Archive for April 2013
Even though you haven’t been reading about them here over the past month, the teen suicides – LGBT and straight, alike – have been steadily mounting. And, even now, with the news of the Boston Marathon bombing dominating the news (and, rightfully so), the teen suicides continue. What really gets under my skin is how little attention these tragic events get even as the death toll continues to climb. I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again and again: it’s as if these young people’s lives are expendable. They. Are. Not.Yesterday, April 15th, 13-year-old Nigel Hardy was reported missing after being suspended from school for defending himself in school against bullies. Seeing that news circulate on facebook made me nervous, at best. Fear of the worst set in quickly. Word spread very quickly in Palmdale, where he lived and went to school. His father found a suicide note in his bedroom Monday morning and then noticed his handgun was missing. The school Nigel attended, Hillview Middle School, was placed on “heightened awareness”, basically lockdown. Monday night, Nigel was found. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at an Antelope Valley hospital.
Nigel, who turned 13 only last Thursday, April 11th, was a cheerleader at his middle school. Apparently, that led to his being bullied. Various news reports say that he had gotten in a fight with his bully, or bullies, and that led to him being suspended. He became despondent over that. Now, he’s gone.Where does this end? When do we seriously and honestly reach the point where we’ve seen enough carnage and devastation that comes with these teen suicides and their aftermath? When do we stop making excuses for the ones responsible for pushing these young people to the edge and start holding them accountable? When is enough truly enough? I don’t think anyone can answer that, and that’s what has become overwhelmingly frustrating for me. No one has any answers!! No one has any solutions!! And, to add insult to injury, our government officials are paying attention to any- and everything but the fact that bullying and the related teen suicides have reached epidemic proportions. Instead, we’re continuously dished the same, tired rhetorical responses. We’re still getting the “boys will be boys”, “kids will be kids” spiel that we’ve been hearing for far too long, now. Nigel’s suicide is not the first one where the person(s) involved in the bullying are known. What is being done about the fact that their actions cost another teenager his life!!??
Here in Maryland last year, there was a horrific traffic accident involving four young people who were best of friends. They’d been partying, and the driver certainly should not have been driving. Three of them died in the accident. The driver survived. He’s now serving a lengthy prison sentence for his actions. Why? Because his actions led to the deaths of his three friends. He was held accountable. These young people who terrorize their schoolmates, or sometimes even strangers online!, to the point where the victim ends their lives get nothing! There is zero accountability!! And, that, as much as anything, is a major part of the problem. As long as they know they can continue to do this without any risk of repercussion, they will continue. Not only that, but their actions will continue to escalate. It’s really just that simple.
Sure, there are those who believe that the best way to deal with this is to also “treat” the bully(s). As one person on the facebook blog page commented last week:
Bullies have a Reason for the way the act so I felt sorry for them
We agreed, ahem, to disagree. I do understand that these menaces have issues going on in their own lives that causes them to do the things they do. In many, if not most!, cases, it’s a very bad living condition at home. That’s a whole different issue for another time. And, I’m all for getting them the help they need to become better, more productive, and less menacing people. That is, when there isn’t a death attached to their name and their actions. Understand this: it is 2013. The “Information Age” is maturing. There is 100% absolutely NO WAY that Nigel Hardy’s bullies didn’t know that there are teens committing suicide NEARLY EVERYDAY!!, and bullying is often the root of it!! NO. WAY. They KNOW this is happening! It’s impossible for them to NOT know. Period. Accept that. It’s impossible for these kids to NOT know that their actions could very well lead to yet another suicide. We’ve MUST understand and accept this reality! And, the reason why it’s so vital that we, as adults, come to this understanding of what really going on is because, once we accept the reality that they KNOW what they’re doing could very well lead to yet another suicide, we can accept the reality that they absolutely must be held accountable for their actions. Anything less than that, and we’re only fooling ourselves. These young people are telling us, as loudly as they can, that they don’t care if their victim kills themselves!! In some cases, they even TELL the victim to “go kill yourself”, “nobody would care if you died”, and worse. How can we NOT hold them accountable for their actions! How can we even dream of coddling the perpetrators when there is a devastated, grieving family who will never, ever have their young, loved one to coddle anymore? How is that even justifiable? It’s not.
This has gone much, much too far. The time has long since passed for us to take some serious action that will prevent this from continuing to happen. As loudly as people are shouting for marriage equality, so, too, should the voices be raised for our school officials, our law enforcement agencies, and our lawmakers to get off their collective asses and start making some real changes in policies that will prevent these teen suicides to continue to mount. Anything less, and we’re only spinning our wheels as yet another family mourns.We’ll never know how brightly Nigel’s star would’ve shone. Rest in peace, young man.
*************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES (USE THEM!!!)*************************
Written by Ron Kemp
April 17, 2013 at 5:55 am