Dying for Attention

This article about the recent “online suicide” of Brandon Vedas, 21, of Phoenix, Arizona, goes to show (to me anyway) how far someone will go for a little attention. It’s a pathetic testament to the isolation the Internet brings. Isolation and anonymity. It promises connectivity, and indeed you can reach out to people on the Internet, around the globe, more cheaply and quickly with the computer than with any other technology available to us. Yet, we are all still each ONE lone individual out there.

I believe the police got it right. No one put those lethal quantities of drugs and alcohol in his system but him. Would he have gone as far as he did if his audience hadn’t been egging him on? If he was so weak-willed that his decision to live or die could be made by a group of strangers interacting on a CRT screen, then he was beyond hope to begin with.

According to one news report,

By his own account, bragging in the hour before he died, Vedas ingested large doses of Klonopin, Methadone, Restoril and Inderal, along with marijuana and 151-proof rum. All but the pot and the rum apparently were legally prescribed for him by a doctor and a psychiatric nurse, according to his angry and mystified family.

So from that we know he was fighting heroin addiction and depression, at the very least. His mother was in the next room doing crossword puzzles. He apparently died around 5AM. His mother didn’t discover him dead in his room until 1PM. Wouldn’t you think she’d check on him before then?

The family doesn’t believe he intended to die. It just looks like his plan (to shock? to brag? to show off?) went horribly awry….

[04:23] do you want to die or what?
[04:23] !!!!
[04:23] nah
[04:23] its safe
[04:23] I know what I’m doing

Personally, I’ve never understood the drug mentality. My motto has always been, “If you can’t get high on life, what else really is there?” I don’t want my mind numbed in any way. After my mother died, I started bar hopping. Just being out among other people, even strangers, seemed preferable to being alone in the empty apartment. I remember mixing drinks one night and waking up the next day with the most horrific headache. I slept it off for a couple of days. But I didn’t like the feeling of not being in control that ingesting all that alcohol gave me. So although I went through another phase later, in my 30s, when my drink of choice was a Kamikaze (Rose’s lime juice, triple sec and vodka, should you wonder), I never drank to the extreme that I did right after my mother died.

And really, unless it’s the sweet liqueurs, I’m not really interested in it. I much prefer the taste of a good glass of iced tea on my palate than alcohol. (Plus, it’s a lot cheaper.)

Still, back to Brandon a/k/a ripper. He was a young male, braggadacious (is that a word), apparently it was “cool” to be some kind of bad ass druggie. Shit, what an idiot. It’s the Internet for crying out loud. You can say you’re doing anything. I could sit here and brag that I’ve just ingested a bagful of pills, three or four bottles of methadon, some vicodins, and whatever else is out there. Who’s to say it’s true or not. He should have just said it. Who’d have known the difference?

A website memorial has been set up by his brother, Rich. There you’ll find the complete IRC logs from that fateful evening, along with some information about drugs and drug abuse and links to news stories.

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