Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here we go again. . .!

Jamey Rodemeyer Suicide: Police Consider Criminal Bullying Charges

PHOTO: Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, was found dead outside his home of an apparent suicide.
Police have opened a criminal investigation in the suicide death of Buffalo, N.Y., 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied online with gay slurs for more than a year.
The teen's parents, friends and even Lady Gaga, who was his idol, have expressed outrage about what they say was relentless torment on social networking websites.
The Amherst Police Department's Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes. Police said three students in particular might have been involved. Jamey was a student at Heim Middle School.
Jamey had just started his freshman year at Williamsville North High School. (Both Amherst and Williamsville are just outside Buffalo.) But the bullying had begun during middle school, according to his parents. He had told family and friends that he had endured hateful comments in school and online, mostly related to his sexual orientation.
Jamey was found dead outside his home Sunday morning, but Amherst police would not release any details on how he killed himself.
"The special victims unit is looking into the circumstances prior to his death," Captain Michael Camilleri said. "We are not sure if there is anything criminal or not."
No bullying laws exist in New York State, according to Camilleri, so police would have to determine whether aggravated harassment charges fit this case. Whether suspects would be tried in juvenile court would depend on whether the alleged bully was 16 or older, he said.
Police said they had spoken with Williamsville School Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, who has pledged the district's cooperation.
"We've heard that there were some specific students, an identifiable group of students, that had specifically targeted Jamey, or had been picking on him for a period of time," Police Chief John C. Askey told the Buffalo News.
Jamey sent out many signals on social networking sites that he was struggling with his sexuality, even though he encouraged others on the It Gets Better project websiteYouTube to fight off the bullies.
He killed himself this weekend after posting an online farewell.
Lady Gaga weighed in on the situation via twitter: "Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime," she tweeted.
"I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey," the singer posted to twitter last night.
Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, was found dead outside... View Full Size
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Students had been posting hate comments with gay references on his Formspring account, a website that allows anonymous posts.
"JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND [sic] UGLY. HE MUST DIE!" one post said, according to local reports. Another read, "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"
Friends reported the bullying to guidance counselors. But everyone, including his mother, thought he had grown stronger.
His death coincides with a national summit this week sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., an effort to stem the toll of bullying school children.
Speaking at the second annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit were the parents of Justin Aaberg, a gay 15-year-old from Champlain, Minn., who hanged himself after being bullied. The parents, Tammy and Shawn Aaberg, said that one form of the bullying came from a student religious group whose members told Justin that he was going to hell because he was gay.
"Justin was a smiley, happy boy who loved to play his cello," said his parents. "School systems need to do more to protect LGBT students from bullying, and not turn their back on them because of their sexual orientation."
Rodemeyer's suicide also sets off a somber beginning to LGBT History Month in October.
"Jamey's suicide is a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of gay teens," said Malcolm Lazin, founder and executive director of the Equality Forum, which focuses on LGBT civil rights and education.
"They are bullied and marginalized," he said. "While some may say that Jamey took his life, it is unrelenting homophobia that murdered him."
Jamey's mother, Tracy Rodemeyer, who did not return calls from, told the Buffalo News that her son had been questioning his sexuality and had expressed thoughts of suicide, but had also been encouraged by good friends and was a "happy" and "strong" teen.
Friends described him as caring and friendly, and he had been seeking help from a social worker and therapist.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 28 percent of students aged 12 to 18 reported that they were bullied in school during the 2008-2009 school year. Bullying also slows down as children get older from a high of 39 percent of all sixth graders to 20 percent of high school seniors.
The most overwhelming form of bullying is done through ridicule, insult and rumors, rather than physical aggression, according to the report.
The rate of victimization among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students has remained constant between 1999 and 2009, the latest date for which there are statistics, according to the National Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
Parents and educators say they face significant challenges in stemming LGBT bullying, particularly at schools where there are fewer resources and support groups such as gay-straight alliances.
"We have seen some positive signs in available resources and supportive educators and society is moving in a good direction," GLSEN spokesman Daryl Presgraves said. "But it's still very difficult to be an LGBT youth in school."
In May, after coming out to friends, Jamey posted a YouTube video on the new online site, It Gets Better Project, which provides testimony from adults and celebrities to reassure troubled and potentially suicidal LGBT youth that life improves as they get older.
He wrote: "Love yourself and you're set. ... I promise you, it will get better."


jimm said...

Ive seen the headlines, but avoided reading the story until now. It's jus so heartbreaking...

Gary Kelly said...

Yes, here we go again. The more value we place on the approval of our peers and others, the more vulnerable we become to being hurt.

The fact is, some people are not gonna like us no matter what we do, so why give a shit?

People who don't approve of us, for whatever reason, are entitled to their opinion. But that's all it is... an opinion. If it amounts to more than a hill of beans, that's our fault for allowing it to.

The same can be said for compliments. Take them with a grain of salt. Don't over emphasize the importance of opinions, no matter whose they are.

Read those insults delivered to Jamie by cyber bullies and tell me they came from intelligent minds. Yeah, right. They came from sickos... intellectually challenged morons.

In his last online post, Jamie wrote: Love yourself and you're set... I promise you, it will get better.

Well, I think it takes more than loving yourself. In fact, I'm not even sure what loving yourself means. If Jamie had placed more emphasis on self-acceptance and less on the opinions of others, especially morons, he would have survived.

Bottom line? If an insult sounds like shit and smells like shit, it is shit. Flush it down the toilet or put it on your strawberries. Hehe.

JustinO'Shea said...

Gary. . .Jamey is only a 14 yo boy. Yiu can write as you do because you've lived long enough to live thru, work thru all the shit you've had to deal with.

Now, at 23, I can more or less deal with all the shit from the cretons. . and I have never been bullied for being gay. . . .

It is obvious that a 14yo cannot think and feel as you do, Gary, or as I do. . .given our different backgrounds. He hadn't yet had the time to live long enough. . .too bad he wasn't able to live long enough to see and experience the precious gift he is. . . .

Free speech. . .sure. .. but hate speech. . .those annonymous bastards who bully others. . . .well, I have said quite enough.


Gary Kelly said...

Okay, so Jamie was 14 but he lived in a more sophisticated and communicative world than I lived in when I was 14. I had absolutely no one to talk to. Underline, absolutely no one.

And don't talk about God. I looked in all the cupboards and under the bed and he wasn't anywhere to be seen. Besides, back then, I was convinced he was my greatest critic.

I figured out a long time ago all by my little lonesome that bullies are fulla shit. It's something that needs to be impressed on the minds of people like Jamie. There are other Jamies out there who need grumpy old farts like me to tell them to WAKE UP.

As you say, JustinO, bullies are cretins. It's a pity Jamie didn't know that.

gp said...

I wish someone would tell these kids they should drop out of school if the bullying and abuse becomes intolerable. Delaying an education is a far better alternative than suicide.

J said...

This is a huge tragedy. It makes you want to forget about the law and beat the brains out of the little bastards who did this to this kid.

JustinO'Shea said...

Society today is so bound up with "the LAW" and with groups who are going to after you if a kid skips school. . . parents who want to home-school their kids -- to protect them -- meet all kinds of obstacles, even to parents being accuse of "child abuse" and other "awful stuff" by advocacy groups. . the American Civil Liberties Union, depending on their take of a particular situation. . . laws based on the Wild West of yesteryear: "go out and git 'em". . "be a man. . stand up for your rights". . ."go beat the shit out of them". . . and on and on. . .

School board and principles, teachers who don't know what to do and are afraid of violent retaliation from "the gangs". . .the stuff we see on TV has basis in reality in the cities and "projects", etc. Most gay Kids do not have the benefits of living and growing up in The Dunes of Cape Cod, near a center like Provincetown with for-years-in-place town laws and ordinances which have been and are enforced to protect people . . .ALL people. . .from 'Hate Crimes' with a Town Council and Police dept hired and monitored by the TC who have gays on the Council which will not tolerate bullying, gay bashing.

Just take a good look at Jamey's face and tell me that child can and is going to beat up on anyone. . If we are real, honest, we ALL of us KNOW Jameys. . .People in and with authority must move in, take action before all this "freedom to kill attitude". . with that American attitude "I've got mine. . fuck the rest of you" just plain takes over on the roads, highways, city streets.. . so that now when we see someone steeping in, doing the "right thing" we are so pleased, relieved that we have to celebrate people for doing their duty and responsibiity.

Cheers and HURRAHS for Lady GaGA who is making a lot of noise about this and has the courage and the clout to take this right to the President.

The pathetic peoples who are elected to serve and in such situations as this are just wimping out and collecting unearned salaries and perks and destroying these United States. . . like billions of dollars to Pakistan to fight terrorism which is directed
against us. . .WAKE UP, peeps. . .listen to General Mullen and his facts and stop talking and CUT OFF the funds, pack up our young people and all the equipment and bring them home ASAP while we still have something to stand up for and protect in our own land. . . .

Yeah, somebody should tell these kids. . .well, BEGIN. . .YOU DO IT. . don't stand there with your pants down and wimp and whine about somebody ought to tell these kids. . GET OUT there and help the rest of us who are trying to save our society, our kids from the whackos hell bent on destruction. . .IF YOU won't do it, who is going to. . . .?

"IT GETS BETTER" programs are great. . . ..for those who read them. .listen to them .perhaps. . .but the problem is BULLIES don"t read. . .YOU HAVE TO DO IT. ;-)
Yepper. .. Y O U !
Justin O'Shea


Justin, Gary,
You both have very good thoughts on
Jamey. What do the parents of the
bullies think about what their kids do to each other?
Wouldn't the parents be of a blame for their actions? They learn the basis of their hate from someone!!! Of course their peers can be blamed in part for their moron behavior. But do they ever go to any church, or have ever been taught to Love One Another. Where will this hate ever end up, but more of the same. Thanks for your thoughts and sure like both of your views.

Anonymous said...

Well, Justin, small gains have been made but are in danger of reversal by an unforgiving and unaccepting movement. Our legislatures are deliberately trying to make gay-bashing OK--constitutional bans on gay marriage underscore that mindset.
Yep, these are not un-ralated attitudes.

JustinO'Shea said...

Thanks, as always, RAD JOE the Man..;-) for your kindly supportive comments.

And yes, ANON, we are in danger of reversals IF we let down our guard and if the Ignorantes can control in votes.
Santorum's remark last night in reply to a military man asking if he'd re-instate DADT. .Mr. S said having openly gay military is a bad distraction, detracting from protecting the country.

Hatred by insinuation, fostering bad attitudes by insinuation is going among the GOPs. . .listen to them. . .in their slip-sliding anti-gay stuff into their diatribes.

Some ones have got to instruct these fellows and lady.

Alastair said...

Sorry Gary, but I think you've missed the mark on this one. I don't know what age you are, but I'm 45 and life wasn't a bed of roses at 14. The occasional suicidal thought did actually cross my mind but I never had the courage to go through with it.

Of course I don't care about gay abuse now - not that I experience much, to be honest - but there's no way I could have dealt with it at 14. Being called a "poof" was the standard insult then but I can't imagine what it would have been like had anyone realised that they were right about me.

I don't believe that it's all that much better now. Yes Jamie could have turned to the internet - probably did, in fact - but to go through the sort of daily abuse he was going through is way beyond what we can expect of anyone of that age.

It's this sort of thing that makes me so furious when people in positions of authority (like, to give a totally random example, the Pope) get up on their hind legs in public and utter the sort of homophobic cr*p that Jamie's classmates were subjecting him to. How can we possibly expect kids to understand the potential harm they're doing when ministers, politicians, others who should know better are saying exactly the same sort of thing?

There's little point in putting the bullies in jail - even if they can figure out some law they've broken. What I'd like to do is find the kids who were posting things like "why don't you just die" and confront them with the reality of Jamie's death. This is a kid who'll never grow up, whose potential will never be realised. I'd like the bullies to have to remember at every juncture in life - this is something Jamie won't do. Jamie won't graduate from high school or university. He'll never meet a partner, never fall in love. Every time they pass a milestone, they should remember that Jamie won't.

Going to stop. The whole story is so heartbreaking. It's such a waste.

JustinO'Shea said...

Thanks, Alastair. . . .I "resonate". . .;-)

Gary Kelly said...

I take your point, Alastair. But I think you're expecting a bit much of the bullies. I doubt they'll ever feel guilty about their behavior. They'll rationalize it somehow and excuse themselves. That's what bullies do.

Alastair said...

Sadly, Gary, I fear you're correct. With all the "role models" around them spouting hatred against gays, there probably isn't much hope for the bullies.

BUT, a boy is dead. That's pretty serious - you have to be more zealously anti-gay than most to ignore that. Probably some of the bullies were just going along for fear of peer pressure. They're the ones where I would hope to see some remorse.

And there will be others who might be swayed by public homophobia and it won't do them any harm if the speeches at the end of the Middle School and High School where Jamie won't now be make reference to him. Perhaps they might think twice about the effects of what they say and do.

And maybe there'll be some gay kids who'll see the outpouring of support for Jamie and realise that, despite the bullying, it really DOES get better. Despite the viciousness of bishops and presidential candidates, there are many, many more who simply don't care if you're gay.

Of course, it would help if Congress could get ahead with removing discrimination from the legal code. They've made a start with DADT, but there's a way to go yet.