Friday, October 1, 2010

It Must End Today

Seth Walsh, 13
Seth was found unconscious and not breathing on Sept. 19 after he apparently tried to hang himself from a tree in his backyard. 10 days later he was dead. His mother said he knew he was different. "He was a very loving boy, very kind. He had a beautiful smile. He liked fashion, his friends, talking on the phone. He was artistic and very bright." Police interviewed the children who had tormented Seth the day of his attempted suicide. None thought it would lead to this. They didn't know what their words could do to a person.

Billy Lucas, 15
The memorial pages for Billy Lucas will break your heart. Kids at school remember that people were always picking on him. Students said Billy had been bullied ever since he entered the Greensburg School District in the fourth grade. "He got a chair pulled out from him and was told to go hang himself," said student Bobby Quinlan. While by all accounts he identified straight, something about him made his classmates decide to start calling him f*g. Only a few weeks into the school year he couldn't take it anymore. He hung himself in the family barn and the world lost the chance to see what kind of a person he could have been.

Asher Brown, 13
Asher Brown's family say he was "bullied to death". His classmates picked on him for his religion, his clothes and his small size. Asher came out as gay. Boys would torment him, performing mock gay acts on him in his PE class. His parents begged the school for help but nothing was done. Even several weeks after his death, his school administrators have yet to make a public statement. Asher took his own life by shooting himself in the head. Asher's tormentors refuse to allow him to rest in peace. His memorial page on facebook has been vandalized with homophobic comments, further hurting his family and friends.

Tyler Clementi, 19
Tyler Clementi will be known to many as the young man who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after an intimate encounter with another man in his dorm room was streamed on the Internet. His last words, posted on Facebook about 10 minutes before he died, were brief and to the point: "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry." But his friends and family will remember him as a sweet, shy young man who was a good student, a true friend and an accomplished violinist. He played in the front row of the second violins in the symphony orchestra of his home town, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Diane Wade, a fellow violinist in the orchestra, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that "he was so incredibly talented – I could not believe how good he was for such a young boy".

Raymond Chase, 19
Raymond Chase is not just the 5th in a recent string of gay young people to take their own life. Raymond was a person who liked Harry Potter and Rugrats and was a member of the popular facebook group “I cant spell “bananas” without singing hollaback girl.” He was a young man with many friends who loved him for the amazing person he was. His facebook bio is short and simple: “I like to laugh, I like to have fun, and I’m gay.”

These children should have lived. They should have impacted the world in ways much less sorrowful than this. They had bright futures ahead of them. It is a tragedy that they believed their lives were not worth living. It is a tragedy that the words and actions of others led them into despair. I don't believe that the individuals who tormented them meant to inflict this level of harm. They are children themselves. It is up to us, the adults, to teach them. We need to have harsher punishment for bullying. We need to be aware of this interaction in our schools. We need to teach our children understanding and tolerance. We need to reward them for speaking up on behalf of others. We need to do SOMETHING to stop this. Five young men have died in the past 3 weeks because no adult put a stop to the bullying. This must end today.

If you are a young person struggling with suicidal thoughts, there is help. Tell your parents, your teachers, your youth ministers, your pastors, your friends, your aunts & uncles. Call one of the numbers below. Please believe that it does get better... and not some time in the distant future. We can stop this together, now. You are loved more than you can imagine. You are worth more than any material good you can think of. You have a future full of hope.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Hopeline: 1-800-SUICIDE
The Trevor Project: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR
or just call 911

1 comment:

Tickety-boo said...

I am so touched by your post. Thank goodness people like you take the time to make posts like this. x