Just yesterday, a New Jersey jury found the spying by Dharun Ravi of Tyler Clementi a hate crime. Many feel this will be a message to youth about how ...
What a sad tragedy when hate blackens love and destroys young lives. What a horrible act it is to have one's love and affection for another used to ostracize and expel a young man from an academic community engineered to expand and promote diversity.
Instead of having Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi as contributing members of our society, Tyler is dead, and Ravi is likely headed to prison for years, or deported to India. And for what? Surely not a discussion of bias crimes, anti-bullying laws, and gay panic defense.
Had Clementi not committed suicide or had the case not been given so much attention, Ravi probably never would have faced a jury. The prosecutors had no choice but to push the harshest possible charges.
The other key to proving this crime is how the victim felt and whether he indeed was intimidated. Yet because Clementi is not here today to answer questions or be cross-examined, nearly every example of how he felt has been barred by the judge as hearsay.
Rallying to punish Dharun Ravi does not do justice to Tyler Clementi's life, nor does it move us one step closer to preventing another young person from turning to suicide. The politics of blame are a dead end. Instead, we need to build out an ethos of shared responsibility.
To combat bullying, we need to stop the cycle of violence. We need to take the high road; we must refrain from acting like a mob, in Clementi's name or otherwise.
Has anyone yet reported on the life Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi lived together? What kinds of cultural experiences was Ravi encountering that might have complicated his own decisions? What about his Asian-American accomplice Molly Wei?
Ravi and Wei didn't just want to harass and bully Clementi. That they could have done any time, in person, in private. They were not even trying to out him. It's just life in the online world where everything is fair game and privacy is just a Facebook option.