College freshman commits suicide after sex tape posted on internet by roommate - Page 14 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-17-2012, 11:49 AM   #261
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Wow, what a bonehead this guy was for not taking that extremely generous plea deal. Such arrogance.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:22 PM   #262
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I must be the only one disturbed by this conviction, particularly the hate crime aspect of it. I think this kid is an entitled asshole, not really a bigot.
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #263
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I have mixed feelings about some aspects of the 4 hate crime (bias intimidation) convictions. I find it very troubling that New Jersey's hate crimes law permits convictions based merely on establishing that the victim "reasonably" perceived the perpetrator to have targeted him/her based on bias, as opposed to convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that bias was indeed the basis for the perpetrator's actions. That seems unconstitutional to me, and plays into one of my deepest reservations about hate crimes laws (which I generally support): do we risk creating the very situation these laws mean to address--the broader community tensions resulting from these kinds of crimes--by giving members of protected groups a reason to feel they're "owed" a hate crimes conviction simply because they perceive a crime to be an intentional attack on their protected status? And that "reasonable perception" criterion was the basis for 2 of the 4 hate crimes charges against Ravi. (In all 4 cases, the jury rejected the prosecution's argument that "M.B." was also targeted.) The other 2 charges, which pertained to the second incident (the planned "viewing party" that never happened), were based both on what Clementi might "reasonably" have perceived and on the jury's finding that Ravi's actions really were based on antigay bias on that occasion.

I think Ravi's family's vehement rejection of the plea deal was foolish, and that his lawyer should've pressed the matter harder with them (the lawyer's own statements suggested he didn't press much once he saw how opposed they were), but I don't know whether it was necessarily "arrogance." Based on the evidence presented at trial, I think it's likely Dharun Ravi viewed his own mindset during that second incident as a poor judgment call to enhance his own rep by (attempting and/or intending to) make a titillating spectacle of his roommate for his buddies, rather than a conscious "I'm gonna get back at you for being a f- by showing the world what a f- you are"--the latter being much closer to how we tend to assume a "hate crime" perpetrator must think. But of course you could counter there isn't much meaningful difference between the two.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #264
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considering a friend-of-a-friend was just bashed (called him "faggot," shattered his jaw) in a legit hate crime on the streets of DC just a few days ago, i have a tough time putting Ravi in that same category. he seems like a jerk, motivated by Tyler's sexual orientation (but it well could have been anything else, like being "poor," which Ravi also didn't like, there's an utterly indispensable New Yorker article here), but it seems to degrade the idea of a hate crime by calling things like this evidence of hate/bias.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:51 PM   #265
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^ Yeah that New Yorker article was excellent; I've followed this case pretty closely, and it's hands-down the best article I've seen on it.
Quote:
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I think this kid is an entitled asshole, not really a bigot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
it seems to degrade the idea of a hate crime by calling things like this evidence of hate/bias.
So is that an inevitable problem inherent in the nature of hate crimes legislation? or a problem of hate crime charges not being limited to certain crime types when they perhaps should be? or a problem of jurors not understanding (they needed quite a bit of advising from the judge here) what exactly it means to say a crime was "based on" bias? or just that NJ's statute is lousily written (the judge himself said as much)? or something else?
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:10 PM   #266
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Problem with hate crimes in general. They are a slippery ilk.

My guess is that Ravi may have done the same thing if Tyler had been hooking up (note: there was no actual sex) with, say, a 40-year old 300lb woman.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:36 PM   #267
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I suspect you may be right about that, Irvine.

Something that struck me from that New Yorker article was the mention of this as Ravi's password:

Quote:
“DHARUNISAWESOME”
That probably says a whole lot about the guy right there. Cori mentioned his arrogance in not taking that plea deal (and indeed, he's an idiot for not going with it), and I think things like that are further proof of just how cocky this guy apparently is/was.

Quote:
(In witness statements taken for the Clementi case, nobody has recalled Ravi being contemptuous of gay people.) If this helps protect him from the charge of extreme prejudice, he might still be accused of lacking empathy: there’s no sign that he was inhibited by the fear that he might cause his roommate embarrassment, or annoyance, by discussing him on Facebook and Twitter.
Exactly. And it seems to me he's more the type who doesn't come out and say such nasty things to the people he's having problems with, rather, he sneaks around behind their back saying them instead. Which would explain witnesses not being able to recall any instances of him being mean towards gay people-not in public, face-to-face conversation, perhaps, he wasn't. To say nothing of the strange obsession Ravi seemed to have with Clementi-that's an awful lot of investigating and talking he was doing there in regards to the guy. It sounds like they hardly ever had any sort of interaction with each other, so I don't get why Ravi made such a big deal about him. And the "class status" stuff is just oh so charming .

The discussion outlined between him and those friends of his online truly makes me ill. They're all complete and total jerks (and that's a polite description, quite frankly). It's like I said at the very start of this article-everyone involved in this mess seriously really needed to find something MUCH more worthwhile to do with the free time they had. And I don't think they get at all just how horrible their attitudes came across, to Clementi or anyone else with a sense of decency. There's joking, and then there's just being obnoxious and rude for no reason at all.

Hopefully, with Ravi's time ahead of him in jail, he'll start reflecting deeply on that.

Also, Formspring sounds like a fountain of intelligence and reasonable conversation! Seriously, I just will never understand how some people can be so callous and cruel.

I felt like crying by the end of that New Yorker article. Fascinating, disturbing, and very powerful. Everyone really should read it.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:09 AM   #268
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After reading what yolland and Irvine had to say about the hate crime aspect, I'd back down from the "arrogant" comment. Maybe the family/attorneys felt that while he'd fucked up, the jury wouldn't agree that it was a hate crime.

"Entitled asshole" sums it up nicely enough.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:50 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
Problem with hate crimes in general. They are a slippery ilk.

My guess is that Ravi may have done the same thing if Tyler had been hooking up (note: there was no actual sex) with, say, a 40-year old 300lb woman.
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.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:07 AM   #270
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Sounds like Ravi will only serve 6-12 months, not 10 years.
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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.



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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