Had the light been installed when locals first advocated its need, the accident might have been avoided. Actually, I'm confident it would have been avoided, but that's a discussion for another day. My question is: exactly how many teens need to commit suicide before laws are passed to protect them?
Jamey Rodemeyer, a fourteen year-old from Buffalo, New York, took his life last weekend. After years of battling bullies targeting his sexual orientation, Jamey joined predecessors Billy Lucas, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, and countless others who lived the same heartache and chose the same outcome.
In May, Jamey posted a video message as part of the It Gets Better Project. Four months later, he was found dead outside his home.
The news has left Americans outraged and celebrities taking a stand. Lady Gaga, the recipient of Jamey's final tweet, is advocating for laws against bullying. Gaga vowed on twitter to meet with the president and continue fighting to end this hate crime.
Jamey's story reminds us this movement is far from over. Whether a bully, victim, advocate, or bystander, we all participate in this fatal cycle. If a person fears heights, they can choose to avoid planes. If one fears the ocean, they stick to pools. And if someone fears spiders, they find someone else to squish them.
But a teen cannot find someone to attend school in his or her place. Bullied teens confront their greatest fear every day; we throw them in the line of fire and do little to protect them. It's hard to learn when you're afraid. Exactly who wins with this system?