After writing out my own experiences last night (and still feeling a bit sick at having to recall those memories) I continued with the thoughts and reflections I had been having over the past few days in regards to Tyler's situation. I could remember the pure fear and panic I had going through my own head and I could easily imagine that similar thoughts and emotions were going through his. However, there was always one point I would reach where I would stop and have to say "Wait, this is the part I don't understand." Despite the fact that I was on an extreme emotional edge, I didn't quite snap and feel like I was falling and about to hit rock bottom and be done for. Why didn't I snap, but Tyler did?
I posed this question to some friends, and they said "Well you didn't have secret broadcasts of your bedroom activities on the Internet." Okay, that's true, YouTube didn't even exist, though it was only a few months away from being created. However, I couldn't just accept that as the answer. Ultimately what I wanted to try and get a grasp on is why when someone is broken that one might pick up the pieces and put themselves back together, while another one takes their life because they feel they have nothing else to live for.
As I was heading into work today, the answer came to me about my own situation vs Tyler's. Even though I had my trust and faith in many people and in what I thought was a safe environment completely and utterly shattered, I still had one refuge, one place of safety on campus. I still had my apartment, my own space that I could go and curl up on an old futon and stay awake until all hours of the morning watching movies to try to feel better. It was a place where I could just let everything go and escape for a while. I could take the time to put things back together in my own head and elsewhere. Then I could wake up in a familiar space with familiar things and have that reassurance that things would get better and life would go on. I still had somewhere that was private for me.
Tyler didn't get to have that. His own roommate violated his privacy in the one spot that should have been his refuge and safe space where he wouldn't have to feel any pressures or hatred from the world. Finding out that your roommate was watching you on webcam when you thought you had some privacy? Tyler basically got the message that even his own room wasn't a safe and comforting place for him. To get a message like that would leave anyone going "Now what?" So I think that's what helped push him over the edge, the thought he had no safe haven because the one place he should have had, he didn't. It's truly tragic.
I can't really speculate on the motives of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei and why they did it. I will never truly understand what made them think that it would be a good idea to turn on the webcam and see what Tyler was up to, and then turn around and decide to tell others to join in and watch. I can't even tell for sure if they'll get charged with a hate crime for Tyler's death, or if they'll even go to trial on the invasion of privacy charges (I'm expecting some sort of plea bargain). However, those two, especially Ravi, are going to have to live the rest of their lives with knowing they likely caused someone to kill themselves. Ravi is going to be forever known as "that guy who spied on his roommate and made him commit suicide." This case is going to haunt the both of them, especially with prospective employers and even prospective dates. One Google search and it will be "Oh yeah, he/she is the one who made that guy kill himself." That could scare some folks off, especially those looking for a person that could be trusted. Essentially in the court of public opinion, they've already been sentenced for a good long time, if not for life.
There's a big lesson from this situation. You can find out things you may have never expected to know about someone but it's how you obtained that information and what you do with it that determines the consequences.