The sad account of Tyler Clementi's short time at Rutgers exposes a deficit that feels like a missed opportunity: direct conversation. To me there seemed to be an alarming lack of simple human interaction around him in his final days.
It was about mocking Tyler for being gay. That is bias, and it's part of the hate we all grow up with in a society that hates gays. The crime Ravi committed should not be punished severely or with deportation, but any way you slice it, it was motivated by that bias we all share.
No jury that thought long and hard about the case could have returned with any other verdict. It is not the jury's job to think about sentencing or punishment. It is it's job to follow the law.
With the jury's guilty verdict in the so-called Rutgers University webcam spying case, Ravi, it appears, has been turned into the proverbial sacrificial lamb for society's collective guilt about its own bias intimidation against homosexuals.
Maybe it helps to make sense of Clementi's death by creating a narrative, a cause and effect. Maybe it helps to make sense of Clementi's death by fabricating a villian. But incarcerating and/or deporting Ravi only compounds this tragedy.
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.
Suicide and rape are issues that should no longer be kept at a safe distance. As a culture, we have no choice but to face our demons, and victims of prejudice and abuse can no longer carry the burden alone.
It wasn't inspiration that got me off that bridge but a person who saw a boy in a perilous place. Fewer kids will die when it's not just their parents or their gay and lesbian peers but our entire society that is keeping an eye out on their well-being.
In order to truly address the bullying problem, we must accept that the central reason why bullying continues to be so prevalent among our youth is because of the ineffective attempts to combat the problem by adults.
Bullying, in many forms, may always exist. But much of the bullying that takes place today is trickling down from a culture and a media that gives credence to the hateful rhetoric that clogs our streets and airwaves.