Suicide is not a joke - Outrage stems from Logan Paul's video

When I was a reporter, I remember one photo that was printed on the front page of The Oakland Press. A sheet in the middle of the road. Underneath the sheet was the body of someone who had died in a car accident.

Even though you couldn't see the body and even though the photo was zoomed out, several of our readers were livid. They called it insensitive. They said this wasn't something they wanted to see while drinking their morning coffee.

Now, imagine someone posting a video of a man, hanging from a tree, and zooming in on his body, the extremities beginning to turn blue. When I woke up this morning, drinking my morning coffee, scrolling through the morning news on my phone, this was what I saw.

This video was, without a doubt, insensitive. This, this deserved the outrage that it received. This was disrespectful to the man who had lost his life. He didn't deserve for his body to be recorded. He didn't deserve the commentary his death received.

Maybe I live under a rock, but I had never heard of vlogger Logan Paul before this morning. Many of you have probably already heard about what Logan did. And you probably expected that I would have something to say about it.

On New Year's Eve, Logan posted a video from the Aokigahara forest, also known as the Japanese "suicide forest." While the video camera was rolling, he and his friends found the body of a man who died from an apparent suicide. While wearing a hat with the "Toy Story" alien on it, Logan said, with a laugh, "What? You never stand next to a dead guy? This was going to be a joke. This was all going to be a joke." And, at the end of the video, he even signed an autograph for a fan in the parking lot.

I'm not sure what he thought he was going to find, walking into the "suicide forest." I'm not sure why he didn't turn off the video camera when he saw the body. If I found a body, my first reaction wouldn't be to film it. I would drop the camera to the ground, not caring if it shattered and, even if the body had turned blue, I would be calling for help, taking the person gently down from the tree, and trying to find a pulse. Praying that maybe, just maybe, he was alive.

As Dave Herndon, video coordinator for the News-Herald said, "Not everything needs to be posted on the internet."

Jordan Michael Rodriguez of Troy said, "What's sick is, as he's seeing this stuff, you can see the girl in the background laughing and the dude in the background smiling. Super disrespectful and not what people need to see."

Lauren Murrell tweeted, "Logan Paul didn't f**k up. He knew exactly what he was posting. He knew that he was posting a video of someone who chose to end their life. He knows that his main audience is children."

But, despite how careless and disgusting this was, I am thankful for one thing — that this is opening up a dialogue about the suicide epidemic, specifically in Japan, where the suicide rate is among the highest in the world. And it makes me hopeful that so many people are calling Logan out for his callous attitude toward a suicide victim. They are standing up and defending the suicide victim — a man whose identity has not been released —  and saying he deserves respect.

So many people are spreading the word that suicide is not a joke. They are offering resources to those who may be considering suicide. And this gives me hope in humanity. It gives me hope, seeing how the majority of people are disgusted by one man's tasteless video about suicide, that, maybe now, people suffering from depression and considering suicide will no longer be afraid or ashamed to talk about it. If the widespread reaction to Logan's video makes just one person rethink entering that forest and killing him or herself, then, no matter what his misguided or selfish reasons may have been for posting the video, I just can't hate him.

For those of you who truly want to raise awareness about mental illness, check out the Huffington Post's list of expert-approved ways to lend your voice to the cause (unlike what Logan did).

One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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