Friday, October 1, 2010

Tyler Clementi’s Suicide: Another warning sign our youth are in trouble

The New York Times:   It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
That night, the authorities say, theRutgers University student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet.
And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast — Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist — jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.
The Sept. 22 death, details of which the authorities disclosed on Wednesday, was the latest by a young American that followed the online posting of hurtful material. The news came on the same day that Rutgers kicked off a two-year, campuswide project to teach the importance of civility, with special attention to the use and abuse of new technology. [MORE]
As time passes the focus of Tyler Clementi’s suicide will no doubt become homophobia. Unfortunately, there is so much darker stuff going on in this tragic episode.  For starters, how is it possible to two young people (Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei) could make it to 18 years of age without the most rudiment sense of empathy or even a basic respect for privacy? The two students thought watching someone’s intimate sexual contact was a fun prank rather than a creepy perverted act of voyeurism.

There is something terribly wrong with some of the children of today.  It is almost like they have no compassion for anyone other than themselves.  Think back to that video where that young man Darrion Albert was killed in a street fight.  Those teens savagely tore into each other without any regard for the damage they were inflicting on another human being.

I think back to my own youth.  I did all the naughty things little boys do, fights, pranks and even some bullying.  However, there was something inside me that kept me from going to where children go today.  What that something was, I do not know. Maybe it was fear of my parent’s retribution or perhaps it was the seeds of the Golden Rule implanted by my church.  Whatever the case,  the knowledge that I was harming another human being would stop me from fighting to the death, playing a prank that destroyed someone’s soul or bullying someone to the point of madness.

Tyler Clementi himself makes me wonder.  I understand what happened to him was humiliating to the nth degree. However, was it really so damaging that he needed to end his life? Why didn’t the ideas of dropping out or transferring from Rutgers occur to him?  What was it that made Clementi feel his live was damaged beyond the point of recovery?

Whatever the answers are, I think it is beyond time we all began to focus on what our current society is doing to our children. I fear something is terribly amiss.


Lisa said...

I'm afraid you are so right Clifton. Something is amiss with many of today's youth, in my opinion. This situation is beyond tragic. I also agree, I don't think its just about homophobia. The roommate was CLEARLY just being a d-bag in making fun of his roommate and wanting to appear cool by his Twitter followers. At least, that is the impression I got when I read the article. He should be ashamed (I'm sure he is now) and I hope other kids learn from this. Horrible and senseless, and shameful.

Just a conservative girl said...

Sadly, kids don't seem to understand the dangers involved in all this technology. How many times you hear about these girls sending nude pictures of themselves to a "boyfriend" that they probably barely know and have little chance of having a lifelong relationship with. These pictures come back and haunt them later.

I guess one possibility is that the poor boy was afraid to tell his family and couldn't face it. From what I understand that is something that is very difficult for gays. I know I would be mortified if I thought some stranger video tapped me having sex. Poor boy, his family must be devastated. said...

I think we can find the answer in the popularity of violent video games, hyper-sexual music videos and MTV, television shows such as big brother, real life, and other reality tv that celebrates the person who can out connive and lie better than all of the others to "win", and parents who are children themselves, who think that being their children's "friend" is more important than being their authority figure. I'm sad to say, I think you are right. There is something quite wrong with the youth of today.

Angie Lee said...

What is wrong with these kids is that they lack a grounding in morality, not taught basic human decency but instead that self-gratification is the #1 goal. There is no sense of personal responsibility and accountability instilled in them and any effort parents might make to discipline them early in life for what will eventually turn into antisocial behavior is nixed by a highly meddlesome state in the form of CPS.

Add to that the fact that in today's "ME" society that must defend all "tender sensibilities" at any cost (i.e., no such thing as "failure" or "losing" when schools practice "deferred success" rather than handing out earned/deserved F's, awarding trophies to losers and penalizing those who actually do win), and these kids are not prepared by any stretch of the imagination for dealing with the ups and downs that life naturally deals out to each and every one of us.

Instead, they hand out psychiatric meds like candy and pretend that solves the problem when it only makes it worse by eliminating any drive, creativity, or SPUNK that will lead the next generation to its rightful place in society.

Janie Lynn said...

Oh how I love technology. I love the internet, I love email and I love my iphone. But I am afraid that kids being raised with all these impersonal forms of communication are being led a few steps away from basic humanity and human one on one interaction. Some save that one on one for 'hooking up' and making out but otherwise preferring to communicate electronically. I truly believe we are raising a generation in danger of losing the ability to communicate personnally.
Which leads to a lack of interpersonal skills and incredibly important things like empathy. This incident is haunting me, what are our kids turning into!?? It is so disturbing.

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