(Fort Wayne) News-Sentinel
Two things, above all, to keep in mind about suicide:
1. People are responsible for their own actions.
2. If someone has decided to kill himself, he’ll find a way to do it.
It follows, then, that we should be very careful in assigning blame to others when people commit suicide.
Police in Muncie seem less than careful in their determination to charge 40-year-old Sabrina Ann Howard in connection with the suicide of her 16-year-old son, Charles, who died from an overdose of prescription medicine — her prescription medicine. Police say Charles killed himself because he was unhappy with his mother’s drug abuse and feared she might overdose and die. And they claim that on the day before his death, she was aware of his unhappiness and suspected him of drug abuse as well.
Certainly that is selfishness so dedicated it amounts to callous disregard, but can it be said to constitute “intent” to cause suicide? That’s what’s required by the 1976 law she’s being charged under, which defines the crime of “causing suicide” as intentionally causing another person “by force, duress, or deception, to commit suicide.”
That’s a tough standard — how much duress does it take to “cause” someone to commit suicide?
News accounts of this case all describe the law as “little used.” And there’s little wonder.
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