Red Bluff press conference April 6, 2009
NEWS CONTACT: MATT LAVOIE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (202) 225-3076 (W); (443) 624-2721 (C)
April 2, 2009 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Herger to Hold Press Conference to Discuss “Suzanne Gonzales Suicide Prevention Act”
(CHICO, CA) — Representative Wally Herger (CA-02) today announced that he will hold a press conference next week in Red Bluff, California to discuss legislation he has introduced (H.R. 1183) aimed at punishing those who prey on vulnerable individuals by promoting suicide. The measure was introduced after a local resident, Suzanne Gonzales, took her life after falling victim to an online discussion group that promotes suicide. The Gonzales family and invited guests will join Rep. Herger at the event.
Date: Monday, April 6, 2009 Time: 10:00 AM PDT Location: Tehama County Board of Supervisors Chambers. 727 Oak St. Red Bluff, CA 96080
By way of background, on March 23, 2003, Mike Gonzales of Red Bluff, California, received a call from his 19-year-old daughter, Suzy, who told him, “I love you, Dad. I’ll see you soon.” Hours later, she was dead. An online discussion group promoting suicide encouraged Suzy to take her life and gave her step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Specifically, members of the group encouraged Suzy to pose as a jeweler to obtain a particular deadly chemical that’s not widely available. The website has also been linked to over a dozen other deaths.
In announcing the event, Representative Herger stated, “People suffering from depression need help and treatment. They should not be exploited by sick and twisted individuals who present suicide as just another personal choice. Those who facilitate this irreversible and tragic decision should be held responsible for their actions. That is why I have introduced legislation that would make it a federal crime to use the Internet to help an individual commit suicide.”
Prosecutors told the Gonzales family that there was no law under which the members of the online group could be charged. Although many states have laws prohibiting assistance to suicide, the individuals responsible for Suzy’s death could be residents of any state. H.R. 1183 is narrowly tailored to avoid infringing on freedom of speech or laws passed by state governments.
For more information on the event, please contact Matt Lavoie at 202-225-3076, or Fran Peace at 530-893-8363.