If you paid attention to various news outlets during the Boston marathon tragedy, you’ll probably recognise the name Sunil Tripathi. If you don’t, he was a missing person wrongly identified by some on Reddit as being a suspect. Yesterday. his body was found in a river running through Boston, and had to be identified by his dental records.
While this is a tragedy, to put this solely on the Boston bombings and his subsequent status as a suspect like some have done is ignorant of his primary cause of going missing, namely his depression.
Sunil was described as ‘a capable and well-liked student’ by the vice-chancellor of student services at Brown college, where he studied before suspending his studies due to his depression, which he continued to struggle with. On March 16, he left his student accommodation, and had not been seen since. His family, knowing of his struggles, call the police, the FBI, and were relentless in trying to find him.
Three days after the bombings, a redditor who claimed to have to high school with Sunil, thought she saw him in the several images circulating the internet and identified him as a possible suspect. Later, Twitter user Greg Hughes incorrectly identified him on Boston PD scanner audio tape as being labelled suspect 2. Then, of course, it turned out he wasn’t
There is, however, one important thing to take from this. He didn’t go missing because of the accusations; he went missing because of his depression. Until it’s been announced that foul play was involved, it’s impossible to say whether he died because of the accusations. What we do know is that Sunil had depression, and wasn’t coping with it too well. Rather than pointing fingers at people, blaming them for his death, we should recognise him as a victim of depression, until any evidence suggests otherwise.
We should also realise that with the dark comes the light. In a blog post apologising to Sunil’s family for the witch hunt that ensued, Reddit’s GM talked about acts of kindness that had been organised by their users, from offering up housing and transportation for people with nowhere to go, donating money to relief funds, providing cute animal therapy with pets to distract people from the tragedy, even buying Boston PD and hospitals numerous thank you pizzas. For all the negatives you can throw at the Reddit, you have to see the good too.
My thoughts and love go to Sunil’s friends and family, who were victims, and had to endure the accusations and media attacks on their loved one. I wish them only the best in this difficult time.
Love one another.