ronkempmusic

Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Posts Tagged ‘lgbt teen suicide

Jadin Bell, 15: Bullied for Sexuality Leads to Suicide

with 6 comments


By now, Jadin Bell’s name isn’t news to anyone.  The story began to circulate even before he had taken his last breath.  Days before that, one of his relatives who is also a member of the facebook blog page had told about this tragic turn of events.  We knew this day was coming.jadin-bell-21680Jadin Bell was just 15.  He was vibrant.  He was a cheerleader.  He was bullied, “viciously”, both at school and online, because of his sexuality.  Jadin’s suicide is particularly troubling for me on a few levels:

  • It has a “hit’s home” feel because his relative had been talking to me about even before the Internet media machine picked up on the story.  His relative has been a part of the facebook blog page for quite some time.  Family;
  • It shows that for all of the historic and marvelous gains the LGBT community has made just over the past year, we still have so very far to go.
  • It, at once, saddens and angers me that, in 2013, we’re still dealing with bullying and intolerance to a point where young people feel no other way out but to end their lives.

The question is asked regularly:  “When will this end?”  It’s often accompanied by “What can I do to help make this stop?”  They are two very powerful questions, questions that must be answered before we can expect to see any real changes in this landscape of bullying, intolerance, sexual identification discrimination, and teen suicides.  Of course, there are more factors that must be dealt with, as well.  The point is clear:  more must be done!

“When will this end?”  “This” will end when more people become fed up with seeing these young people feel that the only option they have to end the pain and struggle they’re dealing with is to end their lives.  “This” will end when we, as a society, stop tip-toeing around the scoundrel named bullying and tackle it head-on.  “This” will end when can finally come together on what is the best way to address the issue of bullying and bully-related teen suicides.  We’re still miles apart on that part of the equation!

There is something inherently wrong with the way we’re teaching our young when middle-schoolers believe that bullies are the cool kids!!!  Yet, an article I read just today reports a study that says exactly that!  Surely, tackling the bullying issue in middle school will continue to be difficult, at best, as long as the students there believe that the bullies are the cool ones.

“What can I do to help…”  Get involved!!  Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.  There is a Jacob Rogers right there under your nose who just needs someone to let him know that he really does matter, that he’s not invisible, that there really is someone who will stand beside him as he tries to get his footing in life.  There is a Jadin Bell right there in your backyard that needs someone to let him know that he’s perfect just as he is, that he has a lot to offer the world, that the bullying he’s enduring right now will end.  

See, this isn’t rocket science!  What’s needed is for more people to become more deeply and directly involved in the business of saving these young people’s lives.  Period!  Is your son or daughter a bully?  How do you know?  “Because they said they’re not!”  Really?  How do you know?  You need to know in order to prevent it.  Is your child being cyberbullied?  Then, why on Earth is (s)he still online!?  Simple things.  What is needed is for more people to become more deeply and directly involved in the business of saving these young people’s lives.  Period!jadin cheerleading
Jadin was a cheerleader.  He was loved by his friends and, obviously, family.  One friend said of Jadin:

Jadin is one of the best people I have ever met. He makes everyone around him feel good all the time.

A friend of the family had this to say about him:

He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones. If someone was down and out he would walk into a room and say a couple quick words and everybody would just forget about their problems and smile. He just had a gift.

“He just had a gift”, a gift that the world has been robbed of.  Enough really is enough.  This really does have to end.  The time really has come for us, as a society, to dig in, roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty, and bring this torturous chapter to a screeching halt.

So sorry you felt no other way out, Jadin.  Rest in peace.

******************SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION!!  TALK TO SOMEONE…PLEASE!!!!******************

THE TREVOR PROJECT

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

BEFRIENDERS

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: the blog page

Joshua David Pacheco, 17: Bullied Because of Being Gay

with 38 comments


Tuesday, November 27th, I received this from the creator of Wipe Out Homophobia.  It was sent to him from one of his members:

Today my friend’s good friend, a seventeen year old boy by the name of Josh, killed himself after being continuously bullied for being gay. Josh had his whole life ahead of him, but the ignorant and hateful words of others caused that to be taken away from him. How many people need to die before this world realizes that something is wrong with the way we are treating people?! The constitution states that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Josh was as human as any of the rest of us, yet he was stripped of all of those rights. This needs to change. No matter gay, straight, or anything else, we all are human, and therefore must all stand up for equal human rights. Please, think before you speak, and make an effort to stand up for those around you. Together we can put a stop to this. Rest in peace, Josh. ♥♥josh pachecoJosh was a junior at Linden High School.  His mother describes him as:

“…very sensitive, to others’ needs and feelings but also to his own,” He gave his whole self fully to any person he could.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as boys from his school constantly and severely bullied Josh until he couldn’t take it anymore.  In talking to the person who originally alerted me about this tragedy, Rachelle, I was able to learn from one of his close friends, through Rachelle, some of the horrors he had to endure.

All I know is that he was bullied in our theatre class by three boys. He felt very uncomfortable. One even went as far as to tell him he spent a lot of time on his knees. He wouldn’t tell everyone who all of them were.josh pacheco2

“That, in and of itself, does constitute bullying although it doesn’t really seem as though it would be enough to push Josh, or anyone over the edge”, is what some would probably say to those charges.  And, on one level, I guess it would make sense.  However, when you add that to other direct information, coming from one of Josh’s friends, it’s a lot easier to understand why he felt he had no other choice:

[members of] the Linden football team pushed him around, [urinated] on him and taped him to his locker.

That action is reprehensible and repulsive.  More to the point, there are obviously people – or, at least one person! – who knows about this.  It is incumbent upon that person, or those people, to come forward with any and all information they have pertaining to this.  Those boys who did this need to be held accountable.  Their actions caused another human being to end his life.  It’s not enough to say that their karma will take care of it.  They need to be dealt with in the here and now.  Anything less is unacceptable.

“Josh would never give us names. He was so intimidated by these kids who picked on him,” Josh’s father, said. “If he would have given me or the school details, we would have handled it. Don’t be afraid to speak out. You need to tell people what’s going on.”

This has gone on far too long!  We’re all aware of the devastating effects bullying can have on people, especially teens!  The “STOP BULLYING!” conversation has been going on long enough, and in enough different forums, that I’m fully, 100% convinced that a.) it’s impossible for any human being with a shred of intelligence to not know what’s going on and what it’s causing; and, b.) those who continue to engage in these actions are simply, and clearly, saying that they just don’t give a rat’s ass about the potential outcome.  And, with that being the case, and seeing the death toll continue to mount, explain to me, slowly so that I can understand it, why these people are not being held accountable?

“He told me he felt like he wasn’t good enough. He said if he lost weight he would be happy,” Joshua’s mother said. “But he wasn’t. Then, he said if he came out [as a homosexual], he would be happy. Then, it was if the kids at school stopped teasing him. He came to me and said he still didn’t feel happy. I realized then it wasn’t something, being a mom, that I could fix.”

These “kids” are being allowed to engage in actions that are completely devastating lives.  Not only are their actions leading to suicides, there are countless families and friends whose lives are being decimated.  How is it fair that they are continuously given a free pass?  In this case, where there is at least one person who knows for certain who was doing this to Joshua Pacheco, it is imperative to bring that information to the light.  Knowing that someone taped another human to their locker and urinated on them is simply not something to be kept secret, especially now that we know what those actions have led to.

What we’re seeing today is a generation of young people who simply don’t care about people around them or, in some cases, human life in general.  Certainly not the entire generation, but enough to have an impact.  And, we’re seeing the drastic consequences on a near-daily basis.  One of my treasured associates had this to say, just moments ago as a comment on yet another post about yet another teen who had been bullied to the point of ending his life:

The several known kids who bullied Jamey Rodemeyer, who died 9/18/2011, were subjects of a criminal investigation. The result: five-day suspensions from school. They had hard evidence of online posts telling him to kill himself, AND, the kids were still bullying him after his death. His sister went to a school dance not too long after Jamey’s death, and when Jamey’s favorite song came on, the bullies began chanting “You’re better off dead! We’re glad you’re dead!” This whole situation has long since reached the point of being unbelievably horrible. Yet this country is like the proverbial frog in a pot of heating water–we’ve gradually gotten so used to the deadly situation that we don’t even notice death.

You know we’ve become a desensitized society when the youth of our society have no problem committing acts that they know can lead to another person’s death yet continue doing it.  Often times even after their victim has ended their life.  How is it that we’re okay with this being who we’ve become as a people?

So sorry this had to happen to you, Josh.  Rest in peace.joshua pacheco

Trae Schumaker, 13, Death by Suicide

with 12 comments


At approximately the same time 13-year-old Cade Poulos ended his life on Wednesday, Trae Schumaker, also 13, ended his, as well.

I received news of this tragedy almost immediately after it happened.  Gathering fact s can prove to be painstaking.  The initial word was that he was being bullied.  And, the beat goes on.  I was given a reason for the bullying, but I can’t verify that.  Therefore, the “why” will remain a mystery to all of us who aren’t close to the case.

I just posted new information to the facebook blog page citing that suicide is now the #1 injury caused death surpassing auto accidents and homicides.  If I’ve failed at getting the severity of this situation across to you, perhaps reading this article will help.  Young people are killing themselves at an alarming pace, and the time is right here and right now to work harder to bring about change.  But, how do we get there?

“It Gets Better” isn’t working.  At least not to a degree where it’s make noticeable, concrete differences.  The young people are left with the lingering and haunting question of “when”.  When, will “it get better”?  I’ve heard that question asked often enough to know that the message, albeit very well intended, is being lost on far too many of our young people.  Look no further than Jamey Rodemeyer and EricJames Borges, both of whom had even made videos for the “It Gets Better” project before succumbing, themselves, to suicide.  The creators of the project started with only the very best of intentions.  And, to be sure, there probably are some people who credit their being here today to the “It Gets Better” project.

This blog, and its companion facebook blog page, is obviously not enough, either.  That was pointed out to me with screaming urgency earlier in the year with the suicide deaths of Kenny Wolf and Grace McComas.  Their untimely deaths caused me to step back and examine exactly why do I do this.  These two bright and intelligent young people both lived virtually “in my backyard”.  So, when they were lost to us, I had to reconcile in my own mind exactly why I was doing this.  Overwhelmed with the grieve of having these two local young people end their lives, my initial though was “how did I miss them?  They’re right here in my back yard!”

The reality, of course, is that there are people who are benefitting from this blog, as well as the “It Gets Better” project.  However, much more needs to be done, and by more people.  With suicide now officially the #1 cause of injury death, it’s painfully obvious that much, much more needs to be done.  How do we reach these young people before it’s too late.  Writing about them after they’ve already ended their lives is good for heightening awareness to the problem.  That’s after the fact.

There are some very simple, very concrete ways that we can all start making a difference, in my opinion:

  • It is imperative that these young people are encouraged to talk about their issues…and, keep talking about them until someone cares and listens.  They need to be made aware that other people have gone through what they’re going through and that it is  possible to work through whatever their problems may be.  The down side to that is far too many people, young and not so young, echo the same refrain:  “I tried talking, but nobody listened!!  I’ve personally witnessed this and can attest to its validity.
  • It makes no sense to encourage them to talk if no one is going to listen.  What that means is that every caring and concerned adult (parents, teachers, older siblings, whomever!) simply must be willing to not just HEAR what they’re trying to convey to you but LISTEN intently.  By listening intently, you’ll be able to hear exactly what it is that’s causing them dismay.  This is a crucial step.  I keep going back to the Andy Williams case from 2001.  It haunts me.  He tried his best to tell the adults in his life that he was in distress.  No one listened.  As a result, three young people lost their lives that day:  the two he killed, and Andy, himself.  At age 16, he was sentenced to 50 years.  He had spent the weekend with his best friend.  He confided in the friend’s dad that he was in distress.  The day didn’t take him seriously.  Monday morning, everything changed forever.  The value of truly listening cannot be overemphasized.
  • We, as adults, simply must educate ourselves to the complexities of bullying.  It goes well beyond just someone saying something mean or rude to another person.  I witnessed, up close and person, just this past week, just how ingrained bullying truly is and why we’re having such a hard time eradicating it.  But, that’s a different story for a different time.  Suffice it to say, as I sat in front of my computer monitor and watched what was transpiring right before my eyes, I was, at once, mortified and relieved.  Relieved because now, finally, I get it.  I understand how difficult eradicating bullying is and will continue to be until we all get a much better grasp on exactly what’s going on.
  • We simply must figure out an effective way to compel school administrators to stop turning a blind eye to bullying situations, to stop treating instances and reports of bullying as insignificant events.  That’s mandatory!  Someone on the facebook blog page reported having a teacher tell him, once, that she didn’t “…get paid enough money to deal with it”.  Really?  That teacher should’ve lost her job immediately and never been allowed to teach again.  Many schools and school districts now have stringent anti-bullying policies in place.  Stringent anti-bullying policies are 100% useless unless they are properly enforced.

These things are not going to sudden put an end to the bullying/teen suicide cycle that we’re in.  However, I feel like this represents a good starting point.  Suicide is preventable.  We need to do more.  Much more.

Sadly, all of our efforts won’t bring Trae Schumaker back to his loving and grieving family and friends.  We can make a difference and prevent the next one from happening, though.  To do that, however, we need to stop shaking our collective heads, stop talking about how (insert your own adjective) it is, and start taking much more definite and direct action.  I’m not comfortable with knowing that suicide is now the #1 cause of injury deaths, and you shouldn’t be, either.

Rest in peace, young Trae Schumaker.  I hope you’re at peace, now.  To his family and friends, I send my deepest, most heartfelt condolences.

****SUICIDE IS PREVENTABLE!!!  IF YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW, IS IN CRISIS, SEEK HELP!!!****

Suicide Prevention

The Trevor Project

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Enough is Enough: the blog page

Brandon Elizares, 16, Bullied to Suicide

with one comment


The numbers just keep adding on.  On June 2nd, we lost yet another LGBT teen to suicide.  And, once again, it was to escape the bullying he had been enduring.

According to 16-year-old Brandon Elizares’ mother, he had been bullied for the past two years because he didn’t want to be in the closet.  Wanting to be who he was, with no apologies, cost him his life.  In a television interview, Zachalyn Elizares said:
“He got bullied simply for being gay,” Elizares said. “He’s been threatened to be stabbed. He’s been threatened to be set on fire.”
Elizares said the El Paso Independent school district did everything it could to help solve the problem.
“They’ve reprimanded several kids and they did everything that they could,” Elizares said.
Elizares said that Brandon’s friends told her that there was an incident on Friday at school where someone insulted her son and planned to fight him the next week.

How many more of these young lives will have to be lost before people finally stand up and say, “Enough is enough!!??  Brandon should be preparing for his summer vacation…maybe even a summer job.  Or, perhaps planning to event the 5-day long El Paso Pride festivities.  Instead, his family had to plan his funeral.  I don’t know about you, but my blood boils now when I read, and write, about another teen suicide.

In just the past two weeks alone, we’ve seen instance after instance where prominent public figures have made it crystal clear that they have no desire to live on the same planet with someone who’s from the LGBT community.  Much more often than not, their bigotry is rooted in religion.  Does their reckless, bigoted vitriol have an effect on young minds?  Of course it does.  I have a friend whose 15-year-old son spews anti-gay rhetoric, in accordance to the Bible, at her regularly and mocks her for her efforts in the fight for equality and anti-bullying campaign.  His views are shaped by a father who is, himself, a deep-rooted Bible thumper.  The world was introduced to Caiden Cowger last week and his ridiculous video about the President turning young people gay.  Caiden is 14.  Hatred and intolerance is NOT something we’re born with.  It’s a taught and learned behavior.  The ones who bully kids they perceive to be LGBT, real or imagined, learned that level of intolerance from somebody else.  Typically, they learn it from adults, but not exclusively.

“My son had every right to live his live the way that he wanted to, without having to fear that people would call him names or threaten to beat him up,” – Zachalyn Enizares

It’s sad that in the year 2012, we’re still seeing the type of mind-numbing hatred, intolerance, and bigotry that I saw when I was a young boy.  That was during the height of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s.  It’s sad that day after day after day, we’re seeing these young people end their own lives because someone else decided that they weren’t fit to exist.  To be sure, my aforementioned friend’s son finds it humorous that LGBT teens are killing themselves.  How will a person justify that when their time comes to stand before God to be judged? It’s sad that we, as a people, are not evolving.

Brandon Enizares should be preparing for his summer vacation.  He’s not.  Two years of relentless bullying because of his sexuality was more than he could handle.  For all of our efforts to bring about changes in our culture, one that allows people to live happily just as they are, much more needs to be done.

It was reported that the school officials at Andres High School in El Paso, where Brandon was a student, took bullying very seriously and did everything they could to prevent it.  They are to be commended.  Still, more needs to be done.  More needs to be done in the homes.  More needs to be done in the religious sector.  More needs to be done in the political arena.  The time has come for dramatic changes in our collective consciousness.  We need more love and less hate.  We need more acceptance and less intolerance.  We need these changes firmly in place before we can start seeing the teen suicide rate begin to come down.  And, we need these changes to begin yesterday.

May you rest in peace, Brandon.

Memorial Day and Remembering

leave a comment »


The Memorial Day holiday is meant to reflect upon and honor those brave young men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our country.  That’s not to be taken lightly.  Whereas we here in America still have fight amongst ourselves for freedoms that are supposedly guaranteed to us, if we didn’t have these brave warriors fighting for us on the international stage, we wouldn’t even have the freedoms that we do enjoy.

The Memorial Day holiday, for me at least, is also a time to reflect upon the far-too-many young lives we’ve lost in another war.  A war that’s still raging.  The war against our teens, and especially our LGBT teens.  Whether it’s because of suicide or from violence against them, whether they’re straight or LGBT, or even perceived as LGBT, the loss of life of a young person to this war is a blackeye on the face of our society.
This is a senseless, and needless, war, to be sure.  It’s a war that could end on a dime if the ones waging the war would simple learn acceptance rather than hatred and intolerance.  The losses continue at a staggering pace, and little more than lip service seems to be going on to prevent it from reoccurring.  That makes this a very deadly and dangerous war, indeed.
I remember as far back as my first year out of high school.  That was the very first time I encountered a teen suicide.  He was an underclassman, sophomore if my memory serves me right.  I didn’t know him, personally.  However, a lot of my friends did.  I saw the devastating effect it had on them.  I went to the wake with them.  The devastation on his parents’ faces is permanently etched into my mind.  That event changed me forever.
I remember back to my own failed suicide attempt(s).  I remember waking up in ICU and looking at the board that displayed the names of the people in my particular ward.  There were two of us.  When I saw the second name, I had to do a double take.  Iknew that name.  My mind raced, even through the grogginess of the anesthesia.  I glanced over to the person in the other bed, and sure enough, it was who I thought it was.  I’d known him when he was younger: 13-14.  He was my best friend’s neighbor and friends with my best friend’s younger brother.  And, he was very obviously gay.  It exuded from him, even as a young teen.  Now, he was 19.  I worked up the energy to ask him, with alarm, “what are you doing here!?”  His response gave me chills.

“I’m here for the same reason you’re here:  I tried to kill myself.”

Even as I lied in a hospital bed recovering from my own failed suicide attempt, I was heartbroken that this young man had found life as a young LGBT teen so unbearable that he thought suicide was the only way out.  I prodded for more of an explanation.  I revealed to him that I knew when he was 13 that he was gay.  He revealed that he realized it when he was even younger.  He obliged my prodding.

“My whole family disowned me when I finally came out of the closet.  My dad said he wished I was dead.  I just couldn’t handle it anymore.  I’m only 19!!, and I have no family!”

I cried with him.  And, it was there that the seeds were sown for doing something to make a difference.  Nobody should have to go through what he was going through.  No young person should have to feel that death was better than dealing with the negativity that is cast upon being gay or lesbian.

I remember, even at an earlier age, having a friend who was slightly younger than myself.  He was very flamboyantly gay, which was a white elephant back in that day.  I remember a phone conversation where he revealed to me his inner feelings:

If I could take a ‘straight pill’ tomorrow, I would.  Being gay is just too hard.  I’m tired of being shit on everyday.  My dad acts like I don’t even exist!

Sadly, neither of them are with us today.

Today, while we remember those brave young men and women who put on military uniforms and go to combat and paid the ultimate price for our nation’s freedom, let’s also remember the brave young men and women who put on their own “uniforms” and go to battle daily against a society that routinely engages them in a different kind of battle.  Different, but no less volatile.

Today, we remember the hoards of young people who have lost their lives simply because a society can’t find it in their hearts to accept rather than hate.  Whether their demise came from their own hands, or at the hands of someone, the result is the same:  they are all casualties of a war that should not even be being fought.

To the young men and women who gave their lives protecting our country, thank you.  We honor you today and everyday.

To the young people who’s lives were cut short because of a society that made your lives unbearable, thank you for touching our lives.  We love, honor, and miss you today and every single day.

His Friends Called Him Corey: Jay’Corey Jones, 17, Death by Suicide

with one comment


Sunday night, 17-year-old, Jay’Corey Jones, “Corey” to his friends, ended his life in Rochester, MN.  According to his father, he had been bullied for a very long time because of his sexual orientation.  That bullying lead to depression.  And, like many before him, that combination proved to be deadly.

According to the news report, in which Corey’s father, JayBocka Strader was very candid and forthcoming about the life of his son, everything that could be done was being done.  His single-parent father was very supportive of his son.  Corey had friends who loved him.  He was even briefly involved with his school’s Gay/Straight Alliance.  He was out and proud.  He wanted to make a stand for gay rights.  Unfortunately, that put him in the cross hairs for bullies.  And, once again, rather than seeing all of the positives going on in his life, the negative of being bullied proved too much for him to handle.

Still reeling from the report of a 16-year-old girl who ended her life just a few hours ago right here in Maryland (much too early for any details), I’m left to wonder “what are we not doing enough of!?”  We’re very obviously missing a beat somewhere, somehow.  Yes, we know about the problem with bullying and how it needs to be dealt with on a much different level than it is today.  Yes, we have an idea of the mental health issues involved with many of the teen suicides.  Whether they’re being properly addressed, however, is a question mark.

Somehow, these teens who give up on their young lives are seeing a world that’s so dark, so bleak for them, they see no point in going on.  And, that’s an issue that we, as adults, must find a way to figure out so that we can deal with it.

In a case of an LGBT teen, as Corey was, it’s really not too hard to see where their vision of a too-bleak world comes from.  The bullying they endure from their peers at school and in cyberspace is only exacerbated by the bullying they see from adults in the news and on the Internet.  Bullying directed specifically at the LGBT community.  They’re hearing the message from politicians and so-called religious leaders that their lives are invalid.  That their feelings are moot.  They’re seeing and hearing, as hate-filled, intolerant politician after hate-filled, intolerant politician attempt to legislate their own bigotry, that the bullies they deal with in school are only a mirror-image of what they perceive as the real world.  As states like North Carolina legislates hate and discrimination, the message is driven home that they are second-class citizens, that their lives will always be inconsequential, that there are people in power who don’t care a bit if they end their life.  They hear that.  They see that.  And, guess what?  So do the ones who do the bullying.  They feel vindicated in their actions because they, too, see and hear that same message.

Make no mistake:  no one should ever allow someone else define who they are.  It doesn’t matter if “they” hate you.  That’s their burden to carry.  What’s important is loving yourself, first and foremost.  However, that is also a very difficult message to get across to an already fragile teen.  Jamie Hubley had an amazing, very loving and supportive family.  He had incredible friends who still adore him.  Yet, he couldn’t see past the negatives of life long enough to wrap that warm blanket of support around himself.  Smart money says that that is the issue in many of these tragic events.  That was the issue with Corey Jones.

So, sadly, we say goodbye to yet another young person.  A young person who will never get to know just how good life could’ve been.  Corey, I wish things could’ve been different for you.  And, to his friends and family, I wish you love and support during this incredibly trying time.

More Questions Than Answers

leave a comment »


There’s a war waging in our country and, to be sure, around the world.

On one side of the battlefield are people with strongly held, if misguided, religious and political beliefs that leads, both directly and indirectly, to casualties.  They are the aggressors.  Their rhetoric creates the environment of hate and intolerance that allows young people to feel it’s okay to be hateful, intolerant, mean, and outright (at times) violent to other young people whom they deem to be different.

On the other side is a group of people, a segment of our population, who want nothing more than to be accepted simply for who they are, to be able to love whomever theirheart falls in love with, and to an equal opportunity to live their lives to the fullest extent without repudiation.    That doesn’t seem to be asking for too much.

Why is it so hard for people to simply tend to their own lives and allow others to live THEIR own lives?


How is it that people who profess to be Christians, that is to say “followers of Christ”, can be so full of hatred and intolerance…be so bitter and spiteful?


What does it say about us, as a people, that we continually elect people to “govern” us who are mean-spirited, narrow-minded, or intolerant?


Why is it that NO ONE is ever held accountable for the suicide death of someone who was so severely traumatized by the hatred and intolerance, BULLIED so badly, that they felt no other way to end it than to end their very existence? 


How does a person even BEGIN to blame the victim for feeling such a sense of hopeless- and helplessness that (s)he felt that the only way out was to end their life?


WHAT KIND OF PERSON, let alone a person of power and influence, chooses to protect the one(s) who bully as opposed to the victim(s)?


I could go on and on, ad nauseum.  Why?  Because there are far more questions than answers.  To get to the root of this issue, however, these are just some of the questions that begs to be answered.  Forget about religious beliefs or politics beliefs that are steeped in religion.  The fact of the matter is that people as young as 10-years-old are ending their young lives not only because they are being bullied beyond their threshold of tolerance, they are also getting the sense that no one can or will help them.  In countless comments, replies, and even personal emails, I’m told, by parents or adults who survived the bullying!, of situations where the went through all the proper channels, and no one did anything about it!  How is that possible?  How is it possible that people, from school administrators, to religious leaders, to politicians are letting these young people die without alarm?

Let me be clear:  I am not referring to all Christians when I say that they, with their hatred and intolerance, have a role to play in this madness.  I am fully aware that there are true Christians, that is to say true followers of Christ, who are as alarmed as anyone to see what’s going on with the bullying and teen suicides…and, in particular, the bullying and teen suicides of the LGBT youth.  Incredibly, even Pat Robertson went on record just last week for saying that the bullying of LGBT youth is wrong and should stop, that Christians are supposed to be about love and acceptance, not hatred and intolerance.  Wonder how many of them heard him?

Rev. Pat Robertson could not have been clearer during his 700 Club’s question and answer period – bullying gay and lesbian students is wrong.
Roberston was asked by a viewer named Douglas: “What would you say to a school that has gay and LGBT (sic) students being bullied by the Christian kids?”
Robertson actually seems a bit shocked by the question, and answered: “Well I think that’s terrible. Christians shouldn’t do that… I mean.. lesbian, gay, transgender, blah blah blah, I mean.. Christians shouldn’t do that. They ought to act in love.”
He continued: “You may disagree, you may think these practices are an abomination, you can think all sorts of things, but you need to love, and reach out to these kids in love.” To which his co-host repled: “Absolutely. Bullying is wrong – period.”
Which got an “Amen” from Robertson.

Before we can change the culture that’s creating the atmosphere of hatemongering, which is leading directly to the suicides of young people around the world at an unbelievable rate (and, statistically, two more teens have committed suicide just since I started writing this article), we have to change the way people think.  And, to change the way people think, we must change what is taught!  God is love.  Period. (1John 4:8) And, NO politicians personal and/or religious beliefs are more important than human life.  Period.