[01] Be The Hero by Anonymous

Catch-22

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On January 12, 2003, Brandon Vedas died of a drug overdose. He had consumed massive quantities of klonopin and methadone, along with restoril, inderal, and cannabis (1). What makes this unusual? Why should we stop and take note?

Because Brandon was sitting in an irc chat room, describing what he was doing, while onlookers watched him in his webcam and cheered him on (2). Several of the participants realized long before his overdose that he was going to end up killing himself. Yet very few tried to get him to stop, and even after he had stopped responding, they refused to try to get him help.

When I first read about this tragedy, I believed it was a horror unique to the internet. My first concern was that the phenomenon might begin to spread. As one person commented, "Unlike the telephone or instant messaging (or DCC chat, I guess) IRC demands detachment…The grainy flickering and jerking of webcams imparts a dreamy sort of unreality."

My fears ranged to things like "live broadcast suicide." Shady internet broadcasts where sadistic voyeurs could anonymously witness someone killing themselves, while even crueler people profited from their curiosity.

But this was not the issue, and never was. The real issue is in the very heart of the drug culture itself. It plays a role every time someone encourages a person to take dangerous dosages, turns an eye when a friend is doing what is obviously too much, or keeps on dancing while a stranger convulses on the floor. "Hey dude, if you snort another line, you'll feel really good." "We can't take him to the hospital, we might get in trouble."

Life is far, far too precious to be thrown away like this. In the wise words of John Donne (3), "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." Each of us has a responsibility to watch out for each other, with our words and with our actions. Every human being is morally accountable for the actions they take when another person's life is in jeopardy. The drug culture carries an extra burden, because so many outsiders don't look upon us as worthy of salvation. So it is up to each of us to watch out for and protect each other.

First and foremost, it is your duty to spread accurate information about drugs. You must inform other users of the risks involved in drug use, combating ignorance and myth with facts and research. To do this, you need to learn all you can. There are many resources available, and it is important that you take advantage of them. Do your best to memorize specific dangers, dosage information, and everything you can about harm reduction techniques. If you supply the drugs, either by selling them, or giving them away, this responsibility falls heavily upon your shoulders. By giving drugs to an uninformed person, you have become the cause of anything bad that could happen to them.

Second, know when to say when. A good bartender cuts a person off long before he can drink himself to death. It is up to you to make those in your company quit when they've had "one too many." Talk them out of it, hide the drugs, use physical restraint if necessary. While it might seem like too much trouble at the time, it is up to you to stop them. Some people just aren't going to stop themselves.

Finally, if thing's have gone too far, take action. Call an ambulance, call the police, get them to the emergency room. There may be hell to pay for doing so, but you can reduce the personal risk by calling for help anonymously, making sure to get rid of any drugs or paraphernalia on your person and theirs, or eliciting the help of someone else. Whether they get in trouble, or you do, any negative repercussions are tiny in comparison to the death that will probably result if you do not.

In some situations there is only black and white. This is one of them. You can be a hero or you can be a coward. The people in that IRC channel on January 12 chose to be cowards. People choose cowardice every single day and the world is a poorer place for it. Be the hero. Be the good guy. Put on the white hat and save a life.

1. Article: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/story/56497p-52905c.html
2. Chat transcript: http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=121313
3. Quote taken from Meditation XVII
 
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Catch-22

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IMPORTANT: Brandon Vedas was not a Bluelighter but his death inspired someone to write this essay. Please visit the Bluelight Shrine to read about deceased Bluelighters.
 

who mE?

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First I'd like to say, I've had the privledge (?) of reading the log of this IRC event, and in defence of humanity, many people were trying to save him, however he was relatively untracable, due to the only number people had of his was his cellphone, and the 911 call could not associate it with his address. The people who were egging him on thought he was joking as he gulped the pills on camera. If you are dying to read this log, Im sure you can find it, just search for "Shroomery overdose" or something.

Also I'd like to point out my new kit to help save someone's life in the event of an OPIATE overdose. Also helpful would be a good knowledge of CPR, and a cell phone to call 911 (or your countries equivalant) with.
http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=121370&r=0
No, do it yourself reviving is not a good substitute for the emergency room, but some people have situations in which they are unwilling to take that extra step. (financial problems, legal risks) In some ways taking matters into your own hands is safer than letting your friend's fate lie with the competancy of ER doctors.

Note: in the event of a benzo/alcohol/polydrug overdose, the ER is the only sane choice.
 

eternalcrux

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Thanks Catch-22. I think we all need to have this reminder, i know in my personal life recently i've had to learn this lesson a few times over, how long until something happens that can't be undone? I've decided for myself that I don't want to wait aroudn to find out, and I sure as hell don't want to find out the hard way.

If i had a quarter for every time I've heard someone tell me to shove off because "I KNOW MY OWN BODY MANG, I KNOW MY LIMITS D00DZ". I call bullshit. That's why you are seizuring on the floor; That's why you are passed out on the front steps of a bar and grill; That's why you are getting your stomache pumped in the ER right now.

None of those experiences are anything i wish to repeat again. If you are wise, you learn from the mistakes of others; I tend to insist on learning things myself, but maybe i should take a step back next time and see if I can learn from someone else. Maybe everyone should do so.

Be the hero.
 

theghostofbillhicks

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to be honest it sounds like the guy was quite aware he was commiting suicide. Its just a shame that some of the people on #shroomery seemed to enjoy it. The story broke my heart.

peace
 

jaymie

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That was an awesome essay and I hope one day to be able to contribute something like this too.
 

247

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wow
 

TheHerojuana

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If I could only do one thing in my life it would be to save a life. This is what Blue Light has become for me: A means to an end. The means is correct information. The end is using it to save a life from poor, uneducated choices.

I can not sit by and watch someone die without doing something, anything. I could never forgive myself. I have been saved by caring people from my own poor choices and I will use that second chance at life to give back. I care deeply about my friends, family and the community I find here at BL. Life is precious and you only have one shot living it.

Drugs have their place in life as all things do. They can be used to enhance a good life, to improve a bad one or to end it. What happens when you use is up to you. Just don't ever use without knowing all that you can know. Be responsible and set an example of how using drugs can be a good addition to life. Never choose to act without the information.

It is saddening to see what inaction and lack of knowledge/awareness can do. Look out for today so you have tommorrow. Be a hero everyday and do your best to help all those we share the world with.

Sincerely,

TheHerojuana
;)
 

who mE?

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http://www.dovee.org/ripperlog.txt
http://www.dovee.org/post-ripperlog.txt
It was a pretty obvious suicide...

This was discussed very extensively on Metafilter:
http://www.metafilter.com/comments.mefi/22971

babylon said: there is a young man dead, a future lost, and a family that deserves our condolences.

Hear hear. For his family this will probably be tragic, but from his viewpoint, he was on a death wish, and got what he wanted.. about as tragic as a suicide bomber's death. One has to wonder what sort of life someone with that mental fragility would have had anyway.
This is the quote that I agree the most with... Just another example of the survival of the fittest. One day humanity will evolve past the stupid, the weak, the fearful, the meek, the selfless... for better or for worse. One day in the future, the selfish, powerful, intelligent, the deceitful and the bossy will remain all thats left in the world. They already control it.
 

BilZ0r

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I've spent a lot of time in one of the IRC channels where that happened. The really sad thing is it is not a one off case. In the exact same channel, a member had some kind of psychotic episode, and was eventually shot by police. It sounds to bizare to be true, but it was even caught on film.

I'd post the link but some things shouldn't be shared broadly.

People need to realise that, although ultimately misguided, the people who made drugs illegal did it because they thought it would help stop things like this happening.
 

HighRollin'420*

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That guy was always going to die. I consider hardcore to be pushing your bodys limits, it seems to me that this guy went waaaay past his limit and was just a plain dumbass. I feel sorry for this guys family.
 

KrisKat

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The transcript is chilling and a very sad thing, unfortunately when some one uses drugs with the mind set that Brandon had it was only a matter of time before something bad was going to happen. From what I gather he knew something about drugs and just did not care enough about life. This was not the first time he did this.

Unfortunately in this modern day of high tech stuff, you can't always believe what you see and i am sure that played into the equation. But there were people who seemed to know him and the general consensus was this was real and he was going to die. If you are unsure, take the safer choice. Better to have called 911 and have it be a prank, than to have someone die. And in the time that this transpired the police could have called the ISP, Cell phone provider and read the previous chat to be able to find him. Not the easiest way, but it may have been possible. Wether they would have done that is another story.

I truly feel sorry for the users in that chat, for they have to live with the knowledge that theynot only let someone die, but were a pert of the reason. I am sure it will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I hope the people in that chat room learned from this experience though about the responsibilities of life.

Lets all make sure we learn from this tragedy so that it may never happen again and so that we may make the right choices if faced with the same situation.
 

banksy

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Any person threatening to jump from a building no matter how high if they create a crowd then some of the people are gonna want to see the jump not the save.
 

FLaGaSS

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That's bullshit. There isn't a black and white to every dilemna, and you can't say that. You weren't there how can you call people cowards. For all they knew it was a joke. You should take a step back and realize that you sound like an ass. I'm sorry, but the only one to blame is the kid taking the drugs. No matter how you look at it. The kid was going to take them eventually, he may have had the entire thing planned out. You need to think about it, you're talking out of your ass a bit.
 

247

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^^ amen
 

Catch-22

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Just in case it was not clear, this was written by someone else and I was posting it for them anonymously. Everyone is free to voice agreement or disagreement, but please put your thoughts in this thread because I cannot respond to PM's or emails about something I did not write.
 

notneo

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I agree that you can't blame the people, entirely at least, about what happened. I think he would have done it either way. People edge him on but at the same time didn't.....
 
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