Suicide and the Hate That Drives It

Upon reading a story of a young man, Tyler Clementi, who took his life after being not only taped without his permission of a private act but then outed on Facebook with the video by his roommate, I was shocked, horrified, painfully traumatized, and outraged.  How can this society continually permit this terrible treatment of people for who they are?  This young man was a classically trained violinist, a freshman at Rutgers who was just beginning his life not only just finding himself like every other person his age.  What sick, twisted individual terrorizes someone to the point that they believe suicide is the only remedy to the pain of life?  How can the actions of his roommate be justified?

Tyler’s isn’t the only story, recently three other young people committed suicide for being bullied.  Bullying has been taken to a new level with the Internet and text messages.  How can one feel good about themselves hurting someone, mocking them for being who they were born to be?  How can the parents of the person who bullies be even a tiny bit proud of their child?

I sincerely hope we wake up soon and will personally speak up and out about this injustice.  Bullying needs to stop before we lose many more beautiful people to hate and bigotry.  This is evil, this is horrid, and this is unjustifiable.  The little pieces of shit that think this is okay or try to downplay the effects of their actions should pay a dear price.  I ask the Universe to give a special rush on Karma for those that hurt these kids.

11 thoughts on “Suicide and the Hate That Drives It

  1. another trope

    last week i blogged about one of those other suicides – Billy Lucas – that happened just down the road from me

    in a sad twist, it also focuses on Dan Savage’s youtube project to help those LGBT teens to let them know its gets better that was inspired by Billy’s tragedy. For some, escaping the torments of high school means just finding it again in college. For some it doesn’t get better, it gets worse.

    The LGBT is one community in our nation that is still dehumanized and peripheralized, becoming literally and figuratively, as Judith Butler would put it, bodies that don’t matter.

    This is combined with the increasing problem of technology that seems to facilitate the disconnection between people, allowing for a level of mental and emotional cruelty that we didn’t experience as kids in those before text messages and youtube videos.

    We seem as a nation to be going backwards. Although I know for every story like this tragedy there is a story like Dan Savage’s and his husband as they tell in their video.

    As someone who is just an ally of the LGBT community, I can only make a commitment not to remain silent around those who reinforce and reiterate the attitudes and beliefs of hate and fear. The same goes for bullying and other acts of intimidation and oppression.

  2. Bullying is endemic because the bullies get away with it. Teresa’s post documented one internet bully. Nothing will happen to him. We’re all familiar with the abuse that some posters hurled about on TPM. Nothing happened to them – they’re still posting at the eviscerated Cafe, and at least one is on the refuge sites.

    In real life, it is much more serious for those who are different and unsure of themselves. You can’t simply logout of school. But how can authorities stop bullying when almost everyone laughs, or says nothing and looks away? And at some point you are in a group of your peers with no teacher or administrator at hand. At that level, society is the bully.

  3. MSNY

    I think this problem is far bigger than bullying. I don’t know if this is more of a case of a concerted attempt at bullying than it is a complete ignorance of the effects that publicly humiliating a person can have on that person. It very well may be a hate crime, committed with the purpose of targeting and victimizing someone because of their sexual identification. I don’t deny that probability. But, what I mean is that I wonder if these two kids were actually homophobic and hateful in their intentions, or simply really stupid to think that this would be somehow funny. That said, I am by no means condoning or dismissing the gravity of their crimes. Invasion of privacy is wrong to matter the circumstance or outcome.

    The bigger issue I see here is that this poor kid was driven to suicide because our nation supports the suppression of sexual identity. Encouraging homosexuals to be closeted would seem to imply that there is a reason for them to have shame about their sexuality. DADT is nothing more than. If this kid wasn’t subtly taught that he should hide his identity or feel shame about it, perhaps he would not have been driven to take his life.

    1. You all make very good points. It’s up to society to fix it that is for sure. The silent majority needs to get some increased wattage on the voice thing.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  4. Thank you for writing about this tragedy. I too am horrified and distressed beyond words. We all need to remember those helpful words to breathe in the suffering and breathe out compassion (the ones another trope quoted to a post of mine recently).

    I suppose we all have our explanations for this. But what struck me, really, is that in this case the “outing” inflicted on one who obviously needed to express his sexuality but must have felt he also needed to hide it, that “outing” has, like a boomerang, landed right back on the heads of those who took publicity into their own hands – thinking it a joke. Well… now the “joke” and the publicity and the outing has made it likely impossible for these young people to go through life without being hounded in some sense by their terrible deeds.

    Seldom do we see Karma in action. This time we do. Indeed, the young man who took his life so tragically has likely ensured a retribution upon his perpetrators – the likes of which they will never, ever escape.

    I can only hope that this tragedy, and its aftermath, will cause young people to at the very least fear exposure if they engage in internet hate crimes.

    On the other hand it is almost unbelievable how many young people have committed terrible crimes and been caught via technology. I think of that Yale worker who killed a young woman right before her wedding but was caught because there was a record of his swiping himself into and out of certain parts of that lab. I think of the medical student who solicited people on Craigs List for massages. And these recent bullying acts as well as past ones.

    The difficulty with young people is the narcissism of adolescence… or prolonged adolescence. The sense that “It won’t happen to me!” The absence of fear of being caught – due to massive denial.

    All I can say is that Lis’s poem fit this exactly!

  5. seashell55

    Have you heard about the University of Michigan case involving the openly gay student body president, Chris Armstrong, and a Michigan Assistant Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell?

    Since April, Shirvell has had a blog called “Chris Armstrong Watch”, where he has conducted a bizarre and homophobic internet vendetta against Chris. He has also physically harassed and stalked Chris to the point where UM banned him from the campus, despite Shirvell’s alumni status.

    After appearing on Anderson Cooper a few nights ago along with his boss, Mike Cox, Shirvell became national news, in part because of the Rutgers tragedy. At first Cox defended Shirvell, who was his campaign manager, on First Amendment free speech grounds, but today announced that he was wrong after supposedly reading the blog. The blog has been password protected but you can see a cached copy here.

    This guy is a totally obsessed nut-job that should be on meds and locked up somewhere for his own well-being and others.

    Whether Rutgers inspired or not, the good news is the solidarity of the administrators, faculty and students on behalf of Chris. A judge is due to rule tomorrow on a personal protection order for Chris against Shirvell. Shirvell has taken “personal leave” from the AGs office, but is due for a “disciplinary hearing” when he returns. We’ll see.

    Here is CNN coverage.

    The Michigan Daily

    1. Thank you I had not heard this. It sounds like some serious obsession and possibly severely repressed homosexuality on the DA’s side. Why else protest so much?
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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