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Teen Suicide

photograph from Law & Government story

(before 2003)

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In 1985, two boys spent an afternoon drinking beer. They were also smoking. They listened to music by a band called Judas Priest. Later that evening they tried to kill themselves. One boy died right away. The other died three years later.

The two families blame the record company that made the record and the band. They believe the music helped the boys to kill themselves. They are going to go to court to get money from the record company and the band.

The parents think people should know what type of music their kids are listening to. They want warning labels put on all records so people will know if the music is good or bad.

A judge said that the band and the record company did not get the two boys to kill themselves. The court said that what was on the record was an accident of the sounds mixing together. The song does not call for teenagers to commit suicide. One lawyer said all music can be heard wrong. Any song played backwards could make strange words. The lawyer thinks the judge was very fair because the band did not put any secret words into their music.

One of the boy's father says he does not think this will be the last time parents will go to court for this. He believes other bands will be held responsible for the music they make. An Oregon family who lost their son to suicide is thinking about going to court, too.

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