Pardon the rant...
A little over a week ago a 14 year old boy by the name of Jamey Rodemeyer commited suicide. The media as well as the non homophobe public sector went bannanas. The parents of the boy, Mr. & Mrs. Rodemeyer has been on a media blitz all week bringing rightful attention to the matter even bringing the likes of Lady Gaga into the matter with a message that Bullies should be held accountable.
My question is what the hell do all these people mean by being held "accountable"? Amherst police department is already treating this as a criminal case and same sex advocates are shouting for increased legislation on top of current cyber bullying laws.
I'm sorry that shit is ridiculous to me. Don't get me wrong, I hope in death Jamey finds the peace he never found in this life but in the end all; he's the only one responsible for taking his own life. Anybody who has ever been through some shit has probably thought about suicide, I've thought about suicide and a person can try to rationalize it any way they want but most of the time it's simply a self serving shortcut to avoid dealing with pain the rest of the population deals with. Everybody's situation is not always exactly the same but there is a pretty finite spectrum of shit to kill yourself over that assuredly someone else has gone through and managed to not off themselves.
There are occasional instances where people end their own lives in a selfless act. Maybe they're tossing another human being out of the way of traffic...bus, train, car. Maybe they are invalids that are checking out before they lose spirit and mind, knowing the debt their families will go into continuing to keep a lifeless body alive, there will always be a number of selfless suicides but suicides like Jamey's or Rutgers' Tyler Clementi. Those deaths were self serving ways to cope with great emotional pain. Whoever those bullies are, should be held accountable for the emotional pain they caused, NOT for anyone's death.
Those people who think "bullies" should be felons for making fun of sensitive kids need to put their prejudices aside and examine exactly what being a felon constitutes. That shit stays with you for life in most cases. The public is ready to brand and punish idiot and ignorant children as criminals because of their own guilt.
|Rutgers Tyler Clementi also took his life after being bullied by roommate|
Well, it's not as if Jamey never reached out. He posted blogs and videos of his experiences and feelings. Even if he didn't school officials should have noticed something. There are always signs and how those signs are dealt with can mean everything or they can mean nothing. Jamey's parents cared enough to go on this current media blitz to raise awareness of bullying and to campaign for "accountability" so I have little doubt that they were loving parents who did everything they could and have the best intentions at heart.
The trouble is, despite what they have done in the past to save their son from his fate and despite what they continue to do...some people can't be saved no matter what. Some people are so broken inside for whatever reason, that nothing anyone does or says will make them happy or give them peace. Sometimes, others will notice a change in behavior and think an individual who used to be happy is now sullen for whatever reason...bullies, girls, expired milk, but sometimes the only thing that has changed for that individual is that they are tired of wearing the "happy" mask. Holding anybody accountable for the death of a suicide victim other than the person who took their own life is wrong. No other person should have to live with that burden; not the parents not the friends, not even the ignorant bullying brats whose parents should also be paying closer attention.
Bullies are indeed assholes. As assholes, most of them will get what's coming to them. Not because of karma or some other bullshit. They'll get what's coming to them because their assholes. You see assholes do assholish things and sooner or later they'll do something assholish to either someone they can't intimidate or someone they've pushed too far.
Yes, we should let school administration punish bullies. Yes, we should raise awareness to spot and prevent possible suicides. Criminal prosecution though? Too far.
Think about it, even IF enough advocates and lobbyists got a national law passed to criminalize bullying and make it a felony then what? Is anyone really doing these kids a favor? Words hurt, they cause emotional scars but what part of life doesn't? If a child never learns to handle and deal with the taunts of other children, as adults how are these individuals going to react to losing a cherished job of 10 years? What happens when they walk in on the love of their life getting busy with their best friend? What happens when they have to tell their partner they've lost everything in the market or their home is being foreclosed?
Forcing the government to pass increasingly aggressive laws to govern our children will not help our children. If anything, taking that action is akin to suicide because it is an easy fix. Why should parents and teachers look for signs of bullying when we could just have the government possibly threaten the future livelihood and/or reputation of another insecure kid who succumbs to taunting a classmate because everyone else is?
All of this is very upsetting stuff but please have some common sense people. Assault is one thing, there are already clear assault laws that kids can be charged with. Being charged for making fun of someone is ridiculous, extreme and petty no matter what happened as a result. As those Bullies mature the weight of their actions will stay with them. They have to live with their actions. They more than likely get kicked out of school in extreme cases. Anything else is excessive and detrimental to all involved.
Teach these victims how to love themselves. Teach these victims there are other options outside of death. Listen to them...really listen. Teach them how to talk down an aggressive situation. Teach them how to walk away and teach them how to defend themselves.
Whatever route is chosen people should know that bullying can be managed but no matter what punishment or incentive is put forth it will not cease. There will always be malicious people in this world and it's impossible to avoid them all the time. Prosecution does nothing for this issue, prosecution doesn't even stop murder it will not end bullying at all. Does anyone even believe that some of these child bullies know the gravity prosecution would have on them? Do you think they are more worried prosecution for bullying or about fitting in at school with the cool kids?
Is the public forcing this bullying issue because it will actually help these kids or because it makes us feel better about ourselves?