Thursday, September 30, 2010

The carefully orchestrated environment of hatred and intolerance claims another victim

[keninny - who is one of the main writers at Down with Tyranny! - posted the most poignant tribute I've yet read to young musician, Tyler Clementi, who recently took his own life, after being photographed while having sex, by two fellow students at Rutgers University. ken has permitted me to post his entire article.]

--- by ken

In the national condition of cretin-based militia-like rage, we've known for some time that there were going to be real, live victims, or maybe not-so-live victims.

Concerned parents and activists all over the country have been trying for years now to focus attention on the apparently worsening problem of bullying in the schools, and there have been sporadic gains reported in some localities in establishing legal inhibitions, though even more sporadic reports of meaningful enforcement of either new or old laws. It's hardly surprising that in the climate of hatred and intolerance fomented by our noisiest and most irresponsible sociopaths, doing their best to make verbal assaults on anyone who is different in any way from their diseased version of rigid social orthodoxy -- aided and abetted by the corporate interests use the sociopaths to create an atmosphere of terror and blind obedience which they deem beneficial to those interests -- we've been hearing more and more frequent accounts of both violence inflicted on victims of bullying and, utterly intolerably, of suicides and suicide attempts by those victims.

A week ago today, a freshman at Rutgers University (New Jersey's most prestigious state university), jumped off the George Washington Bridge, which joins the states of New Jersey and New York. Today, it was reported by law-enforcement officials and a lawyer for the family of the student, Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood, NJ, that, as reported by The Record's Evonne Coutros, Nick Clunn, and Stephanie Akin, he "did so after he was secretly recorded having a sexual encounter in his Rutgers University dorm room that was broadcast live on the Internet."

The New York City Police Department said a body has been found at the Broadway Bridge, which spans Manhattan and the Bronx just east of the confluence of the Manhattan and Hudson rivers. The bridge is located about two miles north of the George Washington Bridge.

Police have yet to identify the body.

At least two people spotted a man believed to be Tyler Clementi standing on the south walk of the bridge near the New York side at 8:50 p.m. last Wednesday, authorities said.

When police responded to the walk, the man was gone, but they found a wallet belonging Clementi, authorities said.

"He was quiet,” said Johanna Nahrwold of Bayonne who lives in Clementi’s dormitory. “He kept to himself. And on campus everyone is just shocked. Nobody really knew him or spoke to him. Nothing."

Two Rutgers University students have been charged with illegally taping Clementi having sex and posting the images on the Internet.

Rutgers police have charged Dharun Ravi of Plainsboro and Molly W. Wei of Princeton with two counts each of invasion of privacy for using the camera to view and transmit a live image of an 18-year-old student on Sept. 19, the Middlesex County prosecutor and Rutgers police said.

Ravi, Clementi’s roommate, faces two additional counts for attempting to view and transmit another encounter involving the same student on Sept. 21, authorities said. . . .

Diane Wade, a violinist who sat beside Clementi in the Ridgewood Symphony, which he joined as a second violinist but was quickly promoted to the firsts (the orchestra's second-violin principal, Rob Rubin, "said he quickly realized that Clementi was one of the most talented violinists in the orchestra"), told The Record:

He was so incredibly talented -– I could not believe how good he was for such a young boy. Such a nice kid all the way around. . . . As a parent, he was the way you want your kids to be -– polite, courteous, serious about the work he was doing and a hard worker.

A statement issued by Steven Goldstein, chair of the New Jersey LGBT activist organization Garden State Equality, said in part (emphasis added):

There are no words sufficient to express our range of feelings today. We are outraged at the perpetrators. We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind. And we are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others' lives as a sport. As this case makes its way through the legal system, we can only hope the alleged perpetrators receive the maximum possible sentence.

That the victim's roommate was also a freshman, just months out of high school, demonstrates once again that our high schools are not doing enough to educate their students that harassment, intimidation and bullying of other students is unacceptable in every instance. It is grotesque to think that people such as these alleged perpetrators went onto college without, apparently, ever having been taught basic life lessons of decency -- and that they made their way through the educational system before allegedly committing this unconscionable act.

Garden State Equality is currently working on a new anti-school bullying bill that if enacted, would be the nation's strongest such law. It would follow the three anti-bullying laws the state has enacted since 2002, all of which include bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. . . .

We are sickened.

The highlighted paragraph seems to me to deserve sustained attention. We have networks of "opinion leaders" in this country, many of them princelings of the national plague of Crap Christianity, who profess to espouse "family values." They need to be exposed for what they really are: hate-mongering charlatans and liars and, yes, murderers.


Anonymous said...

This is just so sad.


Anonymous said...

Having had a family member killed because he was a Alaska Native, I hope the family will be able to grieve. I can tell you the reason for a death being soooo unnessary will make the grieving process extremely difficult.

I heart the family members of this talented young man. May they have the strength and guts to get thru the anger part of the grieving process.

I sooo hope the family finds a good soul, like my family did, to help get past the anger. Decades later the anger can and will still well up like a evil wind. It is important to learn to check that anger into a postive force instead of a destructive force.

Look I know the guy with the camera didn't make the push off the bridge, but the camera guy is at some point responsible for disgusting behavior.

I pray for this talented young man's family. It is going to be a long rough road. I pray that this family will learn to love and appreciate they had such a wonderful human grace thier presence.


Now about the stupid idiot who thought it was okay to invade a humans private life: may someone pull your fingernails off and pour rubbing ahcohol on them.

jamie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jamie said...

Just yesterday I finally got around to watching Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" clip on YouTube which is in response to these events, and it is simply an incredible and powerful message (for everyone) on how to deal with this.
Poignant, honest and very moving: highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

This was at IM after your comment.
Links work at IM.

Anonymous said...

Philip Munger asks:

"And what's this thing with students or ex-students at Rutgers (O'Keefe attended that college) getting into kinky film projects that end badly. Google "Tyler Clementi" for an example of how O'Keefe's next sick project might end up."

This is no accident, or coincidence. This is actually a long term media effort by rightwingers.

Prior to viewing the CNN program on these young folks one needs to do a little research to be informed.

About the Rutgers Centurion
Wikipedia has

"The Rutgers Centurion is a conservative magazine focused on Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Its motto is "veritas vos liberabit," which is Latin for "the truth shall set you free." ...

"The Centurion was founded in September 2004 by James O'Keefe,[2] a junior philosophy major, after he was fired from the Daily Targum."

" In one video the editors of The Centurion attempted to ban Lucky Charms from Brower Dining Hall on the grounds the breakfast cereal was "offensive" to Irish-Americans.[3]"

"The Centurion is a member of the Collegiate Network."

The Collegiate Network has been covered by RightWingWatch and others.

RightWingWatch states

"The Collegiate Network was established in 1979 to provide financial and technical assistance to right-wing student newspapers on college campuses. It is heavily funded by right-wing foundations and claims its newspapers have a combined distribution of more than two million each year."

"The Collegiate Network has received, from the years 1995-2003, $4,615,000 in grants from conservative foundations such as the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Kirby Foundation, Carthage Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation, among others.

TPMMuckraker has the details of how three of the four involved in the Senator Landrieu phone tampering incident were involved with this Collegiate Network.

"Three of the four young men charged in the alleged phone tampering attempt at Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office Monday were involved in the well-funded, opportunity-rich world of conservative campus journalism in recent years, a link that provides potential clues about how the men knew each other and why they came to hatch the alleged plot.

James O'Keefe, Joseph Basel, and Stan Dai each founded or led the alternative conservative newspapers on their respective college campuses."

Click through the links, there is much more to be found at each.

11:28 AM

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 11:28 - Thanks!