Friday, October 1, 2010
Tyler Clementi is dead. A young man just starting out his life jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. Tyler had learned that his roommate and his friend had secretly had been videotaping his room and released a video of him engaging in a sexual encounter with another young man. Clementi went to his RA and the only help he received was being told to call a gay hot line. Those are things that we know.
Gay rights advocates have jumped all over this as a case of gay bashing. Bullying experts has also jumped all over this case as well. We don't know if either of these are actually the case. There is so much we don't know.
Was this Tyler's first gay encounter? Did his parent's know he was gay? Was what Ravi and Wei doing really bullying? Did Tyler have issues with depression in the past? None of the people who are commenting on this story can say.
I think it is pretty safe to say that everyone one of us have gone through an experience while in college or high school that was completely humiliating that we at that moment thought we would never recover from. But if you are reading this, you obviously did recover. To take it to the level of jumping off a bridge that in almost all cases will result in the end of your life, is an extreme. We don't know why he decided to take it to that extreme.
Depression is a very serious illness that sometimes leads to death; not all of which are suicides either. In many cases depression leads to a myriad of other types of risky behavior that cause death; such as drunk driving. Was Tyler hiding his homosexuality from his parents or was he hiding his depression problems? We just don't know.
Was what put him over the edge was that no one at Rutgers seemed to be willing to help him? It would seem to me that Rutgers actions need to be looked at in this situation as well. This young man, only a month away from his parents home went to someone for help and was not given any that really addressed the problem. He was being spied on by someone he was being forced to live with. Why didn't the RA immediately not take action to find another living situation for this young man?
We as a society need to stop trying to find immediate and simple answers to very complex problems and issues. We have no absolute knowledge of what Ravi was trying to accomplish with his tweet and video. Are those two kids homophobic or are do they just have a bizarre sense of humor? Again we don't know. There are many things that are pretty clear cut when he hear about them. This is a case when it is not. By everyone jumping to conclusions that the evidence has yet to be able to support we are doing exactly what all three of these kids have done. Tyler felt his life was over, when it would have gone on, Ravi and Wei never bothered to think about anyone but their own enjoyment when invading that boy's privacy. A selfish act if there ever was one and look at how well that turned out.
The only things that I think all can agree upon is the fact that two 18 year old kids will now have to live with what they have done for the rest of their lives. A family will now have to deal with the lost of a child. Something that will not be easy for any of them.