In a case that grabbed national headlines, a Massachusetts girl was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of her friend. Not only did Michelle Carter encourage Conrad Roy III to kill himself, she listened to him die on the phone without notifying police or anyone that could help him.
The reactions to Carter’s conviction have been mixed, with some arguing the verdict introduces a slippery slope that could violate the right to free speech.
But is Carter any less complicit than Charles Manson, who never killed anyone himself but ordered his brainwashed followers to carry out gruesome murders, or the Blue Whale “game” inventor, who thinks of his victims as ‘biological waste’ that happily died?
“Charles Manson didn’t kill people. He encouraged others to kill people, and they died. And he is in prison forever, right?” Glenn argued on radio Monday.
It’s not that simply that Michelle Carter lacked compassion — she directly encouraged another human being to kill himself in cold-hearted manner.
Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.
GLENN: Hello, America. Welcome to the Glenn Beck Program. I’m so glad that you’re here. Let’s start with the — let’s start with the story of a girlfriend who in a case that took in thousands of text messages, Michelle Carter was dating a guy named Conrad. Conrad Roy III. He had — he was a friend of hers. And I use that in air quotes. And he had said to her for a while, “I’m going to kill myself. I’m going to kill myself. I’m going — you know what, I’m going to kill myself this Friday.”
She encouraged him through text messages, “You should do it.”
STU: Initially, currently employed him for months. And told him not to do it. And then eventually started encouraging him to do it.
GLENN: Right. I’m going to tell you a very personal story that I’ve never told before on the air, that relates to this, in some way. As a story of devil’s advocate. But she was just convicted of, what was it? Third degree manslaughter?
STU: I thought it was involuntary manslaughter.
GLENN: Involuntary manslaughter. Because he got out of the truck. He put himself in the garage. Started his truck up. Started breathing in the fumes. He stumbles out of the truck, gets out, texts her.
PAT: Because he got scared, right? He didn’t want to.
GLENN: Right. He didn’t want to die. And she said, “What is wrong with you? Get back into the truck.” And then she never called police. Never alerted. Nothing.
STU: No, in fact, she actually created a charity softball game in his memory, after his death, and, you know — you know, tried to — she was communicating with friends saying that he was missing, before he had actually committed suicide. I mean, she — a very disturbed individual, there’s no doubt about that.
GLENN: No, I think she’s really disturbed. And she — she — actually, he calls her. And he’s choking and coughing. And she actually listens to him die over the phone. She does nothing.
So now this case goes to court. And there’s a lot of people that say she has no responsibility. Suicide is a personal choice.
And it was. It was his choice to listen to her. It was his choice to do it. She didn’t start the car. She didn’t do any of that.
However, you’re playing on the mind of somebody who is obviously ill. You’re — you are — don’t we have a personal responsibility to help one another, to first do no harm? And that was doing harm.
STU: And it wasn’t just that moment. It was weeks and weeks leading up to it. It was things like, you know, sure, yeah, your parents will be upset at first. But they’ll get over it. It’s okay. She texted him, you’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s okay to be scared, and normal. I mean, you’re about to die.
GLENN: That is so frightening.
STU: Yeah. She did it over and over and over and over again, over a period of weeks, if not months, if I’m not mistaken. So, I mean, she really went at this.
GLENN: Right. And if you’re a friend —
STU: And they’re saying boyfriend, really. Boyfriend/girlfriend. At least that was the rumored relationship between them.
GLENN: I mean, that is — that is sick. This girl has some deep issues.
STU: And we should point out too, that he had already attempted suicide previously. So it wasn’t one of these things where, ah, I didn’t believe he would even try it. He had already tried it a couple times.
GLENN: She couldn’t say that because she was listening to him. She listened to him die. And did nothing.
STU: I didn’t — that’s —
GLENN: Yeah. She listened to him die. It was on the phone.
STU: Again, he — at that point where he gets out of the truck and she talks him back into the truck —
GLENN: It is pretty frightening.
STU: So — so the argument — and you might say, that’s open and shut. Right?
STU: Because I think you — my mind jumps to people like Charlie Manson who never killed anybody.
STU: Charles Manson didn’t kill people. He encouraged others to kill people, and they died. And he is in prison forever, right? Because of that.
GLENN: What about the guy — the blue whale guy.
GLENN: If you don’t know this, this is terrifying.
GLENN: This is a guy in Russia who is online, and he — he says, “I’ve got the greatest challenge ever. And anybody who takes me up on this challenge, if you follow it all the way through, you will commit suicide. You’ll gladly commit suicide. Take up the challenge.”
And these kids, most of them 15, 17 years old. They get online, and they take the challenge. And he offers I don’t know how many challenges per day, maybe 30 or 45 days. And you have to — every day, it starts with something small. You have to do his challenge. Well, about halfway through, he says that you have to kill a cat or a dog or a defenseless animal.
Studies have shown that the people who kill the animal finish it. The ones who don’t kill the animal don’t kill themselves. Okay?
And what he does is — it’s a group process. You get into this game, and then others who are playing the game shame you. This all goes really to the Jonathan Haidt book that I’ve been reading, The Righteous Mind, on how the mind works. Once you set it into a path, as long as you have people around you — if you start to go off the path — as long as your friends are like, “No, no, go. Do it,” you pretty much will.
Very few people will actually break from their friends. And so they’re — the — the peer pressure is great to continue to go and — and to do these things.
Well, at the end, he keeps you up. And so you’re tired. You’re disoriented. He makes you get up in the middle of the night and do things. And then he’s constantly disrupting your sleep pattern towards the end.
Well, by the end, you’re in a weakened state, and the last one is kill yourself. And I don’t remember how many — is it ten, 15 people, that he killed? And he’s still doing it by mail. No longer on — on the internet because he’s in jail in Russia. But they say they can’t stop him.
Here’s the idea: He’s in jail. Stop him from writing the letters. You’re Russia.
GLENN: I mean, how hard is that?
So when he was in under — under investigation and on trial, he said, “I’m only thinning the herd. All of these people are too weak to live. So I’m just thinning the herd and getting rid of the weak ones.” Well, he’s in jail. What did he do wrong?
If she didn’t do wrong, he didn’t do wrong. If she didn’t do wrong, Manson didn’t do wrong because he never killed anyone. He just encouraged others to do it.
STU: Yeah, it’s weird — I don’t know about you at this point, particularly in our history, I find stories that are not just based on partisan lines a lot more interesting.
STU: Because you can’t tell who really believes the arguments they’re making anymore. I mean, that really is the thing.
GLENN: I know.
STU: This is from David French, however, who is from the National Review, conservative. This is what he says: I see two problems with this verdict, one moral, the other legal.
First, Conrad Roy — the boyfriend — is responsible for his death.
STU: To argue Carter committed manslaughter is to diminish Roy’s moral agency. It denies his free will. It’s wrong to deny compassion to someone who’s troubled that they might commit suicide, but we can’t move so far in the other direction, that we race to find who is really to blame when a person voluntarily takes their own life.
GLENN: Okay. Hang on just a second. It’s not that she didn’t offer compassion.
STU: Right. She encouraged it.
GLENN: She encouraged it.
STU: Uh-huh. It’s still an act of self-murder. And while Carter undoubtedly played a persuasive role, I can’t imagine where we will draw the line. And that is — I mean, that is — we will push that.