The Answer is Blowing in the Wind
“How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows that too many people have died?” –(Bob Dylan Blowin’ in the Wind).
If not going to lie, the first version of this was angry; it was profane. Then I remembered something my mother told me—that regardless of all my passion, I would have trouble persuading anyone if I couldn’t control my mouth or my temper. So here goes my second effort:
Indeed—how many deaths America? Within a month or so we were at seven. Seven; and that is just in one specific demographic. Seven gay young men committed suicide due to bullying and adversity, either in their homes or at schools. Seven. They are more than a number. They were young and full of potential. Their names: Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Billy Lucas and Cody J. Barker. As of just recently make it eight.
Seven. Count them. Better yet, take a look at their pictures. Take a moment. Look them up. Imagine who they were, who they could have been, what great change they may have effected on this world. We will never know.
What is wrong with us? How long will we let this continue? It is the same story time and time again. A young person faces adversity and bullying at the most vulnerable time period in their life and tragedy results. It seems superficial to merely chalk this up to being part of growing up. I just did. I went through a large public school system in Texas, and I can say I never experienced anything to such a magnitude. Were there times of strife—yes, there always will be. Yet, there is an ethical and moral line which parents and educators cannot be let crossed.
How fallacious that in the land of the free we have people committing suicide because they have been so persecuted. How pathetic that in the home of the brave no one seems to have the audacity or fortitude to stand up against the evils of our times. You want to measure morality—forget church attendance, levels of community service, voting statistics. Look at how the meekest and most vulnerable members of this society are let to slip right through the cracks.
Parenting issues are not just an inner city problem, they are not a minority problem—Cypress after all is a mainly Caucasian and relatively affluent suburb. Demand respect. Demand tolerance. Demand acceptance. Lead by example, and give it yourself.
I don’t want to hear boys will be boys. I don’t want to hear they’re just kids. As sentient and intelligent beings we are fully cognizant of what we are doing from about the age of twelve. By age sixteen or so we begin to form our own perceptions and biases, our own political and social stances. Are these still markedly influenced by our upbringing—yes, but they are no longer identical to those of our parents. The point being herein that from the age of twelve of thirteen we may be held fully responsible for the outcomes of our actions; no matter how extreme they are, and whether they were intended or not.
Mind you, the blame is not just to be placed on parents. Our youth spend an average of eight hours a day at school. Factor in that the majority of them sleep around eight hours a night—at least until high school or late middle school—and the students spend more time at school than they do with their parents. Therefore, the blame lies equally if not more so on our educators. Their jobs are twofold—to educate yes, but also to protect. You cannot possibly teach or learn in a hostile environment. You cannot feign ignorance. If this part pisses off an educator tell me I’m wrong. Prove it to me. Most teachers at my high school knew just as much of the goings on and the gossip as the students.
Furthermore, your religious views be what they may, I’m willing to bet that within that same book wherein you base your objections to a community, you are commanded to love. P.S: If you don’t believe me I believe its in red—something tells me, and I may be rusty, that that means it is important. You can’t love someone and let them die. You can’t feasibly sit there while their spirit fades to waste. You have passively killed these boys. You may as well have chocked them to death. It may have been less detrimental for them that way with respect to their psyche you did far more harm than any one of their direct antagonists.
All this talk of returning to American values is a farce. It’s disgusting. People came here to evade persecution, not have it handed to them on a silver platter. To be American is to fight for civil liberties, to fight for freedom, and to eradicate oppression. Apparently we can’t seem to do that. We’ve institutionalized oppression better than we did one hundred and fifty years ago. It’s okay for people to die because they’re different, or due to some lifestyle choice of their own. Being immoral—read different—is their damnation.
I would like to point out that we’ve heard this line of argument and reasoning before. It was before my birth actually. The year was 1983, AIDS was just recognized as an epidemic, and furthermore a pandemic. I guarantee you this, the victims of this disease turned out to be more than just drug users and homosexuals. It is a valid deduction to say that once again this will be the case. Twenty-five years have passed and nothing has changed.
A guilty verdict has been issued time and time again. The most recent verdict came from the U.S. Senate. Most juries however, include the victim’s family, their friends, their schoolteachers, and their antagonists. You, more often than not, are the foreman. You read it out. You don’t blink. You look the judge right in the eye. Without hesitation, you tell a child to go and die. Now go home and sit down to your Donna Reed family dinner. Close the blinds; you don’t want to see the epidemic going on outside.