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encouraging suicude, is this a crime?

MINNEAPOLIS – A nurse who authorities say got his kicks by visiting Internet suicide chat rooms and encouraging depressed people to kill themselves is under investigation in at least two deaths and could face criminal charges that could test the limits of the First Amendment.

Investigators said William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, feigned compassion for those he chatted with, while offering step-by-step instructions on how to take their lives.

"Most importatn is the placement of the noose on the neck ... Knot behind the left ear and rope across the carotid is very important for instant unconciousness and death," he allegedly wrote in one Web chat.

He is under investigation in the suicides of Mark Drybrough, 32, who hanged himself at his home in Coventry, England, in 2005, and Nadia Kajouji, an 18-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, who drowned in a river in Ottawa, where she was studying at Carleton University.

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 10:35 PM on Oct. 16, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 10:35 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • It is unethical for sure, especially since his profession is one of a public servant. Someone who is supposed to stop things like this from happening. Nurses know that most people who have thoughts of suicide usually have some form of depression or a mental condition and all they need is that little push to take them over the edge but most can be helped back to a full recovery and normal life. I'd say he could be held legally responsible for this mainly because of the fact that he is a nurse and knew that encouraging would most likely cause them to take that step further. They could try to prove that these people would not have committed suicide if he hadn't have said anything to them. This is just sick, especially someone who is supposed to be working to help people and help them get better.

    Answer by amyrw at 11:04 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • It is legal here in Oregon. The state has started offering euthanasia instead of treatment for some people on the state healthcare system. You can google this if you don't believe me. There has been a ot of controversy about this. How would it feel if your insurance company didn't want to pay for your treatment but offered to kill you for free? Creepy!

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 11:06 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • Yech. The idea of someone encouraging suicide for kicks is disgusting.

    Answer by mancosmomma at 11:15 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • unethical, immoral and sinful. Yes it should be considered a crime. I remember when i used to go into all kinds of chat rooms on AOL a long time ago i used to run into people who would encourage others to commit suicide. it was horrible. They are filthy creatures

    Answer by Aasiyah at 11:16 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • I don't even get WHY someone would do it....What did he GET out of it??? Poeple are so freakin weird!


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 11:24 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • Assisting in euthanasia and encouraging suicide are 2 separate events. The Oregon statute is narrowly applied to those with terminal conditions-- offering to kill someone who has a cold is not going to fly.

    Most states have statutes that make most homicides illegal (the exception being death resulting from self-defense). Homicide includes suicide.

    The first amendment also has limitations-- particularly in cases involving "fight speech" which encourages violent acts against another. So if you encourage another person to commit a violent act intended to cause significant physical harm or death, then you may be criminally liable. Suicide is usually considered a violent act (even if done with medication that causes sleep) which obviously causes physical harm to someone other than the speaker.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:45 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • I think that these people must have severe mental issues and need to be put in a psychiatric hospital. Many times with murder it is done as an act of passion. Or the murderer has justified it in their head because the person wronged them, for example by abusing them, hurting someone that they loved, taking something from them. But in this case where the person is habitually preying on people he doesn't know, people who are weak and desperate, this person is crazy and needs to be treated as such.

    Answer by EricaG87 at 12:24 AM on Oct. 17, 2009

  • Assisting in euthanasia and encouraging suicide are 2 separate events. The Oregon statute is narrowly applied to those with terminal conditions-- offering to kill someone who has a cold is not going to fly.

    Offering to assist in euthanasia is offering to help someone committ suicide. They are 1 in the same. The Oregon statute may have been intended for terminal cases, but that isn't how it has been used. There are 2 cases where the state simply did not want to pay for the treatments. In both cases the treatments were provided by of them a big bad pharmaceutical. I didn't say it would be used for colds and I doubt the op's nurse was encouraging people with colds.

    The point is that suicide is being legally encouraged and assisted in some areas.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:20 AM on Oct. 17, 2009

  • Its legal in Washington.. so lets hope he is not there.

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 2:18 AM on Oct. 17, 2009

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