New York Needs To Make Tougher Laws Against Bullying [Update]
UPDATE: There will be a special Vigil/Memorial Walk in honor of Jamey Rodermeyer on Sunday evening (9/25) at 8pm. It starts on Allen St. between Franklin and Main. Public welcome.
It is a problem that doesn't seem to be going away. As a matter of fact, it's gotten terribly worse. Bullying has been an issue in schools since the beginning of time. Now that we are in the "Cyber" age, Cyber-Bullying has rapidly grown to be a world wide problem. It not only affects kids, but adults also have become victims. Over the weekend, a young man took his own life after what appears to be repeated assaults on line and in person.Jamey Rodemeyer seems to have been...just a great great kid. This story is one that is almost too hard to even read.
The E-SUV Effect
In my opinion, verbal assaults are worse than physical. We all know that 'the pen is mightier than the sword." In today's day and age people have gotten very brave. To be perfectly honest, the cowards are now becoming bold. I call it the E- SUV effect. The same way that you see drivers of larger vehicles become more aggressive on the road with the thinking that they are "safer" in a big vehicle. How many times have you been cut off by someone like this? How about when it snows? You can watch people fly past you in their SUV. They think that because they have a 4x4 they are invincible to the dangers of driving like a "D Bag" in a snow storm. The same happens online. People think because they can be anonymous or because they are not face to face, they can say what they want and hurt other's feelings and flat out be a real prick to someone with no fear of consequences.
Nobody Is Immune
I can't tell you how many times I personally have fielded calls or e-mails or texts or I.M's or tweets etc...that are not only personally derogatory and mean but are sort of on the insane side. People can really be mean and hurtful over the smallest issue or for no reason other than they just have low self esteem and only feel better about themselves when they send one of these cruel messages. After a while it truly wears you down. Can you imagine what kids go through these days. If you even spent one day in high school I am certain that you have seen some bullying. Where does it stop? The days of "meet you at the flagpole after school" mentality are gone. Kids often don't even know who they are being attacked by. They can't go after the bully and "punch them in the nose."
A Life Time Of Depression
As I have said on air and in my previous posts I know women who even today have issues in their self esteem because of what they went through in high school It stays with you forever. Some of these women still seek counseling to help get over the criticisms they took. As we saw this past weekend, sometimes it becomes too much to handle. I have no words that can help Jamey Rodemeyer's family get through this tough time. Even after losing some people that meant the world to me, I can't come up with an answer to the question "WHY?" Why did this happen? What makes people so hateful? I doubt we can answer that in one post. But, I think that we as a society can ask our leaders to come up with Laws and penalties to crack down on this.
With today's technologies, Law Enforcement can track down a computer that generated emails and texts etc. We need to find those small minded cowards that send these attacks out and make them pay for their actions. Taking a kids computer away is not enough. I hate to say it, but if you are "strong" enough to attack a kid like Jamey you are strong enough to face what ever punishment is coming your way. A week in prison? A year? I am not sure exactly what the all too politically correct courts would have in store. My point is that until we have something that scares these people enough, Cyber Bullying will only get worse. My deepest sympathies are with the Rodemeyer family and Jamey's friends. The video below is very well done. I never met Jamey and after watching this, I can't help but feel like I wish I had met him.