College freshman commits suicide after sex tape posted on internet by roommate - Page 19 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-19-2012, 01:17 PM   #271
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The sentencing is scheduled for May 21. It is unlikely he'll get anywhere near the 10-year maximum. Chances are he'll also be deported after whatever sentence he serves, though that much is in Immigration's hands, not the judge's.

In the case of the first "viewing" incident (2 of the 4 hate crime charges), the jury did reject the prong of the argument positing antigay bias as the "basis" for Ravi's invasion of privacy--the "viewing" that time came about pretty spontaneously, and there was quite a lot else going on in terms of plausible motives (Ravi's expressed anger at being expected to leave on short notice; his being taken aback that Clementi's visitor turned out to be a "scruffy" older nonstudent who didn't seem to know Clementi well), so that pinpointing homophobia as the decisive factor in that incident seems problematic to me. But the second incident, most of the time I'm leaning towards agreement that Ravi's intentions there warranted hate crimes charges. Sure there were probably still other motives involved (like Ravi's desire to enhance his own social standing), but there's just no way, in a premeditated situation like that, that you wouldn't know damn well this kind of exposure will be far more humiliating towards a gay man than it would be towards a straight man, who might be furious at the invasion of privacy (more so if his partner is "atypical") but is unlikely either to see himself or to be seen by others as having been irredeemably socially undermined by the episode. And surely being aware of that is key to why you find the prospect of inviting your buddies to share the "view" so enticing, and surely that in turn has everything to do with holding it against your roommate that he's gay. You want to put on a show for your buddies, yes, but that doesn't change the fact that by nature the show's theme is the social humiliation of your f- roommate. That seems almost inescapable to me.

Maybe some kind of cyberbullying statute would've been more appropriate for these acts than the peeping tom + hate crime combo--in a way it is more reminiscent of bullying, the malicious capitalizing on someone's social vulnerabilities for your own gratification, than the straightforward expression of hostility towards an individual as embodiment of collective we normally associate with "hate crime." Still, I think all this "He's a jerk, not a bigot" may be missing the point. Hate crime convictions aren't based on broad-stroke character assessments; the history of expressed prejudices does matter, but ultimately the focus is the perpetrator's motivation for pursuing some specific, discrete criminal act.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:04 PM   #272
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I just watched a video of Kathy Griffin on Larry King. She said that all this gay bullying is tied to Prop 8 and Don't Ask Don't Tell, and that religious leaders and right-wing politicians have helped trickle down homophobia and intolerance.

LKL - Celebrities Speak Out On Gay Bullying - Pt. 1/4 - YouTube

Fast forward to 3:15.

I don't know. I have trouble making a direct connection between kids bullying and political/religious wrangling.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:25 PM   #273
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Why do you find it difficult to make that connection? You have politicians and politicking religious leaders that are blaming many of society's issues on homosexuals.
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:08 PM   #274
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Groups like the American Family Association, Family Research Council and Family Research Institute ARE bullies; they aren't just affirming some particular moral stance on sexual orientation, they actively slander and defame gay people by disseminating propaganda meant to frame them as a sinister threat to society. I wouldn't say they "cause" homophobic bullying in schools; that's been around much longer than they have, and for schoolyard (or dormitory) bullies, if [name of social group]'s stigma weren't there to exploit, it'd just be someone else. It was never the case that the majority of children actively persecuted peers seen to be gay. But in a time where that stigma is rapidly falling away, it's probably fair to say anyone who's actively working to preserve it is therefore actively contributing to the antigay persecution that remains. Of course we'll never actually put an end to people with a penchant for social aggression and sadism inflicting great pain on others, but we can address noted trends and the implications of that will inevitably be society-wide.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:08 PM   #275
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If our leaders are supporting groups that say homosexuality is a sin, gay people need to be "reformed", and state flat out that gay people should not be allowed to get married and try to actively pass laws to see to it that doesn't happen, and the leaders express those attitudes themselves, and voters support them, and those voters' kids see that, yeah, that sends a pretty strong message that this sort of attitude is being endorsed. It'll either teach kids that this sort of thinking is okay, or, if a kid is gay, it will make them scared to realize their parents are endorsing the thoughts of the leaders. Kids who are gay and see their parents voting for a Santorum, for instance, are likely going to have a REALLY uncomfortable time dealing with whatever issues they're going through properly.

Like stated, bullying will happen no matter what, unfortunately. But it should be as contained as possible into a few mean people here and there. It shouldn't be starting from the top down. How anyone thinks electing someone who is willing to support any sort of anti-gay rights measures (or any other sort of civil rights) will be good for our country is beyond me.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:24 PM   #276
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I think politicians are not directly the greatest influence of kids or teens, but a connection is probably there.
Also very sad: Liberia's president and Tony Blair discuss anti-gay law – video | World news | guardian.co.uk
Hate crimes don't exist in Germany, so I'm not familiar with that whole legal issue. I agree with what's been said, in any case it should be determined if the actions of a person were really targeted towards or caused by the victim being gay, black or what ever falls under the hate crime legislature, or whether the victim just happened to be one of these. Otherwise, it would lead to an adverse discrimination where a robber would get sentence x if he robs a gay person, but only sentence x-n if he robs a hetero, white male. That cannot be it.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:38 PM   #277
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This.

This was not an example of a kid who hated gays. This was an example of a kid who liked to talk about things that got him attention from his peers. Oh, look at my quiet, shy, gay roommate all of a sudden wanting the room to hook up with an older gay guy!

I honestly feel bad that he's going to jail for 10 years for a hate crime. That seems excessive for what happened. What he did was, essentially, place his social status above the privacy of someone else. Obviously he knew he did something wrong, but 10 years for a hate crime just does not feel right here, to me.

I'd be interested to know what was in the suicide note. Not necessarily the specifics, but the tone and the targets of his letter. It seems like this was sort of impulsive and took a lot of people by surprise, especially considering the fact that he had applied for a room change and his RA had been receptive to it.

I think I am going to read that New Yorker article again. It's incredible reporting and feels like it leaves almost nothing out.
I agree with all of this, and with what Anitram, Yolland and Irvine have mentioned. In particular, I agree with your paragraph regarding the suicide note. It's been a while since I read the original New Yorker article, but I remember getting to the end of it with the sense that he did not exemplify your typical bullied young gay man. He seemed to be relatively secure and have a decent support system, a good relationship with his family, he had taken steps to remove himself from the hostile situation with the roommate, etc. Further to that, didn't the article state that he seemed to be aware of what happened the first time (he noticed the webcam went on) and yet he seemed fine with having a second night of sex in the room? Not that the latter statement excuses anything, but he didn't seem particularly ashamed or concerned about hiding.

It interests me in a clinical sense, but it's still so sad, and with so many unanswered questions.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:44 PM   #278
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my sense is that it might have been the last straw. he had gone off to college hoping to be free and still he found himself bullied -- for lack of a better word -- by even his roommate. so he might have been all, "well, fuck it."

that's just speculation.

i'd say the majority of LGBT persons contemplate suicide at some point in their lives. it's difficult to describe how the elation of coming out can be so coupled with deep despair and a sense of utter worthlessness.

that final point i do blame on the various hate groups who seek to pass legislation stigmatizing gay people.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:51 AM   #279
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His support system didn't really sound that good to me--he texted his online contact "Sam" that "[M]om has basically completely rejected me" since coming out, and that "I would consider myself out...if only there was someone for me to come out to" at Rutgers; while "Sam" reassured him that "u got my cell # and u could call me or txt if u need someone," during "a conversation about loneliness," according to the New Yorker article. Granted, most freshmen at three weeks in have regular spells of anxiety about their social prospects, but at the very least none of that suggests strong basic confidence that everything will work out.

The apparent disjuncture between his imminent suicide and his seemingly undeterred pursuit of liaisons could probably be read multiple ways. It could have been a final doomed attempt to claim the hoped-for freedoms of a new life at college with his head held high. On the other hand maybe it could be interpreted as somewhat of a warning sign; sometimes suicidal people are drawn to courses of action they know are likely to shock or alienate people they can't (socially or emotionally) afford to shock or alienate, because on some level they actually want to paint themselves into a corner.

This case kind of hit close to home for me because I'm a Rutgers alum, and a good friend of mine there was a gay student who committed suicide our senior year. I don't think he had much in common as a personality with Tyler Clementi, and as far as I know he was never bullied at Rutgers. It seems like so much has changed since those days, and it has...but then I remember how commonplace attitudes like Ravi's still really are, and what it would feel like and might do to you, to always have to share part of your social space with people who perceive you (that is, LGBT people) like that. Even when they're more "polite" about it than Dharun Ravi.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:11 AM   #280
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His support system didn't really sound that good to me--he texted his online contact "Sam" that "[M]om has basically completely rejected me" since coming out, and that "I would consider myself out...if only there was someone for me to come out to" at Rutgers; while "Sam" reassured him that "u got my cell # and u could call me or txt if u need someone," during "a conversation about loneliness," according to the New Yorker article. Granted, most freshmen at three weeks in have regular spells of anxiety about their social prospects, but at the very least none of that suggests strong basic confidence that everything will work out.
Wow, was I ever off. I should have reread the article before posting. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:22 AM   #281
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I had heard the part about feeling that his mother had rejected him, it doesn't get worse than that. His brother is also gay so I don't know how that factored in-when he came out, etc. Obviously it wasn't just Ravi that drove him to suicide, it was several factors. But I still don't think Ravi would have done it if Tyler had been with a woman. Maybe the jury thought so too.

He's not going to get 10 years or anywhere near that. Might be just one year or much less than that.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #282
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Why do you find it difficult to make that connection? You have politicians and politicking religious leaders that are blaming many of society's issues on homosexuals.
I figured that a child wouldn't be impressionable enough to take this political rhetoric to heart, and to subsequently harass classmates based on sexual orientation.

When I was a kid, I never paid attention to the words of politicians and religious leaders. This is not because I didn't agree with what they were saying. It was because I was more interested in video games and Ninja Turtles, not politics or religion.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:38 PM   #283
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I don't know if most kids would pay attention to the politicians themselves, but I do definitely think they would hear their parents or others in their neighborhood/town echoing the thoughts of politicians they vote for. Wherever they hear anti-gay messages, they will eventually hear them, and if being anti-gay is something that's seen as okay, they can be influenced by that.

Add in the fact that some politicians' homophobic attitudes have led to schools being very touchy about the mere discussion of homosexuality in school because they're afraid they'll lose funding or whatever if they bring up anything even remotely seen as "offensive" by some, and that's going to have a big impact, too.

It does "trickle down", if you will.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:16 PM   #284
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I figured that a child wouldn't be impressionable enough to take this political rhetoric to heart, and to subsequently harass classmates based on sexual orientation.

When I was a kid, I never paid attention to the words of politicians and religious leaders. This is not because I didn't agree with what they were saying. It was because I was more interested in video games and Ninja Turtles, not politics or religion.
But it trickles down. The adults in their life hear this vitriol and then they represent it in a much more common language around the child without even thinking about the consequences.

Take for an example a conversation I heard this weekend at a one year old's birthday party. This party had people of all ages, races, economic and educational backgrounds. It was a very interesting group to say the least. A conversation about voting started and 30 minutes later it had morphed into a conversation about birth control, gay marriage and Muslims. It was a Tea Partiers wet dream. Amongst all the racism came several homophobic comments such as: "queers getting married", "that's what's wrong with society", "turn my kid gay", etc. Remember this did not stem from a religious conversation, this stemmed from a political conversation, and this was all within earshot of children from the age of 1 to the age of 12.

So you may have been interested in Ninja Turtles, but the adults in your life are having these conversations around you, so of course it's going to affect you.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:26 PM   #285
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Take for an example a conversation I heard this weekend at a one year old's birthday party. This party had people of all ages, races, economic and educational backgrounds. It was a very interesting group to say the least. A conversation about voting started and 30 minutes later it had morphed into a conversation about birth control, gay marriage and Muslims. It was a Tea Partiers wet dream. Amongst all the racism came several homophobic comments such as: "queers getting married", "that's what's wrong with society", "turn my kid gay", etc. Remember this did not stem from a religious conversation, this stemmed from a political conversation, and this was all within earshot of children from the age of 1 to the age of 12.
Nothing says "happy birthday" like throwing around gay slurs and racist comments! Good to see adults knowing how to behave in front of children-what wonderful lessons those kids are getting!

I'm really sorry you had to hear that. I'm sorry the children there had to hear that.
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