Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Technology, Old Human Garbage

Vancouver Sun


It's inconceivable what kind of sick mind would derive a motive to commit such heinous acts of preying on vulnerable people. It may be the first documented case of serial murder by remote control in the new age of Web 2.0.

New technology does not change the old human nature. It only empowers people to do what they want to do, more efficiently, more effectively, and with more reach geographically. Technology does not speak to the truths behind a person's motivations, or desires. The emotional immaturity and blindness of our technology obsessed society is the basis of Bill Joy's fear for our society's continuity in the future. Is he a pessimist or an optimist?

If the sickness depicted in this case is allowed to fester unchecked, then I dare say Bill Joy is an optimist, and future really has no need for humanity, or in this case, inhumanity.


An American man under investigation for counselling depressed Carleton University student Nadia Kajouji to commit suicide admits he urged at least four others via the Internet to end their misery in suicide, according to a police affidavit.

Further, U.S. police said Sunday it’s possibile the number of cases could expand.

The affidavit, sworn by police in St. Paul, Minn., to secure a search warrant for William Melchert-Dinkel’s personal computer files, has been unsealed by a Minnesota court to reveal new details of his online prodding of emotionally vulnerable individuals to choose death over life.

Posing as a suicidal young woman, the nurse, 46, trolled suicide chat rooms using the screen name “Cami,” and befriended people contemplating ending their lives. He encouraged others to join him in suicide pacts, typically by hanging, according to a statement he gave to St. Paul police.

Since about 2005, Melchert-Dinkel “believes he has advised and encouraged approximately five persons to commit suicide via the Internet on his home computer,” says the affidavit by police Sgt. William Haider.

He “admitted he has asked persons to watch their suicide via webcams, but has not done so.”

Police believe one of the five cases was that of Kajouji, 18, found dead in the Rideau River of an apparent suicide on April 20, 2008.

Transcripts of online conversations the Brampton, Ont., native had with Melchert-Dinkel recommended she kill herself by hanging. In one, he explained he would tell her exactly what to use and how to do it. In another, he instructed her to look around her “apartment for somewhere to hang from.”

The affidavit contains details of an April 12, 2007, suicide-pact e-mail from Melchert-Dinkel.

“Most important is the placement of the noose on the neck as I’ve said before, which of course, they don’t tell you about on any (web) site,” the message said.

“I can also die on Friday the 20th too! that would be a very good for me as the next day my parents will be here, of course, and it won’t happen.

“I hope we can talk that day and go somewhat close to same time if possible.”

“It’s good to have support at this time of need . . . hugs and love . . . Cami.”

St. Paul police said in March they expected charges to be laid soon against Melchert-Dinkel, possibly for alleged violation of the state law against aiding suicide.

But Peter Panos, a department spokesman, said Sunday because of the unusual and sensitive nature of the case, investigators are proceeding slower than initially anticipated.

One issue is finding, approaching and winning co-operation from people who have contemplated suicide and may be ashamed, much less willing to co-operate with a high-profile case.

“We’re talking about people who are often times very vulnerable,” Panos said.

Detectives also are cautious “of how they go about finding other possible victims and how information that they might get might be used.”

Another issue, is “where this case is best charged . . . state, federal or an international basis.”

In addition to Ottawa, one British family, backed by research from a suicide prevention advocate, have accused Melchert-Dinkel of operating online there.

Mark Drybrough, 32, hanged himself July 27, 2005 in his home in Coventry, just east of Birmingham in the English midlands. He was recovering from a nervous breakdown and under psychiatric care.

After his death, his family found two months’ worth of online correspondence he’d had with a person known variously as Falcon Girl and Li Dao, two online identities Melchert-Dinkel has admitted using.

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