Tyler Clementi — No new News is Not Good News


George Washington Bridge, Riverside Drive and ...
Image by New York Public Library via Flickr

As you all remember, Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student  who jumped from the George Washington Bridge on September 22 in an apparent suicide – after being videotaped by his roommate (Dharun Ravi) and having his and his date’s image streamlined on the internet, was the victim of a vicious hate crime and a lesser charge of invasion of privacy (by the New Jersey authorities).

     It would be nice to know that this issue has not cooled down and that matters are still being pursued to inflict a harsher charge than invasion of privacy on Dharun Ravi and his accomplice, Molly Wei, another Rutgers University student. 

     Although there have been celebrities cries on television about their bouts with bullying, their tears are no consolation for the many children and even adults who suffer at the hands and wits of bullies.  It should be understood that bullies grow from home and that the parents of bullies should be investigated.  If teachers were given more leeway to express their feelings of children’s lives instead of having them threatened with lawsuits because a judge would more than likely rule the case inadequate because a statement was not made by a family member, the school system would and could be a better place.  I would bet that if the school system was polled today and asked what the main problem is that bullies or abuse isn’t reported, overwhelmingly the answer would be, “Fear.”  If the teachers are fearful, why wouldn’t the teachers.  Many celebrities want to throw money into the training of bullying.  What would that actually look like?  How does one train someone on bullying?  When enacting this type of training, is the teacher‘s psychological background taken into consideration?  Just think, a teacher is in a training session on bullying and all of a sudden has a flashback of his or her own bullying episode.  That could be destructive in itself.

     When looking back at the cause of Tyler Clementi’s suicide, we know that Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei were both accomplices in the streamlining of the video showing Tyler with another man.  However, it was Dharun who actually setup the webcam for the videotaping to begin.  What’s disturbing about what Dharun Ravi did was the amount of passion he had for showing his roommate, Clementi, with another man – even saying, “…he’s gay.  Yay!..”  Then again, to know that Dharun, himself, was a dancer in high school – and the stigma usually placed on male dancers – can we ask if Dharun Ravi was gay?  Was he rejected in any way by Clementi?  Could that be the reason Ravi was so passionate about exposing his roommate?  Because of this amount of passion, and near heated situation, Dharun should be charged with Voluntary Manslaughter.  Wei, on the other hand, could and should be charged with Involuntary Manslaughter due to her active yet passive role in the setup of the videocam. 

     As No new News not being Good News, it is important to those of us who oppose hate crimes and bullying.  For the many young men and women who have lost their lives as a result of the constant torture of either one or many bullies at a time, a stand should be taken for them.  My heart goes out to the families who have had to deal with this pain – as there is possibly at least one family encountering that feeling everyday.  They just don’t get the media attention that they should.

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