’13 Reasons Why’ a person might decide to die

Photo Courtesy of IMDb

Story by Lance Egly / Contributing Writer

In this modern age where technology and social media are a part of everyday life,people’s lives have never been more interconnected. This becomes increasingly apparent for the fictional characters of Jay Asher’s novel-turned-Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.”

The 13-episode mini-series, produced by Selena Gomez, premiered March 31 on Netflix. The show is relevant today — perhaps even more so than when the book originally came out. “Thirteen Reasons Why” delves into the human psyche of those left behind and some who are even responsible for a young girl’s suicide.

If the story had been published in 2017 rather than 2007 , one wonders if Hannah might have used a social network to tell her story.

Hello boys and girls,

Hannah Baker here.

Live and in stereo.”

It would be beyond strange to find a shoe box filled with cassette tapes on your doorstep featuring a recently deceased classmate, but what if recorded on those tapes are the 13 reasons why she killed herself and which 13 people should be held accountable.

For Clay Jensen, the protagonist, this scenario has become a reality. As he listens to the tapes, Hannah reveals many secrets and explanations that — but only to a select few. The tapes are numbered and assigned according to who they’re about and who should be listening.

And as Hannah Baker says in the beginning of the tapes,“Now, why would a dead girl lie?”

As Clay ponders the reasoning behind her death and the tapes, he’s also trying to figure out why anyone hasn’t broken the chain. He wonders if the 13 people on the list were actually responsible for Hannah’s suicide and, if the tapes are so damning, why haven’t they simply destroyed them?

…Hannah wants us, those of us on the list,

to hear what she has to say.

And we’ll do what she says, if only to keep them away from the people not on the list.”


But the series is an unsettling example of when art imitates life as it points to a trend in very public suicides, which has become hauntingly common.

After all, since the book’s publication, similar stories have surfaced in the news: On Dec.  30, 2016, in Polk County, Georgia, 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis began a Facebook Live video and proceeded to hang herself outside her home. She was an avid blogger who claimed to have been sexually abused by a male member of her family. She also posted videos of arguments between her mother and herself. She wrote that her stepfather had told her to kill herself days prior.

In 2016 a 22-year-old Turkish man, Erdogan Ceren, shot himself while broadcasting on Facebook Live and claimed a break-up was the cause. In real time, pleas poured in, but sadly, the messages went unnoticed.

A native teen of Lavergne, Tennessee,  Sherokee Harriman, had allegedly been the target of bullying for quite some time, according to reports by her family. After a certain point, she felt she could no longer defend herself and in the fall of 2016, the 14-year-old confronted her bullies in a public park. She stabbed herself, fatally, in the stomach in front of the people she believed to be the cause.

Numerous other cases similar to these exist, and it’s emerging as a more and more common way for  someone to end their life. For Hannah, she wanted an opportunity to explain herself and her situation truthfully.  She wanted to make a statement that no one could argue. Potentially, the three people all wanted the same thing: to be heard.


Secrets run rampant throughout the series, but to find out who and what led to Hannah Baker’s suicide, you’ll have to watch, read and listen– beginning with Tape 1.

And ending when her life does.

Warning: 13 Reasons Why contains graphic depictions of suicide, self-harm, sexual assault and rape. Proceed with caution.

If you or anyone you know may be suicidal, feel free to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the website to talk with someone confidentially. You are not alone.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Marissa Gaston email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more updates, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

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  1. Disappointed
    April 13, 2017

    How about y’all think about this before writing fake new stories? Like the many people who have said it: I have no respect for this news outlet #hypocritical #youmightbethereasonwhy

  2. Kvs2h
    April 20, 2017

    13 reasons why is a very powerful show. I watched it knowing that it would be painful, but it is great for the world to see. Many of us walk around with our problems on our shoulders, and while others may see them; they do nothing. Many may think that it is okay to bully others or believe that everything is all in fun, but they do not see that their actions and words hurt. Hannah Baker showed me that there is a lot of things that can harm you on this Earth, but the things that she did not do to change her fate taught me something as well. Suicide should not be an option at all, but when one can no longer defend his or her self; suicide becomes an option. This show creates open doors for us to see the signs and stop abuse when it is recognized. This show is for all of those who seek help, but cannot find the voice to say anything. Since I have watched all 13 reasons, I do not want to spoil anything for you, but some of those reasons could have been easily avoided. The show was pretty good overall.

  3. May 4, 2017

    For example, if a salesman is pressured to use techniques he believes is unethical, he might choose to treat customers in the way he thinks is proper but lie to his bosses and tell them how he really pressured the customer.