Did students commit 'suicide by laptop'?

Fears are growing in Scotland that two college students may have rigged their laptops to deliver lethal injections in a suicide pact.

Whatever happened, no one may ever truly understand.

The facts, as reported by the Daily Mail, suggest that two students from Scotland checked into a hotel around 80 miles from Edinburgh University, where they were both studying.

When staff were concerned that Robert Miller, 20, and James Robertson, 19, were still in their room after check-out time, they reportedly opened their door and discovered them both dead.

Edinburgh University, where both men studied. CC WJMarnoch/Flickr

Police reportedly examined a laptop in the students' room and, after police said they were not treating the deaths as suspicious, there are reportedly fears in the students' home communities that the dead men may have been influenced by the ideas of Dr. Philip Nitschke, an Australian campaigner for legal euthanasia.

In 1996, Nitschke created the Deliverance Machine, a device that involved a laptop that was connected to a syringe driver. With just one push of a key, the device, outlawed in 1997, delivers a lethal injection.

Edinburgh University is reportedly working with the authorities to try to find more evidence of what might have led to these students' deaths.

These reports will inevitably lead to renewed debate about the Web offering more information, both "bad" or "good," being made immediately available to those who seek it, or even to those who merely happen to come across it by chance.

Should information about assisted suicide, self-harm and other difficult societal aspects be freely available?

 

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