Whether you have or have not been outside these past few days, you've probably heard that Michelle Carter was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months in prison for her role in the 2014 suicide of her boyfriend Conrad Roy III. If not, here's a recap:
Roy and Carter were a long-distance couple who communicated primarily through text. Roy wrestled with depression and social anxiety and confided in Carter often about how much he wanted to take his own life. At first, Carter tried to dissuade him, but later encouraged him. Finally, on July 13, 2014, Roy poisoned himself with carbon monoxide fumes in his truck. 3 years later, Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Let's take a closer look:
Here we have two people at probably the most vulnerable time in their life, a.k.a. high school. Michelle and Conrad were both described as athletic, smart, nice students. However, both struggle with depression, and Roy additionally struggles with social anxiety; Carter has an eating disorder. Anyone who has lived to tell the tale can attest to the fact that high school is one big shark tank. Maybe we don't want to admit it, but we all want to be the top shark. Carter was no exception to this. She had trouble making and keeping friends, and her insecurity bred desperation. At the start of their relationship, Carter did what any other person was expected to do: she tried to talk him out of it. Roy, however, was extremely persistent. Eventually, Carter became Roy's personal cheerleader, pushing him harder and harder each day and chastising him when he didn't follow through with plans.
It's evident that somewhere down the line, something flipped in Michelle Carter. Roy was extremely stubborn, and Carter figured if she couldn't help Conrad, she'd help herself. If someone in her situation got really frustrated, they may say something along the lines of, "You know what, you can just kill yourself for all I care." This type of anger usually only lasts for a short period of time and then is followed up by a series of apologies. Michelle took this sentiment about 100 steps further when she saw an opportunity to spin this to her own benefit. If Conrad committed suicide, Michelle could play the role of the grieving girlfriend and gain the attention and popularity of her peers which she so wanted.
And she sure did. After Roy's death, she gained popularity by exploitation, and then tried to make the best of a bad situation by becoming an anti-suicide activist and trying to establish a relationship with his family. It's safe to say that if authorities didn't go through the teens' phone, Michelle probably would have completely avoided trouble.
As a high school student, I can say that it's not out of the ordinary to see people doing just about anything to get attention. After all, we are growing up in an environment where we are always competing for something whether it's the best grades, a spot on a sports team, or admission into a college. We teach ourselves that we need attention, and that we must have more attention than everyone else. Some are even desperate enough to let a man die so we can have what we want the most.