Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tyler Clementi Suicide and Murder Charges Controversy

Tyler Clementi’s suicide shocked and devastated the world. Clementi was an otherwise unheard of gay Rutger’s student, whose roommates did the unthinkable. They planted a camera in the bedroom, and then streamed the video online. The video showed Tyler Clementi with another male.

The young man was ridiculed, and eventually he jumped off the George Washington bridge. There are so many people in many industries –the entertainment industry to say the least – that are devastated by this loss.

What the roommates did was invade his privacy, and they’ve been charged accordingly. However, many are calling for the roommates to face murder charges.

Now, as wicked as these kids were to this young man, I highly doubt that they wanted him to go and jump off the bridge. That being said, they still contributed to his death by their actions. Had they left him alone, it’s arguable that he’d still be alive.

What they did is no different from a drunk person choosing to drive a vehicle. They took a chance – a chance that ended in someone losing their life. While the risk wasn’t with the intent of death, that’s the way it happened and there should be consequences – manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter – something.

What do you think of Tyler Clementi’s suicide? Do you think there should be murder charges?

1 comment:

  1. Anyone committing suicide is a terrible tragedy; and homophobia, like other common intolerances (race, religion, etc.) is something we all need to remain vigilant against...because the fear, ignorance, envy and selfishness that breeds intolerance isn’t going away in any of our lifetimes.

    None of that means that any good will come from destroying the lives of the other students involved, because:
    - the victim was gay
    - he chose to commit suicide; and
    - this case is now a huge national story

    The United States leads the world, by large margins, in both the total number of prisoners and the % of population incarcerated. Why? Because of the exact same fear, ignorance and selfishness that leads to the intolerant, hurtful and divisive acts that took place at Rutgers. Yes, the students who took part in this are at fault, and should be punished...but they are not murders or rapists and the willingness to make fun of, or even humiliate someone else is not that uncommon in the United States, especially among people of high school or college age.

    Being "tough on crime" just leads to the prison state we're in. Doing "the right thing" here would mean using the opportunity for Ravi and Michelle to make amends and become a positive force. The court could order them to spend a significant amount of time lecturing in schools on the perils of intolerance and the importance of empathy and respect. Having to face their own shame publicly and repeatedly, while acknowledging their role in another person’s death is no small measure of punishment; but giving these two college kids lengthy prison sentences is just political cowardice and pandering. Destroying two more lives in revenge for the one that's already lost.

    The politicians, celebrities and "community organizers" who say otherwise are populist hate-mongers in their own right. They may not be committing a crime, but they are acting against the very principals - tolerance, justice, and equality - they claim to stand for.

    There's certainly plenty of cause for righteous outrage over how the LGBT community is treated in our society...so let’s use this as an opportunity make things better for them, not worse for a couple of dumb kids.


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