Teen violinist commits suicide

September 30, 2010 at 03:14 AM ·

 This is a deeply sad and disturbing story of a violinist, Tyler Clementi, 18, who committed suicide after his roommate allegedly "used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet." It raises many issues, but foremost, my heart goes out to his family and friends.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/nyregion/30suicide.html?ref=technology&pagewanted=all

Replies (77)

September 30, 2010 at 03:43 AM ·

What a horrible tragedy!  Words just aren't enough...

September 30, 2010 at 03:45 AM ·

 This makes me so sad. 

September 30, 2010 at 05:46 AM ·

shame on cyber bullying!. it is a crime..

September 30, 2010 at 07:03 AM ·

Thanks for posting this, Laurie.  My sympathy goes out to the unfortunate young man's family and friends.

The article goes on to discuss a planned program at Rutgers to discuss issues such as civility, courtesy, and respect.  I am so glad that my parents brought me up with these values.

I once went to a friend's church, and the chaplain gave a very moving and down to earth sermon.  Her first words were, "We don't realize how much power we have over each other."

September 30, 2010 at 10:11 AM ·

Awful.  Just awful. 

September 30, 2010 at 11:27 AM ·

What a horrible story!

It's impossible to feel the sadness in his family from such a tragedy!

September 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM ·

It's just terrible. If the perpetrators have any concience, whatever legal punishement gets meeted out to them will not compare with their own life sentence, contemplating the ramifications of their actions.

September 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM ·

I echo everyone's sentiments. This is an unspeakable tragedy. The Internet has not only made possible a new level of communication and freedom, but on the other side of the coin has made possible a new level of abuse that reflects the absence of civility, sensitivity, respect, and compassion in too much of our world.

September 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM ·

Poor poor poor young man and his family. I wish his soul peace.

I wonder: how sure is the witness(es) about that the young man jumped by his own? how secure are the sources of information? it could also have been that somebody pushed him down?

September 30, 2010 at 01:16 PM ·

 

People don't casually walk across the GW Bridge.  It's a main highway link between New Jersey and New York City across the Hudson River.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Bridge 

If he was there on foot at night and wound up in the river, he almost certainly intended to jump.

Horrible event for him and his family-- and I can only guess what life will be like from now on for the kids who brought it on.

 

September 30, 2010 at 02:37 PM · From the article: "The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Mr. Clementi posted a note on his Facebook page the day of his death: 'Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.' Friends and strangers have turned the page into a memorial."

September 30, 2010 at 04:16 PM ·

Yesterday I picked up a copy of a local weekly paper, which carries Dan Savage's column- he's a (very) outspoken gay columnist for those who don't know of him.  Most of his column was about an internet site he and his partner, along with hundreds of others, have started, called "It Gets Better", with the purpose of encouraging LGBT teens to hang on to hope that their lives will indeed get better.  The suicide rate for gay teens is several times higher than for straight kids, and it's just this kind of bullying that leads to it.

The music world is a haven for many gay people, as it seems to have been for this young man.  We all need to protect and encourage each other, to let people struggling with any kind of difference, including just being labeled a nerd, know that it does get better and that most people abhor this kind of bullying, whether done in cyberspace or face to face.

September 30, 2010 at 04:37 PM ·

 Here is the link to It Gets Better.

And here is an interview with the creators of It Gets Better.

September 30, 2010 at 05:16 PM ·

Thanks for putting up that link, Laurie.  I wondered about posting something here since there are so many young people on this site, but couldn't think of a way to connect it with the violin.  I wish there had never been a reason like this, though.

In case anyone is wondering if a project like this is really necessary, Tyler Clementi is the third teenager (that I know about) to commit suicide this week because of gay-related bullying.

Sad.  And sad.

September 30, 2010 at 05:34 PM ·

This hurts. Gay men are killing themselves, first because they already feel like they don't belong, second, people out there that are threatened by another facet to humanity can't understand, and feel threatened, and have to do things such as this to make themselves feel secure, and third, other gay men/boys are terrified to actually go in public and be who they are and find that one person... they have to assume everybody is straight, and that cuts back on alot of social interaction. I know about this because I am a gay male. I've found my peace though, in the violin... I may never have that one relationship, but I have friends, ones that really care, and I wish that he could have known that there are people out there that will try to hurt him just because he is, because he lives... but that there are also people out there, that will build him up just because...

My heart really goes out to him, and because he's gone... I'll fight that much harder for the day when we can all stand on this orbiting rock, and be a family.

September 30, 2010 at 05:52 PM ·

How horrific.  That poor kid -- and his poor family, and as strange as it is to say it, I even feel for the kids who did it.  They have no idea the hell they have condemned themselves to living in for what may well be the next seventy years.

Is there a way to put together a music scholarship or something in his name, or a charity that's been mentioned?

September 30, 2010 at 10:39 PM ·

This is sad. Prosecute and punish the perpetuators.

 

September 30, 2010 at 11:22 PM ·

 Oh, how sad. : (  His poor, poor family. 

September 30, 2010 at 11:24 PM ·

My prayers go out to his family.  Its a terrible thing they done to him, though Im sure with time people would have forgot and he'd have healed, Im sure it didnt feel that way to him.

September 30, 2010 at 11:43 PM ·

Laurie: this is a very sad story...  And I would like to thank you to put it here on your website because I did in my carrer as a lawyer and in my personal life  deal with very similar stories that could have ended in a tragedy.

Yes there are young people here,but I believe they have the right on this website to be informed about such sites on youtube( it gets better)  that could be very helpful for them. I often go to schools and speak with teenagers about these things and internet misbehaviour. Of course ,I do it as a lawyer and inform them about legal consequences. Because thistype of wrongful behaviour  can lead to criminal accusations. We also on our prevention program refer the young persons who are gay and are discriminated to "Gay Ecoute", an organization that may be for them a great help. This organization is wide repute here in the Province of Quebec to help young people to deal with such problems.

Thanks Laurie  and everyone here for your concern.

 

Marc

October 1, 2010 at 12:06 AM ·

What bothers me! Is that the perpetrators believe they are morally in the right doing what they did bullying & teasing the young man that committed suicide!

October 1, 2010 at 12:10 AM ·

what is truly sad is that he left his final words to a social network, not his parents. 

October 1, 2010 at 12:16 AM ·

There is a similar story about a young american named Sheppard, I forgot his first name,who in a small town was tortured by two young men and killed...

October 1, 2010 at 12:37 AM ·

Hi, this is absolountly terrible...  Net users can be disgusting and truely criminal!

And, If ever he was gay, it is said in the litterature and by the teens who made their comming out at school when I was attending highschool that it's really a difficult period for them.  I remember some of them passing a "weird" period before telling it publically.   Also, all the gossip it brings amongst teens...And for the musical heaven Lisa talked about, I think it's true.  Many of those who made their "comming out" were in a teen stage band... But music is for everyone no matter what! 

All this to say that the poor guy might really have been emotionally fragile by "orientational" issues on top of having some very private details of his life on the net...  Add an introvert personnality and it did lead to the terrible consequences of a suicide...  So sorry it did.

Hope the family can find strengh to deal with these very sad events.

Anne-Marie

October 1, 2010 at 04:01 AM ·

Another New York Times article:

www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/nyregion/01suicide.html

 

It is just all so sad.

October 1, 2010 at 06:01 AM ·

 He was actually from near my hometown and I'd seen him play over the years.  He seemed like such a sweet kid.  So so sad.  I find it disturbing that bullying people is considered socially acceptable.  My thoughts are with his family and friends.

October 1, 2010 at 07:22 AM ·

This tragedy has touched me deeply.  Laurie, thanks for starting this discussion and following up.  Anne, thanks for the update via the NY Times article, which gave a lot of details on the sad event.  Vernon, your contribution was eloquent and personal, and I thank you for posting it.  For all Unitarians with kids, varieties of sexuality and acceptance of them is part of the RE school curriculum starting in middle school.

Several sites have sprung up on the Internet to honor Tyler Clement, and they all want to get as many followers as possible.  The major ones are Tyler Clementi Memorial with over 8,800 members; In Honor of Tyler Clementi, with over 1600 members; and In Memory of Tyler Clementi, a site at which the Rutgers community is planning a memorial on campus and asking people to wear black.

I post ads for myself as a violin teacher on the Internet, and recently I got a response that surprised me.  It said, "Do you have any problems dealing with gay people?"  I responded, "I don't see any connection between gender preference and willingness to learn to play the violin.  In fact, I feel bad that you feel that you need to ask."  I now have a new violin student.

I can only hope that some good will come of this, that people will learn acceptance of others and refraining from hurting others.  It sounds so simple.

October 1, 2010 at 08:53 AM ·

I must say something for which you all might get quite upset on me.

I must say, I now also feel sorry for the roommate and his friend for getting the blame for his suicide. Although I do not know all details around their relation with the poor young violinist who suicided, and their joke/bullying was DISGUSTING and LOW and SHOULD BE PUNISHED BY LAW...can we really put the guilt of his suicide on them? I think all of us, have in the young years experienced some kind of nasty jokes or bullying, some more than others, some less. Still, most of us wont suicide (hopefully). Teenagers and kids are cruel and nasty. But very few do their jokes and teasing in order to really harm somebody (i hope), but more in order to gossip and have some fun. If we would put youngsters in prison for similar kind of jokes, I am afraid we would have to put half the young population in the world there.

I am afraid, this was an event that triggered the suicide, but not the reason. Maybe any kind of event could have done that. Maybe he later anyway would have suicided because of something else? Many wonderful people have soul troubles, and its not always easy to know who and why. One does not need to have somebody or something to put the blame on.

(I recently finished "The Sorrows of Young Werther".)

October 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM ·

lena, good for you for thinking like that. 

this incident has many underlying issues; some can be resolved with effort; others probably never.  i would like to think that if climenti, during this very challenging transition time into adulthood, had had a better support system, CENTERED AROUND HIS PARENTS AND FAMILY MEMBERS, he might have reacted to the challenges differently.  to me that is something that can be explored and resolved with effort.

on the other hand, the world has evolved to a point where we just have to accept that there are going to be a lot of bad stuffs, to put it vaguely.  we can have all the education and legislature as preventive measures, but there are always going to be breeds of people who would grow up to enjoy ridiculing others for having certain religion, sexual orientation, line of work, color of skin, diet of choosing,,,heck, country of origin for your stupid violin!    things like that imo cannot be eradicated from this culture.

so we have 3 kids (or young adults) involved.  1 is already dead and other 2 are not dead yet.  what do we want out of the 2? 

tough one.  if climenti is my son, how far do i want to go for so called justice?  if i happen to be religious, what does my religion guide me when dealing with sins vs sinners?  besides the grief on the loss, i would be saddened beyond belief that i have failed as a parent because my kid did not reach out for my help... i would look back and question myself: what and how effectively have i done to help my son to deal with his sexual orientation?

since i am a spectator, my current view is that to send those 2 to prison is probably the dumbest thing i can come up with.  i hope that through this experience those 2 can pursue something positive to turn things around.  right now those 2 are living examples of what can go wrong, but  they can also be living examples of what can go right going forward.

October 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM ·

Well no, the roommates did not push this young man off the bridge. But they are more than  old enough to know right from wrong, and they must have known that they were committing a terrible invasion of privacy for no good reason, and humiliating and mortifying him in front of potentially millions of people. It's that much at the very least.

And it's not just a gay issue. It could have been a heterosexual  or non-sexual matter that was nobody's business. This was a worst-case scenerio, the way it ended up. But it's a lesson for all to think about ramifications of things we do.

October 1, 2010 at 12:30 PM ·

Lena I don't think you should feel tentative in expressing your opinion about this.  It is a reasonable and mature reaction to what has happened.  In this country and I bet in others too we tend to look at things in black and white with no gray areas.  We don't have the whole story and therefore people jump to conclusions that what these students did was the sole cause of this boys' suicide.  That may be the case but more likely it may not be the whole case.  I'm not a doctor or scientist and I won't claim that I have done any research on the subject of suicide but my understanding is that there is never just one event that causes someone to end their life.  Does this mean that these kids shouldn't be punished?  Well no matter what they will be punished in one way or the other if only by the stigma they will carry with them forever. 

What do you think would have happened to these kids if this boy hadn't committed suicide?  Would he have reported the incident?  Would they be charged with violation of his privacy?  Would they have continued to be roomates?  Let's hope that they have learned something from what they did.

I must disagree with al.  In your post you made it sound like his parents and family bare the brunt of responsibility in whether he was well adjusted or not.  Very unfair to say.  This child may have suffered from depression which is a clinical illness and not just a matter of happiness.  I don't think his family can be blamed but of course we don't know anything about his family so we can't say anything either way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br7nbQSIyhg&channel=theellendegeneressho

October 1, 2010 at 12:52 PM ·

marina, i was talking about AS A PARENT, what would i have gone through.  my emphasis has been that having a child who is gay going away from home for the first time is a big challenge.  AS A PARENT, i would have liked to try to connect with my kid more out of concern that he may have adjustment issues.  if he has any issues, i would like to hear it first, not the resident advisor or the school.  i would like to be there so that he won't feel that hopeless and helpless.  whether his family and parents did so or not i do not know. perhaps climenti had never opened up to his parents.  but to me, this incident serves as a great lesson for other parents, if there is something positive to be taken out of this. 

the focus should not be how to punish those 2, but how to start at family level to deal with issues like this.   we cannot change the society until we first change the family structure and function.  how to be helpful parents of gay kids that the gay kids feel comfortable to open up to?  unfortunately, most parents are ill prepared for that, imo, out of shame and embarassment. so, for gay kids who feel lost, looking back, the prejudice from the society has started originally at home level.  i believe with a strong, open family structure in which gay kids feel they are worthy and loved and with a destiny and equal opportunity for greatness, where open and direct communication lines have been long established, nothing the cruel world throw at them now or later will stick. 

"In your post you made it sound like his parents and family bare the brunt of responsibility in whether he was well adjusted or not."   more or less, that is exactly what i am saying and i stand by it.   

 marc, you have the last say on bach anyday:), but i strongly believe that the society is made up of individual family structures, so to change the society, we need to start at ground zero, like each note of a concerto you have composed.  

our "leaders" here change every 4 years, so we have adjustment issues because of that:)

October 1, 2010 at 12:56 PM ·

Indeed,we do not know all the facts. But what ever is the issue,it is true that in all history, and this is still going on today ,we have been thaught by many of our leaders, being political or religious, to act with intolerance against each other, to exclude and even hate different peoples, to be racist and homophobic. Sometimes,this leads to the most outragous collective behaviours, like the holocaust.

If the invasion of privacy really happenned here the way it is reported, even if the young man was depressive,this was for sure not an act of compassion towards him.There should be no excuse in my opinion. Suicide is still regarded as wrongful moral issue and impregneted with religious taboo. Punishment is not the real solution. It is education that is the central question here. And this fails in our system...

Al: it is the society first that must change, our leaders...than the family will follow the example.

October 1, 2010 at 06:34 PM ·

 None of us can judge this young man.  What he went through was not just a normal part of growing up; it went beyond "normal" bullying and took control of his life from him.  I don't know anyone else who went through something like this.  And because none of us has, we cannot judge him for his choices, especially at age 18.  It's easy for us, as adults, to say we would have had more perspective, realized that kids making fun of you will not have a long-term influence on your life..... but it is a huge deal, especially at that age.  I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this was.... and if it was ourselves in his shoes we'd feel differently than how we imagine we'd react.

Regardless of opinions on what should happen to those two other kids, one thing is certain; they had no regard for his well-being and sought to deliberately humiliate him.  It is not okay to video tape people without their express consent, under any circumstance.  There need to be laws in place that heavily punish people who do this.  I've heard of other people being prosecuted for similar reasons.  If there is no punishment people (of all ages) will just continue to do this.  Imagine a world where tiny cameras record your every movement without you knowing it and stream it over the internet, to all your friends and family.  It's quite unsettling to say the least.  At the end of the day, it's not about how much blame they should carry or how young they were..... it's about the fact that they broke the law.

October 1, 2010 at 07:05 PM ·

I cannot believe that on a thread this cut and dried, people are starting a pointless disagreement.

October 1, 2010 at 08:36 PM ·

One thing I haven't seen discussed in any of the coverage of this is how far this "prank" spread.  How many people saw this video?  How many commented on it, either teasingly, supportively, or with revulsion or threats?  Did the Neanderthal element of the campus community smell fresh blood?  I can only imagine the horror, shame, and fear that this young man, by all accounts rather quiet and shy, had to deal with.

October 1, 2010 at 08:39 PM ·

i have no idea why the 'immorality' of suicide figures in here. rather distateful.

Mark, his name was matthew shepard and i don't think this is equivalent; matthew was murdered. however this is also not to say that the case of this boy does not hold homophobia at its heart. to be honest, before i clicked the link posted by Lauri and reading her entry i sensed the boy as going to be gay. someone above said this this was not just about homosexuality and they could have harassed heterozexuals; no, but it is! a young man caught having sex with a woman on tape would give a him a good reputation amongst his peers...on the other hand, a young man caught on tape  having sex with another (and ESPECIALLY if he is the 'passive' partner (keep in mind, it will be very visual and obvious since its on tape/dvd) in a hetrerocentric environment will be seen as shameful, ridiculous, digsuting, hilarious, abnormal...etc.. ( i will also say that a woman caught having sex on tape with a man will also be seen as somewhat shameful although not abnormal).  so yes this is about homosexuality.

justice should be metered out, not more not less. letting those other two off the hook in the hope that their regretful conscience will penalize them will not deter other people from acting this way. i don't understand why this is not ALSO a case of harassment. i don't know more than whats written in the news article but it certainly seems like harassment. also the university should not only encourage the lovey dovey stuff, they should show that they are adamant in prohibiting all cases of bullying...which this clearly is one form of.

so sad is that this delicate boy, in his panic and despair, found no one in the world to turn to.  

 

October 1, 2010 at 09:08 PM ·

When I was 15 (1979), the Three Mile Island nuclear plant had its meltdown or whatever and caused widespread panic in the eastern US.  My dad said casually, "That's what we should do with all the queers - put them to work in nuclear reactors.  That way if anything happens, who cares?"  He's totally not like that now, but back then... well, let's just say that kind of remark was not unusual. 

Fortunately this same dad had already taught me not to take other people's words as truth simply because they were authority figures (even if you have to do what they say because they're the boss)... so I was able to think "that is totally ridiculous" at the same time I was thinking "if he ever finds out, I'm DEAD."  

Part of the big deal about leaving home to go to college was to get out of that household environment.  If I'd gotten away from home and gone to college, and then something like this had happened to me during the first month of my freshman year, I might have killed myself.  Certainly I would have considered it.  Not because of guilt or shame, but because I would have thought there was no way to escape. 

Now I know that my family would not have disowned me, and now I know that I wouldn't have been all alone in the world; but I sure didn't know it then.  

It is so sad that things have not changed more in 30 years...

October 1, 2010 at 09:36 PM ·

Tammuz; thanks for remembering me the name of Matthiew. I Have just cited the case of Sheppard to show how far hate and disrespect towards young gay some persons can go. Cyber-intimidation is very common right now and a new reallty we have to deal with everywhere in the world. A similar story happened here at scholl in La Tuque were I live about two young gay persons in love. The damage caused  on internet is beyond description here  and how much suffering the two victims had to cope with. Both had to move away and attend another scholl in a different town...

October 2, 2010 at 01:58 AM ·

So tragic that someone so young and talented couldn`t find anyone to confide in and prevent the suicide. Living in a college dorm means giving up  certain privacies,but using cameras and the internet is unacceptable; the two students should be expelled.

October 2, 2010 at 01:51 PM ·

Janis said "I cannot believe that on a thread this cut and dried, people are starting a pointless disagreement."

I don't see any arguments being made, only people expressing concern over what happened.  But I will argue that what you wrote has no meaning at all - it gives no insight to what you think or which side of the supposed argument you're on.  I don't see what's so cut and dry about the issue anyway. 

I do wonder what happened to this young man's partner in the video.  Has he come out to speak?

October 2, 2010 at 02:23 PM ·

"a young man caught having sex with a woman on tape would give a him a good reputation amongst his peers...on the other hand, a young man caught on tape  having sex with another (and ESPECIALLY if he is the 'passive' partner (keep in mind, it will be very visual and obvious since its on tape/dvd) in a hetrerocentric environment will be seen as shameful, ridiculous, digsuting, hilarious, abnormal...etc.. ( i will also say that a woman caught having sex on tape with a man will also be seen as somewhat shameful although not abnormal).  so yes this is about homosexuality."

 

Tammuz, while I kind of agree with the first part of what I stated from you because definitivly a gay "relation" will be more laugh at on the net than an hetero (though I'm not saying I agree with people who laugh about gays. It's very mean to laugh of different people. I'm more for respecting everyone whatever is their orientation), I have to say that I strongly disagree with the last part of what I stated...  As a woman, it's truly hurtful to hear such things told about us. (though I know you probably wrote that fast without realizing what really was implied in such a statement).

 

"( i will also say that a woman caught having sex on tape with a man will also be seen as somewhat shameful although not abnormal)"

 

  When will people stop to have such stereptypes...  In such things, usually, two people are implied and it's not shameful for either gender!  Both have the right to participate in any love things! 

You can't say that a video of a man with a woman would be seen as a good thing amongst his peers and then, tell than a video of a woman filmed with a man would be seen as "shameful though not abnormal".  We're talking of the same act here. That just doesn't make sense.  It implies af if one gender was inferior to the other and didn't have the right and dignity to choose what they do in life...  Thinking that a man has to jump on every occasion while a woman has to stay "pure" is an outdated and pejorative thinking.  It's a violation of woman's right. It's not more nasty or shameful for a woman to have sex than for a man and that really is a key element in gender equality issues!   Both genders have the right to express love in any way they want.

I'm telling this in a more general manner.  Not just in response to this sentence I truly disagree with.  So I'm not angry at anyone.  Speaking too fast or not realizing that something we've told can hurt some others is part of life and will happen to all. 

Sorry for beeing off topic here (especially in such a tragic topic) but this was really an important issue to underline as a woman! 

Anne-Marie

 

October 2, 2010 at 04:07 PM ·

Anne-Marie, you seem to have overlooked the fact that Tammuz lives in the United Arab Emirates. His comments are quite relevant from the global point of view, while yours are more restricted to what is acceptable in North America and Europe. Strict Muslim and Hindu communities- which comprise a huge part of the world population- do consider outside marriage affairs not only shameful, but in many cases to be punishable with death.  Many conservative American Christians also think it disgusting. So being, your affirmation that demanding purity from women is "outdated and pejorative thinking" may indeed hurt many people around.

October 2, 2010 at 05:05 PM ·

All I can say is that I feel terrible about that poor young man and my heart goes out to him and his family. I can´t imagine the pain and hurt he went through. I hope and pray that his case may open up people´s eyes about bullying, cyberbullying and accepting people for who they are,

October 2, 2010 at 05:30 PM ·

Rick, I see no reason to respect a position of inconsideration toward my own kind because of some faux global multiculturalism.  I don't recall anyone defending apartheid based on multiculturalism.  Slavery is also a general global value that's gone out of fashion in North America, and thank heavens for that.

I'm done with this topic.  I cannot freaking believe we went from expressing sympathy for what was by all accounts a talented and pleasant young man to being scolded for expressing offense over being told that I have less freedom and worth as a human being.

October 2, 2010 at 05:37 PM ·

Rick,  I am very open to other cultures and welcome the diversity of ideas.  But this wasn't a cultural issue I was refering to.  It was about gender equality issue.   I don't want to hurt anyone since I was not even refering to culture.  I was just talking about respecting any humanbeing equally and not considering something shameful for one human and ok for another human.  It was as basic as this.

I'm not at all accusing Tamuz or anyone.  I'm talking very generally. Seems to me that Laurie would want those who visit her website to agree with the "gender equality" principle whatever their culture. 

Anne-Marie

 

October 2, 2010 at 05:54 PM ·

That was horrible. I heard him play and he was really good. Suicide is too permanent. You could just get drunk instead.

October 2, 2010 at 06:05 PM ·

to me this topic is worthy of discussion not just because it is clearly a case of invasion of privacy, violation of trust/promise, prank going way too far, prejudice against gays, repeated streaks of meanness and that it is very sad to see older folks burying the young.

young classical violinists also face similar pressure and discrimination from the society.   many young violin players are being taunted by fellow classmates because the current value norm is perverted.  essentially the bullying and abuse is the same in nature.  if you don't stop playing the violin, we will give you a hard time because it is fun to make fun of someone and a violinist is an easy target.

as i said earlier, the only effective way to deal with that is to start at home, parents making our children believe in themselves and what they like to do and not to be influenced by others.  others won't change.  this society can never make a criminal offense out of all levels and forms of bullying, no matter what celebrities and politicians tell you. 

now, on a totally different level, let me ask you guys this:

remember that famous heifetz imitation video?  that he played in front of a class an audition from a lady to illustrate how badly she must have played?  now, what if the lady later found out about the video and proceeded to end her life because it is too much to bear?   will that be h's fault to ridicule or her fault for taking it too hard?

or tough luck,,,if you want to be a violinist, that is the way it will be?

or tough luck,,,if you are gay, that is the way it will be?

October 2, 2010 at 07:56 PM ·

First, my respects to his parents.

Second, in honor of him, I make it clear that I am gay. 

This was a hate crime, they should both be charged with manslaughter, unfortunately, that probably won't happen, but the FBI will ultimately be involved.

The guy who committed this crime, from a psychological viewpoint, obviously got off on it and likely is a repressed homosexual anyway.  Sad but probably true.

I won't say what else I think.  I'm also not going to look back at this thread since it's seemed to go off topic.

 

October 2, 2010 at 08:09 PM ·

Marina, that YouTube video you referred to in your post of October 1 has been blocked by Warner on the grounds that the content infringes their copyright.

October 2, 2010 at 08:19 PM ·

it is unfortunate that i was misunderstood; here's what i said:

" ( i will also say that a woman caught having sex on tape with a man will also be seen as somewhat shameful although not abnormal).  so yes this is about homosexuality."

a woman will also be seen, not by me, i didn't say i saw it this way so my person and background are not involved, just voicing a general observation. so, i'm saying that sexism still plays a part in western societies, though less so than traditionally based patriarchal societies. sex is more likely to be leveraged against women than against men especially in a context where individuals still have not enough social maturity to secularly isolate their personal opinions from public behaviour , such as in the case of school children, college kids, delinquints or just rude inconsiderate people in general. in the extreme, straight men don't get sexually assaulted as much as women do you will concede.  perhaps, the same people who are homophobic can very likely be sexist, even women themselves in a subconscious manner. such is the influence of a bullying masculinity that deems other expressions of sexuality as a threat to its sense of normality.

as i said, this is my observation not my belief. for my part, other than being a guy who fancies other guys, i really don't care for all other differences between men and women.  live and let live. those bullies participated in not letting that boy live.

October 2, 2010 at 09:13 PM ·

Trevor, I just tried Marina's link and it worked for me.

Tammuz, communicating across cultures is difficult.  Thank you for taking the trouble to make your thoughts clear to a westerner.

Discussion of this topic is continuing.  Here is a link to an "It Gets Better" video by someone who was nearly convinced to kill himself by something a pastor said in a sermon, and here is a link to a letter from a concerned Christian reader to Dan Savage, creator of the project, and his response.  Warning:  the response has strong language in it.

And here is an audio link to a radio show where the host reads an e-mail she received after interviewing Dan Savage about this project.  You know how people always say "if this makes life better for just one child, it will have all been worth it"?  Well, he's done it.

October 2, 2010 at 09:39 PM ·

Bruce, I've rechecked that YouTube video.  The precise wording is: 

 "This video contains content from Warner Bros, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

I'm in the UK, so perhaps this block applies only outside the USA (where I believe you are).

 

October 2, 2010 at 10:20 PM ·

Bruce: thanks for these links...very touching and instructive.

 

 

October 2, 2010 at 10:43 PM ·

 This is very, very tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. 

October 2, 2010 at 10:49 PM ·

Marin Alsop

Samuel Barber

Leonard Bernstein

Benjamin Britten

John Cage

Aaron Copland

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Gian Carlo Menotti

Peter Pears

Peter Tchaikovsky

Michael Tilson Thomas

How lucky we are as musicians that none of the above were bullied into silence.  I'm sure there are many more names to add to this list- this was just off the top of my head on a Saturday afternoon.

October 2, 2010 at 11:03 PM ·

Tammuz, thanks for making this clearer!  As I said, I didn't accuse you and I'm still happy to see that it was just an observation and that you don't agree or consider what was caught on tape (basically having sex...) as beeing more shameful for a woman that for a man.  I know that many people do think this way (extremists and as you said, possibly the same as those who are bullying homosexuals) but it's sexist and very mean from them.  It leads to sad events like bullying this poor guy!   

Thanks for the precisions!

Anne-Marie

Lisa, very true and also the great soviet pianist Sviatoslav Richter...   

October 3, 2010 at 03:31 AM ·

It's only a few seconds of him playing at 0:34 & a little at the end...

Video Surfaces of Tyler Clementi Playing Violin

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/10/01/earlyshow/main6918101.shtml

October 3, 2010 at 05:05 AM ·

This is absolutely one of the saddest and most depressing news stories I have ever encountered. RIP

October 3, 2010 at 10:31 PM ·

 An equally appalling aspect of the tragedy is that Tyler was due to perform with his orchestra in a few days time - whether as a soloist or in the orchestra I don't know.  Either way, he would have been in the dreadful situation of knowing  that everyone out there in the auditorium and in the orchestra knew about that streaming video.  This must have had a huge influence on what he did.

This weekend I played in a performance of Mozart's Requiem.  On this particular occasion, for me it wasn't just another performance - it was something profoundly different.

October 4, 2010 at 04:52 AM ·

Random thoughts on the tragedy:

A hate crime?  Too early to know.  I have served on two juries -- one criminal case, one civil case.  I know from these experiences the value of hearing both sides of the story as fully as possible.  It can take time.

A couple of my friends happen to be gay.  Am I afraid that my social interaction with them will turn me gay?  I mean -- come on.  Will visiting with these blue-eyed friends turn me blue-eyed?  Will practicing the fiddle in the garage turn me into an automechanic?

May God be with Tyler's parents through this ordeal.  I know bereavement -- my parents died in the early 1990s within a year and a half of each other -- natural causes.  I healed from this -- though it was an adjustment, to be sure.  But when a child dies first, I would think that the pain for the surviving parents would be still worse.

At first, Dan Savage's words on screen made me think, "What a hothead -- a classic S.O.B."  But when I listened to some of his videos, a different picture emerged.  If Dan and I were in the same room, I am quite sure that he and I could hold a reasonable 1:1 discussion.

Among the things Dan said that resonated with me -- I forget which video -- was something like, "Miserable people like to make others miserable."  That's a good description of the bully mindset.  Notice, too, how often these bullies won't act alone -- so that they can boost their own egos by playing to an audience of their buddies.

I am solidly conservative -- and I am a believer in Jesus Christ.  Does this make me part of the problem?  Am I contributing to a climate of hate?  I don't think so.  His teachings don't give me or anyone else license to harm or degrade or belittle others.  His teachings and the writings of St. Paul are what rescued me from the pit of despair and loneliness and hopelessness at age 16.  You see, it does get better -- for straight kids, too -- and in my case, it began while I was still in high school.

October 4, 2010 at 04:12 PM ·

Jim - the second sentence of comment 198 on that letter I linked to earlier neatly summarizes my feeling about religion's role, or possible role, in all this.  Also comment 192, which pretty much summarizes my view on the whole matter of gay rights.  [warning again, there are "bad" words to be found on this page.]

As I have learned through many of those YouTube "it gets better" videos (and my own experience), many gay children & teenagers have family who would support them if they knew, but the kids don't realize it.  For our own safety, the default setting that we [gay people] must assume for all people is that they are anti-gay, unless they say otherwise.  I went all the way through college confident that I would be thrown out of my house without a penny or a friend if my parents found out, based on remarks my dad had made over the years.  It turned out not to be true, but I had no evidence for that.

To you, Jim, or anyone reading this who has children:  if you would still love your children if they were gay, be sure to say so -- out loud, in words.  If they are gay (or are wondering if they might be), it will lift an enormous load from their minds; if they are not, it will make it clear what a cool parent you are.

Sorry for getting preachy.  (I was about to say "I'll try not to do it again," but I probably will :-P  )

October 5, 2010 at 01:37 AM ·

 I will add this young person to my daily prayers.

October 5, 2010 at 02:59 AM ·

Bruce, thank you for your input.  Actually, I didn't think your post was preachy at all -- in fact, I highly recommend that all parents should do what you said: "…if you would still love your children if they were gay, be sure to say so -- out loud, in words."

The story of Matthew Shepard, already mentioned in this thread, comes to mind.  For those who don't know about him, Matt was the 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who met an untimely death at the hands of Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney in October 1998.

I was deeply grieved by Matt's story.  What really pierced my heart was the anguish his parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, faced.  I heard the statement that Dennis gave to the press shortly before the funeral.  Then came the picketing of the funeral by Fred Phelps and his family.  I thought to myself, "Oh, why couldn't they just let Matt's loved ones say their goodbyes to him in peace?"

Phelps is undoubtedly one of the most blatant examples of the pseudo-Christian wingnuts who give believers a bad name.  I got online and joined cyber-hands with a lot of folks to discuss Matt's story and do something to make a positive difference.  To be sure, I caught a bit -- only a bit -- of cyber-shrapnel from both sides -- can't please everyone.  But, by far, most of the dialogues were productive.

I don't blame these kids who are turned off by religion.  A lot of them, it seems, get the worst of what the churches have to offer -- verbal abuse, mental anguish -- right from their early preadolescent years.  I remember one radio pastor -- it could have been the late J. Vernon McGee -- who said: "If you've 'got religion' -- then get rid of it.  Get Christ instead."

These are just some more thoughts I wanted to add last night.  But my post was getting near my limit -- and I was getting past the fall-down stage of fatigue.  Thank you for providing an opening today.

October 7, 2010 at 03:14 AM ·

My goodness....

 

My only response, to Maria Fragoulis (sp?):   Mr. Clementi did INDEED report the first incident both to his resident advisor and another higher-up.   This fact has been documented and covered by major news outlets.  

 

October 7, 2010 at 08:53 AM ·

 One wonders why the bullying behavior wasn't then immediately stopped by the college authorities.  Then the tragedy would likely have been averted.

October 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM ·

Samuel did I imply that he didn't?

October 8, 2010 at 01:51 AM ·

Ms. Fragoulis:

Thank you for responding.   For the record, it is not my intention to attack anyone in law, word, or deed; however, you did pose the question:  "Would he have reported the incident?"

I have to agree with you, however, that there is a LOT that we do not know about this case - and shudder at the thought of what those unknown factors could be.  Furthermore, I have to applaud his family for both asking and ensuring that their privacy and dignity remain intact throughout this ordeal.

October 21, 2010 at 04:20 AM ·

Things like this...is one of the main reasons I strive so much with the violin. I want people to know that you can make it and you can beat the odd life sets at you, to never give up.

That suicide isn't and never is the answer.

Suicide is giving up, taking the easy way out because you are too afraid to face the trials of life.

I truely wish he hadn't chosen what he did, I would have loved to have competed against him.

October 21, 2010 at 05:15 PM ·

"Suicide is giving up, taking the easy way out because you are too afraid to face the trials of life."

I've never understood what people mean by that.  It almost sounds like deciding to take an "Incomplete" in a class because the assignments are too hard.  Surely people don't intend to sound like they are accusing desperately unhappy people, who have lost all hope that life will ever improve, of laziness.  Despair - the belief that things will never get better no matter what you do or how hard you try - is not laziness.

And anyway, if killing yourself is so much "easier," what does that say about the other road?

Sorry, I don't mean to jump on this one person - but it's a saying I've been hearing all my life and I can't seem to make sense of it.

October 21, 2010 at 06:16 PM ·

All of us use our own introspection as a basis for trying to understand what other people’s inner life is.  So it’s really common for people to presume that everyone operates internally in a similar way.

Very few people make the actually rather significant effort to understand the internal life of other people.  It takes a great deal of questioning assumptions and learning wholly different patterns of thinking.

The idea that one can generalize or judge what suicide meant to someone one did not at least know intimately–whether to say it was easy, or a cop-out, or a cry for help, or a vicious assault on others, whatever–is really very, very presumptuous and frankly, I think, rather inhumane.

October 21, 2010 at 07:13 PM ·

 Well-spoken, Andres and Bruce.

October 21, 2010 at 10:00 PM ·

A tragic end to a life worth living. The great country song "Ode To Billie Joe" sung by Bobbie Gentry captures the pathos of suicide like no other song I have ever heard. 

October 22, 2010 at 04:43 AM ·

President Obama's "It Gets Better" video:   www.youtube.com/watch

 

April 21, 2017 at 10:57 PM · It is very true that having someone there to help you through hard times, who will stick up for you when you feel powerless helps tremendously.

Not sure how relevant this is to this story, but I remember one example that happened about the same time this did (based on the year of the post). My very good friend, Bartolomeo, had a mortifying incident at school. And my other friend Giovanni had a similarly mortifying incident a few months after. So get ready for story time.

Bartolomeo one day got fire from bullies. After he won against them in P.E., they decided to get their revenge. The grabbed Bart just as he finished showering, and was about to go get dressed, and threw him back out into the gym. Along the way he dropped his towel, and they pushed him to the middle of the floor, in full view of everyone, at which point there was a huge outburst of laughter. From where I was sitting, I could see the anguish on his face, and since he's like a brother to me, I started to feel sick to my stomach for him. Then I got mad. So I dashed out to the floor, and started telling everyone that it wasn't funny, and why. After that, Bart sat down and cried. So I stayed there until he felt better. Later that weekend, he invited me to go with him on a walk on a trail. We got to a ledge, and he told me why he invited me, that he wanted to say goodbye to me before he jumped. So he prepared to jump, but I managed to grab his collar, and I didn't let him jump. I explained to him that I understood his pain (something similar had happened to me a few months before), and if he didn't feel that he could stick up for himself, that he could just leave that to me. I promised to give absolute bell to anyone who taunted him. When we returned to school, I did just that. By the end of the day, no one at school dared make it difficult for him. Moral of this story is that Bart had someone who (very personally) undersood, and was willing to help him through the hardships. For poor Tyler Clementi, I just wish more people would take the initiative to help protect the victims before it gets out of hand.

Oh wait, I didn't tell Giovanni's story. It was a similar thing, except that this was during a stage production at a packed theater, and a saboteur got him backstage befor Giovanni had a chance to get dressed into costume (why he would undress completely all at once to change into costume, instead of one article at a time, I don't know, you'd have to ask him), and the saboteur pushed him out naked on the stage. The other main difference is Giovanni is much more shy, and much more sensitive to things like this. But same thing, I helped him push through the hardships, pounding (not physically) anyone who dared make it hard for him.

Again, more people should do that, should someone be a victim of what Bart or Giovanni went through, or poor Tyler Clementi, if someone (or even multiple) would take the initiative to go to the victim and offer to help protect them, make sure no one outwardly holds it against them, lives could be spared. Clementi, I am sure if I (or anyone) could have offered my help, he may still be alive today.

If I'm just being stupid saying all this, I'm sorry, I'm not trying to make a mockery of this. Just thought it wouldn't hurt to add this idea.

April 22, 2017 at 11:02 PM · Lisa van S, if you believe Tchaikovsky was homosexual, you would surely also believe the "Court of Honour" story, in which case would you really say that he wasn't bullied into silence? Mind you, he might not have had anything to say after the Pathetique.

April 24, 2017 at 03:22 PM · A tragic story, certainly not the first and won't be the last I'm afraid. I was expecting a story about suicide rate amongst young violinists, which are under tremendous pressure to perform, but this story seems quite unrelated actually and could have happened to any teen out there. Very sad indeed.

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