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Dillion Burns, 18, Death by Suicide

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The New Year holiday wasn’t happy for everyone.  On New Year’s Eve, 18 year old Dillion Burns ended his life after, allegedly, being bullied because of his sexuality. dillion burns2At this point, Pennsylvania appears to be running away with the dubious distinction of being the teen suicide capital of the 2012-2013 school year.  It’s a distinction no one should be comfortable with having.

Apparently, one of the contributing factors in Dillion’s suicide was a facebook page designated to bullying people in the Erie area of Pennsylvania:  “Erie on Blast”.  From the information I was able to gather, there was at least one other teen suicide attributed to the activities on that page with at least one other attempted suicide.  The page has since been removed.

Of course, as has become the norm, the local law enforcement are stating that there’s “no evidence” of “criminal activity”, meaning there was no bullying involved.  And, granted, it would be highly unlikely that whatever occurred on “Erie on Blast” was the sole reason for Dillion’s fateful decision.  That said, this event once again reveals a total failure in our society to deal with the bullying, cyberbullying, and related teen suicides.

As adults, we’re failing miserably to get a handle on what’s going on, both in this country and around the world, insofar as these incidences are concerned.  It’s almost as if it’s not being taken seriously at all.  Or, at the very least, it isn’t being given the gravity it so obviously needs.  If that were not the case, if bullying, cyberbullying, and teen suicides were being treated as the epidemic they represent, we’d be seeing dramatic declines in all three activities.  That’s not the case.

Young people are failing to get the message that their actions are costing lives.  Or, they just don’t care.  Maybe it’s a combination of the two.  In either case, this fails back on the adults.  Teen suicide has been a fairly prominent topic for the past few years.  Bullying and cyberbullying have both become a national dinner table topics.  There is zero probability that these young people don’t know that their words and actions are causing their peers to end their lives.  Therefore, the only plausible answer has to be that they flat-out just don’t care.  And, that’s a problem of catastrophic proportions.

One necessary solution to this problem is to rid ourselves, as a society, of the cloak of secrecy that surrounds these events.  Keeping these teen suicides and bully-related teen suicides secret is not helping anything.  Granted, it’s the families right to privacy, and grieving the sudden and incredibly traumatic loss of a young loved one to suicide can be devastating.  I get it.  At the same time, the more these events are kept in the shadows, the more pervasive the problem becomes.  As long as no one knows the true impact this is having, the perception will remain that “it’s really not as bad as some people are making it sound”.  In fact, it’s that bad, and even worse.  I’ve stopped counting for this school year, but I know that I have written about more than 40 teen suicides since the beginning of the school year.  FORTY!!!!  And, rest assured, there has been many more than the 40 or so that I know about.  Therein lies the problem…or, at least part of the problem.  Unless we really know the full impact, this crisis will continue to treated as a non-issue.dillion burnsAccording to unidentified sources, Dillion had been bullied because of his bisexuality.  Here’s a cold, hard fact:  It’s pure folly for us to even begin to entertain the possibility of young people being more tolerant and accepting of ALL people, regardless of their race or sexual orientation as long as they continue to see adults in their lives be intolerant and bigoted.  Simple fact.  And, the reality is that they need look no further than their televisions, their computers, or (in some cases) their own dinner table.  The negative role models are everywhere.  They young people are being taught that their actions are normal, acceptable, and, in some cases, even expected.

Dillion Thomas Burns didn’t even get a chance to ring in the new year.  To think that he ended his life at least in part because of someone else’s callousness, coldness, and general disrespect for human life is, to me, beyond reprehension.  This isn’t going to end on its own, and talking about “it must end” is proving to be futile.  Like the young man who created the facebook page, Get Rid of Erie on Blast, in response to Dillion’s tragic suicide, we need more and more people to step up and get involved.  It’s the only way we’re going to make a difference.

Rest in peace, Dillion.

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21 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on TheBarkingAtheist.

    TheBarkingAtheist

    January 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm

  2. This is horrible.
    Stuff like this needs to have an end put to it. He was just a baby. So much life to live. It makes me cry. Teach your children to respect life. EVERY ones life.

    Murfi

    January 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    • Sadly those who have children that bully people are probably learning it at home. Racist and homophobes don’t come out of a vacuum. They are born and raised in homes that exhibit such behaviors.

      Daniel English

      January 13, 2013 at 11:41 am

  3. that lpage was NOT removed, I just went to it. I didn’t see much as I did not “Like” it, but you should know It’s still there

    Pat Wolf

    January 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm

  4. I am sorry to the family..My thoughts & prayers are for him & the family..Another angel..lost too soon

    tess

    January 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

  5. im so sorry for your loss. i agree we must have stricker laws to stop this bulling snd hate crimes. if someone billys a child and thst child commits suicide then that bully needs to be held responsible for that childs death. i to lost a young friend to suicide a few months ago. Rip Dillion

    larry fletcher

    January 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

  6. Looks like it’s a new one, just started on 1/6. I reported it.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/ERIE-on-BLAST

    Kelly

    January 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm

  7. When are they social conservatives gonna come to the ”shocking realization” that being gay is not a choice and that maybe if there is a god he wouldn’t want people to be bullied to death.

    Jordan FS

    January 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

  8. […] Dillion Thomas Burns was an eighteen-year-old living in Pennsylvania. He was being harassed and bullied because he was bisexual. And he chose to kill himself on New Year’s Eve. […]

  9. I wish we could have been there for you Dillion. I wish we could have known your pain…

    Loyd Clayton

    January 11, 2013 at 2:28 am

    • My heart goes out to the family of Dillion. Society needs to take a step back and look at what is happening to our children these days and something definetly has to be done about the bullying that goes on every day of the year. No child should have to feel that this is the only way out. We as parents have to protect our children but if no one else is going to help prevent stop all of this, unfortunately it will continue. We as parents need to stand and fight for our kids. RIP Dillion.

      T. White

      January 11, 2013 at 4:47 am

  10. You know talking to someone isn’t always the best thing to do… I went to a small school and confided in my school counselor she then turned around and told the entire school my senior year in HS… I came close to pulling the trigger but am thankful I’m still here it really hurts when I think back to it…:(

    Dave

    January 11, 2013 at 6:42 am

  11. Long quiet break over the holidays…as soon as the start of school approaches, here we go again. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and now it has. How can ppl not connect these suicides with school bullying when they coordinate with school, drop over summer and Christmas break, and pick up again as the break comes to a close?

    Carol

    January 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

  12. do you have any programs to relocate older teens that that are tossed out by there family with other families or persons that are ok with who these kids , and have no fear of there life choices . ??? — I hosted exchange students for like 23 years and some of them were gay but they as the others were all good young people !!! — I am on facebook also .

    mike parzych

    January 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm

  13. […] Dillion Burns, 18, Death by Suicide (ronskemp.wordpress.com) […]

  14. So, so sad – Rest in Peace, Dillon!

    Mike Heinl

    January 12, 2013 at 11:44 am

  15. i think even grown ups shoud not bully people either

    Debbie Roth

    January 14, 2013 at 3:17 am

  16. For anyone – young or old – who feels like Dillon, that the world and people around them are too awful to live with any more, remember that you don’t have to end it right away. You can reach out to someone, tell them about the unbearable time you’re having – the Samaritans, your parents, a friend, a teacher. They not respond as badly as you expect, or they might be able to help, and at the point where you’ve decided to commit suicide, you have nothing more to lose by trying.

    But remember, too, that you won’t have to be a teenager forever. If you can just hang in there, live for a few more years, you’ll be an adult. You can move away if you want to, find proper friends who will love you and whom you can trust and be yourself with. You will live and fall in love and out of it and into it again, drink and dance and laugh and make stupid jokes with people who understand you. You will have a career where you’re valued, a safe place of your very own to call home and one day, you’ll meet the person you’ll want to spend years of your life with, basking in their presence like a warm sunbeam.

    And maybe one day, you’ll go home and stop at a gas station, and one of the people who devoted so much time and effort to bullying you will be pumping gas there, being yelled at on the phone by his or her overweight and shrewish, unappreciative partner while their 5 unplanned children scream in the background. And you can laugh and laugh and laugh.

    Because they bully you because they’re afraid. They’re afraid you’re better than them. And they’re right. So don’t deny yourself the pleasure of seeing them in their fucked-up future life.

    Bonnie Patterson

    January 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

  17. there were two pages of Erie on Blast on facebook. one titled “Erie off Blast” and one titled “Erie Re-Blasted”. both i reported.

    Val Kay Soper

    January 25, 2013 at 9:31 am

  18. […]   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Get-rid-of-Erie-On-Blast/460937690629118 and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Report-ERIE-on-BLAST/310518939067491 These are links on Fb who were against those pages. The thing of it is that someone killed themselves over what was on that page. Here is the link that talks about the boy and I will also share what was written. https://ronskemp.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/dillion-burns-18-death-by-suicide/#comments […]


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