Sunday, October 03, 2010

A permanent solution to a temporary problem

When I first heard of the Tyler Clementi suicide I thought it was time for a Singapore style caning of the perps who thought it would be cool to put a webcam on him. As for Tyler Clementi...

I've known more suicides than I care to recall, and a bonus one that only failed because of a major last-minute intervention at an emergency room. Incidentally, that survivor lived another 30+ years.

Thanks loads to all of you. Yeah, your problems ended. And you left a bunch of people behind who wonder what they might have done about it and various other messes. Including, in one case, a mess of blood, skull fragments and brains on the outside of a house. Some kids got to see that, including his own.

Or there was the high school kid I knew who was scared to death after he wrecked the family car. His father was strict - what would he do? As it turned out, he buried his son with the top of his skull blown off.

What could the father have done to deserve that? Should he have gone out and killed himself too?

Yep, some people have terrible diseases. They're helpless, in physical pain beyond what I can imagine, etc. OK, it's your life, do what you want. Having watched someone die from brain cancer, I'm on board with that.

I know someone else who's done time and has had a drug habit. His father had a failed suicide attempt, but all his mother's brothers succeeded (I knew them all). He spent months out of work looking every day at a little boy he couldn't support, and being an ex-con doesn't help his prospects. He doesn't have a gun that I know of, but there's always poison, ropes, knives, gas, electricity, cars, windows, bridges... Gosh, what's he hanging around for?

And then there's someone who's mortified, like Tyler Clementi. Yeah, he sure got his privacy invaded. I can see him being pathologically ticked off, pursuing all kinds of legal relief, and making sure that everyone on earth knew what a snake he roomed with. Or maybe transferring to another school. But suicide?

Am I being hard on him and his family? Maybe, but he's already gone. Let's think of the living - the people who might make a better decision if this were presented as a monumental mistake, and a very cruel trick on everyone who cared about him that went far beyond what was done to him.

It certainly wasn't inevitable. After all, the other guy in the video stream had his privacy invaded too - did he kill himself?

And the perps? They got outed too, in the New York Times and untold links, mortification far beyond anything that happened to Tyler Clementi before he killed himself. Should people back off lest they should kill themselves too? Maybe some people will think twice about playing mean tricks now, but let's not overdo it.

Oh yeah, the ex-con. He finally found a job even in this economy. He's not a model citizen yet, but he knows that I and others will kick his butt with gusto he fouls up again, and he's trying.

Because where there's life, there's hope...