Now on HBO
If you are depressed right now, please please do not consider taking your own life. Doing so would make your friends and relatives incredibly sad.
Also, if you happen to have spoken to one of your friends about your depression, she may be prosecuted for your murder after you are gone.
In 1692, Massachusetts convicted innocent women of witchcraft. In 2017, Massachusetts convicted Michelle Carter of bewitching a man during a cell phone conversation that no one in the court actually heard.
We like to think that we have advanced as a society. But our collective desire to go on witch hunts to scapegoat and demonize defenseless women continues unabated.
The story begins on a sad summer day in 2017. 18-year-old Roy Conrad III asphyxiated himself in his grandfather’s pickup truck.
Suicide will always remain an incomprehensible and unknowable part of the human condition. No one who fully experienced it has come back to tell the tale.
When someone we know takes his own life, we tend to ask ourselves what we could have done better. Lesser people evilly blame someone else for it.
Roy Conrad III watched his parents go through a violent divorce. Roy Conrad III was beaten up so badly by his father that the police had to be called. But when Roy Conrad Jr. is asked whose fault it was that his son killed himself, the grieving father says – with a straight face – Michelle Carter.
For viewers who are inclined to hate Michelle Carter, “I Love You, Now Die” offers plenty of fodder. There is no doubt that the 17-year-old had many text conversations with Mr. Conrad and called him her boyfriend. And when Conrad confided in Ms. Carter that he was planning on killing himself, she did not work to talk him out of it or alert the authorities.
For viewers who are capable of feeling sympathy for the living and not just the dead, Michelle Carter comes off like a lonely, lonely kid – not a murderer.
The District Attorney goes through great pains to paint Ms. Carter as a pathetic friendless loser in high school. The primary reason for doing this, it seemed, was to prove what we already knew: prosecutors are eager to humiliate and destroy the lives of defendants by any means available.
To me, learning how desperate Ms. Carter was for attention only made it more logical that she was willing to text so much with Roy. A confident young woman would steer clear of an online-only relationship with a suicidal boy. Ms. Carter was over the moon that she found someone who would actually return her texts.
The documentary also reveals that their relationship was almost entirely text messages. These were kids from different towns with no cars. They saw each other in real life no more than five times.
“‘You monster, max!’ Michelle Carter wrote ‘You can’t think about. You just have to do it.’ That devil girl convinced him to commit suicide. That’s a crime!”
Actually, it is not. There is no Massachusetts law that forbids suicide encouragement. Urging someone to kill himself is a messed-up thing to do, but it is not a crime. The State tried Michelle Carter for Manslaughter because the prosecutors were not going to let a little thing like the law stop them from putting Ms. Carter in a 6 x 8 cage.
Late in the doc, we see poor Michelle Carter walking by herself to her sentencing hearing. “Go kill yourself!” shouts a woman in the background.
The woman does not get what happened here. If Ms. Carter actually does kill herself, that hateful heckler could be charged with Manslaughter. The witch trials are back. And freedom of speech is history.