuted when their victims commit suicide. One of the girls who bullied her, who is only 14 years old, wrote on Facebook, "Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF. I don’t give an (expletive).” Seriously? Now, I'm not saying they should necessarily be charged with murder or manslaughter; it really depends on the situation and the evidence. Some kids struggle with depression and suicide regardless, and even the slightest negative comment could send them over the age. HOWEVER, in cases like this, where there is hard evidence of not only relentless bullying, but straight up TERRORIZING, and the bullies express absolutely no remorse for their actions--yes, they need to be charged with SOMETHING and they need to serve jail time. Especially with kids this young, there is no other way they are going to learn. Moreover, the parents of these bullies should be investigated, as their children's actions are often a result of poor/neglectful parenting and/or outright encouragement of their actions. All in all, this is a heartbreakingly tragic case, and justice must be served for poor Rebecca Sedwick.

  • Yes. Yes Yes. 10 reasons why bullies should be charged for their victims suicide.

    They should be charged according to how they were bullied. Bullies don't just say that your new shoes look stupid. Having the bullies constantly torrent you with phrases akin to "Go kill yourself, you worthless waste of a human." each and every day, you begin to believe them. If they have mentally tortured a person to the point where they think suicide is the only way out, then those bullies have indirectly murdered this person. It isn't always even that simple. Not only do victims get a constant hurricane of getting told that they are worthless, it sometimes becomes physical. Being taken out behind the school and getting beaten. Thrown into walls in the hallway. Being attacked by groups of bullies while you are taking your short walk to school. All of these reasons are what contributes to suicides, and not only should they be charged with mental or physical assault, but premeditated acts with the intention to kill. If someone is told to kill themselves, those words are said with the intention to kill.

    Yes they should be I myself have been a victim of bullying. These bullies make you feel worthless and stupid, if you tell someone it gets worse, you become a "tell-tale". These people must learn that for every action there is a consequence. There should be real and fair consequences for those who drive people so far as to kill themselves.

    Yes, they should. What they did was far more than simply shooting someone. What they did was psychological torture, and they deserve to be treated accordingly. In addition to being charged for murder, they should also be charged with torture.


    Yes They Should Be Because, bullies basically force them to the edge. It destroys the victim in many ways; self esteem, depression, and panic attacks. Its backs the victim up into a corner and make him/her think "I cannot stop this" and mentally force them to self harm or such.
    The bully clearly, mentally tormented to the point where she committed suicide.

    Yes they should. Bullying can create a mental condition where the victim loses hope and wishes to die. Without proper support, there is a high risk of suicide. I know this from research and experience. Words can hurt especially when they come from someone you love. I almost killed myself quite a few times due to bullying. If you disagree, please let me show you why I am right. I do believe however that each case should be judged on it's merits.

    Yes but, not for murder. Bullying is the severe, intentional and targeted emotional, physical, mental and/or verbal torment of another person. Keeping that definition in mind, there should be a criminal punishment for anybody who commits the act of bullying whether or not the victim commits suicide.

  • They should be charged according to how they were bullied.

    I don't know the story behind Sedwick's suicide, but a lot of people here are assuming that people are always being bullied through speech. Bullies don't just say that your new shoes look stupid. Having the bullies constantly torrent you with phrases akin to "Go kill yourself, you worthless waste of a human." each and every day, you begin to believe them. If they have mentally tortured a person to the point where they think suicide is the only way out, then those bullies have indirectly murdered this person. It isn't always even that simple. Not only do victims get a constant hurricane of getting told that they are worthless, it sometimes becomes physical. Being taken out behind the school and getting beaten. Thrown into walls in the hallway. Being attacked by groups of bullies while you are taking your short walk to school. All of these reasons are what contributes to suicides, and not only should they be charged with mental or physical assault, but premeditated acts with the intention to kill. If someone is told to kill themselves, those words are said with the intention to kill.

  • Yes they should.

    Bullying can create a mental condition where the victim loses hope and wishes to die. Without proper support, there is a high risk of suicide. I know this from research and experience. Words can hurt especially when they come from someone you love. I almost killed myself quite a few times due to bullying. If you disagree, please let me show you why I am right. I do believe however that each case should be judged on it's merits.

  • Bullies should be charged with assisted suicide.

    I don't think they should be charged with the murdering of their victims, but definitely with assisted suicide. For example, when someone is on their deathbed in a hospital and they ask their nurse to "pull their plug" because they physically cannot. When there is a sufficient amount of evidence pointing to the distress of the victim caused by the bully, of course the bully should be accountable in some way.

  • The world needs a lesson

    Every one has a right to live a life as they themselves want to live who are others to bully them on what they are? The people bullying others are grown enough to learn that they are not the one to say anything to anyone an they should be punished so that no one ever does the same thing again or else we wont be able to finish this suicide thinking and no one will ever commit a suicide on a very small thing on which they are bullied, in my opinion bullying is a crime and the criminals should be charged for directly or indirectly killing someone

  • Personal responsibility .

    No where else in society do we consider the actions of one individual to be the responsibility of another. This is no different. I am all for punishing the acts of bullying but we already have harassment laws. We need to enforce them and if necessary add to them.

    Another thing that needs to be considered is that punishing bullies based on whether their victims commit suicide might actually give their victims an additional incentive to do so.

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    She made the voluntary decision to use the internet and therefore consented to the risks that come with it. These risks include ridicule and personal attacks from other users. The people who harassed her cannot be held accountable. She killed herself after subjecting herself to to torment of these people. If I rented a house next to an active volcano, can i sue the owners when it erupts? NO. Its the same idea.

  • The Bully Didn't Kill Anyone

    The bully didn't kill anyone; she killed herself. We shouldn't encourage bullying, but we should encourage self image. If she knew she was worth anything she wouldn't care what anyone said about her. Besides you can't pit it all on one kid. What are you going to do throw them in jail? Killing yourself is never the answer, hopefully this case will help people realize that. Life does go on after high school; NOBODY REMEMBERS OR CARES!

  • No No No

    Suicide is a choice. You don't blame the store clerk who sold a knife to a person who stabbed somebody; I see no reason to assume a contrary position in the case of suicide.

    Apparently I need 50 words.Apparently I need 50 words.Apparently I need 50 words.Apparently I need 50 words.

  • Of Course Not

    I apologize if I sound rude. But if kids are charged with murder because some anti-social kid who, instead of telling someone, or deleting their facebook, or twitter-.. Decides to go kill themselves, that's just plain stupid. No where else, is personal responsibility not a factor, but it seems here that it is not. Secondly, saying it's okay to possibly kill a teenager or even child with the death penalty because some kid killed themselves, is like saying that school shootings are okay just because the shooter might have been bullied.

  • The bullies themselves are not the problem here.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of defending the actions of bullies, but punishing a kid for improper action is not a solution to the problem. It will NOT prevent other bullies from bullying. I mean, does anyone actually think these kids are considering the consequences of their actions beforehand? Because that is the ONLY way legal discourse can prevent a problem from occurring.

    This biggest problem is parents who don't care what is said by, or being said to, their children. Parents who can't foster strong lines of communication between themselves and their children is also part of the problem (although this may be through no fault of their own). The best way to prevent bullying from ending in suicide is by teaching your children to be resilient.

    The parents who don't care, are the ones raising the bullies. You know why they are bullies? Because they've been raised in that environment where nobody cares, and so they grow up believing they needn't care either. Bullying will never stop, because there will always be sh**ty parents raising bullies.

    You want bullies to stop bullying? Then show them them the palm of your hand, rather than its backside. Show them that compassion is better than hatred. Do what the parents (the ones they were stuck with, through no fault of their own) don't care enough to. Otherwise, you are as bad as he bullies you despise so much.

  • Freedom of speech.

    It would be extremely messed up if Verbal bullying became illegal. Physical bullying should be illegal, but a ban on bullying would be taking away our freedom of speech. Schools should try to stop bullying, but not make it illegal. That's an insane and communist idea that would definitely backfire very quickly.

  • Bullies are people too

    While it is horrid that bullied children are committing suicide, we can not look at the bully as something of not a kid. Usually the bullies have personal problems from somewhere like being abused at home or depression. While bullying is not a good outlet for solving problems, it is the only way they know how. Instead of punishing bullies for suicides we should look at bullies as what they are, kids with problems who only know bullying as an outlet. So instead of punishment they should get help.

  • The FIrst Amendment, Define Bullying, & Unreasonable. More than one bully. AND a Hypothetical Discussion

    For the purpose of my argument, "Sarah" is the suicide victim.

    I would argue that most bullying is actually done over the internet these days. It is simply much easier, more guilt-free, and anonymous for the bully than if they were to bully their victims in person. With that said, the first amendment essentially allows anybody to say anything to anybody no matter how vulgar, cruel, or offensive the statement may be. Where people start getting confused is the topic of harassment. Legally, harassment is defined as CHRONIC unwanted, well, harassment, from somebody. Now we also need to define bullying. Bullying could be defined as anything from one mean look at somebody a day, pretending they don't exist at school, or saying one unkind thing to them and then never again. We see here that not only is unreasonable to convict somebody for saying one mean thing to somebody, but also "bullying" is much too arbitrary of a term to define with a one-size-fits-all definition.

    Also, I would like to point out that the cause of anybody is NEVER caused by simply one person. If only one person was bullying Sarah, and she got along with everybody else, she would be around everybody else more than she would be with the bully, and therefore she would not be influenced by the bully's negative peer pressure. I bring this up because when if gets to the point where everybody doesn't like Sarah, you can't just put everybody in jail. If everybody in Sarah's school (2000 people) said that they don't like her, that's enough people for everybody in the school to say one mean thing to her, in groups of 3-4, for every day of the school year. This isn't legal harassment by anybody, because it is not chronic. But if by the end of the year the school has pressured Sarah to the point where she wants to kill herself, the people involved can NOT be held accountable for that because their freedom of speech is protected by the first amendment.

    Now, what if we just lived a world where all the "laws" were simply moral and ethical guidelines that dictated consequences?

    Ultimately, no matter how pressured somebody is to make an action, or in this case commit suicide, it comes down to the choice of the victim. She doesn't have to take her own life! The bully is NOT physically forcing anybody to commit suicide. Even if she had a severe case of depression, Sarah still has the willpower to not commit suicide. This discussion comes down to choice.
    The matter of suicide is ALWAYS a choice.
    ________
    To conclude, I would like to suggest that no, bullies should not be charged with any crime specifically because their victims committed suicide, they should only be charged with crimes if, during the course of their bullying, the actually broke preexisting laws. Influencing to somebody to commit suicide should NOT be illegal.

    Thank you.
    I'm open for debate on this issue!


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sodoff says2013-10-17T16:41:40.873
That's a tough one. Depends really. A bully can drive someone to their death and if it's consistent that warrants an arrest in my opinion. However, suicide is a rather complex issue. People kill themselves for many different reasons. If someone says one negative comment which triggers someone to kill themselves it may only be the tip of an iceberg and a sidestep of the real issue in that person's life. That victim was pushed over the edge from one measly comment from a bully yet in secret the real issue may be that she was hiding a childhood abuse or maybe rape underneath the facade. Who should and would be charged in this case?

It's a debate worth having but it's too complex for me to take a side even if I'm leaning towards a yes.