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Archive for January 2012

Phillip Parker and the Tennessee Legislation

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The more I read about Phillip Parker, the 14-year-old LGBT youth who committed suicide in Tennessee Friday, the angrier I get.  According to several different stories, the bullying had been going on for a long period of time.  His family was overwhelmed with information about the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse he endured over the weekend when it was, sadly, too late.  However, the report is that several of his friends did, in fact, go to teachers at Gordonsville High School to tell what was happening to him, and no one did anything.  No interventions.  No calls to the family.  Nothing.  No one did anything!!!!  Heads need to roll.  Teachers, the principle, the whole school system needs to be held accountable.  This is criminal neglect if nothing else.  The ones responsible for the abuse also need to be sought out and punished severely.  There are people there who know exactly who’s responsible for it.  They have already gone forward with it to the school staff.  They need to go public with it, as in to the police.  Of course, none of it will help the Parker family or Phillips friends at this point.  But, it could go a long way to preventing another family in Tennessee from having to go through this.

Or, will it?

It seems that Tennessee, and more specifically it’s legislatures, have a problem with the LGBT community.  Tennessee has a “Don’t Say Gay” statute in place that prohibits teachers, basically, from acknowledging that gays and lesbians even exist.  Does that mean, then, that they can’t intervene if a LGBT student is being bullied, like Phillip was.  Like Jacob Rogers was?  Do they, by law, have to pretend that it’s not happening, look the other way when it involves an LGBT student?

In Tennessee, same-sex marriages are illegal.

In Tennessee, LGBT people are not protected from housing and employment discrimination.

In Tennessee, they are trying to pass that bill where bullying against members of the LGBT community will be sanctioned as long as it’s done for political, philosophical, or religious beliefs.  That’s a free pass to emotionally, psychologically, and physically abuse LGBT teens!  All they have to do is claim it was done because of their beliefs, and they get a get-out-of-jail-free card.

There needs to be outrage.  There needs to be petition after petition after petition.  Concerned parents need to be voicing their concerns.  Loudly!  It is mind-boggling that the citizens of Tennessee are allowing this to happen in their state.

Tennessee is apparently the nation’s hotbed for homophobia.  Comedian Tracy Morgan went on a homophobic rant at a Nashville comedy club, going as far as to say that he’d stab his son to death if said son was to come out as gay.  The significance of this is that it was met with a “thunderous applause”.    He said he’d kill his son if he turned out gay, and people applauded!?  How is this being allowed to happen in this country in 2012!?

Meanwhile, family and friends of Phillip Parker are searching for answers.  And, justice.  Unfortunately, they won’t find much justice in a state that passed a law that forbids teachers to even say the word “gay” in their classes.  They won’t find justice in a state that, just recently!, made it ok to discriminate against LGBT people in the housing and job markets.  They won’t find justice in a state that wants to sanction the bullying of LGBT teens.  Is there any wonder why teens like Phillip, and Jacob, felt such a sense of hopelessness that they ended their lives?

There’s a girl named Alissa.  She was Phillip’s best friend…”like brother and sister”.  Like his family, she’s in an awful lot of pain right now.  Another friend started a facebook page to honor the memory of Phillip.  Alissa has made painful posts there.  Please go and offer her words of encouragement.  She, along with the Parker family, needs to be surrounded by love right now.  Do it for Phillip.

Another Gay Teen Lost to Bullycide: Rest in Peace, Phillip Parker, 14

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Every time we lose another LGBT teen to bullycide, we suffer another setback in our efforts to end this malignancy plaguing the LGBT community.  Phillip Parker, 14, ended his young life last week after enduring bullying over a period of time at his Gordonsville, Tennessee high school.  Tennessee is also the state where Jacob Rogers succumbed to bullycide in early December and the same state that I wrote about, here, earlier in the month.  You may recall that Tennessee lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that will allow bullying as long as it is for religious, philosophical, or political beliefs.  We’re not going to let that happen.  A petition needs to be up within the next 24 hours to present to the Tennessee legislation letting them know that we will no accept them sanctioning bullying against LGBT teens.

According to the news report, Phillip’s family had gone to the school administrators numerous times to report that he was being bullied.  Nothing changed.  No, I’m wrong.  Things DID change.  Things actually got worse for him.  The bullying increased.  Finally, he’d had enough.

Knowing about these tragedies isn’t nearly enough.  What’s needed is a continued concerted effort of many people, loudly and strongly stating the message that “We’re mad as Hell, and we’re NOT gonna take it anymore!”  Every state legislature needs to be heavily petitioned until there are very strongly-worded laws on the books that will protect EVERY teen from the horrors of bullying.  The penalties for bullying need to be harsh.  After all, the penalties against the families and friends of those who take their own lives because of bullying are as harsh as it gets.  Further, school systems need to be penalized heavily for failure to a.)  provide each student with a safe learning environment; and, b.)  act upon complaints of bullying.  No way should they be allowed a free pass when a family losses their loved ones.

It goes without saying that our deepest sympathies and heart-felt prayers go out to the family and friends of 14-year-old Phillip Parker.  May you find peace in Paradise.

Online Support Groups: “You’ve Gotta Give ‘Em Hope”

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All over the World Wide Web and, in particular, within the 800,000,000+ community of facebook, there are people banding together like never before in an effort to exact change in our society.  More specifically, these people, groups, and communities, are working feverishly to build a better world for the LGBT community.  From working towards equality for all people, gay or straight, black or white, to dealing with the issue of bullying, to helping people young and not-so-young come out of the closet, we’re witnessing a lot of great things unfold right before our eyes.

There are some groups, led by some dynamic and driven people, that are leading the way for all of us.  At the head of that class would have to be Kevin O’Neil’s creation, Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook.  I became part of that community in October of last year, right as it was in the middle of “going viral”.  From the membership of slightly under 100,000 when I joined, it has burgeoned to close to 300,000.  In less than 3 months!  That says that something really good is going on there.  Says Kevin, or “Kel” as we know him, many of the people who post comments in the community wall thanks him, and Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, for “giving me strength to go on”.  People, young and old, growing from the support of knowing that such a positive and powerful group of people, gay and straight alike, from all over the world is there for them, giving them strength.  And, the community is constantly growing by large numbers!
The Equality Mantra is a group that was started with the mission of glorifying “…the marvelous diversity of humanity while believing, fundamentally, that we’re all the same.”  There, they share stories, pictures, valuable information.  Most of all, they share love.
ABC:  Anti-Bullying Coalition is one of my personal favorites.  That’s because bullying is a subject that’s very critical to me.  In their own words:

We are passionate about implementing pro-active anti-bullying solutions into our school system and as far around the world as we can grow! We have found such need in our community to advocate for families as well as help change the belief that “kids will be kids” and “it makes them stronger” with the knowledge that even one bullying episode can have life long negative effects. And although our program is currently focused on school time bullying, we hope to spread the word; bullying is a personality and it spans all ages and crosses all boundaries; race, religion, size, gender, socioeconomic status, educational level, sexual orientation and does not stop in High School but continues on to the workplace, retirement homes, private clubs, organizations, it’s everywhere. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support! Share the word!

They’ve got the right message.  Their work is helping many people.

I recently did an entry on Charity Smith and her brilliant creation, Project:  OUT.  This is a project that is helping so many LGBT people, young and not-so-young, with their coming out process.  For those who don’t already know, the coming out process can be quite traumatic.  We’ve lost too many teens to traumatic coming out processes, with the latest being 19-year-old- EricJames Borges.  Here, they can do so anonymously which can be extremely therapeutic.

And, then there’s Lyndsay Winegarden’s gem of a group, STOP Teenage Suicide.  I love this one so much.  I did an entry on Lyndsay and her page, as well.  She’s a remarkable, very courageous lady who is doing great work in the area of trying to bring an end to teen suicide.  That’s my mission, as well.

That’s just a handful of online resources that are paving the way to a much brighter, healthier, and safer world, not only for the LGBT community exclusively, but for all people.  As the great people at The Equality Mantra put it:

“We all bleed red when pricked. We all cry salty tears. We are all the same. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“If you “like” marriage equality…if you’re encouraged by the six states that have passed marriage equality, and hope the other 44 will SOON follow suit…if you long for equality across the colors to be a reality…if you dream of the day when what we look like, how we worship, where we come from, and who we love are issues that no longer have a seat at the table…if you model love and compassion, and hope to make the world a little bit better by caring and sharing, rather than by denigrating and tearing down…please join [us], and suggest that your friends join. Share your stories, your pictures. Share yourselves. Share the love.”

That’s the general theme of all of us as we band together to make a difference.  The great news is there’s always room for more dedicated people.

MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH: AIDS is Caused by Poppers!!!

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Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association and one of the leaders or the anti-gay movement said something astonishing.  According to him, AIDS is NOT caused by HIV.  Rather, it’s caused by “rampant promiscuity” and the use of poppers.  According to this sage, “the average homosexual has hundreds, sometimes over 1,000 sexual partners in his/her lifetime.”  I’m reminded of an old saying:  “It’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”  You know, this is so preposterous, I wasn’t even going to respond to it; however, it’s so dangerous yet humorous, I now feel I must.

Humor first:  If anyone knows this idiot’s address, please mail him a calendar.  The “poppers” theory is so 1984.  As I recall, that goes back to the day where they didn’t have a clue as to what was killing off our community and called it “the gay cancer”.  And, the only commonality they could possibly find was the little brown bottles we used to buy at the clubs.  Nineteen eighty four.  And, if the average homosexual has between 500 and 1,000 sexual partners in their lifetime, I feel severely cheated!

Why is this dangerous?  Do I really have to answer that?  This is the rhetoric that’s contributing heavily to the volatile environment we see today.  The environment that’s leading the children of idiots like this and their followers to think that it’s alright to degrade, torment, and bully LGBT teens.  It’s dangerous because certainly amongst the followers of maniacs like Mr. Fischer, and trust that there are many, there are some LGBT teens listening daily as mommy and daddy preach these words of hatred and intolerance in their presence not knowing that they are raising an LGBT teen.  As an extension, OTHER LGBT teens are hearing this type of purely ignorant but powerfully-delivered rhetoric.  And, that is one of the driving forces that leaves our LGBT teens with low self-esteem.  And, worse, it plays heavily into the escalation of the teen suicides we’re seeing right now.

There are a lot of people doing a lot of very good people doing a myriad of great things towards working for a solution to the problem of hatred and intolerance towards our LGBT teens, towards stemming this tide of bullying and bullycide.  Bryan Fischer proves beyond doubt that there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.  I’ve said it many times before:  in order to begin to see a change in our social climate, we need a complete re-education of our society as a whole.  And, the place to start the re-education process is with the ADULTS!  The teens responsible for the bullying are merely a reflection of what they’re learning from the adults.  From the politicians who use their power and influence to denounce the validity of our love for another human to the preacher who leads his “congregation” to the funerals of gays with signs of hatred to the parents who disregard, derogate or, worse, simply disown their LBGT children, the re-education will have to start with the adults.  Somebody email Bryan Fischer and tell him that class is in session.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 21, 2012 at 5:32 am

Bullycide’s “Other” Victims

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By now, we all know of bullycide and its victims.  It’s become a lexicon as it pertains to the recent escalation of teen suicides.  Bullycide has claimed far too many victims this year alone.  We now hear regularly of another teen who was bullied relentlessly until they reached their breaking point and ended their life.  But, there are other victims of bullycide.

Surely, the families and friends of these teens who gave up too soon, who couldn’t take another day of the torment are unintended victims, themselves.  And, unlike the teen who is no longer suffering, these people are left with a lifetime of unfathomable pain and struggle.  In fact, the pain in unrelenting.  In many cases, the families of these targeted victims have turned their pain into positive action.  While allowing themselves time and space to grieve their loss, they’ve also immersed themselves in activities and causes in attempt to prevent another family from having to deal with what they’re going through.

Sometimes, their positive energies and actions aren’t enough to save them from the inner pain they deal with on an everyday basis.  Even the strongest steel breaks under too much pressure.  In November, it was Roger Crouch, father of Dominic who had succumbed to bullycide the previous year.  Roger turned the pain from Dominic’s suicide into a massive and effective effort to not only bring worldwide awareness to the problem, but to also reach out to other families who were walking the same walk.  Then, the steel broke.  November 28, 2011, Roger ended his pain.

Kameron Jacobsen was 14 years old when he lost his life to bullycide January 18, 2011.  And, from that tragedy, Kevin and Wanda Jacobsen set out on a mission, not unlike Roger Crouse’s, to make a difference, to do their best effort to save even just one family from suffering through what they were going through.  They created KAM, “Kindness Above Malice”.  In Kameron’s honor, and to help alleviate their own pain, they set out to reach out to other teens, both the bullied and the bully, in an effort to help bring this madness to an end.  Saturday, January 7th, Kevin Jacobsen took his own life.  The steel broke once again.

As witnessed by the brutal beating witnessed by tens of thousands earlier this week of a Chicago teen, we have a very, very long way to go before we can begin to celebrate victory.  However, with the loss of Kevin Jacobsen, as well as Roger Crouch before him, we’re seeing that bullying has a crippling ripple effect.

To Kevin Jacobsen, may you rest in peace with your son, Kameron.  Thank you for your efforts in the fight to end bullying and bullycide.  And, to Wanda Jacobsen, our prayers and condolences are with you.  May you find peace.

The Gay Rights Movement

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Despite the constant bombardment of doom and gloom, bullying, bullycides, and teen suicides, we are truly living in exciting times as members of the LGBT community.  As it was with the Civil Rights battle of the 60s, it’s a hard-fought battle.  However, we’re gaining momentum.  We’re winning legal battles from shore-to-shore, small and large alike.  And, slowly and perhaps reluctantly, we’re gaining acceptance.  That news is greatest for the younger members of the LGBT community.  Collectively, we’re paving the way for a much brighter future for today’s LBGT youth.  That’s huge!!

This video showed up on my facebook wall today.  In my humble opinion, it’s a must-see video for every person, gay or straight.  It shows where we’ve come from.  It moved me to tears.

See, as an older black man, and having spent my childhood years in the South, I clearly remember the days of fierce segregation.  I remember the “whites only” and “coloreds only” bathrooms and doctor’s offices.  I CLEARLY, and I mean vividly, remember the middle-aged white man who tried his damnedest to put a 12″ blade through my 7-year-old back simply because I was a little nigger boy.  I can describe his car in detail.  I remember the struggles, the fight for equality.  I remember clearly the day Dr. King was assassinated.  And, I remember the destructive aftermath.  But, the generations ahead of my own continued to fight and fight hard for a world that would accept me in spite of my skin tone.  Eventually, and gradually, things changed.  They’re still changing.  Today, the playing field is a lot more even.  Don’t mistake my words.  Racism still lives and breathes today.  To be sure, it will never completely go away.  At least not in my lifetime.  But, it’s gotten better, much better!, for people of color.

As an older gay man, I can remember the day when holding your lover’s hand in public could get you arrested.  In some places, it could get you killed.  I remember my 5th grade teacher “outing” me and my boyfriend and the negative reaction it received.  I remember Anita Bryant.  I remember being a young boy when Stonewall was in the news but knowing instinctively that this was something significant.  Oddly to me at the time, I felt a sense of pride in what was going on, and I secretly followed it as much as I could.  I remember the reports of how homos were deviants or worse!  Fast forward to today.  Same fight.  Same struggles for acceptance and equality.  And, they’re being fought against the same establishment. And, as with the Civil Rights struggle of the 60s, we’re slowly but steadily making gains.  We’re winning battles of equality, large and small, all over the world.  And, somewhere in the world, there’s that young boy who, like me and Stonewall, is watching this unfold and instinctively knowing that this fight is for him.  And, he’s stronger for it.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 19, 2012 at 4:46 am

How to Watch Your Brother Die

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I started this blog in November in direct response to Jamie Hubley’s suicide in October.  Those of you who have been reading it for a while are aware as I mention him frequently.  So, I wanted to take time out to say how honored I am to have a member of his family join in as one of the blogs’ followers today.  You know who you are.  Thank you for following.

If you haven’t already “liked” Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, go do it now!  You don’t have to be gay to be a part of the most positive, informative page facebook has to offer.  The only prerequisite is that you have a burning desire to see equality for every human being and to be a part of an army of people “enlisted” to work towards that end.

I read today something from Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook that I had to share with everyone.  If you go to the page, you can find it and other very moving reads in the “notes” section.  This letter moved me:

How To Watch Your Brother Die

When the call comes, be calm.
Say to your wife, “My brother is dying. I have to fly to California.”
Try not to be shocked that he already looks like a cadaver.
Say to the young man sitting by your brother’s side, “I’m his brother,”
Try not to be shocked when the young man says,
“I’m his lover. Thanks for coming.”

Listen to the doctor with a steel face on.
Sign the necessary forms.
Tell the doctor you will take care of everything.
Wonder why doctors are so remote.

Watch the lover’s eyes as they stare into your brother’s eyes as they stare into space.
Wonder what they see there.
Remember the time he was jealous and opened your eyebrow with a sharp stick.
Forgive him out loud even if he can’t understand you.
Realize the scar will be all that’s left of him.

Over coffee in the hospital cafeteria say to the lover, “You’re an extremely good-looking young man.”
Hear him say,
“I never thought I was good looking enough to deserve your brother.”
Watch the tears well up in his eyes. Say,
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what it means to be the lover of another man.”
Hear him say,
“It’s just like a wife, only the commitment is deeper because the odds against you are so much greater.”
Say nothing, but take his hand like a brother’s.

Drive to Mexico for unproven drugs that might help him live longer.
Explain what they are to the border guard.
Fill with rage when he informs you,
“You can’t bring those across.”
Begin to grow loud.
Feel the lover’s hand on your arm, restraining you. See in the guard’s eye how much a man can hate another man.
Say to the lover, “How can you stand it?”
Hear him say, “You get used to it.”
Think of one of your children getting used to another man’s hatred.

Call your wife on the telephone. Tell her,
“He hasn’t much time.
I’ll be home soon.” Before you hang up say,
“How could anyone’s commitment be deeper than a husband and wife?” hear her say,
“Please, I don’t want to know all the details.”

When he slips into an irrevocable coma, hold his lover in your arms while he sobs, no longer strong. Wonder how much longer you will be able to be strong.
Feel how it feels to hold a man in your arms whose arms are used to holding men.
Offer God anything to bring your brother back.
Know you have nothing God could possibly want.
Curse God, but do not abandon Him.

Stare at the face of the funeral director when he tells you he will not embalm the body for fear of contamination. Let him see in your eyes how much a man can hate another man.
Stand beside a casket covered in flowers, white flowers.
Say, “Thank you for coming” to each of several hundred men who file past in tears, some of them holding hands.
Know that your brother’s life was not what you imagined.
Overhear two mourners say, “I wonder who’ll be next.”

Arrange to take an early flight home.
His lover will drive you to the airport.
When your flight is announced say, awkwardly, “If I can do anything, please let me know.”
Do not flinch when he says,
“Forgive yourself for not wanting to know him after he told you. He did.”
Stop and let it soak in. Say,
“He forgave me, or he knew himself?”
“Both”, the lover will say, not knowing what else to do. Hold him like a brother while he kisses you on the cheek. Think that you haven’t been kissed by a man since your father died. Think,

“This is no moment not to be strong.” Fly first class and drink scotch. Stroke your split eyebrow with a finger and think of your brother alive.
Smile at the memory and think how your children will feel in your arms, warm and friendly and without challenge.

~Michael Lassell.

Before it’s too late, while you can still do it, if you know someone who is LGBT, whether it’s a family member, friend, or co-worker, let them know that it’s okay to be gay.  Let them know that you accept them completely just for who they are.  Let them know that they are beautiful human beings just as they are.  The world is changing.  Be a part of that change.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 19, 2012 at 4:39 am

TEENS CAUGHT, CHARGED IN VIDEOED ATTACK!!!!

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Sparked, perhaps, by the inundation of public outcry, and aided by the girlfriend of one of the attackers giving up their names, the Chicago police have arrested the people they believe are responsible for Sunday afternoon’s mauling of a Bridgeport, Chicago high school senior.  One of the attackers is being charged as an adult.  One of the attackers was a girl.

This case is developing more bizarre twists than an old Alfred Hitchcock movie.  The girlfriend of “the main attacker” posted two videos attempting to justify the horrific attack.  At 4:00 deep into the first video, she “reasons” “…in a way, think about it…if you were attacked by 20 people, with you and your sibling alone, how would you feel?  And, in a way, wouldn’t you want to get revenge?  Even if it’s just on one of them?”  Mob mentality at its best.

She speaks often, particularly in the second video, of “another side” of the story, a side where apparently the victim in this attack was allegedly a part of an Asian gang who had earlier carried out an attack on the very ones who attacked him.  It’s mind-boggling to me that we’ve reached this point as a nation.  I don’t understand that gang culture.  I never will.

In some states, videotaping an attack such as the one witnessed here and not doing anything to intervene makes you an accessory to the crime.  Apparently, that’s not the case in Illinois.  Whomever the young man is who did the videotaping should be charged as well, in my opinion.

At the root of this senseless violence, and brutal attack, is racial hatred.  Either way you look at it, it comes back to that.  If the victim WASN’T part of an Asian gang who allegedly carried out an earlier attack on members of the attacking group seen in the video, then it’s purely a racial attack and therefore a hate crime.  Even if he WAS part of this gang, there are still race issues that needs to be addressed.  Quickly.  If it’s all true, then Chicago has a serious race problem on their hands. (or, am I late on that?)  Latinos vs. Asians?  Blacks vs. Whites?  What happened to equality?  How can the girl on camera talk so flippantly about the “FOBS”, or “fresh off the boat”, when she is off foreign decent, herself?  And, while I’m shaking that tree, how can ANY of us living in this country talk about immigrants, legal or illegal, unless we’re of Native American decent?  Other than that group of people, everyone in this country is an immigrant or descendent thereof.

Regardless of what she says in her two “justification” videos, I stand by what I said initially:  this was a very brutal attack, a hate crime, and it should be handled as such.  All of the ones involved, including the camera holder, should be prosecuted to the absolute fullest extent of the law.  One of those kicks to the head, absorbed by the victim, taken at the wrong or a slightly different angle could’ve killed him.  ZERO TOLERANCE.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

BULLYING AT ITS WORST, CAUGHT ON TAPE!!!!

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I first saw a video clip of this earlier in the day, I guess when it first broke.  The video clip was bad enough.  It left me shaking my head.  Livid!!!  However, now I’ve seen the entire video (WARNING!!!  This video is extremely graphic.  DO NOT watch it if you’re at all squeamish) of this brutal, senseless attack on this young man.  Now, I’m beyond livid!

There are videos, and video responses, all over youtube right now.  The video, itself, has been viewed almost 35,000 times.  Even the Mayor has spoken out about it.  And, NONE OF IT MEANS A DAMNED THING!!  The only thing that matters right now is that those 7 thugs are caught and punished to the absolute fullest extent of the law.  I don’t really give a rat’s ass that they’re juveniles:  they need to be sent to an adult prison for many years.  In the state where I reside, their action is called first-degree assault.  And, when you listen to the language their using as they brutalize this young man, it becomes obvious that this is also a hate crime.  Hate crimes are punishable by federal law.  Every single one of the 30,000+ people who have viewed that video, every breathing soul who has watched the story on the news, needs to make sure that their voices are heard loudly and clearly:  THIS ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE TOLERATED!!!

I looked for a petition online but couldn’t find one.  Hopefully, someone from Chicago will post one on change.org.  When and if they do, I will certain pass that information along so that everyone, EVERYONE!, can go there and sign it.  There absolutely has to be justice done in this case.  Swift.  Definitive.  And, with severe consequences.  More than ever, the cry of ZERO TOLERANCE must apply here.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

New Jersey Takes the Torch

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Let’s give New Jersey a huge standing ovation for leading the nation by passing the first-ever suicide prevention law!!  As an added bonus, three Rupublicans led the way with this bill.  Fantastic!

Essentially, what the bill will do is consolidate and co-ordinate state resources and raise awareness to the issue.  Small step, maybe, but certainly a step in the right direction.  It’s believed that Tyler Clementi’s suicide in September of 2010 pushed them to action.  Whatever it takes.

What is needed, now, is for the other 49 states to follow New Jersey’s lead.  It’s time.  We’re living in a time where suicide is the third leading cause of death of those between the ages of 15-24.  That’s ridiculous.

The danger here, of course, is that people will become complacent once again, with the thinking that “everything is going to be fine…” now that a law is in place.  Not the case!  The law will help.  However, we all need to continue what has become a very strong, dedicated effort to reverse this alarming trend.  As a person who’s been trying to bring attention to this situation for well over a decade, I can tell you that what’s going on right now is genuinely heartwarming.  Around the globe, ordinary people are making extraordinary efforts to make a difference.  Slowly, but surely, it’s paying off.  Now, we all just have to keep doing what we’re doing.  Relentlessly.  Until there are no more families force to bear the burden of wondering what they could’ve done differently to save their loved one.

Thank you, New Jersey, for your leadership.