Paolla Jordan says her son Adrio Romine was just 17 when he took his own life on May 11th. “He had a lot to live for. He just finished his freshman year at Arizona State University. He was a pre-med student.”
“He was, by all appearances, a bright young man with a clear future.” Notes Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber. “And so that makes it even that much more hard to take.”
Jordan later learned that her son had been active in an online support group on ‘Reddit’.
She’s particularly concerned that an adult online may have played a role in her son’s death.
“My son had very specific questions on how to kill himself.” Explains Jordan. “This person was an influence on him, simply by giving him all this specific information on how to kill himself with a gun.”
“I would like to think that if a caring person would have gotten hold of this boy at the right time, that they might have been able to convince him otherwise.” Reflected Sheriff Kaber.
Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello says it would be difficult to prosecute any adult that may have provoked Adrio.
“It is considered manslaughter if you do actually take a substantial step towards assisting that person in committing suicide.” Costello notes. “However, given case law, that substantial step is pretty close.”
Costello adds a ‘free speech’ argument only goes so far. “Where you’re actually causing a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury, such as screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater.”
Jordan now wants lawmakers to put extra protections in place.
“Not to take away from my son’s wanting to take his own life.” Jordan explains. “It’s another thing for an adult to talk to a minor child about suicide or self harm.”
District Attorney Costello agrees. “I think that reaching out to the legislature and creating something that would be narrowly tailored enough to meet that would be beneficial.”
Sheriff Kaber is also behind the effort. “There should be some accountability for an adult person that encourages an minor person to harm themselves. So I’m trying to do whatever I can from my position to encourage legislators to maybe consider this sort of an option.”
“The internet is good, in parts.” Adds Jordan. “But there is really grave concerns that a lot of parents aren’t aware of.”
Sheriff Kaber says he’s already contacted State Senator Dennis Linthicum, and Representative E. Werner Reschke about sponsoring legislation.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available.
You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK – That’s 1-800-273-8255.
You can also text 741-741 any time to be connected to a crisis counselor.
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