The internet has done wonders in bringing to light the fact that there are socially responsible, kind, and considerate people who walk amongst us. So on Facebook my oldest sends me a link the the video on YouTube of the Fort Worth City Councilman - Joel Burns - "reaching out to GLBT teens with a personal story and a message of hope."
If you think his message is a gay only thing, then you have missed the point. Sure he can relate, and sure it addresses kids who may have been gay who committed suicide, but his plea was directed at the fact that no one - especially at the age of 13 - should not be offered the chance to see where life takes them.
Bullying for whatever reason is a terrible thing to be exposed to and endure. Trust me I know first hand on this. Lucky for me it stopped because I became bigger than the small-minded and stature grade school bullies. I did not realize the power of size until I was an adult. But I'm a gentle giant in personality, and a wussy when it comes fighting (it's a lack of self-efficacy in my fist-a-cuff abilities).
Now you couple that bullying with a kid who is starting to see himself differently than his peers, and is - through misguided and cruel adult comments - told his thinking is wrong, evil, a sin....and you can see how a gun or a rope or pills can loos like a pretty good option to stop the pain.
And this death will be for what reason? Well the bully acts in a way to cover up shortcomings in their life. They may be picked on at home, they may see this as a release for their angst, they may be troubled, and, in a lot of the "pick on the gay kid" situations, its because they themselves are struggling with thoughts and feelings that they have been told are bad - but they are having them anyway.
There was a great letter to the editor in the Oct 14 (or 13?) Austin American Statesman newspaper from an 87 year old WWII vet telling the story of his childhood friend who was gay but in the closet. I need to get a copy of it from the actual paper since the stupid Statesman web site does not have it. I'll write about it in another post. The take-away message was that being gay did not stop the guy from achieving great things for himself and his country and that the letter writer - having known the man - could see this and how little importance the "gay" part of his being played in the wholeness of the actual man. In other words, if you don't know any gay people you will never know how normal they really are.
Anyway, back to the video - or really back to some of the comments. As you would expect, there are a lot of negative ones to the video. My "favorite" is this one:
You kids best learn. Human beings have a pecking order...get used to it...it's called....Life!and....
Some humans love to attack as a pack..like wolves or wild dogs. I do think this bullying now is being blown out of porportion. Geeks , fags & fat kids have been here forever.All from a guy with that goes by the name of "DontStutterbitch."
What more can be said. The world is full of DontStutterbitchs - they lack the ability to show compassion and have a deep seated need to offend. But the world is also filled with Joel Burns. Our problem is that we don't have a deep seated need to offend and instead keep quiet letting the mind set of the bullies become the dominant model.
But DontStutterbitch is right, it is called life. But it's a life made by those who control it. We let people without compassion and with issues that require them to belittle or force their perverted ideology set the tone for the rest of us. We let them be the Alpha males. Not because they are genetically better in some evolutionary way, but because we don't choose to not stand up and fight back.