A look at several cases of recent teen suicides and their striking similarities. How society, politicians and media might be contributing to the prevalence of bullying.
cross-posted from PoliTeching blog.
I was shocked to read that there have been five teen suicides recently in U.S. Three of which occur within a week. Two of the reported suicide victims were only 13 year old.
Asher Brown, a 13 year old eighth grader at a Hamilton Middle School in Harris Texas shot himself after being bullied. The eyewitnesses said that the day before Asher Brown committed suicide he was severely insulted by his classmates. The law enforcement officials said that Asher Brown used his stepfather’s 9 mm Beretta to shoot himself. His mother said that she was outside for some work and when she returned home she found yellow tapes and police cars in front of her home. (story link)
Seth Walsh, 13 year old boy from Central California hang himself after suffering relentless bullying. He hanged himself from a tree in the backyard of his parents Tehachapi home on September 19th. (story link)
Billy Lucas a 15 year old student of Greensburg High School in Indiana hung himself after being bullied repeatedly. His mother found him hanging in their barn. (story link from Sept. 14)
Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old cellist hanged himself and was found in his room by his mother, Tammy, in July. (story link), (haunting youtube tribute), (Youtube Music Video slideshow from Friends)
And the latest that’s capturing front page of U.S. news is Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old Rutgers who jumped off the bridge after being cyber-bullied. (story link 1, story link 2)
In all cases, their bullies know or suspected that they are gay. School did nothing or have a stay neutral policy when it comes to gay and lesbian bullying. And where do you think their bullies, mostly in their early teens, learned to hate other kids like that. Most likely from their parents constantly spewing hatred against people because of their race or sexual orientation. Hate is no longer a problem about racism alone but now encompasses other phobias, bigotry and intolerance. With politicans like John McCain and his party constantly bashing people and using politics of divisiveness to tap into the inner bigotry of some of the Americans, it is no surprise that there’s epidemic of harassment, assault and bullying not only from adult sitting in news desk and in front of Fox’s news radio, but also down to the kids of those bigoted parents. Or in some cases they have adopted the prevalent intolerance in their communities sometimes perpetuated by ignorant radical religious fundamentalist. I believe in God but I have little respect for people who call themselves religious but continue to propagate hatreds.
Is it a coincidence that so many suicides occurred in span of few weeks? Certainly not. It is a symptom of the failings of the American society. I hope they did not die in vain. May they rest in peace.
Justin Aaberg’s friends created music video that are very touching. One was a video of Justin with the music he composed playing in the background, showing what a talented cello player and music composer he was. Another music video was slideshow of Justin pics in happier days with The Band Perry song – If I die young playing in the background (links provided above Justin pic). Both videos might be emotional to watch but it gives us a glimpse of the precious life that was lost. They are certainly not just a number in statistics.
Also thought this song may be appropriate for people suffering like the above kids were. Don't Give Up - Sang by Willie Nelson and Sinead O'Connor.