THE BLOG

What Is The Bullies Message?

10/07/2010 09:24 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The recent spate of bullying-induced suicides - below are the names

Asher Brown, 13, Cypress, Texas
Seth Walsh, 13, Tehachapi, California
Justin Aaberg, 15, Anoka, Minnesota
Billy Lucas, 15, Greensburg, Indiana
Tyler Clementi, 18, Ridgewood, New Jersey
Raymond Chase, 19, Monticello, New York
Cody Barker, 17, Wisconsin

have fuelled a much-needed dialogue. There isn't a paper, radio or news channel, not talking bout this. I even received a petition signing request from care2action.
There is a Facebook page about the glow vigil that was organized in Washington Square Park last Sunday, October 3, at 9 PM.

I cannot say that I know what it is like to be bullied, I have never experienced it. No, not in a traditional sense. But when Andrew died, eleven months ago tomorrow, his suicide was in all the papers and all over the net.
Looking for my son I went into cyberspace.
As though searching for a clue I read everything I could find, even the comments.

Well! At the time I was hopping mad, I was spitting blood.
The following comments about my son's death, were made by clearly challenged individuals.
While reading them I could see the smirk on their faces, hear the malevolent laugh in their ignorant voices, and the dribbling glee at the sight of their dead, easy target
Protected by the anonymity of their usernames as though by an invisibilty cloak, vomiting and spitting their venom, they reminded me of the Mafia's sicarios - another word for bullies - setting corpses in their coffins on fire. The only difference in the case of Mafia bullying is that what they do is meant to send a "signal," but what signal is Michigan's Assistant Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell, sending? Or what are the typical school bullies trying to say? I think it is important to understand what message is embedded in bullying.
Only then, will we be able to respond constructively.

The comments below bad though they are, they are by no means the most offensive that were out there in the days and weeks following Andrew's death.

"over-privileged, spoiled and weak. Darwin doesn't only favor the smart, but also the tough. This one was smart but not tough. Most kids today are neither. The moral of the story? Grow a skin."

"how is it "not easy" to get over the wall, when all u need to do is be tall or maybe get a boost lol?? They make it like he climbed 30 feet to jump. It seems like that wall is 6 feet high. So either make a wall higher, or dont make it like the guy climbed Mount Rushmore. He took his life for no reason. ANd if he really was just stuck up a few weeks ago, he should have appreciated still being alive....and being in a good school."

"Suicide is never the answer for anything. It's selfish and hurts everyone around you more than you could know."

"NYU TUITION is over $50,000 a year and imagine the extra expenses living in NYCity.
Enough to make you wanna die..."

"True, but what is more sad is how with the over-medicating, the parents played a role in helping the child access those drugs." Andrew has never been any kind of medications or drugs - Medical examiner can confirm this

"He looks so gaunt, otherwise seems he would be handsome with a little more weight."

"NYU is "NY Zoo."

"With that oversize bowtie maybe he glided all the way down, hehe"

"Looks like another trust-fund weenie to me."

"what a f'in idiot!"

"Not sure what it is, but the people that go to NYU tend to be some of the most Arrogant Pricks you will ever come across.....Just an observation from someone who's been around this town for a while"

"All these kids have been coddled by their families way into adulthood. Mommie and Daddy tell them how wonderful they are each and every day of their lives. So when adversity hits, they crumble."

"So there's something to the "School of Hard Knocks" after all. If nothing else, it prepares you for the dog eat dog of the real world."

"That's why they cannot cut in on their own."

From my perspective, we need to understand and respond, not react. And one very important thing we need to understand is that, whatever the trigger, suicide is suicide.

Awareness, understanding, genuine dialogue and community love, might be a good route to follow

Esmeralda Williamson-Noble
Founder
Get Your Wellness On
www.foreverinvictus.com