Hey all,

I have read 2 different articles (from people magizine and boulder weekly) talking about deadly bullying.  Deadly bullying is when someone is bullied to the point where they commit suicide (I’d extend it to killing sprees as well).   In both articles, they both look at the aspect of a college student, Tyler Clementi, who, as reported, was bullied by his college roommate for being gay leading him to take his own life.  I will look at the 5 different aspects of the story that specifically relate to this subject:  bullying, homophobia/anti gay attitude,  being gay (though I might be slightly repetitive on my blog on this subject), invasion of privacy, and I will briefly tough on the role of technology has on bullying.

So, as far as I know (taking place late September),  Tyler asked his roommate, Dharun Ravi, for the room (dorm, apt., whatever) until midnight.  So Dharun, without Tyler’s permission, set up a web-cam in Tyler’s room, and went to a friends.  At his friend’s place, Dharun remotely accessed the web-cam and streamed Tyler making out with another man to the internet and was making comments about it as well.  3 days after this event, Tyler drove off campus and jumped off of a bridge.

Bullying is such a nasty thing.  It’s when one person teases, humiliates, demeans, etc. another person.  Unfortunately, there are many different reasons why people engage in it, why many people are victimized by it, and how it affects those who are victimized by it.  The reactions of it can vary ranging from telling an adult, to letting it roll off your back (and I was teased back in elementary and this was my reaction) and unfortunately it  so happened that some people who are victimized murdered themselves and/or others.  The reasons that people to bully others can vary including but not limited to being bullied themselves, insecurity, some sort of abuse, maybe just simply personality, etc.  But the thing of it is that there could be many known and unknown reasons as to why someone would be bullied or victimized.  But either way  at home starting at childhood, children as they grow up should learn proper behavior in normal interactions and relationships with other people, know right and wrong, the right way to feel, react, think about problem solving skills that affect their relationships and interactions, etc.  which should help reduce bullying problems.

Homophobia/anti gay attitude is a highly prevailing subject  in this case.  In this specific case, Tyler’s college roommate (at face value and only face value based on what has been currently reported that I know of) is, at least homophobic and anti gay to his room mate.  It is events like this that is an atrocity especially when kids show an antigay attitude towards gay people.  Because many people who are gay and at a young age like 18 year old Tyler Clementi (more likely than not) are either uncertain about their sexuality and if they are they are terrified of their surroundings and peers (esp. if they’re homophobic).  Doing what Tyler’s roommate did, it was beyond a travesty because it was an invasion of privacy and an invasion that was streamed across the internet to thousands and millions of people.  It is sentiment such as being homophobic and anti gay that leads many young gay people to hurt themselves or even killing themselves just because of who they are.  To say you can’t be gay is like denying who you are can be devastating to some people that they may feel like suicide is their only choice and for someone like Tyler’s roommate adding to that by being anti gay is so horrific, it is beyond words, and this kind of thing should not be encouraged and should be criminalized and not be tolerated or accepted.

This next point is something that I’ve pointed out in previous blog postings (though maybe not as direct as I will be direct now).  BEING GAY IS NORMAL AND FINE.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT.  IT IS NOT UNNATURAL OR PERVERSE.  IT IS AS NATURAL AS STRAIGHT COUPLES AND GAY PEOPLE IN TERMS OF THER RELATIONSHIPS WANT TO BE AS EQUAL AS STRAIGHTS IN SOCIETY AND IN THE EYES OF THE LAW. For anyone  who thinks otherwise should have their head examined because it is equally as normal as being straight.  It IS NOT a choice and IT IS  the way person was born.  For people who cannot or will not accept or tolerate people for who they are (in terms of sexuality), there is no place for their opinions to spill over into their behavior to possibly drive an 18 year old college student to commit suicide.  Say, think or feel what you want but do not go around telling everyone that it is wrong or bad or anything of that nature.

As slightly touch on earlier, this case is certainly an invasion of privacy.  Unless given consent, intimate moments especially, is between the people involved the intimate moment and no one else.  One such example is here with Tyler is because he asked his roommate to stay away until roughly midnight and obviously did not give his consent to be recorded by a webcam that was shared on the internet for everyone to see and comment.  To someone who beneath it all, wasn’t comfortable with himself and who knows what was affecting him like depression and for someone to post something like this is so tragic esp. when it gets to the point of suicide.  The roommate and the friend (whom he was visiting) should have criminal charges brought against them for at least manslaughter and invasion of privacy.  This case should lead into creating and making stricter laws against bullying, cyber bullying, and now “deadly bullying in which ever form.

I will briefly tough on the role of technology has on bullying.   On the kids end of the bullying subject, bullies with current technology (computers, cell phones, Ipods, etc.) can really have a huge surge on bullying.  For example, opposed to the old days where rumors were spread via the bathroom walls, gossip, passing notes, etc., you can do that plus, text/pic/vid message someone, post remarks and comments on social media sites, email, IM, etc. allowing for a more broad based digital version of bullying (cyberbullying) that may lead to commit suicide or go on a killing spree (Deadly bullying).  And since bullying can be seen by potentially everyone (including the victim), who knows how it will affect the victim.  Also, in a different spotlight the media news outlets just seems to be baffled on how technology plays a role in bullying.  To news outlets you would hear, lets say, “So-and-so commuted suicide (or went on a killing spree) because he/she/they were bullied from classmates.  Did the computer to blame?” (or something like that).  I would say, “NO,  the people who were teasing the kid and they are responsible.  The computer (or whatever technology), just enhanced the teasing to spread like wildfire and made it easier to pick on someone, but technology just enhances and magnifies the affects of bullying.”  And this is why internet activity through at least high school should be monitored (though not breathing down someone’s back at the same time).  And parents should be teaching their kids right from wrong and proper behavior that does not cultivate bullying and teasing each other.

As an additional final note, Lenore Skenazy who is in charge of running the popular movement Free Range Kids who feels that parents can raise kids to be strong and independant while not having to be a helicopter parents worrying about stranger danger around the clock.  She has a blog posting on the subject on “Deadly Bullying” that I found interesting and relevant to this blog post of mine.  Feel free to read and enjoy both of our postings.

Steve

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