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Wondering “how those two folks are going to sleep at night”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 am - October 1, 2010.
Filed under: Academia,Gay America

There are few things more despicable than individuals who, for personal gain or sport or merely their own edification, would make public the private lives of others.  They take advantage of others for a laugh, or maybe a bet or for their own sense of self-righteousness, to show how much “better” than they are than others.

They don’t think about the human being whose private life they invade and exploit.

Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi “leaped to his death after his roommate allegedly secretly filmed him during a ‘sexual encounter’ with a man and posted it live on the Internet.”  Why would this one young man want to make public the private life of his roommate?  Did he think people would like him more if he streamed live footage of a young gay man’s private sexual activities on the web?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gets it

As the father of a 17-year-old…I can’t imagine what those parents are feeling today, I can’t. You send your son to school to get an education with great hopes and aspirations, and I can’t imagine what those parents are feeling today. . . .  There might be some people who can take that type of treatment and deal with it, and there might be others, as this young man obviously was, who was much more greatly affected by it. . . .  I have to tell you, I don’t know how those two folks are going to sleep at night, knowing that they contributed to driving that young man to that alternative.

Exactly.  Exactly.

These two probably just thought they were pulling a prank, but they didn’t consider consider the feelings of Clementi.  He was so young and while ready to act out his feeling for men, not yet ready to have his sexuality made public.  It takes time to deal with the public ramifications of our difference.  Not just that, even when we are comfortable with our sexuality, our private life is just that, private life.  Many of us, not just a 18-year-old just coming to terms with his difference, would be embarrassed if strangers, friends even, witnessed our sexual activity.  It is the most private, the most personal of things.

Commenting on this story about the incident, Sonicfrog recalls his own struggles as he reads about this young man’s death:

This brings back some of the pains of my own struggles against myself. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I could say the words “I’m gay” out loud. Some of the comments posted below the story makes me want to puke. And you wonder why many young gay people still find it so gut-wrenchingly difficult to accept who they are and what they feel.

The students who posted the video did not mean to push this young man to take his own life.  They probably didn’t even consider the consequences.  They were entirely indifferent to his feelings.  They have now been charged with invasion of privacy.

May their punishment be so severe so as to deter anyone else from pulling such a cruel prank.

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72 Comments

  1. This story is truly awful all around. They humiliated the boy, I suspect, thinking it was nothing more than a prank. I don’t know that; that’s just my guess from the little information available. It doesn’t sound that different from all sorts of pranks college kids play on each other. We did all sorts of horrible things to guys who drank too much and passed out — and that was before digital cams and youtube were around. I suspect this isn’t anywhere near the first time college couples have been recorded in flagrante delicto by their roommates with webcams. And probably not the first time its been put on the web. I suspect the photographer had no idea that anyone could ever be so humiliated that they would take their own life.

    Just awful, awful, awful all around.

    Comment by American Elephant — October 1, 2010 @ 2:51 am - October 1, 2010

  2. I don’t get the impression that there was any ill intent at all. From the roommate’s tweet, it seems that he was excited and/or proud of Clementi when you consider that his tweet ended in “Yay” and the constant reports that Clementi was shy.

    Some articles report that some are looking at it as a possible “hate cirme”. Why? Based on what? Both HRC and LCR included this story in e-mails about “anti-gay bullying”. What was “anti-gay” about it? And can you call it bullying without any idea the intent? If we don’t know that they did it because they hated his guts, isn’t it irresponsible to call it “anti-gay bullying”?

    As far as contributing factors, could it be that kids are being conditioned to believe that it’s cool to have a “sex tape”? As to the suicides going on, could the ongoing pussification of men in this country have anything to do with it? Is it so wrong to teach your kids that some people are assholes and you just have to grab your sack and move on?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 1, 2010 @ 3:28 am - October 1, 2010

  3. And no, based on what I’ve seen, I don’t think it was necessarily a prank. Could’ve been, but I don’t think so.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 1, 2010 @ 3:33 am - October 1, 2010

  4. Hell you don’t have to be gay to be embarrassed if you were filmed having sex. It is absolutely SHAMEFUL what they did to that young man and I am praying for his parents, I as a mother would be devastated to lose either of my sons, I cannot begin to imagine their grief!

    Comment by JadedByPolitics — October 1, 2010 @ 3:53 am - October 1, 2010

  5. [...] Patriot has some heart felt comments about that horrible tragedy at Rutgers where a young man was secretly taped engaging in sex and [...]

    Pingback by The Pornification of American Life | Blogs For Victory — October 1, 2010 @ 4:35 am - October 1, 2010

  6. TGC, that is some cooooooold sh*t right there. Ravi also posted this on his twitter:

    “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

    After he did it once, he was going to do it again. If it wasn’t a prank, it was a disturbingly premeditated invasion of someone elses privacy. As for your callous equating of suicides to the ‘pussification’ of men, I’d like to see you shill that to the families of the 4 soldiers at Fort Hood who killed themselves last week.

    Comment by hemonade — October 1, 2010 @ 5:19 am - October 1, 2010

  7. As a high school teacher, I’m horrified to think that someone might do something like this to one of my former students, gay or straight. My heart has absolutely broken over this tragedy — and the fact that so many details have been made public, given the added trauma that must be causing for the family and friends of Tyler Clementi.

    Comment by Rhymes With Right — October 1, 2010 @ 6:31 am - October 1, 2010

  8. Disgusting. What the “Bluing”(Making more liberal) of our society has wrought. No decent respect for boundaries. I hope to god those kids are absolutely miserable right now, because if they aren’t we have a set of monsters on our hands.

    Comment by Ryan — October 1, 2010 @ 7:12 am - October 1, 2010

  9. Try as I might I just have no words for this.

    Humans really can be schmucks at times. I hope these two go to prison and are reminded of this everyday for the rest of their lives.

    Comment by John — October 1, 2010 @ 7:31 am - October 1, 2010

  10. This story made me sick. I don’t have children of my own but am frustrated at some young people around me. Some are so rude it makes me crazy. You have to wonder how these two were raised. Yes, their parents have some blame in this. But I place most of the blame on a society that is going to hell. They’re taking God and prayer out of schools, every child gets a trophy whether they win or lose, they’re focusing on “self-esteem” instead of integrity and so many other things that are disheartening. Sad what’s happening in our country.

    Comment by Carol — October 1, 2010 @ 8:10 am - October 1, 2010

  11. Anderson Cooper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgxNItGmiC4

    Comment by rusty — October 1, 2010 @ 8:14 am - October 1, 2010

  12. I was raised to believe and to treat some information as inherently private and that privacy level was determined by the both the sensitivity of the info as well as the relationship status I shared with the receiver of that information; some not to be shared outside of a marriage/LTR, some to be shared with close friends, still other types of ‘data’ if you will, with acquaintances.
    I’ve always held that my sexuality or the expression thereof was private and mine to be doled out (not as a ‘reward’ necessarily) as a relationship ‘proved itself.’
    I believe that the fact of my sexuality is private, is at once mine to value and to share AS I WILL. I am not beholding to anyone, any group, any movement, any responsibility to divulge it. This is, I believe, not the primary focus of the Privacy tenants of the Constitution, but most certainly contained within its scope.
    It is a society that lacks propriety, lacks valuing personal information and lacks an understanding of the privilege of relationships that allows such violations as we see here.
    It is also a society that failed to teach its children these things and flounders still now in having them understand there are consequences to EVERY action, no matter how small and insignificant to one person.
    Some of my friends and many acquaintances held me to be old-fashioned, told me I just wasn’t a good gay and proud of my sexuality (‘pride’? in something I neither created or cause to flourish? but that just is… really?) An acquaintance told me once they felt I was stand-offish when I wouldn’t join in the frivolity of poring over the weekend’s escapades that engaged our Monday dinner group. Tales were told, gossip was gabbed and people were hurt; they weren’t at the table to know it, but they were damaged in the eyes of those present.
    Words hurt.
    A picture is worth a thousand words.
    And these two had live-streaming video…

    Comment by rodney — October 1, 2010 @ 8:23 am - October 1, 2010

  13. It’s rare that i want to harm a stranger… These heartless ppl should be glad to be far from me- i wanna hit them with something heavy and blunt…..

    Comment by Brian Reno — October 1, 2010 @ 8:26 am - October 1, 2010

  14. Outstanding post and a truly disgusting, despicable story. A few of the comments are of course idiotic. Individuals do evil, awful things in theocracies and sexually repressed societies, just as they do them in agnostic or sexually free societies. There is no relationship (either way) between a desire to humiliate / embarrass another individual. I am as liberal and as agnostic as they come, yet I shudder to think how my parents would react were I ever to contemplate something as disgusting as this action. My values are just as good as someone raised on religion, they just derive from a different source. After all, Iran is pretty darn religious and sexually conservative, and no one would say that society has it all figured out.

    Folks (on both sides of the political spectrum) like to generalize based on isolated examples of evil conduct (for example, I could just as easily say, all Christians are evil, malicious, borderline psychotic homophobes based on the conduct of Andrew Shirvell, but instead I’ll just say, he’s an a**hole), when in reality, the only ones to blame are the perpetrators themselves. Blaming “society” just excuses fundamentally twisted, inexcusable conduct that is wholly the fault of the individual perpetrators. My only small solace is that this episode, via a criminal record and google, will follow them for the rest of their lives.

    Comment by Jeff — October 1, 2010 @ 8:38 am - October 1, 2010

  15. I went to the AC link. I’m sorry I did.
    That he would refer questions to and allow commentary from (IMHO) that ‘entertainer, not psychologist’ farce of a touchy-feely, emotional lamprey opportunist Dr. Phil, disgusts me.

    Comment by rodney — October 1, 2010 @ 8:47 am - October 1, 2010

  16. not a big fan of the Dr but like AC

    Comment by rusty — October 1, 2010 @ 9:04 am - October 1, 2010

  17. Ellen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br7nbQSIyhg

    Comment by rusty — October 1, 2010 @ 9:16 am - October 1, 2010

  18. I’m not getting it. The prank is not necessarily directed at gay people. Sex videos are all over the place. Many people, including celebrities, have them. To be equal means a gay version will come up. Why are gays so fragile in this case? They can do the deed, but cannot face up to the fact of themselves. No straight person has committed suicide from their sex videos. There is less shame in this world, but that hasn’t stopped people from acting out. There are consequences from this.

    Comment by Anon387823 — October 1, 2010 @ 9:22 am - October 1, 2010

  19. Many centuries ago, I hid out in the top of a closet in the most exclusive fraternity house on campus and watched the “initiation” of pledges through a ventilation grate.

    It was non-stop humiliation and 18 year old boys could have been killed by what they went through.

    The point is, while we think these kids are old enough to vote, we often overlook how giddy they are in confronting the responsibility of acquiring maturity.

    We had an incident of a girl who had passed out and “they” took a picture of her naked body, enlarged it and used it as the target for a bean-bag toss.

    Every dean of students has a file full of near misses of “pranks” that were a cobweb strand away from tragedy.

    I do not condone or pretend to understand what got into these kids, but I suspect they are not feeling quite so clever since their goat died on them. As a Christian, I pray for them, as well as the boy’s soul, his family and those he loved. Don’t forget, there is someone else who was on those broadcasts.

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 1, 2010 @ 9:37 am - October 1, 2010

  20. I read where authorities are looking to charge the two people who made the video with hate crimes. Leave it to politicians to turn tragedy into farce. I guess when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem turns into a nail.

    Comment by V the K — October 1, 2010 @ 9:44 am - October 1, 2010

  21. The kids should pay dearly for the so-called “prank”; the roommate was not friend. Broadcasting the act without his consent is the problem. I’m sure they had no idea it would lead to suicide, but he should have thought it through before he did such a horrible “prank.”

    Turn it around. Would he be glad his sex was broadcast on the internet? I doubt it. Worse, the boy was obviously in the closet & deeply insecure about himself. He had not found the inner strength because he was just discovering himself.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — October 1, 2010 @ 9:45 am - October 1, 2010

  22. More: ‘Tyler Clementi’s Online Postings — Plus, Some Perspective on the ‘Hate Crimes’ and ‘Gay Morality’ Debate’.

    Comment by Americaneocon — October 1, 2010 @ 10:38 am - October 1, 2010

  23. Turn it around. Would he be glad his sex was broadcast on the internet?

    I honestly don’t know what goes through college kids minds nowadays. I saw a poll just in the past few weeks that said something like TWO THIRDS of young women would put out a sex tape if it would help their career. Name a hollywood star under 40 who hasnt put out a sex tape. Kids are “sexting” eachother regularly.

    I’m just saying I dont think this generation necessarily has the same values older generations do.

    And the idea that this guy thought it would all be a big joke is not inconceivable at all to me. Not saying its right. Its horrible. Just suggesting that may be the case.

    Comment by American Elephant — October 1, 2010 @ 10:49 am - October 1, 2010

  24. That said, some of the same gay activists who are out in front on this — like the execrable Dan Savage trying to turn this into a hate crime or spin it into a case of bullying — are the same filth who gleefully out Republicans for political expediency. The hypocrisy is nauseating.

    Comment by American Elephant — October 1, 2010 @ 10:53 am - October 1, 2010

  25. Part of the problem and dilemma of “pranks” is not the participants…but the audience. I don’t mean audience in the sense of “witnesses”…but in the sense of whom the victim perceives will know about it. What might be annoyingly-humiliating before was mitigated by knowing that only those present in the room knew about it…and typically you knew who they were. This type of “prank” has unlimited potential damage from the p.o.v. of the victim…and can be overwhelming; your parents will not-only hear about it, but may well SEE you doing “it”. Your grandmother might see it. Your friends and neighbors. Strangers. Potential employers. Add to that the viral nature tat everyone knows about where videos become water-cooler talk all over the world over someone’s shortcoming, stupidity or foolishness…and it’s all potentially-crushing.

    Add to that being “outed” before you’ve had any opportunity to develop any friends or support mechanisms and you have the recipe for calamity.

    And was it a hate crime? Yes.

    Comment by Ted B. — October 1, 2010 @ 11:01 am - October 1, 2010

  26. Tyler Clementi is the Matthew Shepard of the Internet….

    What happened was senseless, meaningless, stupid and ultimately vicious.

    Comment by Ted B. — October 1, 2010 @ 11:04 am - October 1, 2010

  27. Tyler Clementi is the Matthew Shepard of the Internet….

    I guess they are both cautionary examples against making bad choices. Matt Shepard would be alive today if he had chosen to be at a Bible study group that night instead of with two meth-heads he left a bar with. And Tyler Clementi would be alive if he had chosen not to throw himself off the Geo Washington Bridge.

    I mean, both of deaths are sad, but they were also ultimately the results of choices made by the guys who are dead now. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    Comment by V the K — October 1, 2010 @ 11:14 am - October 1, 2010

  28. The room-mate and co-conspirator should be prosecuted for whatever invasion of privacy laws they broke.

    Concerning the suicide and aftermath? I think it’s a waste of time and money to press any hate crime charges against the two. Kids, especially those in college, do stupid things without thinking ahead to the possible consequences. There doesn’t seem to be any real malice involved. They, or more likely Rutgers, will get sued by the parents. But, more than that, these two are going to have to carry with them for the rest of their lives that their unthinking actions cause another human being to take his own life. That is a pain that to me would be unbearable. That is a pain for which there is no relief.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 11:15 am - October 1, 2010

  29. these two are going to have to carry with them for the rest of their lives that their unthinking actions cause another human being to take his own life.

    Unless they are complete douchebags, which you can’t rule out.

    Comment by V the K — October 1, 2010 @ 11:17 am - October 1, 2010

  30. I mean, both of deaths are sad, but they were also ultimately the results of choices made by the guys who are dead now. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    V, that came off as pretty damned heartless.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 11:22 am - October 1, 2010

  31. Heartless… maybe. But can you dispute it?

    If it is heartless, so are the Darwin Awards, which many people find as sources of amusement.

    I would characterize my statement as harsh, but accurate. And I think there is value in using certain deaths as cautionary examples against making bad choices. Are you going to argue that taking his own life was the best or only way for Tyler Clementi to deal with the situation he was in? If you admit that he had other options open to him that he did not choose, then you concede my point.

    Comment by V the K — October 1, 2010 @ 11:27 am - October 1, 2010

  32. I mean, both of deaths are sad, but they were also ultimately the results of choices made by the guys who are dead now. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    V, that’s overly simplistic. You may as well say the Polish Jews would still be alive if they’d been in Brooklyn instead of Krakow.

    Comment by Eric in Chicago — October 1, 2010 @ 12:04 pm - October 1, 2010

  33. Are you going to argue that taking his own life was the best or only way for Tyler Clementi to deal with the situation he was in?

    I don’t think anyone’s making that statement, V. The level of despair necessary to successfully end one’s own life is something that I am unfamiliar with, thankfully. Ergo, I don’t think very many of us are in a position to fully understand Tyler’s state of mind at that moment.

    Comment by Eric in Chicago — October 1, 2010 @ 12:07 pm - October 1, 2010

  34. This is just horrible all around. A young man, not yet toughened by experience (which is relatively normal at 18 yrs) put in such a humiliating situation (humiliating, whether gay or straight). I wonder how I would react to the posting of such privacy on the web and it makes me cautious and scared of the world my daughter is growing up in. These 2 individuals are sick and deprived to think that what they did would be ok. Just sick. I’m at a loss for words.

    Comment by HCN — October 1, 2010 @ 12:17 pm - October 1, 2010

  35. Was this a prank or a hate crime? To arrive at the correct answer more questions need to be asked. Since one of the conspiritors was his roommate, did the he know or suspect that Tyler was gay? Did Tyler proposition Ravi? Who was Tyler´s partner in the act? Was he a fellow student or a pickup from the street? If he was a student should he charge the two with invasion of privacy and seek some kind of compensation for being publicly shamed?

    I am reminded of my sophomore year in college. It was all male and the dorms segregated by class, all frosh, sophs, etc. My classmates never suspected me but some did suspect my roommate. They wanted me to entice him into sex and report back so they could have a session with him. He, the obvious one, turned out to be straight. None of those who wanted him turned me on.

    Comment by Roberto — October 1, 2010 @ 12:26 pm - October 1, 2010

  36. [...] Wondering “how those two folks are going to sleep at night” [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » The real punishment for the Clementi pranksters — October 1, 2010 @ 12:31 pm - October 1, 2010

  37. Eric, agreed. Not everyone is as strong as have proven ourselves to be.

    When I was a teen, I lived in Lemoore CA, a tiny conservative military town with only one high school… and not a single traffic light! That’s how small the town was. I dated a girl maybe two times during the four years I was in HS. There were a couple of gay guys, and I saw how they were berated on a daily basis… I was NOT going to be like them! Though I knew where my true attractions pulled, I NEVER did anything to tip anyone off on the things I felt. Everyday in high school = pain. I literally shut down my emotions from the inside, which is probably why it took me almost ten years out of college before I could finally be able to not feel a private shame for being gay (shame may not be the right term to use, but you get the idea). To make matters worse, my family had moved from Dallas to this tiny town, so I didn’t have any childhood friends to rely on. If I were going to commit suicide, I probably would have done so in those years.

    Did I think about doing it? Certainly. I even had a note written. But, I have what I will describe as an advantage over many / most people who face hard times in their life. I KNOW, and have always known, how precious life is. You see, when I was born, in 1965, I was a preemie. We’re not just talking a few weeks. I was expected May 29th. I came out March 10th. No, I was born nearly three months premature! I only weighed 2 lbs, 8 oz at birth. I slipped down to just under 2 lbs before I started gaining weight. Those of you who are close to my age will have some idea of the horrific odds of a baby my size surviving. Those few that did survive often ended up with a weakened immune system and or respiratory problems. Me? Of my five other siblings? I’ve always been the healthiest. When everyone else got pretty sick with chicken pox, I had a few itchy bumps.

    Was I lucky, or was I blessed by God? I don’t know. I do remember laying awake at nights pondering which was the case. Well, I didn’t believe in luck, didn’t have any proof that it actually existed, and though I was raise Catholic, God never really spoke to me (yes, I mean that figuratively), and I didn’t have any proof that it actually existed. But, thing is, I never would have committed suicide because I appreciated the fact that, quite simply, I am alive. I, in all reality, should even be here! AND I KNEW IT!!!!

    Suicide, ultimately, was never an option because I love life… Period.

    So, anyway, when I got to college, though I still carried the fears of getting found out, they were not nearly as strong and dominating as they were in HS. I have no idea what I would have done if my “secret” were revealed during my first few weeks in college. I can say I don’t think suicide would have been an option. But my circumstances were different / probably better that Tylers. I was living with my sister, who was already going to Fresno State, and not a complete stranger. She didn’t know I was gay, but if she would have found out??? We are very close, and it would not have been nearly as traumatic. She would not have told the whole campus that her little brother is a faggot.

    Must go work now.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 1:07 pm - October 1, 2010

  38. Wow Sonic, if I had a diary I’d swear you were reading it! Lots of similarities in our different experiences here…

    Comment by John — October 1, 2010 @ 1:15 pm - October 1, 2010

  39. Wow Sonic, if I had a diary I’d swear you were reading it! Lots of similarities in our different experiences here…

    Ditto that, John! :-)

    Comment by Eric in Chicago — October 1, 2010 @ 1:50 pm - October 1, 2010

  40. I think many of us can empathize with what Tyler might have suddenly had to face because of the two unthinking acquaintances. From my perspective, remembering what it was like in college and trying to deal with being, or sometimes trying not to be, gay… coming to grips with the finality of being and accepting it, trying to sort out my feelings, yet at the same time trying to hide the truth from friends and family, sneaking around and basically leading a double life, hoping one of your friends doesn’t happen to see your car parked anywhere near a gay bar, looking over your shoulder in fear that your older brother might beat the crap out of you if he caught you standing in line at the local homo-dance club… People, straight people, who have never had to struggle with this can’t begin to understand the turmoil that goes on if you are struggling to learn how to live with the fact that your gay.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 1:58 pm - October 1, 2010

  41. Blaming the video tapers for the suicide is trying to excuse the poor boy from his own actions. If a guy hurts my goddaughter, and I go an kill the wrong guy, is it his fault or mine that the wrong guy is dead? It’s the consequences of my actions that he’s dead, the guy who hurt my goddaughter didn’t shove the blade home.

    Same thing as this boy. What the two boys did was a crime and should be punished. To somehow say that it was ‘worse’ and they should be punished more because the lad was gay does fly in the face of a just society.

    What if it had been a young girl involved and she killed herself? Why would that make it a lesser crime?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 1, 2010 @ 2:20 pm - October 1, 2010

  42. V, that’s overly simplistic. You may as well say the Polish Jews would still be alive if they’d been in Brooklyn instead of Krakow.

    Huge difference between suicide and genocide. In one case a person takes action on their own. The other, the action is forced upon them. Was Tyler forced to kill himself or did he make the decision on his own?

    Blaming “society” just excuses fundamentally twisted, inexcusable conduct that is wholly the fault of the individual perpetrators.

    So you’ll disagree with the gay liberals who either have said or, predictably, will say that Christians and/or Republicans are to blame?

    TGC, that is some cooooooold sh*t right there.

    Despite the fact that I think you’re just a drive-by commenter, I have to ask: Why?

    “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

    That proves that he’s anti-gay…………..how?

    it was a disturbingly premeditated invasion of someone elses privacy.

    I agree and never suggested that it wasn’t.

    it was a disturbingly premeditated invasion of someone elses privacy.

    I’d like to see you shill that to the families of the 4 soldiers at Fort Hood who killed themselves last week.

    Oh. Did they suffer from “anti-gay bullying” too? I didn’t know. I wasn’t speaking to all suicides generally, but the ones HRC and LCR referred to.

    As to what V said, why doesn’t someone bear any responsibility for a decision they made, regardless of their state of mind?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 1, 2010 @ 2:59 pm - October 1, 2010

  43. It doesn’t matter that the victim here was Gay. A person has the right to privacy, and the right to choose what they keep private, and what they make public.

    “Just a prank”??? Like putting Drain-O in someone’s coffee???

    I might commit what i expect is a harmful prank, but i fail to think through my actions and someone gets hurt, i would be responsible. If the victim was keeping ANYTHING private, there was every reason to believe that he would be humiliated by having the information he worked to protect, broadcast to the world.

    It’s like this: You scared an old lady, and she had a heart attack……….and died! While she was an very old lady, she would still be alive had it not been for your “prank”.

    And don’t tell me that the these “kids” are not responsible!!!! They are voting-age adults. Make up your minds America! A person is either responsible for his actions, or he is not. If he is responsible for his own actions, then he can buy his own ‘F-ing’ health insurance at age 18. If he is not responsible, then we should raise the voting age to 26 years.

    What this victim was denied is the right to determine his own fate. By learning about someone else’s secrets, against their will, is a violation of privacy. By broadcasting them, you are actively working to undermine that person’s own intentions.
    .

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 3:10 pm - October 1, 2010

  44. And while i’m not gay myself, and don’t really understand homosexuality…….

    If i wanted everyone to know about the boil on my ass, i’d upload the pictures myself.

    ————————

    This is not a Gay issue. This is a self-determination issue, with a Gay example.
    .

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 3:22 pm - October 1, 2010

  45. Gastro, I have an interesting thought on this.

    If two guys get into a fight, say two 18 year old seniors in high school… it happens… Over whatever (a girl probably)… and during the fight one of the guys punches the other, he falls to the ground, hits his head and dies, do you think the other kid get should be charged with murder? I mean, it’s not like he brought a gun to school or anything, meaning to kill the rival. They just got in a fight. The one guy didn’t choke the other guy to death, which obviously would lead to death. They just got into a fight. And one guy fell and damaged his head. It happens.

    Unfortunately, it is more and more common to file criminal charges over something like this.

    I don’t like it at all. In this case, there is no way to know before hand that Tyler would chose to end his own life. I don’t have a problem with the parents filing a civil suit. But the state filing a criminal case?

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 3:27 pm - October 1, 2010

  46. If i wanted everyone to know about the boil on my ass, i’d upload the pictures myself.

    Huh????

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 3:29 pm - October 1, 2010

  47. I worked with this age group for a lot of years. Suicide is nasty stuff, because it leaves so many living victims. Parents wonder what they should have done and heartless people remind them what they could have done. Friends question themselves. Strangers pry for details. None of it is tidy.

    This lad did not kill himself because…… We will never know why he resolved not to live. That is the nasty scar of suicide, it resolves nothing. I suggest that those speculating the “why” of this death spend their time and thinking on more productive projects.

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 1, 2010 @ 3:30 pm - October 1, 2010

  48. I knew a guy in HS who tried to kill himself because his girlfriend broke up with him and cheated on him. Thankfully, he failed in his attempt. But, if he would have succeeded, she should be charged with murder, because her actions led to the suicide.

    And you’re wrong. He did determine his own fate.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 1, 2010 @ 3:47 pm - October 1, 2010

  49. Livewire, the videotapers will most likely did not intend to kill Tyler, But, unfortunately, it probably didn’t occur to them that their actions would lead to his death. But they did likely know that such actions would humiliate Tyler. That’s still pretty vicious. If Tyler was able to brush this off, which we obviously wish he did, perhaps nothing would have come to it.

    However there is precedence for the severity of punishment depending on the aftermath. If one intends to commit murder, but doesn’t get the job done right away, his ultimate penalty will depend on whether the victim lives or dies, even though, at that point, other factors having nothing to do with the crime may ultimately decide the victim’s fate.

    That’s why, even at 18, person’s need to think about the possible consequences of their actions. Right or wrong, they may indeed get a harsher penalty than one may think they would deserve. Sure, Tyler was the one who ultimately decided to take his life, but all I could tell you is if I was one of the videotapers, I wouldn’t be able to wash the blood off my hands for an eternity.

    Comment by Pat — October 1, 2010 @ 3:48 pm - October 1, 2010

  50. Pat,

    I believe the difference here is that the boy killed himself. To use the example above of scaring the old lady with the weak heart. That would be beyond both their control and those extenuating circumstances would be taken into account at the trial.

    In this case though, they violated the privacy, and it while it made him despondant, that’s not an additional crime. The boy’s heart didn’t give out, he didn’t have an aneurysm, he chose to take his own life.

    Their crime was to invade his privacy. That should be punished. To hold them responsible for his choice to take his own life is, I feel, beyond the pale.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 1, 2010 @ 4:01 pm - October 1, 2010

  51. Livewire, that’s all true, but the reality is there is a good chance that the videotapers will pay receive a much higher penalty because of Tyler’s suicide. I also suspect that if they have any consciences they will feel like big pieces of crap for a long time.

    Comment by Pat — October 1, 2010 @ 4:13 pm - October 1, 2010

  52. “Livewire, that’s all true, but the reality is there is a good chance that the videotapers will pay receive a much higher penalty because of Tyler’s suicide. I also suspect that if they have any consciences they will feel like big pieces of crap for a long time.”

    Actually Pat, knowing the seedy side of Hollywood subculture, my hunch is that someone has already approached the two Rutgers students for either film rights or asked them to consider a reality TV show –maybe something crass like “Can You Make Me Cry” or “Pushing the Edge”?

    Sociopaths don’t have consciences… they can’t feel guilt.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 1, 2010 @ 4:25 pm - October 1, 2010

  53. What this victim was denied is the right to determine his own fate.

    Except that he determined his own fate. He could have chosen that it wasn’t worth dying over and deal with the kerfuffle as best as he could. He drove himself to the bridge and jumped off.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 1, 2010 @ 4:59 pm - October 1, 2010

  54. “This lad did not kill himself because……”

    ——————–

    Bullshit!!!!!

    His privacy is his own private property! We will use deadly force to protect their private property, and we have every right to. The victim is not reacting to the rejection of a lover. He is reacting to something he should have 100% authority over.

    Someone took his authority away from him. It doesn’t matter what he was trying to keep private.

    Had the victim reacted differently, would we feel the same way? Had the victim instead decided to go on a shooting rampage, would we consider the resulting deaths to be ‘unintended consequences’ of a simple prank?
    .

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 5:06 pm - October 1, 2010

  55. gatrograb,

    I would. Again, suicide, shooting spree, or going on Oprah, it’s the result if HIS actions in reaction to having his privacy violated. If he had gone on to become a passionate advocate for gay rights, would we still ‘blame’ the two jerks with the camera for that?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 1, 2010 @ 5:14 pm - October 1, 2010

  56. 18.One thing that should be considered: a closeted individual fears being put into the spotlight. the shame, fear, anguish, embarassment, sense of being alienated and all the other ugliness that comes with the closet paralyzes, confuses, and even cause disjointed-irrational thinking and decision making.

    When closeted folk are pushed up against a wall, those pushing understand this fear, they understand that there may not be any repurcussions/consequences for ‘ who is the person going to tell?’

    Many LGBT folk who have been harassed often feel powerless to report the attacks/the harassment for it could lead to futher disclosure.

    Who was Tyler going to tell about a viral video without having to disclose more information. and report about the ‘romantic-private encounter’

    repost from The real punishment for the Clementi pranksters

    Comment by rusty — October 1, 2010 @ 5:24 pm - October 1, 2010

  57. Well again, i don’t believe this is a Gay issue…..even though the subject is Gay.

    This is about privacy. This is about each person being his own sovereign entity, and having full authority over what the courts have declared to be a person’s own private domain.

    It doesn’t matter what his secret is, or why he wants to keep it secret.

    If he goes on a shooting spree, it would be because of his loss of respect for the system that lost respect in him, as an individual.
    .

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 5:41 pm - October 1, 2010

  58. Gastorgrab, this most certainly IS a gay issue to a very great extent. I don’t know if you are gay, but if you are, you should know that “coming out” can be a difficult, traumatic, and extended process, depending upon the individual and their background. Hell, if you’re straight and commenting on a gay oriented blog, you should know that, but I suspect that you don’t want to know it. When was the last time you heard about anyone having a traumatic experience coming out as a heterosexual?

    And Ryan (#8), you are obviously blinded by your loathing of liberals. The fact is that 100% of the organized opposition against gay equality is Fundamentalist Christian-based. And another fact is that Fundamentalist Christians are overwhelmingly aligned with the Republican party. So if you put the facts together, you’ll find that the overwhelming amount of gay-bashing and bullying comes from the Conservative Right.

    Comment by Richard R — October 1, 2010 @ 7:38 pm - October 1, 2010

  59. TGC, de mortuis nil nisi bonum. Wether or not he’s anti gay was never part of my arguement. the idea that his ‘excitedness’ or ‘pride’ that you pointed to was what offended me. as was calling him a pussy for killing himself. don’t sh*t on the dead. they can’t defend themselves.

    Comment by hemonade — October 1, 2010 @ 7:52 pm - October 1, 2010

  60. This is an absolutely horrible story. When I read this story, I thought how cruel. They thought they were being funny. To tape this young man’s private life is truly obscene. I know at 18, I wasn’t near coming out. In fact, it took until I was in my mid-20′s when I was really confident in myself to come out. Freshman year is already tough as it is. I don’t believe this should be considered a “hate crime”. I think that legislation is ridiculous on its face. I do believe they should be expelled and ostracized for what they did. They will never live this down, ever.

    Comment by Scherie — October 1, 2010 @ 9:28 pm - October 1, 2010

  61. So… Richard,

    Would it still be a hate crime if it was a young woman with a man and she killed herself? Why not?

    And please explain John Edwards, or how the ‘pro-gay’ democrats are progay for being for SSM, DADT, and destroying plans with domestic partner benefits, like with McDonalds.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 1, 2010 @ 10:33 pm - October 1, 2010

  62. Sure RIchard, whatever helps you sleep at night; but I can’t help but notice that its usually Democrats who pull out “My opponent is secretly gay” as an attack in campaigns. I mean, look at all the vitriol that Mehlman suffered from the right coming out. I mean, it was just such a FIRESTORM of condemnation> Sort of like the alleged firestorm of consternation and hate about Dick Cheany’s daughter. And the condemnation and rejection in right leaning circles of Tammy Bruce. Wait, you say, You mean none of those actually ever happened? The Deuce you say! Wow! I never could have imagined. And the problem is, Richard, in what you define – and liberals in general define – as equality which usually is in no wise actually equal, but instead consists of giving special privilege to favored minority groups. Add to that that, anyway, I am an economic conservative and a complete social libertarian to the point of “As long as you are not harming another through force or fraud I don’t CARE” and you are barking up the wrong tree by a country mile. I don’t give a rats *** what two consenting adults do with eachother in private. Moreover, why don’t you address the actual content of my post? The lowering of boundaries I am talking about have absolutely zero to do with the sexual orientation of the people in question, but with the perpetrators feeling COMFORTABLE being such rank bastards in the first place and not respecting the VICTIM’S PRIVACY. And I am sorry, but no matter how much you want to WHINE about it that lowering of the boundaries of common decency is a direct line result of the favored-by-liberals “Anything goes” “Moral relativism”. When you teach that there are no absolutes, why the hell would those students have any reason to show basic respect for other human beings? Furthermore, I would bet dollars to donuts that the people posting the video were supporters of Barak Obama, and I would further wager that you aren’t going to find them belonging to the Young Republicans or to after school Bible study.

    Also, if you want the history of prejudice within the democratic party, institutionalized prejudice, throughout the history of the USA go right ahead and be my guest, because it is not at ALL a pretty sight when you start getting to actual statements, votes, and the political parties of those who cast them and made the statements.

    Comment by Ryan — October 1, 2010 @ 10:49 pm - October 1, 2010

  63. After thinking about it for a while, i’ve decided that i confused the standards of proof for ‘civil damages’ with that of ‘criminal charges’. It doesn’t matter how malicious these two acted. There was no specific intent to cause anything other than extreme embarrassment.

    In some cases, the difference between murder and attempted murder, has to do with the skill of the attacker. The intent is the same in both cases. The penalty for ‘intent to kill’ is based on the outcome (whether or not the attacker was successful). The difference between this case and a standard murder case, is that there is no ‘proof of intent’ to cause bodily harm. It’s not even close. It’s also not reasonable that the ‘accused’ could have predicted the eventual outcome.

    The only crime committed is the invasion of the victims privacy.

    The civil damages are another matter entirely. The standard of proof is much lower.

    —————-

    I’m still not convinced that this is a purely Gay issue. It could happen if any secret that someone desperately worked to protect.
    .

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 1, 2010 @ 11:32 pm - October 1, 2010

  64. Sure RIchard, whatever helps you sleep at night; but I can’t help but notice that its usually Democrats who pull out “My opponent is secretly gay” as an attack in campaigns.

    You mean like Democrat Christine O’Donnell… Oh, wait.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — October 2, 2010 @ 2:26 am - October 2, 2010

  65. as was calling him a pussy for killing himself. don’t sh*t on the dead. they can’t defend themselves.

    Maybe you have some shit in your eyes because I quite clearly did not. Wipe that shit out of your eyes and try again.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 2, 2010 @ 3:11 am - October 2, 2010

  66. Richard, perhaps you have some sort of mental disorder that makes you mistake an anecdote for proof?

    And I notice you didn’t even make a slight attempt to address the rest of it. .wonder why?

    Comment by Ryan — October 2, 2010 @ 8:39 pm - October 2, 2010

  67. This is horrible.

    Comment by papamishka — October 3, 2010 @ 7:01 am - October 3, 2010

  68. Ryan,

    When I read your first response (#62) I thought to myself, “Wow, Ryan, that was like a long loud belch. I hope you feel better.”

    Then when I read your next one (#66) I thought to myself, “Oh my, Ryan gets really pissy when he’s not getting attention.”

    But anyway:

    You said, “. . . equality which usually is in no wise actually equal, but instead consists of giving special privilege to favored minority groups.”

    I’ve been around long enough to know that is code-speak for, “My superior status, which brings me special entitlements and freedoms, is threatened when inferior people are treated as my equal.”

    You said, “I don’t give a rats *** what two consenting adults do with eachother in private.”

    I’ve also been around long enough to know that the next sentence is usually something like, “Just don’t shove your disgusting behavior down our throats by talking about it, holding hands in public, placing a photo of your partner on your office desk, or promoting the gay agenda by trying to stop the tormenting of gay kids in schools.”

    You said, “. . . lowering of the boundaries of common decency is a direct line result of the favored-by-liberals “Anything goes” “Moral relativism”.”

    That is insane. If anything, I think liberals are more likely to exhibit common decency, respect for others, and concern for the common good. For example, the horrible bullying of gay kids is actively promoted by the vast Religious Right, despite their obligatory lip-service in attempts to wash the blood off their hands. If they were as concerned about fully functioning human beings as they are about embryos, the USA would be vastly improved.

    So, at the end of the day, your comments only add to my impression that you are blinded by your loathing of liberals.

    Comment by Richard R — October 3, 2010 @ 2:34 pm - October 3, 2010

  69. So Richard assumes what was written, instead of what was actually written. Got it.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 3, 2010 @ 9:14 pm - October 3, 2010

  70. Ok Richard. Sure. Just watch five minutes of the “AMerica COming together Rally” And compare and contrast and get back to me.

    You know, its truly easy, Richard, for you to ‘win’ and argument when you supply both the position of the person you are arguing with and your own response to it. Straw man much? Go right ahead and argue with yourself, Richard, because that is all you are doing.

    Comment by Ryan — October 3, 2010 @ 10:11 pm - October 3, 2010

  71. Besides, even if I DIDN’T want to see it in public, my governmental leanings on that are “That just sucks to be me then.” Just like I don’t think you, as a Gay, have a right to force other people to approve of your views, I don’t think the opposite side has the right to force you to approve of and accede to their views – again, presuming force or fraud are not involved. Its funny, but I think you can be perfectly affectionate in public, gay or straight, without engaging in ‘Disgusting behavior’. Were you planning on engaging in ‘disgusting behavior’? I wouldn’t want to see a guy frenching a girl in public all that much, and by the same token I wouldn’t want to see a guy frenching a guy either in public.

    As to pictures, why the heck would I care what picture you have on your desk? They are there for your benefit, not mine. You really have no clue, Richard, about what a true libertarian view of tolerance is, do you?

    Comment by Ryan — October 3, 2010 @ 10:21 pm - October 3, 2010

  72. In my comment #35 I said mare questions need to be asked. I hope that before this matter is closed we will have answers to those questions.

    Comment by Roberto — October 4, 2010 @ 11:08 am - October 4, 2010

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