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BrooklynRider
April 22nd, 2009, 12:43 AM
At vigil for Jaheem, mother weeps over his suicide

Family says 11-year-old was bullied at elementary school

By CHRISTIAN BOONE (http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2009/04/21/mailto:cboone@ajc.com), KATIE LESLIE (http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2009/04/21/mailto:kleslie@ajc.com)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A crowd of about 60 gathered Tuesday night at the DeKalb home of Jaheem Herrera to remember the fifth-grader who committed suicide last week. The 11-year-old boy hanged himself at his home after — according to his family — relentless bullying at Dunaire Elementary School.

Masika Bermudez, the boy’s mother, spoke briefly at the vigil that started about 7 p.m.

After a short prayer, Bermudez told friends and parents to make sure their children understand that whatever problems they have “don’t be afraid to talk to your mother.”
As Bermudez spoke, she clung to two daughters — Ny’irah, 7 and Yerralis, 10. Yerralis discovered her brother’s body last Thursday after school.

“His sister was screaming, ‘Get him down, get him down,’” said Norman Keene, Jaheem’s stepfather.

When Keene got to the room, he saw Yerralis holding her brother, trying to remove the pressure of the noose her brother had fashioned with a fabric belt.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Jennifer Errion, assistant director of student support services, prevention-intervention for DeKalb schools.

DeKalb County schools have programs in place to combat the types of bullying and violence that may have led to Jaheem’s death, but a Errion acknowledged the prevention program is “not a vaccine.”
Two years ago, DeKalb public schools adopted an anti-bullying program called “No Place for Hate,” she said. The program, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, helps train faculty and students on accepting differences, promoting diversity and inclusion.

“We’ve created the idea that bullying is a rite of passage, and I don’t think it is,” said Errion.

At the vigil, the mother of Jaheem’s best friend relayed a story from Jaheem’s last day.

“Jaheem asked if anyone would miss him if he wasn’t here,” said Alice Brown, mother of Jaheem’s 10-year-old classmate A.J. “[A.J.] told him ‘He was his friend and he would miss him.’ “
Keene said the family knew the boy was a target of bullies, but until his death they didn’t understand the scope.

“They called him gay and a snitch,” his stepfather said. “All the time they’d call him this.”

Earlier this month the suicide of a Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover — who suffered taunts that he was gay — attracted national attention.

He was also 11. His mother found him hanging from an extension cord in the family’s home.

Bermudez also said her son was being bullied at school. She said she had complained to the school.

School officials won’t discuss allegations that bullying may have contributed to the boy’s suicide. Davis said Tuesday morning that officials are legally unable to comment on student-related records, such as whether the school had received complaints that Jaheem was being bullied.

The family has hired an attorney.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2009/04/21/boy_suicide_bullying_decatur.html

BrooklynRider
April 22nd, 2009, 12:52 AM
POSTED: APRIL 16, 2009 A Parent's Worst Nightmare: The Real Story Behind Carl Walker-Hoover's Suicide

Wendy L. Wilson

http://www.wirednewyork.com/dyn/asset.image/00_090415/carlwalkerhoover/Carl-Walker-Hoover-art.jpg Sirdeaner Walker, 44, is ferociously protective of her four children. So when her 11-year-old son Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover complained to her last September of being bullied by students at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts, for "acting gay," she did something about it. She spoke to his principal, teachers and guidance counselor and became more active in the Parent Teachers Organization. But the teasing and threats continued and Carl started acting out in school, becoming increasingly fearful and felt even more alienated.

On Monday, April 6, everyone learned just how serious the situation had become. Walker found her little boy with an extension cord wrapped around his neck, hanging from the third floor rafter of their home. Peter J. Daboul, chairman of the Board for New Leadership Charter School, released a statement shortly after Carl's death saying, "I plan to initiate an investigation into the facts and the allegations to ensure that the school responded in an appropriate manner." School officials did not respond to our calls for comment, but the school has sponsored a carnation drive and a walk in Carl's honor.

In the letter left behind for his mother, Carl explained that he simply couldn't take it anymore. He apologized, expressing his love for his family and bequeathing his Pokéman cards to his little brother—a sign of his youth but an even bigger indication of the senselessness of this act. Approximately 4,500 lives are lost every year as suicide has become the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just a few days shy of Carl's twelfth birthday (April 17), his mother is speaking out. Astonishingly calm and with great resolve, Sirdeaner Walker spoke to ESSENCE.com about what she believes the school did wrong, Carl's final days and the question that will forever loom in her mind—why?

ESSENCE.COM: What was your son like?
SIRDEANER WALKER: He loved to go to school and he loved to learn. I always have my kids involved in different activities. Carl was a Boy Scout, he played on the 5A football team, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center basketball team and the Holy Name soccer team. He was pretty athletic. Some of the kids would tease him about not being that good at basketball or football, but I told Carl as long as you enjoyed the sport, it doesn't matter what they say. Just go out there and have fun. And that's what he tried to do.

ESSENCE.COM: When was the first time he came to you and said, Mom, I'm having some problems at school?
WALKER: It was very early on in the school year. He told me that he was being called names and the kids were saying, "You're gay; you act like a girl." I never raised him to fight or hit back. I talked to his teacher to get to the bottom of it. I told Carl he was going to have to give his teacher the names [of the kids] but he was so afraid because he didn't want to be labeled as a snitch, and if they were punished, they would come back at him.

ESSENCE.COM: You've received a lot of support from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Do you believe Carl was struggling with his sexuality?
WALKER: No, there was no indication of that. Carl was just 11 years old. I don't even think he reached puberty yet. His voice hadn't started to change. This is bigger than a gay issue. In fact, I'm worried about one of Carl's friends who is being picked on as well because she's overweight. That's why it's bigger than a gay issue. These kids will tease you over anything.

ESSENCE.COM: At what point did you go to the administration and ask for help?
WALKER: It was around October last year when we started to see a change in his behavior. We had weekly appointments with the guidance counselor and she set up a grid so each teacher could report on his behavior. Every time I approached his teachers when there was a problem, I told them we can come up with a plan; I will punish him at home. He really liked the Nintendo DS, so I started taking away things that he really liked until I started to see some improvement in school. About a month ago, I got a call from the school and they told me that he was being disruptive in class. When I asked Carl about it he said there was a sixth-grade gang that threatened to kill him and beat him up and that he was scared.


ESSENCE.COM: What happened on the day Carl died?
WALKER: Usually I drive Carl to the bus stop, but that morning I had an early conference call at work. When I got home that evening, he was sitting on the couch with his backpack. He has a big, rolling backpack that apparently knocked into a TV stand in his classroom that day. Carl told me that the TV [accidently] hit a student and she went off saying, "I'm going to kill you." And that's how it started. Carl came home very upset thinking he was going to be suspended. I started making supper and then he just went upstairs. I called his name and he didn't answer me. I went up to get him and that's when I found him.

ESSENCE.COM: You decided to donate his eyes and heart valve. Why did you make that decision?
WALKER: I thought about Carl, and he was always helping people. Last Fourth of July, we had a big cookout and Carl got hurt riding his bike. I asked him why he wasn't wearing his helmet. My relatives told me he had given his helmet to his cousin to wear. So when it came to making the organ donation, it wasn't a hard decision at all because that's the type of kid he was. I know that's what he would've wanted me to do.

ESSENCE.COM: There were hundreds of people who came out to Carl's funeral. What did that mean to you?
WALKER: I just felt so good. It was a celebration of his life. I knew that if God brought me through breast cancer, he will bring me through this and that's what I hold on to. I know that God has something good planned through all this. I know Carl loved the Lord. I know that he loved his life.

ESSENCE.COM: What are you hoping will come from Carl's passing?
WALKER: Eventually I want to study the policies on bullying for charter schools in Springfield. I'm concerned because the school operates through a board of directors. The Department of Education should have control over charter schools. Right now it seems like everybody is following their own guidelines.

Ninjahedge
April 22nd, 2009, 09:49 AM
Gay had nothing to do with it other than calling someone gay in todays society is still seen, in MANY areas, as an insult.

Hell, it rarely means that you are homosexual anymore. It is more along the line of something that is seen as different or unapproved.

When someone says "I went to this, but it was gay". Does that mean that there were male-male or female-female couples hanging out? No. It just means they did not like it.

Is this a good thing? No. It means that "gay" can mean a general negative connotation, even amongst children who do not know their weiner can be used for more than pissing.

The kid was also called out as "playing like a girl" and other typical insults.

This is typical.

The one thing my mother told me when I was having problems in 4th grade (trust me, it was hell), was that if it EVER got bad enough that I could not stand it, to just come home. I had permission to walk out of class and go to the principal or come home and we would deal with it later.


I never did, but having that option just made me try harder and stick it out. It never made it easier.

It felt like I was fighting to keep going, and thankfully I had enough strength to keep doing that all through my life (although, ironically, I find it harder as I get older sometimes, even though it is MUCH easier than when I was a kid......).

These kids need an anchor. They will get teased and beat up. Humans do that, and they will never stop no matter how much you try and regulate them. I am not saying schools should stop trying to intervene, but thinking they can stop it is not realistic.

One thing though, they need to have the power to act. In our society if a teacher yells at a student they can be brought up on criminal charges. How are they going to get a kid to stop bullying if "telling your parents" has absolutely no sway over them (mostly due to the fact that the parents either do nothing about it OR they blindly support their pugalistic peon).

I am not asking for the yardstick to be brought back, but it might be a good idea to change the way we go about these things to help prevent these kids from quitting life.

:(

lofter1
April 22nd, 2009, 11:15 AM
It must be considered what teasing / bullying can do to the psyche of a child who feels unmoored due to the messages a society sends out, both spoken and unspoken.

In all honesty very few parents are going to prepare a child to accept and understand their sexuality, especially if it differs from the so-called "norm". Some parents come to accept it after an offspring comes to the point of self-realization later in life. But when the child is at the still-tender age of 11 most parents are barely thinking of them in terms of sexuality.

If a kid at that age is starting to come to the realization of same-sex identity / sexual attraction then there are very few who would be able to sift through all the stuff in their brain that would allow them to discuss it in any way -- let alone with a parent.

BrooklynRider
April 22nd, 2009, 12:13 PM
Gay had nothing to do with it other than calling someone gay in todays society is still seen, in MANY areas, as an insult.
:(

That is your rationalized answer. These two kids killed themselves because "gay" is demonized and they had no reasonable defense against this bullying.

I think you got this one WAY wrong, Ninja.

Jasonik
April 22nd, 2009, 02:15 PM
Maybe I'm naive, but treating kids like precious breakable little bundles of innocence -- or conversely -- troubled, out of control, malicious demons misses the point of childhood.

Becoming socialized means defending oneself just as much as it means becoming part of the group. Self respect and the corollary respect from one's peers must (as impolitic as it is to admit) be won through verbal and physical conflict i.e., schoolyard scuffles.

It may be cliched to tell a child to "stand up for yourself", especially when the cause of self doubt for the child may be -- and likely is -- beyond the capacity of the parent to grasp, but really what else is there?

The problem comes when the culture of schools and play-dates and unrelenting safety and politeness restricts the good (rule-following) kids from asserting themselves against the bullies and must appeal to an authority figure to mediate the situation. And what kid is going to want to start talking about something as confusing and nascent as sexual orientation? And even if they were to, the message they would be given would be that "you're different, but they need to respect that difference - and we're here to help", like that'll help the child...

I'm not arguing that closeting is good, it just might be the natural order of things - owing to the vagaries of the social order of kids and their confidence building experiences which are largely private, individual, and unique. No one has an easy time of growing up, yet no one could do it for you, just as parents and teachers can't today -- no matter their good intentions or sensitivities.

Here is a piece (http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/index.php/2009/04/20/how-things-change-out-from-under-us/) I just read about the apparently counterproductive sanitizing of largely harmless childhood "violence."

Ninjahedge
April 22nd, 2009, 02:21 PM
That is your rationalized answer. These two kids killed themselves because "gay" is demonized and they had no reasonable defense against this bullying.

I was called everything under the sun growing up. In 5th grade every day would be a fight outside the school, with me at the receiving end.

The things kids call you are things they call to hurt you. "girly", "snitch", "scrawny", "stupid", "gay", "fat", "ugly" or even generic things like "loser".

The kid does not have to BE any of them for the insult to hurt. They could have called him "purple" and it still would have hurt.

The reason why "gay" seems to work at that level is probably from something similar to what Lofter was saying. There is an inherent confusion to the whole setup, whether they actually feel that way or not.

They were taught about sex in Health class, but still have not really felt lust (barring a genetic/hormonal abnormality) or any real sexual drive akin to the levels we all felt later in life.

When something makes you feel uncomfortable, it is a prime target for abuse. Kids are trying to become the Alphas in their own little worlds and this happens all the way up and down the line.

Hell, I was near the bottom of that ladder and I still had others down there trying to step over me to somehow ingratiate themselves to other groups and gain rank.

So that is how I saw it when I went through it.

And, BTW, when you grow up walking home every day thinking about "quitting", you are not surprised when you hear of other kids that actually did.


I think you got this one WAY wrong, Ninja.

How? I think you are putting too much weight behind "gay".

Fabrizio
April 22nd, 2009, 02:26 PM
We were little hoodlums as kids... just incredibly mean. The word gay wasn't popular yet... the word in usage was "fag"... I guess before that, the word was sissy. I'd bet anything the teasing was worse back then. But kids could be also be punished on the spot... teachers could slap you and nuns could practically beat you.

I agree with Jasoniks post... unfortunately/fortunately kids have just got to learn how to get through this stuff.

---

scumonkey
April 22nd, 2009, 02:43 PM
How? I think you are putting too much weight behind "gay". I don't think so....you as a straight person (i'm supposing you are straight), would not have the same feelings of shame, or guilt inflicted upon you, as if you were actually gay.
You know it to be not true, and it's just some kids treating you like chit.
Actually being(or thinking you might be) gay, and having names like faggot, queer, sissy, etc., endlessly hurled at you, can be much more devastating- and a lot more shameful and hurting.

BrooklynRider
April 22nd, 2009, 08:18 PM
If any one called those kids "niggers" or "kikes", there would have been protests and intervention.

eddhead
April 23rd, 2009, 08:57 AM
... and I think their still may and rightfully so.

And I do not agree with the the premise that kids need to "grow up tougher". That is a lot of weight for an 11 year old to carry on, and I suspect that many of those who do carry it with them for an extended part of their adult lives.

I am convinced Kids who are picked on that consistently grow up with identity and self-esteem issues that prevail throughout much of their lives. Many of them become socially dysfunctional and withdrawn. They may have successful careers, but they interact poorly.

Of course that diagnosis does not apply to everyone. But 11 year olds are kids and lack the mental capacity and esteem to lack with that crap. That is why we have to deal with issues Columbine and the like.

Ninjahedge
April 23rd, 2009, 09:15 AM
We were little hoodlums as kids... just incredibly mean. The word gay wasn't popular yet... the word in usage was "fag"... I guess before that, the word was sissy. I'd bet anything the teasing was worse back then. But kids could be also be punished on the spot... teachers could slap you and nuns could practically beat you.

We never had THAT, but teachers were not afraid to send you to the principals office. That and most parents believed what the teachers said and DICIPLINED their children rather than shifting the blame back on teh system.

Do you believe a friend of mine was told that she could not send a certain child to the principals office so often because their parents complained? The kid was a little jerk, but yet she had a quota, and the kids quickly find out about this stuff and push their limits....


I agree with Jasoniks post... unfortunately/fortunately kids have just got to learn how to get through this stuff.

---

I think the key is to let them know that there is support available for them.

That, and the fact that my parents WERE in touch with me, made all the difference. Without them, I don't know.

Ninjahedge
April 23rd, 2009, 09:17 AM
If any one called those kids "niggers" or "kikes", there would have been protests and intervention.

No-one has said it is right for them to do this BR. And what makes you think that some of these kids aren't called racial and religious epithets? "Gay" is something that is just starting to be noticed (although it has been around for quite some time).

Ninjahedge
April 23rd, 2009, 09:31 AM
I don't think so....you as a straight person (i'm supposing you are straight), would not have the same feelings of shame, or guilt inflicted upon you, as if you were actually gay.

I didn't have ANY feelings for men or women at that age.

MOST kids don't. Are we all getting so old that we forget when we started looking at porn mags we snuck from daddys (or uncles) drawer and actually got a reaction other than knowing we were doing something wrong?

Pinning this directly on one insult is a little biased and most likely predicated on the people seeing the situation from their own perspective as a sexually aware adult placed in the head of the insulted child.

I am not saying that this word does not have more impact later in life as the child becomes more aware of who they are and new "feelings" awaken, bust saying a 10/11 year old is having sexual identity problems is a little premature....


You know it to be not true, and it's just some kids treating you like chit.

Actually being(or thinking you might be) gay, and having names like faggot, queer, sissy, etc., endlessly hurled at you, can be much more devastating- and a lot more shameful and hurting.

BTW, sissy has nothing really to do with gay other than the stereotypical gay male is seen AS a sissy (they obviously have not been around the Gyms in the village area.....). This is not helped by te media, or other deliberate adoptions of stereotypical "weaker sex" mannerisms by some wanting to broadcast this. (Since when does homosexuality require a lisp?)

But getting back to its increased potentcy, yes, when you start to develop it does have more bang to it. But people keep trying to put kids directly into the land of adulthood.

Calling his Pokemon collection gay would have probably hurt more than calling him gay directly (since that is a direct object that he valued).

Hell, I was afraid of being called a girl before I even knew what a girl really was! ;)

lofter1
April 23rd, 2009, 10:23 AM
I think the key is to let them know that there is support available for them.


That might work in pretty much every instance where a kid is feeling put upon -- aside from one where a kid has an inkling that his / her sexual orientation isn't like that of what he sees in the lives of everyone else around him.

Show me a parent who will tell an 11 year old that it's OK and positive that the kid is attracted to members of the same sex.

The law of the land is quite the contrary: Kids are encouraged & folks are thrilled and find it cute when little ones (pre-pubescents) show crushes / affection for acquaintances / playmates of the opposite sex. Not at all the case for kids of that age showing interest in their own. In fact, such interest / curiosity / attraction / affection is squelched, clamped down on, ridiculed and even punished.

The Message is clear: Don't be Queer

Ninjahedge
April 23rd, 2009, 11:24 AM
That might work in pretty much every instance where a kid is feeling put upon -- aside from one where a kid has an inkling that his / her sexual orientation isn't like that of what he sees in the lives of everyone else around him.

Show me a parent who will tell an 11 year old that it's OK and positive that the kid is attracted to members of the same sex.

Again, bringing up something that is probably not the issue.

Adults have this annoying habit of putting their own sexuality into the minds of kids and getting outraged at things that kids just can't see for themselves yet.


The law of the land is quite the contrary: Kids are encouraged & folks are thrilled and find it cute when little ones (pre-pubescents) show crushes / affection for acquaintances / playmates of the opposite sex.

Which has NOTHING to do with sexuality yet. Crushes are about as asexual as you can get, unless you think that parents think that 10 year olds doing the horizontal mambo is "cute"....


Not at all the case for kids of that age showing interest in their own. In fact, such interest / curiosity / attraction / affection is squelched, clamped down on, ridiculed and even punished.

Yes, but attaching the whole homosexual affiliation and weight to it is, geez I know there is a word for it (akin to anthropomophization, but in this case being adults projecting onto kids rather than animals or inanimate objects). It is trying to drag a serious issue into another to give it more creedence when they have VERY LITTLE IF ANYTHING to do with each other at that phase of development.

I am not saying either issue is less important, but babies have little to do with taxes, but yet you see people bringing them to rallys to lend strength to their claims on a more emotional level.

I doubt VERY seriously, that ANY of these 10/11 year old suicides had anything to do with questioning their sexuality. Their own feeling of overall worth and value is the big issue here, and whatever word gets bullies the most reaction will be used. Sexuality does not have to be the reason a kid is hurt when they are called "gay".


The Message is clear: Don't be Queer

Nope, it isn't clear.

The clear message is this:

"Don't be different."

Oh, and "Don't be better than me." (that one is a little less strait forward...)

lofter1
April 23rd, 2009, 11:34 AM
Sexual identity can start at a very young age.

What is a crush but part of socialization?

Kids learn how to interact based upon approval / disapproval.

Jasonik
April 23rd, 2009, 11:36 AM
Children aren't 'blank slates' and schools shouldn't be in the business of 'manufacturing egalitarian citizen-units' to populate society.

Everyone needs to have more more respect and reverence for the unique individual. This means sexuality, aptitude, interest, concentration, athleticism, etc.

That everyone is different must be celebrated and embraced or humanity will continue on its downward spiral.

Ninjahedge
April 23rd, 2009, 12:08 PM
Problem is Jason, this is something we have always had.

It is our whole pack instinct thing. We do not mind SMALL differences, but something too different (or worse yet, unfamiliar) will raise the hackles on the back of our social backs and cause us to lash out.

Everything from race, religion, or governmental policy!

So saying we need everyone to be accepting of everyone else is a nice thought, but I don't think that will be achievable simply by enforcing any social doctrine. I am afraid that this might require biological evolution (to put it nicely).

We do not need the Alpha Male anymore. We still seek them, hire them, promote them and elect them though.

Thank god we stopped humping legs.

Well, most of us did anyway.....

Jasonik
April 23rd, 2009, 12:32 PM
In a truly free society, the individual is the primary unit, not the collective.

The cultural trend has been toward collectivism -- groups -- and away from the individual. Social theory is rotting from the head under the influence of Marx. The path we are on is one of collectivism and ultimately authoritarianism.

Gay rights and dignity must be defended by emphasizing the primacy of the rights and dignity of the individual -- not some imaginary amorphous anonymizing (individually disempowering) collective interest group.

ZippyTheChimp
April 28th, 2009, 12:59 PM
So over the last century or so, as American society has "trended toward collectivism," the rights of gays and other groups have deteriorated.

Right?

Jasonik
April 28th, 2009, 03:55 PM
Who said that?

I (apparently unsuccessfully) meant to convey that the collectivist methodology and group identity components of the gay rights movement and agenda, though ostensibly defending the rights of individuals, actually undermine the cultural, political, and personal conception of the primacy of the unique individual by placing the (collectively defined) group and its interests philosophically prior.

While the collective activist effort has improved the treatment and situation of gays, etc., the reliance on group identity and interest based advocacy is, I argue, the source of the feeling of individual powerlessness that leads to the tragedies depicted in this thread.

Which is better in the long run for individual freedom, rights, and dignity -- not to mention society?

"I, as a unique individual, claim and defend as my birthright the unassailable freedom to peaceful and cooperative self determinism -- respect this same birthright in all others, and unapologetically expect and demand the same in return."or

"We're here, we're queer -- get used to it."


The latter being what Marxist thought would refer to as an Illusory Collectivity (http://www.crvp.org/book/Series03/III-7a/chapter_vi.htm), and below as a "social entity".


I and We

The Ego is the unity of the acting being. It is unquestionably given and cannot be dissolved or conjured away by any reasoning or quibbling.

The We is always the result of a summing up which puts together two or more Egos. If somebody says I, no further questioning is necessary in order to establish the meaning. The same is valid with regard to the Thou and, provided the person in view is precisely indicated, with regard to the He. But if a man says We, further information is needed to denote who the Egos are who are comprised in this We. It is always single individuals who say We; even if they say it in chorus, it yet remains an utterance of single individuals.

The We cannot act otherwise than each of them acting on his own behalf. They can either all act together in accord, or one of them may act for them all. In the latter case the cooperation of the others consists in their bringing about the situation which makes one man's action effective for them too. Only in this sense does the officer of a social entity act for the whole; the individual members of the collective body either cause or allow a single man's action to concern them too.

The endeavors of psychology to dissolve the Ego and to unmask it as an illusion are idle. The praxeological Ego is beyond any doubts. No matter what a man was and what he may become later, in the very act of choosing and acting he is an Ego.

- Ludwig von Mises, excerpted from chapter 2 of Human Action (http://mises.org/store/Human-Action-The-Scholars-Edition-P119C0.aspx)

Acknowledging the larger societal stigma placed on uniqueness as an aberration -- which is in effect my main target -- defining oneself as part of a group and relying on that group to sustain and defend one's self worth and dignity is unhealthy and destructive.

ZippyTheChimp
April 28th, 2009, 05:44 PM
Who said that?I did. I asked a question

I'll try it a different way: Would gay rights have been as far advanced as they are today without government involvement?


I (apparently unsuccessfully) meant to convey that the collectivist methodology and group identity components of the gay rights movement and agenda, though ostensibly defending the rights of individuals, actually undermine the cultural, political, and personal conception of the primacy of the unique individual by placing the (collectively defined) group and its interests philosophically prior.Is that yes or no?


Acknowledging the larger societal stigma placed on uniqueness as an aberration -- which is in effect my main target -- defining oneself as part of a group and relying on that group to sustain and defend one's self worth and dignity is unhealthy and destructive.Someone redefining you with a baseball bat is also unhealthy and destructive.

BrooklynRider
April 28th, 2009, 08:01 PM
I'll try it a different way: Would gay rights have been as far advanced as they are today without government involvement?

I know this was directed at Jasonik, but...

I don't think that "government involvement" advanced anyone's rights, including black, women, disabled, religion or any other group. The rights were advanced by the individual groups and their supporters who reasonably and persuasively demonstrated that the laws, as written and/or applied, were discriminatory. The U.S. government is anything but proactionary. It is reactionary and its reaction in each of these cases was predicated upon the actions of people who took the meaning of "freedom" and "justice" further than our predominantly white, christian, male officials in each of the three branches of government.

ZippyTheChimp
April 28th, 2009, 10:02 PM
^

Some of you guys talk about "the government" like it's some alien entity.

So what conduit did the individual groups use to promote societal change; did they merely set a good example, and everyone else saw the light and changed their views?

Or did they get those discriminatory laws changed - changed the government?

How far would they have gotten if they had a cynical attitude toward government?

Jasonik
April 29th, 2009, 12:30 AM
While the collective activist effort has improved the treatment and situation of gays, etc...
This doesn't answer your (first) question?

Zippy, are you to have me believe that violence against gays wasn't prosecuted by the government until activists forced them to?


Someone redefining you with a baseball bat is also unhealthy and destructive.

I shouldn't take this as a threat should I?

Zippy, am I correct in characterizing your political philosophy as Utilitarian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism)?

Isn't a hate crime law by definition discriminatory - that is, treating perpetrators differently for the same violent act depending on the victim? How is this not antithetical to equal individual rights and liberty?

ZippyTheChimp
April 29th, 2009, 08:46 AM
This doesn't answer your (first) question?Nope.
Zippy, are you to have me believe that violence against gays wasn't prosecuted by the government until activists forced them to?As a hate crime, no. It's one thing to be the victim of a crime because of what you have, or where you happen to be, etc. We're all in that boat. It's something else to be victimized because of who you are.
I shouldn't take this as a threat should I?Pronoun confusion?
Zippy, am I correct in characterizing your political philosophy as Utilitarian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism)?Not at all. But moral worth isn't an immutable concept in the real world. My viewpoint regarding gay people is quite different than when I was young, but I don't think it would have been judged immoral at the time. I wouldn't have taken a baseball bat to anyone, but I didn't regard homosexuality as a normal lifestyle. Considering the environment at the time, it was a reasonable position. I had no problem being in the company of gay people, but considered it a benign disorder. No big deal to me.

Today, I would consider that viewpoint immoral.
Isn't a hate crime law by definition discriminatory - that is, treating perpetrators differently for the same violent act depending on the victim? How is this not antithetical to equal individual rights and liberty?I'll agree with you when you can prove to me that anywhere on earth, humans are born into a level playing field. That life is fair.

Jasonik
April 29th, 2009, 10:31 AM
So, the inherent unfairness of life which is out of our control must be compounded by creating a violent organization that creates unfair laws and applies them unfairly to different people depending on special interest groups' political power?

How is this moral?

Zippy, is it fair to consider you a Legal Positivist (http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/legalpos.htm)? (I.e., Laws have no basis in morality and should not be judged on moral terms.)


I have two imperatives:

Recognize that individual differences are inherently part of the human condition and should be embraced as a source of personal pride and societal richness.
Government violence (laws, enforcement, taxes, etc.) must be applied equally, meaning without respect to "who you are" or who you harmed.

Uniqueness, self worth, and inherent rights are respected and celebrated as is the ancient principle of "equal and impartial justice under the law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_justice_under_law)."

Is your alternative for people to further divide into yet smaller groups with yet narrower specific interests and political goals that must be addressed by yet narrower laws until there is a capricious legalistic cacophony of differing laws for different people -- thereby perpetually institutionalizing the emphasizing of difference, separation, and disunity?

lofter1
April 29th, 2009, 10:41 AM
... are you to have me believe that violence against gays wasn't prosecuted
by the government until activists forced them to?


Jasonik, you're kidding ... right?

It was commonplace in the 1950's through 1970's that individual's lives were destroyed by actions of the government which dis-allowed them jobs & housing. In fact it was US Government policy to do so. Thank the sick minds of such closeted men of power like J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn for enforcing & prosecuting the draconian policies.

Up until the 1970's, and even way later than that, police departments in many (if not most) jurisdictions turned a blind eye to much of the violence perpetrated on gay men & women. Often such violent acts were viewed as "The pervert deserves it." It was often assumed that supposedly "unwanted" actions of the individual victim were the cause of acceptable rage by the perpetrator. It was generally believed that any "normal" human being would logically want and need to defend himself in anyway possible from such an invasion. This was often the case even if there was no prior interaction between the parties, and played out in situations where a person was minding their own business but set upon by a group from a passing car -- or a passerby on the street (akin to the once-accepted repsonse to a black man supposedly giving the eye to a white woman). It was thought to be "right" that such bloodied and beaten victims (or corpses, as the case may be) deserved what they got and that they had asked for it.

Of course there were brave individuals who stood up alone in an attempt to get justice. But the government didn't come around or change laws until many individuals joined together as a collective group demanding that the rights of individuals be protected.

How many individuals have the time or money to solely fight against and ingrained way of governance and have any real hope of breaking down the barriers to Justice? Collective action is effective. As in any group of human beings such a collective can morph into a fiefdom. But that doesn't mean such groupings are inherently bad -- or, in fear of losing one's individuality, that such human collectivism should be deemed useless.

ZippyTheChimp
April 29th, 2009, 11:38 AM
So, the inherent unfairness of life which is out of our control must be compounded by creating a violent organization that creates unfair laws and applies them unfairly to different people depending on special interest groups' political power?

How is this moral?The unfairness is compounded in your view; it could also be seen to be mitigated.

The same for "a violent organization."

Special interest groups and political power are a fact of life everywhere. Are not Libertarians such a group that are seeking political power?


Zippy, is it fair to consider you a Legal Positivist (http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/legalpos.htm)? (I.e., Laws have no basis in morality and should not be judged on moral terms.)I would say that I lean in that direction. But it's not so rigid that my belief that absolute property rights are not based in morality would compel me to have the same viewpoint about murder.




I have two imperatives:

Recognize that individual differences are inherently part of the human condition and should be embraced as a source of personal pride and societal richness.
Government violence (laws, enforcement, taxes, etc.) must be applied equally, meaning without respect to "who you are" or who you harmed.

Uniqueness, self worth, and inherent rights are respected and celebrated as is the ancient principle of "equal and impartial justice under the law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_justice_under_law)."I have no problem with this as an ideal, a goal.


Is your alternative for people to further divide into yet smaller groups with yet narrower specific interests and political goals that must be addressed by yet narrower laws until there is a capricious legalistic cacophony of differing laws for different people -- thereby perpetually institutionalizing the emphasizing of difference, separation, and disunity?I would hope that these laws would eventually be dismantled. I see that right now for Affirmative Action.

Jasonik
April 29th, 2009, 12:18 PM
Then we are in complete agreement that

the Fourteenth Amendment is good.
government must be made to follow this law.
mass popular movements are needed to motivate the government.

The means shouldn't become confused with the ends. The ends must be to exalt the individual's rights and protections.

The danger lies in individuals conflating their specific interests with the narrow interests of the collective, and believing that their rights and dignity are derived from the actions of the collective.

Categorizing people -- especially children -- for different treatment or protections from bullying etc. based on an interest group's political agenda does nothing to enhance equal treatment and, I argue, harms the individual on multiple levels. (This same criticism applies to political parties and other collectivist social entities as well.)

On a practical note, there will be no dismantling of any of these (hopefully temporary) discriminatory laws until libertarian philosophy -- based on the individual unit of political power -- gains purchase.

It's baffling to me how the universal impact of championing, defending, and celebrating individual liberty -- its universal applicability and seeming desirability -- doesn't translate into broad popular support. I speculate that it is due to the divisive and power corrupted collectivist special interests currently dominating the political and social discourse.

Lofter, I absolutely agree with your sentiments. Much confusion arises from the misunderstanding of the term 'collectivism' as highlighted in this link (http://www.crvp.org/book/Series03/III-7a/chapter_vi.htm) from an earlier post.

We are all, each and every one, first and foremost individuals. As a consequence, we share a common interest in rallying for the cause of individual rights and liberty. And in the truest sense of a collective; we are all in this together.

ZippyTheChimp
April 30th, 2009, 08:36 AM
Categorizing people -- especially children -- for different treatment or protections from bullying etc. based on an interest group's political agenda does nothing to enhance equal treatment and, I argue, harms the individual on multiple levels. (This same criticism applies to political parties and other collectivist social entities as well.)In my view, the incident is typical of a school environment, and political philosophy has little to do with it. It's been played out in schools everywhere for generations.

Especially in the 10-12 age group, school is the first place where kids can act-out their personalities, in an environment not controlled by their parents. It's intense, competitive, often mean, almost primal. Sexual identity is central to it.

A case can be made that reliance on a group for support harms a child, but a case for harm can also be made for a child that's strictly taught to stand up for himself. A child with self-confidence would thrive in either case; in a group situation, he would dominate the group.

A child with identity problems asserting himself is more likely to be pushed back down than gaining acceptance.


It's baffling to me how the universal impact of championing, defending, and celebrating individual liberty -- its universal applicability and seeming desirability -- doesn't translate into broad popular support.Because humans are communal animals, and seek out group identification. Probably why dogs like us so much. But that doesn't necessarily mean giving up any individual liberty.

Returning to the self-reliant child: Very often as an adult confronted with a problem, such a person not only has difficulty seeking support, but even admitting to himself that a problem exists. We become aware of him when it's too late.

There's no one-size-fits-all formula.

Jasonik
April 30th, 2009, 11:50 AM
Rabble rousing kids are always going to punish differences and reward cliquish conformity.

My main point is that from the standpoint of schools and parents -- recognizing, praising, and cultivating the uniqueness in individuals (though discouraged by curriculum requirements and ever increasing cookie cutter standardization) is a way to balance the cruel group-think of kids.

While I harbor no enmity toward kids who don't know any better, educators and administrators have no excuse for the Harrison Bergeron conditions to which children are subject.

And in regards to us being "communal animals," it is no way a contradiction for there to be differing abilities, proclivities, and talents among individuals so that they may be of some unique use to the societal group at large -- understanding that specialization and division of labor extend to prehistory.

But we live in a different world where normative uniformity is the ultimate civic virtue... right?

http://blogs.suntimes.com/scanners/apt4.jpg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN3rN59GlWw)

scumonkey
May 18th, 2013, 09:13 PM
Man Killed in Greenwich Village Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Cops Say


By Janon Fisher (http://www.dnainfo.com/about-us/our-team//janon-fisher) and Henry Gass (http://www.dnainfo.com/about-us/our-team/editorial-team/henry-gass) on May 18, 2013 9:38am
173271732817329


NEW YORK CITY — An armed man with a homophobic grudge shot and killed a 32-year-old gay man in Greenwich Village early Saturday morning, the city police commissioner said.

The victim, Marc Carson, 32, of Harlem, was shot once in the cheek after an unprovoked confrontation during which the suspect, Elliot Morales, 33, called him and his companion "faggots," "queers" and "gay wrestlers ", police said.
"This clearly looks to be a hate crime, a biased crime," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a Saturday morning press conference.

The murder would mark the the 22nd hate crime in the city this year, said Kelly, nearly double the amount for all of 2012.
The shooting happened at the corner of 6th Avenue and West 8th Street just after midnight after what police describe as night of confrontations between the alleged shooter and people in the neighborhood.

Morales, who was arrested in 1998 for attempted murder, was first seen urinating outside Annisa (http://www.annisarestaurant.com/) on Barrow and West 4th streets, Kelly said at an 11:30 a.m. press conference.

He then went into the restaurant and taunted the bartender and the manager over what he had done.
"Did you See what I was doing?" the commissioner quoted the suspect saying. "You should call the police."

Morales also made some anti-gay remarks, Kelly said. He then lifted his grey hoodie and showed the bartender his silver handgun, then threatened to shoot him he he called the police, the commissioner said.

Kelly also said the Morales made another comment about the massacre of school children in Sandy Hook, Conn in Dec 2012.
"You know Sandy Hook," he allegedly said. "I'm wanted."

Morales left with two friends, heading toward 6th Avenue where he got into an argument with Carson and a friend.
"Look at these faggots. What are you, gay wrestlers?" the commissioner quoted him asking the men.

Carson and his companion stopped and asked, "What did you say?" before continuing down the sidewalk.
At some point, cops said, Morales's friend asked him "Are you sure you want to do this?"

The alleged gunman and one other man followed Carson and his companion. Witnesses heard the men say "queer" and "faggot" at least two times, Kelly said. They stopped Carson and his friend across 6th Avenue from Gray's Papaya at the corner of West 8th Street.
"Do you want to die here?" the commissioner said Morales asked Carson. He then asked, "Are you with him?"
Carson said "Yes."

That's when Morales allegedly raised his silver pistol and fired one round point-blank into Carson's face, Kelly said.
He fled on foot to MacDougal and West 3rd streets where Police Officer Henry Huot recognized him from a description, according to the police account. When ordered to stop, the Morales, who lives in Alphabet City, knelt down, threw down his weapon and was arrested, the commissioner said.

Carson was taken to Beth Israel where he was declared dead on arrival.
A former neighbor of Carson's, Kay Allen, said described him as a "proud gay man, a fabulous gay man."
She said they worked together for three years at the Time Square Toys 'R Us, but he had since gotten a different job after that selling frozen yougurt store DownTown.

"He's a hard worker," she said. "His goal was to get out of the 'hood."
Carson seemed to get along with everyone uptown, she said.
"You would think in the projects that people wouldn't like him, people liked him," Allen said.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn chimed in, denouncing the murder as a hate crime. The fourth of its kind in her district in the last two weeks.
“I am horrified to learn that last night, a gay man was murdered in my district after being chased out of a Greenwich Village restaurant and assailed by homophobic slurs. I stand with all New Yorkers in condemning this attack," she said in a statement. "This kind of shocking and senseless violence, so deeply rooted in hate, has no place in a City whose greatest strength will always be its diversity."

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130518/greenwich-village/32-year-old-man-shot-killed-greenwich-village#slideshow_modal_slot_1

eddhead
May 18th, 2013, 10:10 PM
That crimes like these continue to happen in one of the most enlightened city in the world, in the most tolerant age in our history is just stunning.

stache
May 19th, 2013, 09:50 AM
On Monday there will be a rally at the LGBT Community Center at 5:30PM, followed by a march to the scene of the murder. 17330

infoshare
May 19th, 2013, 11:03 AM
On Monday there will be a rally at the LGBT Community Center at 5:30PM, followed by a march to the scene of the murder.

As someone who recently had a 'gun put to my face' in a similar 'surprise/unprovoked' attack, this story is all the more infuriating to me: luckily I got away with only a sprained wrist and minor flesh wounds to my face and arms - he was less fortunate.

However, making this out to be a Gay 'hate crime' issue is IMHO misguided: because we are missing the 'point' - and therefore less likely to find affective solutions to the 'real' problem.

I want to see a 'rally' and I want to see the 'outrage' - but it must be directed in a way that will yield some beneficial results: distorting the real 'issue' simply will not be helpful.

How about a 'get tough of crime rally' or a 'stop coddling ex-cons' rally or 'protect good citizens not scoundrels' rally.

Oh, excuse me - the above should have been stated as a "stop coddling the 'formerly incarcerated' rally" - you get my point. I hope.

My rant notwithstanding, if coming out to acknowledge this crime within LGBT community is what is being called for - then by all means, let it be, and bring a wreath.

My sincere condolences to the friends and family of this fine young man who died to soon, and too unjustly.

PS. And Ok, I will admit it - if I haven't turned into 'Harry Brown' yet; it is likely conversion is coming soon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVOSfHFNlcI

ZippyTheChimp
May 19th, 2013, 01:33 PM
However, making this out to be a Gay 'hate crime' issue is IMHO misguided: because we are missing the 'point' - and therefore less likely to find affective solutions to the 'real' problem.
....

How about a 'get tough of crime rally' or a 'stop coddling ex-cons' rally or 'protect good citizens not scoundrels' rally.Crime in NYC has been dropping dramatically for decades. And hate-crimes constitute a small proportion of overall crime statistics, so it shouldn't be folded into a crime-problem issue. That just hides and denies the problem.

While overall crime rates have declined, homophobic hate-crimes have increased - the most commonly reported hate crime in 2010 was violence against gay men, with a 40% increase over 2009.

Although a crime is a crime, you can lessen the odds of becoming a victim by your behavior - public displays of expensive items, etc. But you can't stop being who you are.

stache
May 19th, 2013, 05:01 PM
However, making this out to be a Gay 'hate crime' issue is IMHO misguided: because we are missing the 'point' - and therefore less likely to find affective solutions to the 'real' problem.

I want to see a 'rally' and I want to see the 'outrage' - but it must be directed in a way that will yield some beneficial results: distorting the real 'issue' simply will not be helpful.

How about a 'get tough of crime rally' or a 'stop coddling ex-cons' rally or 'protect good citizens not scoundrels' rally.


My rant notwithstanding, if coming out to acknowledge this crime within LGBT community is what is being called for - then by all means, let it be, and bring a wreath.


No one is stopping you from holding your own rally, for whatever reason you find most effective.

Ninjahedge
May 20th, 2013, 01:18 PM
He is holding a 'rally' for single quotation marks.

stache
May 20th, 2013, 07:56 PM
Well I went to the rally, up to 6th Ave & 8th St. Everyone was generally quiet and well behaved.

mariab
May 22nd, 2013, 01:32 PM
Click bottom link for video of one of the victims of the post-rally attack. This is the story about that victim's attacker surrendering.

Suspect in vicious Manhattan anti-gay hate crime surrenders following West Village rally

A 45-year-old man was knocked unconscious when Gabriel Roman, 39, allegedly 'snapped' after the victim said he was gay.

By Erik Badia (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Erik Badia) AND Thomas Tracy (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Thomas Tracy) / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 10:01 PM

Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 11:41 AM

A suspect in one of two brutal anti-gay attacks that rocked the city this week surrendered to cops late Tuesday, sources said.

Gabriel Roman, 39, turned himself in at a Bronx stationhouse and was charged with three counts of assault as a hate crime, including a felony count, police sources said.
Roman is accused in the first of two violent anti-gay attacks that came just hours after hundreds rallied against hate crimes in the West Village on Monday.
Police say Roman knocked a 45-year-old man unconscious after hurling anti-gay slurs at him on E. Fourth St. near Avenue D Monday night.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ray+Kelly) said the victim and his attacker shared a pitcher of sangria at the Yuca Bar, then had beers and a few shots at a bar called the Boiler Room on E. Fourth St.
RELATED: NYPD BEEFS UP ITS PRESENCE ON THE WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN FOLLOWING HATE CRIME MURDER OF GAY MAN (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-beefs-presence-west-side-manhattan-hate-crime-murder-gay-man-article-1.1349908)
But Roman “just snapped” when the victim announced he was gay.
“Initially, the conversation was friendly, with (Roman) noting that he had family who were gay, but, suddenly, according to victim, the assailant just snapped," Kelly said. "He became enraged and yelled anti gay expletives."
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1351352.1369226952!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/bias-attack.jpgMemorial for slain Mark Carson shot and killed in a bias hate crime in the West Vilage early morning May 17.


"Are you a f------ f-----? Why are you a f-----?" Roman screamed as he repeatedly punched the victim in the face and head, according to police sources. A security guard at a nearby store broke up the 10:45 p.m. fight, and Roman ran off, officials said.
The victim, who was identified on several blogs as Dan Contarino, a former party promoter for the Shampoo nightclub, wrote about his ordeal on Facebook.
"GAY BASHED LAST NITE," Contarino posted along with a picture of his battered face. "U JUST WANNA CRY N MOVE ON..."
RELATED: GUNMAN ARRESTED FOR SHOOTING GAY MAN IN GREENWICH VILLAGE (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/gunman-shoots-32-year-old-man-dead-greenwich-village-bias-attack-officials-article-1.1347776)
Several hours later, cops nabbed a pair of bigots who allegedly attacked a gay couple in SoHo after hurling homophobic slurs at them.
Fabian Ortiz, 32, and Pedro Jimenez, 23, were charged with assault as a hate crime after the two punched a man in the face during a heated exchange at 5:20 a.m. Tuesday on Broadway near Houston St. — leaving the victim with a bruised eye.
Kelly said Ortiz and Jimenez saw the victims walking by and started calling them "f------." in both English and Spanish.
An argument broke out and one suspect slugged a 42-year-old victim in the face, leaving each with an eye injury, Kelly said.
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1351347.1369226530!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/bias-map.jpgNew York Daily News Illustration


The victim and his 41-year-old companion called the cops, who apprehended Jimenez and Ortiz a short distance away, Kelly said.
RELATED: SUSPECT FINDS HUMOR IN GAY MAN'S MURDER (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/suspect-finds-humor-gay-man-murder-article-1.1348638)
The two incidents took place a few hours after hundreds rallied Monday night against hate in the wake of the murder of 32-year-old Mark Carson.
Elliot Morales, 33, shot and killed Carson after yelling anti-gay remarks early Saturday morning, cops said. He was charged with murder as a hate crime.
The slaying followed an anti-gay assault outside Madison Square Garden and a bias attack against a gay man outside Pieces bar in the Village, officials said.
The NYPD promised to increase its police presence on the West Side following the anti-gay assaults.
"New York City has zero tolerance for intolerance," Mayor Bloomberg said. "We are a place that celebrates diversity and a place where people from around the world come to live free of prejudice and persecution. Hate crimes like these are an offense against all we stand for as a city."
The additional patrols will be in place through June, which is Gay Pride month, officials said.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/men-brutalized-latest-anti-gay-attacks-monday-article-1.1351071#ixzz2U2lCu2K7

Ninjahedge
May 27th, 2013, 06:17 PM
The one incident sounded like he was following his own buried leanings, and then was ashamed when it was revealed.

I do not think he hated this guy so much as he hated himself and the feelings he (might) have been having before they were brought front and center.

It does not make it right, but it does kinda make it more understandable.....

stache
May 27th, 2013, 08:15 PM
^ Hitting the nail squarely on the head.

eddhead
May 28th, 2013, 10:41 AM
Yeah, I agree. In a way, that assessment further supports the hate crime charge (not that it needed additional support) in that is supports the notion that the attack was motivated by the victim's sexual orientation.

Ninjahedge
May 28th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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