The other day I was talking to a couple of friends, and one mentioned that he’d been a little busy and hadn’t read my blog lately, and, well, what was I writing about. So, I told him…..
I told him it was all sadness and death. The lives of young men so quickly ended because of taunts and teasing and shoves. Broken arms, broken lives, broken families left behind wondering what happened.
And then came Tyler Clementi, and I almost couldn’t bring myself to write about it. It seemed like my blog was all about suicide and bullies, but then, well, I call this place I Should Be Laughing, don’t I? And these young men, and countless others who came and went before, and the others that will surely follow, all should be laughing. But they aren’t.
Tyler Clementi is no longer laughing.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan has charged two Rutgers University freshmen, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, both eighteen, with two counts each of invasion of privacy for using a camera to view and transmit a live image of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi–Dharun Ravi’s roommate–having sex with another male student.
Tyler Clementi killed himself after the video aired online. But it was all just a joke, right?
One that went too far. In fact, Dharun Ravi has also been charged with two additional counts of invasion of privacy for allegedly attempting to use the camera to view and transmit another encounter involving Clementi just two days after the first video.
Tyler Clementi wrote the following on his Facebook page: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” His wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge, and his car parked nearby. His body was recovered from the Hudson River days later.
All in good fun.
Push them into a locker.
Call them names in the hallway.
Break their arms.
Invade their privacy and out them online.
All in good fun.
This is not an LGBT problem. This is an American problem. This problem needs to be solved by all of us, from friends and family, to the teachers and school administrators, and the courts.
I am so sick of listening to school officials recite their little speeches about how they don’t tolerate bullying, while a family readies themselves for a funeral.
I am sick of listening to people say that Ravi and Wei probably won’t be charged with anything other than invasion of privacy because, well, that’s really all they did wrong. Tell that to Tyler Clementi’s family, who would still have their son if Ravi and Wei had found something better to do in September.
I am sick of parents saying it just kids being kids. It isn’t; kids learn this behavior in their homes. When they hear their own families put down LGBT people, these kids begin to believe that’s the acceptable way to act. They begin to believe that a push in the hallway is okay, as long as it’s just a fag getting pushed. A broken arm is okay, if the arm is on the queer kid. Outing someone on the Internet is just plain fun.
And then they all express remorse when the news of the suicide breaks.
I didn’t mean to do it.
It was just a joke.
We were just playing.
And yet someone dies.