Tyler, Dharun and Molly: One Life Lost, Two Lives Ruined

Ravi Wei.jpg

Police believe they may have found the body of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who jumped to his death after a roommate spied on him having gay sex. Meanwhile, some Rutgers students are saying Clementi’s roommate’s actions were misinterpreted.

Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, turned on his computer’s webcam and apparently spied on Clementi while he was hooking up with another man. After Clementi found out, he ended up throwing himself off the George Washington bridge. [gawker]

Do you remember what it was like to be 18? Most of us consider ourselves much wiser than we were back then; many of us would cringe at what we thought and the asinine shit we did. The problem with being 18, if I may be so blunt, is that most 18-year olds are stupid. Yes, we are brown; we get near-perfect scores on the SAT and take so many AP classes, we can skip our Freshman year of college. Big deal. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about emotional intelligence. Compassion. Wisdom. That last trait isn’t gifted to a teenager because it’s a consolation prize for approaching middle age, for suddenly possessing an underperforming metabolism, greying temples and baggage “life experiences”. When I was 17, I skipped most of my Freshman year of college. I could eat garbage, flip my long, dark hair and stare at everything with the wide-eyed innocence of an idiot who had never even spent the night at a girlfriend’s home, forget alcohol, drugs, relationships or anything else. When I was 17, my three biggest worries were:

a) being forced to live at home and commute to a school I hated because of strict parents
b) my high school best friend judging my outfits because she discovered Islam
c) missing out on college “life” because I had to be home by 6pm every evening.

I knew nothing about real life, common sense or compassion. I was endlessly selfish, because as a South Asian child, I had been coddled until I was barely a solid. My peers were 18 and discovering drugs and sex; I was secretly sleeping with stuffed animals and being treated like a 10-year old. Desi children get babied in a way that many of our peers do not. As a result, I had a dim sense of consequences and whenever I did imagine anything remotely “bad” happening, I assumed my parents would fix it. They always did.

I am so glad I didn’t do anything regrettable or illegal.

I am so glad that I didn’t hurt anyone to the point where they harmed themselves.

I would never have forgiven myself and I doubt that I’d be sitting in some cafe in Washington, D.C., nursing a cocktail after peace-ing from my new, dream job with NPR.

See, if I had done something impulsive and harmful when I was a freshman in college, that sin would have followed me for the rest of my life; depending on what I did, maybe to some of you, that would be a just sentence. To be googled as I applied for a job and then denied. To be shunned. To be judged. To have my family blamed for my thoughtlessness. To have my culture be brought up as evidence of intolerance. To be considered a hateful criminal…a murderer.

But here’s the thing; I see the other side, too. I see it so clearly, it cuts my eyes until they feel like they are bleeding. Reading the news has triggered memories so painful, I have only contemplated them once since my first senior year of college, 15 years ago. That’s when I was bullied so mercilessly (by Desis, no less), that I abruptly dropped all of my classes, thus ensuring that I would not graduate on time, that I would not take the LSAT, that my entire future would be slightly altered. I am not a lawyer, though a love for the law runs in my family, and I had planned to become an attorney since I was in the first grade. I did not finish college in four years. My life veered dangerously off of the track it had plodded along, simply because I could not face them, the people who turned their heads to whisper to each other about me as I walked past. I could not bear the constant humiliation.

A rumor, an ugly, poisonous rumor about me, my sexuality, my tendencies. That’s all it took. I want to prostrate myself on the filthy Adams Morgan cement right now and give thanks that I suffered before the internet and social media made everything far too public. There was no Facebook or Twitter to extend my mortification or amplify my disgrace. There were no web cams. All that existed was Pine and IRC, and thankfully, my tormenters didn’t seem to use either; if they did, I never knew.

And yet, despite the inability for my story to go “viral”, for a few years after that nightmarish quarter in college, in random cities, all over the United States, I’d meet someone who, after being introduced to me, would cock their heads to the side and regard me differently. “Wait– are you the girl who…?”, they would ask and I would want the ground to open and swallow me whole.

I hadn’t done anything wrong, but that didn’t stop the shame or humiliation from being flung my way, years and miles after I had been accused of something I didn’t even do. Fuck it. Even if I did do it, who were these people to attack and diminish me?

So, I get it. I get it to a degree that is so painful, I tearfully downed vodka shots before writing this.

Three lives, ruined.

That is all I can think of, when I read the tips you have sent in, regularly, since this story broke.

I am not apologizing for anyone or justifying anything. I am just appalled, like all of you are. The problem with the Rutgers cyber-bullying story is that it is just like life: complicated. The more I read, the less sure I am of what happened. All we can know is that Dharun Ravi did the unconscionable; he invaded his roommate’s privacy in an outrageous, indefensible way. He invited voyeurs to participate in a virtual, collective humiliation; he is guilty of being an intolerant little shit who apparently had gay friends. He is also a teenager, which may or may not explain a lot of what happened, depending on your point of view.

We also know that Tyler Clementi is gone, forever. He looks like a sweet, sensitive child, coming in to his own. A talented violin player, someone who was exploring life with all the freedom newly-afforded by life at a big, public school. But he knew his roommate was spying on him. He went to an RA and voiced his concerns. He sought advice online from a Gay forum about what Ravi was doing to him. He seemed in control.

Then, he updated his Facebook with a terrifying, tragic status message; he was going to take his life.

“Jumping off the gw bridge sorry”

The human mind, ever desperate to comprehend the senseless, likes to connect dots. “Clearly he jumped because his roommate spied on him!”, our brains conclude. Is it that simple? Suicide is never so obviously explained, not in my opinion, and unfortunately, I have some experience with that specific sort of tragedy. The only things I would say, with certainty, about suicide are:

1) someone has to be in extraordinary anguish to consider or commit it

2) it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Our minds want an explanation. We want to assign blame, to wash our hands of the matter, with a clear sense of whom to condemn, so we can shake our heads sadly and move on. That’s comforting and who doesn’t want comfort after reading about such a heartbreaking tragedy, especially during a month when Tyler wasn’t the only child to take his own life. But none of us, aside from Dharun, Molly and Tyler know exactly what happened or why.

And what about Molly. I have read that she was Dharun’s high school friend, his college girlfriend. She was arrested, too. How much of this was her idea? How much blame do we assign her? How much of her future should be ruined for laughing, perhaps easily, perhaps uneasily at her boyfriend/friend’s tweets and casual homophobia? Are we interested in a witch hunt? Or justice?

Is the latter even possible?


You know what is possible? Change. Do you feel awful about what happened to Tyler Clementi? If you do, instead of assigning blame and thinking about something else, challenge yourself to change your corner of the world– it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds, even if it may not always be comfortable or easy.

The next time someone uses “gay” as a synonym for “lame” or “stupid”, say something.

The next time someone is depressed and struggling, reach out.

The next time you are invited to participate in ritual humiliation and baseless gossip, think about how little you know about the vulnerability of the person in whose downfall you are delighting. Even the law says you must take your victim as you find them.

Bullying is never okay. Especially because none of us knows how close someone else is to the end of their rope.

And to people commenting about how this is so awful for our community, ask yourself one question– do white people apologize when one of their own does something regrettable?

You are not responsible for Dharun Ravi’s awful decision to put his roommate’s most intimate moments on blast. All you are responsible for is yourself– and if you feel sick about this, instead of accepting blame on behalf of our community, work within it, to make it a more welcoming place for people who are queer, trans, bi, questioning. We are not all Dharun Ravi. But we can make life for the next Tyler Clementi a little bit easier.

162 thoughts on “Tyler, Dharun and Molly: One Life Lost, Two Lives Ruined

  1. abhi, obviously agree. more generally i get a sense, which could be wrong, that many people are focusing on dharun ravi as the incarnation of all the unpleasant bullies which they had to deal with as kids and teens. here’s the thing: those bullies are now your mechanics, your cashiers, your doctors, and yes, your wall street bankers. locking dharun ravi up for most of his life won’t change the fact that those people are still walking around, living their life, and perhaps implicitly passing on their attitudes to their kids. if dharun ravi is a murderer, he isn’t the only one. the kids who probably picked on tyler when he was a teen, the kids who high-fived dharun for being a bad-ass, they’re responsible for what went down too. not legally perhaps, but morally, i think so.

  2. The reason some straight people don’t understand or get it is for some gay people it is a matter of life or death. For some gay people coming out to their families means either losing their self, their identity and there are consequences. Tyler Clementi didn’t even come out to his parents they did not know he was gay. He probably was terrified about his folks finding out. Why don’t people try to stop making excuses for Dharun Ravi just because he has a South Asian background!

    Dharun Ravi is indeed a murderer and he should be charged with second degree murder. There needs to be a message sent to the homophobes that homophobia will NOT be tolerated. It isn’t good enough for people to suggest that this kid Dharun Ravi was just a kid that went too far. Only a sick individual would secretly tape his roomate having sex and then ridicule the individual. Tyler Clementi was an innocent young man.

    • For some gay people coming out to their families means either losing their self, their identity and there are consequences. Tyler Clementi didn’t even come out to his parents they did not know he was gay. He probably was terrified about his folks finding out.

      So Orville, why hasn’t it occurred to you that THIS could be the reason why Tyler killed himself???

      Instead, you seem hellbent on portraying Dharun as a murderous psychopath who deserves to be lynched. You also seem to be deriving some malicious racist pleasure in making all desis look guilty for not going along with your lynch mob mentality.

      Why don’t people try to stop making excuses for Dharun Ravi just because he has a South Asian background!

      See what I mean? This is a malicious racist lie. You also lied that desis were not showing any sympathy for Tyler. Every post starting with Anna’s has expressed deep sympathy for Tyler. Everyone here agrees that what Dharun did was despicable.

  3. Why don’t people try to stop making excuses for Dharun Ravi just because he has a South Asian background!

    no one is making an excuse because of his background. i knew plenty of kids who i suspect would behave like dharun ravi did in high school, and i didn’t know any south asian kids in high school (well, aside from my brother).

    Tyler Clementi was an innocent young man.

    ? what does that have to do with this discussion? who would deny that? am i missing some anonymous commenter who is arguing otherwise up-thread?

  4. Ok, for those of you who believe Dharun is a sociopath, I ask you to consider the girl behind this: http://deadspin.com/5652280/the-full-duke-university-fuck-list-thesis-from-a-former-female-student/gallery/?skyline=true&s=i

    I ask, not to change the subject or confuse the issue (e.g. homophobia), but because within a couple of days this story might be the outrage story that knocks Dharun/Tyler to the backburner. And the above story has many parallels. The basic point I am trying to make is that a large swath of society has a twisted view of morality, not just a few individuals.

  5. I agree with Razib and Abhi’s comments.

    Comparing this case with the case of Phoebe Prince (?I believe that was her name) who committed suicide after people at her high school as well as her former friend’s mother were bullying her both online and in real life, I feel this is not a clear-cut case of “action A by the homophobic guy led to suicide by the gay guy.” First of all, Dharun may not have realized that his roommate has depression. In fact, his roommate himself may not have known he had depression. If he had, perhaps he could have sought counseling for advice on how to deal with the situations that were troubling him, and gotten treatment and a new roommate. It’s not like the case of Pheoebe in which the mother of the friend actually knew about Phoebe’s history of depression and yet communicated with Phoebe over intstant messenger in a way that she knew would make her more depressed and suicidal.

    Second of all, does anyone here remember or know what it’s like to be a freshman in a big state/public school, living in a cramped little dorm room with someone you just met who was randomly assigned to be your roommate? As much as people want to promote diversity, awareness, etc, it really helps in your freshman year, the first year you are living away from home, if your roommate is similar to you. There are lots of casually homophobic people out there and it seems like it might help not to put a homophobic guy together as a roommate with a gay guy, when either of them is going to use the room for sexual activities. When you fill out roommate request forms there should be some way to request these sorts of things too-for both the gay guy and the homophobic one-at least for freshman year which requires enough adjustment as is. I had a gay roommate in college who also happened to be my friend. She only came out to me and everyone else (her family, friends) after we had been living together for several years and I had very little reaction to it at that time. But I know that if I had come to know that she was gay when we had just met each other or just started living together, I would be a bit uncomfortable living with her, because I admit I’m probably homophobic despite having progressive values in regards to the GLBT community. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would react the same way at the age of 18. I don’t think throwing two young people together with very different views of sexual orientation and who are not friends/hardly know each other is a good idea– this happened in September so it’s clear they hardly knew each other.

  6. I’ll echo Razib and Abhi’s comments here.

    1) Dharun is definitely guilty of violating privacy and whatever laws he violated, he should be held accountable to those laws. Our laws define society’s morality, not individual feelings. Charging him with second degree murder has to mean that circumstances where privacy was violated, resulting in an individual (hetero or homo), killing themselves is equivalent to second degree murder. Not a lawyer, but I think a prosecutor will not make that conclusion. Heck, in many drunk driving incidents where someone is killed, the usual course of action is a manslaughter charge. And this is where it is clear an intoxicated individual was responsible for killing another human being. Some jurisdictions in the nation do charge drunk drivers with murder. What Dharun did is bad, violated the trust of someone he was living with, and didn’t take into account the potential repercussions of his actions. Again, if there are laws he violated on the books, then he should be charged to the extent those laws allow. If more information comes to light with regards to Dharun/Molly’s behavior towards Tyler, I hope prosecutors will screen it carefully (especially after the media attention to this, I’m sure they will).

    2) Tyler jumping off a bridge is sand tragic, but there seems more to be known in this story. Were other issues bothering Tyler? What was the relationship with is family, or any significant others? Do we have more information on his interactions with his peers at college? What’s also tragic is that it seems Tyler felt he didn’t have any other recourse but to jump off a bridge. As stated before, a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    3) The word sociopath being thrown around is pretty interesting, considering no one here can make an objective evaluation of such a condition. So, whether anyone here feels he’s a sociopath is irrelevant. One can believe Dharun is a sociopath, but that belief will not translate into facts if the aren’t supported. Sociopaths have no empathy or feelings of remorse. They tend to be very anti-social. Dharun’s behavior in this instance may clearly show he lacked empathy or knowledge of what his actions were doing, but that doesn’t mean he was a sociopath. Two different things. Getting drunk one time does not equal an alcoholic, despite the fact in their worst states, they may be equally intoxicated.

    4) Our current society is just very narcissistic. This may answer some of the issues with the bipolarity in comments. The internet can help empower education and ignorance. If you’re looking for knowledge you can be educated, or if you’re seeking another outlet to reaffirm your own cognitive biases, it’s open season too.

  7. Abhi and Razib: I think you guys are correct. And I suspect most people realize that these sorts of issues are complex. However, I think it’s important to recognize that the complexity argument can be asymmetrically applied, and that might explain some of the animus you guys are seeing here.

    My sense is that some of the people who are calling for outrage are actually calling for us to respond to what happened in the way that we would if it involved a kind of discrimination we might be expected to feel closer to. They might believe that, were Tyler Clementi bullied by two random white kids, people here would be happy to indulge in outrage. They might believe that, were Tyler Clementi a Desi kid who was bullied aggressively for being Desi and then killed himself, people here wouldn’t be calling for a nuanced, complex approach to understanding those who bullied him. They might think that, under those kinds of scenarios, an article discussing how an act of bullying leads to “one life lost, two lives ruined” would be impossible on this site. And, for all I know, they might be right.

    I’m certainly not trying to say that it’s true of you two, or Anna: I don’t know you personally; I am a sporadic-at-best follower of SM, so I don’t know your “personae” here; and I haven’t seen anything that would indicate that you wouldn’t take precisely this approach to many problems, even those involving, say, South Asian identity more directly. But I can understand where such a worry comes from, because it happens a lot, all over the place. I guess I read, in some of the comments, a concern that we see Tyler’s suffering with a greater distance than we would were he more “relatable”, and that that is, perhaps, itself a microcosm of the way in which many straight individuals view issues affecting the homosexual community — with a distance that might indicate as inability/unwillingness to really see them as members of the same in-group.

  8. The victim has become the victimzer. We have two ethnic minorities victimizing a Caucasian male.

  9. I was surprised at the vehemence shown online by various commenters (give the two max prison time, hate crime, etc). It appears that many of these comments are made by representatives of the gay community (not necessarily on this site, but certainly at places like NYT) and while such a reaction may be justified I would not be surprised if it was encouraged via mailing lists. Just because the outcome was tragic does not require the causes to be evil. We may yet find that the DR showed a consistent pattern of gay bashing etc.. but so far the known facts don’t support such interpretations. It would be interesting to see if the Duke story linked above gets any play in the mainstream media (and here it was very deliberate, perhaps with an eye on the book deals).

  10. Obviously, this is a major tragedy. Just shows us that our actions can have all sorts of ramifications.

    I do think some of your are being a bit unfair to desis/Indians. I do agree that there’s a tendency to overlook a bad kid just because his grades are good, but that type of thinking cuts across race. How often do parents, of any race, and school administrators ignore a thuggish young guy’s antics just because he’s a great athlete? How often do girls tolerate a jerk just because he’s handsome/athletic and popular? Society in general esteems certain types of desirable people (athletes, 4.0 students, etc.) and those people can get away with a lot.

    The reality is that these 2 were just being callous and trying to get an easy laugh, but unfortunately caused some life long damage for Mr. Clementi and a lot of other people.

    1. What is grey about this, Abhi? Is this a situation where you think in some way Dharun’s actions were not wrong? As in, there is some way to push it from the depths of thigns-one-should-not-do into the pale of this-is-problematic-but-ok, or even worse if-I-can-get-away-with-it-then-I’ll-keep-doing-it?
    2. Is Pims stating a truth that she claims to be on everyone’s mind? I do agree with what she says, particularly the quote that you have in your comment. I don’t claim to be speaking for everyone though – just for those who think it’s not acceptable in any way shape or form to place a webcam secretly in their room, invading their most private moments. That’s another black and white moment for you there, Abhi – it’s NOT okay. 3.Actually, I did not know that one of the most common searches out there was [insert name of Hollywood actress here] sex tape. Maybe I am silly and naive, and indeed, if this is true, then perhaps it’s okay not to feel disgusted that people out tehre are sticking cameras into keyholes and through windows, because everyone wants to see it, then it must be okay.
    3. You fell over yourself laughing hysteically at that scene in American Pie? Then you’ll probably call me sanctimonious if I tell you that no, I did not fall over myself laughing hysterically at that scene at all. Next you’ll probably google the revenue figures for American Pie to make your point.Okay. Whatever.
    4. ” We live in an age where we’ve seen it is socially acceptable to spy on someone with a webcam.” What in the name of all that is holy are you talking about? Do you do this? Do you think it’s socially acceptable? ARE YOU NOT SPEAKING FOR EVERYONE RIGHT NOW?

    Wow. I am outraged. And guess what, it’s not outrage that doesn’t solve anything – it’s apathy. I don’t think Dharun and Molly are sociopaths. Far from it – If what I gather from all the articles is true, then Dharun is just a very callous and insensitive young man. I don’t think he should be demonized at all. But I will not say that what he has done is ok because “everyone else does it.” I won’t do that. Abhi – this is just the worst thing I’ve read from you.

  11. Thanks for sharing your personal story, Anna. I have heard about another story of bullying of a young desi woman student by other desi women students and was shocked. I think your question sums it all up re: justice: “Is the latter even possible?”

    I am straight but I think the actions of Dharun and those who participated are reprehensible and definitely criminal. I doubt psychopathic.

    Dharun felt the power — he probably has felt it at other times for other reasons in his position of privilege in society — of utilizing these somewhat common tools to view something he wasn’t suppose to. And he abused it. Tweeting that he wanted to repeat the viewing and humiliation with more participants is more than a little spying … those same tools (rather Google) would have told him so and he ain’t no dummy.

    The depth of that culpability however is not clear to me. What if Tyler went to tell his favorite family member what happened, and they told him he was a disgusting ____. Who should we blame for his death ?

    Anna has it right. We all are to blame no matter what the courts say.

  12. Anna,

    The gist of the piece indicates that Molly is also a reason for what happened. You try to reason and take a part of the blame from Dhruv who was responsible. I wonder how angry your article would have sounded if the characters were reversed, that is the gay student happened to a desi, I’ll tell you..I can totally see you foaming at the mouth..Double standards? No? disgusting!!!!

  13. I wonder, if the victim in this case were female (especially a S. Asian one), and someone had secretly videotaped, and publicly posted her during a sexual encounter, would we have been so willing extend our sympathy to the perpetrator?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that Dharun’s actions were the sole contributing factor learnt to Tyler’s suicide, but I have little doubt it was the straw that broke his back.

    And perhaps I’m far too removed in my 35 years to understand he naïveté of an 18 year old, but the “American Pie” defense isn’t convincing me. The movie may have planted a seed, but that’s as gar as I’m willing to go with it. A second spent in the potential victims shoes let’s you know you’re wrong.

    That said, everyone in this situation, particularly since I can say with some certainty that death was never past of the plan.

  14. Great article, good points that bullying should never be okay. My only question is why do you need to ask “And to people commenting about how this is so awful for our community, ask yourself one question— do white people apologize when one of their own does something regrettable?”

    It is awful but to answere…. yes! some White People do ask why would they do this, it is not just a Muslim,Black , Hispanic question. It is a question that all humans should ask “why do people treat people poorly?”. It shouldn’t be race, sexual orientation , religious oriented. All races bring their children up differently but it seemed at the end of your article you were saying White people wouldn’t be shamed that “one of their own” did this. Anyone should be shamed that this type of bullying went on. People DO NOT CHOOSE to be Gay.They either are or they are not. Would someone willingly choose to be in love with someone that they know could potentially get them killed if certain people knew about it. Would they choose to be thought of as 2nd class with regard to benefits and privileges? I think not. it is what it is , hopefully people will be more tolerant of differences instead of being afraid and therefore mean to those that are different from ourselves. TOLERANCE is what we need more of not BLAME

  15. I wonder, if the victim in this case were female (especially a S. Asian one), and someone had secretly videotaped, and publicly posted her during a sexual encounter, would we have been so willing extend our sympathy to the perpetrator?

    i think people here are overemphasizing the south asian aspect. this is a blog which is focused on brown american topics, and dharun ravi happens to be a prominent american brown face in the media. though none of the reports i’ve seen are ethnically tinged explicitly, discussion of his family life do sometimes veer into implicit understandings that he was perhaps coddled by immigrant parents, though most of it is still of the form “he was a nice kid.” i assume anna’s post wasn’t motivated by the fact that “OMG a brown kid might get locked up and we’re brown!” rather, there is a brown angle or interpretative frame to this story to which she could add some value. in fact i’ve heard a lot of explicit argument in the media (radio, podcast) expressing some identification with dharun ravi as a young asshole from people who aren’t brown. obviously as not being the children of immigrants torn between two cultures their take was shaded differently than anna’s, but if anything they were much more forthrightly exculpatory than she’s been.

    Anonymous, sorry if i misconstrued the intent of your comment.

  16. “Wei and Ravi DO NOT BELONG IN JAIL OR RUTGERS COLLEGE. They should pass on $150,000 (which is $300K) each to crisis intervention centers in the form of forced donations, and issue a formal apology to the Clementis.”

    What the hell kind of message is that? When you do something horrible and disgusting, just have Mommy and Daddy write out a big check and say you’re sorry, and all better?

    I won’t go as far as to say he should be charged with murder or is a sociopath. Frankly I think he’s an immature bully with poor judgment who went too far. I would be very surprised if Rutgers didn’t expel him, he certainly doesn’t belong there.

    And I’m surprised to hear so many of you say Desi kids are coddled by their parents. Most desi parents I know are very strict and controlling. I’m only 20, I can tell you right now that growing up if I ever stepped a toe out of line, my parents sure as hell wouldn’t tolerate it. Forget drinking or doing drugs – if my dad so much as heard that someone spotted me walking home from school with a male friend, he would kick my ass. But I was raised by Islamic fundamentalists, I don’t know if this varies amongst South Asians.

  17. I disagree, I think the fact that both Ravi and Wei are Asian Americans needs to deserve some emphasis but of course the media won’t go “there”.

    The fact remains the “system” treats different races differently. Has anyone noticed the media haven’t publishing articles about Asian American culture yet?

    If Ravi and Wei were African Americans you better believe the racist USA media would be open with a flood gates of anti black articles saying all blacks are homophobes.

    I haven’t seen ONE article talking about Ravi and Wei’s Asian American racial background and the reason is Asian Americans are not viewed as a threat to the system as black folks. Asian Americans are stereotyped as “model” American citizens. However, the behaviour of Ravi and Wei is not “model” behaviour it is the behaviour of two cruel kids attacking another kid.

    Their deleterious actions disrupts the stereotype about Asian American youth and for people to ignore the issue of race here means they don’t want to see the truth.

    bell hooks says race matters and in this race is a factor but it is working in another way to “shelter” Ravi & Wei for being called out.

    • Ok Orville let me get this straight. You feel victimized and so you want to make sure everyone else gets victimized too…so its more fair. Got it. Your arguments throughout this thread have been pretty poor but now you are just discrediting yourself.

  18. So let me see if I get your point here, Orville. Feel free to correct me if I’m totally wrong.

    • Black people are frequently vilified by the American media
    • Asian people are not typically vilified by the media
    • Two Asian kids committed a crime
    • Therefore, the media should start pointing fingers at their race as the immediate cause. Their evil Asian-ness MUST be the reason they committed a crime. Gimme a break.

    “Asian Americans are stereotyped as “model” American citizens.”

    Wrong, East Asians are stereotyped as model American citizens. As an “Asian American” of Pakistani and Afghan descent, I see my people being vilified on TV all the time, called terrorists, etc.

    That’s why I hate that the term “Asian American” is used to lump everyone whose ancestors are from between Turkey and Japan together. “Asia” if pretty much a name Europeans started using to lump all the non-whites of the Eurasian continent together. That doesn’t mean the 60% of the world population that is “Asian” shares some kind of common culture. That’s why pointing out their race in this situation makes little sense, unless you’re logic is that China and India are next to each other, that must explain it!

    • Very sad news and great post.I think the ethnic identities of the various perpetrators are less intolerant but the violation of the right to privacy is unacceptable. Its a very real moral conundrum but if Tyler Clementi had not committed suicide how would Molly Wei And Dharun Ravi been punished.

      Would they have only been expelled and left at that? I think we have to distinguish the suicide, which is undeniably tragic and not let it cloud the punishment. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t know how the laws “culpability in suicide”.

      “Wrong, East Asians are stereotyped as model American citizens. As an “Asian American” of Pakistani and Afghan descent, I see my people being vilified on TV all the time, called terrorists, etc.

      That’s why I hate that the term “Asian American” is used to lump everyone whose ancestors are from between Turkey and Japan together. “Asia” if pretty much a name Europeans started using to lump all the non-whites of the Eurasian continent together. That doesn’t mean the 60% of the world population that is “Asian” shares some kind of common culture. That’s why pointing out their race in this situation makes little sense, unless you’re logic is that China and India are next to each other, that must explain it!”

      I used to think the same but over time I realise that “Asianess” does exist, if anything, in vague Eastern & Oriental stereotypes. We do share strong collectivist family cultures and are “Eastern” in spirit (even Turkey I guess qualifies).

      • I hate the term “Asian” myself. I don’t think that any white Americans see the connection between Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mohammad. Asia is not on some isolated or demarcated tectonic plate. Finally, the Ural Mountains – which separates Europe from Asia – is not a formidable barrier for culture and genetics. They average only 4,000 feet high, and they are hills merely.

        I don’t know if any Israelis believe that they are Asians.

        The only “true” Asians that exist in our psyche are East Asians. My friends suprised me in high school when they told me that I can’t check the “Asian” box.

  19. I am so glad I didn’t do anything regrettable or illegal. I am so glad that I didn’t hurt anyone to the point where they harmed themselves.

    You and me both, Anna. Yes, what Ravi did was shameful and yes, he should have thought through on his actions but as you point out, most 18 year olds are stupid.

    What Ravi did was wrong and I don’t know what his punishment should be but hopefully it will fit the crime and not the emotions that is understandably running riot in the news.

  20. Dharun’s friend trying to defend him…. http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?t=108490

    “And you’re wrong again buddy. CNN is misreporting everything. The video was NOT posted on twitter. It was on an iChat invite. My friends that go to RU told me how many people really would’ve seen it. Also, according to Tyler HIMSELF, all that was seen was a little kissing. Not intense making out. No nudity.

    You have to realize that half the point of this thread is so you understand that barely any of what CNN has said is true. You can’t just use “direct” quotes from them to prove your point, considering they have omitted so much of the truth.

    Also, did you know that this kid tried committing suicide 2 years earlier, also?

    I cannot iterate enough that if this was not a homosexual encounter this wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Just a week before this happened, a couple of my friends did nearly the same exact thing. THey were all hallmates. One of the guys was really awkward but he was finally getting with another girl that’s also really awkward. So his roommate decided to turn on the webcam to see what was going on. The guy figured it out and came out laughing about it afterwards. The girl didn’t even care.

    I don’t know how many opinions you have read online, but so many people have came out with encounters when they did the same things in college. It’s really a harmless, funny prank, until someone just goes out and kills themselves. “

  21. Man you folks know this kid is wrong should he face some can of punishment. He should be kicked out of the University for sure as he did break the rules in streaming his room mate sex act. We all was 18 once but this is not an excuse of he just did something stupid. What he did was cruel and down right nasty. I would have to agree with what Sonya said if the tables were reversed you folks would not have sympathy for this fellow at all. Also the poster who said that if they was black it would be pasted all over the news is right as much as folks hate to admit it.

  22. thank you for posting anna.

    as a youth worker in the desi community, this incident (and series of incidents) served as a painful reminder of the fact that the responsibility is on us grown(er) folk to really step up work with our youth – lgbtq-identified AND maybe even more critically, potential youth allies. i wrote the following piece in the heat of my own anger/frustration, which i think i (and we) certainly need to express. that said, the anger/frustration that i feel is directed (and continues to be directed) at us, not necessarily dharun ravi and molly wei. let us NOT continue to fail our youth.

    an unfinished, incomplete, open letter to dharun ravi and molly wei

    dear dharun & molly,

    today i read the news. i saw your faces. i am so ashamed.

    if a desperate grasp for power was symptomatic of deeply internalized oppression, y’all would be prescribed the ultimate pain medication.

    when two asian american young people had at least half a hand in the successful suicide attempt of a gay white man, i am so painfully reminded, yet again, that the work that we have to do has hardly begun.

    please break down for me what exactly was worth broadcasting, and how you felt after. you know, before tyler clementi killed himself. i can assume how you felt after what you never thought would happen, happened.

    dharun, i hope no one ever called you terrorist sandn***** to your face in high school like they called me. molly, i hope you aren’t the victim of a public display of violence every single day (every single day), simply because your presence, like mine, makes you look easy, like you deserve it, like you want it, like you cannot and will not fight back.

    and if these things did happen to you, i hope you weren’t made to feel hideous, so deeply ashamed, that you ran through the rolodex of so-called solutions, from lying about your roots to bleaching your skin to desperately wishing that you could be visible and invisible all at the same time. i hope that if these things did happen do you, you never felt like you wanted to give up in the way that tyler did.

    we internalize the ways in which the world polices to our existence. we have to in order to survive. some of us continue to visibly grapple with the incredible impact that being mentally, verbally, and physically fucked with has upon our being. if we are lucky, we see that what we are going through is hardly isolated. we see others who may be in same or similar struggles in grappling with their own existence. sometimes we think about building together, however ineffective and problematic that process may be.

    others of us have internalized this policing so deeply that we forget that the policing happens in the first place. we have the liberty of turning upon folks, our own folks, who find themselves in similar circumstances. lucky for the safer, less threatening (hetero) folks of color, the liberty to turn upon others presents itself more often than we own up to. we are so artfully fooled into thinking that the system works for us. as its pawns, we buy into and perpetuate systems of oppression because it makes us feel more powerful. because we already lost a game that would never acknowledge us, even if we rounded up the peoplepower to win.

    in refusing to see tyler clementi’s humanity, i now question yours.

    white amerika faulting folks of color for prop 8: +1 us: 0

    here’s another reminder that we must continue building a consciousness in our asian american communities, particularly among our young people. Its way past time to revive our commitment to doing our own work.

    with deep sympathy, sasha

  23. I am pretty sure Ravi and Wei will walk away with just a verbal reprimand. Let the Justice system deal with them – there is nothing for the public to do but just observe.

    Their prospects for med or law or grad school might be ruined. (Could Ravi’s prospects for marriage also be in jeopardy, unless Ravi’s parents can get him a rich/ doctor wife from India. Maybe he can set up a secret camera and spy on potential spouses to make sure they are pure…)

    Seriously, I think setting up a secret camera is okay in some cases like if you suspect your aged grampa is being abused in a facility or suspect a babysitter beating up kids. And then taking the video to a lawyer or getting a lawyer’s permission to do that – depending on state laws/procedure.

    Erin Andrews might not like the idea of hidden cameras, and the upskirt videos of unaware nubiles are unethical or in good taste.

  24. Oops, in my last sentence in my last comment, I meant to type, “nor in good taste”. What a difference a letter makes!

    It is a tragedy for everyone like Anna says. Mostly for the Clementi family since they won’t have the chance to see their son graduate or be able to live. At least Ravi and Wee will be able to get on with their lives since they will walk away free. They might not want to go back to Rutgers, though. Some students might be resentful or angered at their mischief. Everyone has made a poor choice in their lives at some point, but tensions might run high on the campus if those two go back to their college of choice.

  25. Now we really don’t know the facts or Ravi’s intentions for sure. We don’t even know the exact reason for Clementi committing suicide. But I bet that Ravi’s and Wee’s stupidity made Clementi’s last few days on this planet earth quite miserable. It is documented on the record that Clementi went to the dorm RA about being filmed unknowingly.

    Aren’t most straight guys turned off by viewing 2 gay men making out and etc? Why would Ravi want to watch his roommate spending private time with another male? As a straight woman myself, I am not too interested to watch gay porn or regular porn for that matter, but I guess there are all types of people in the world. Could Ravi have been jealous of Clementi’s friend or acquaintance? So he wanted to publicly humiliate Clementi in any way he could?

    Or, is Ravi such a bored gifted kid that he didn’t have enough challenging homework? Or does the stress of college make Ravi go berserk and make him choose to do unwise and unethical actions?

    Ravi’s parents lovingly posted 25K for bail. (I’m assuming he didn’t have the dough or have to work summers at the local Subway or Taco Bell.) They will also get their little man/boy the best lawyers that money can buy. They really should have taught him to have a little respect for those different from him so they could have avoided this little expense and hassle. Not good for the budget to have potential legal problems.

    Ravi could have switched room mates with someone else if he didn’t like Clementi. His problems would have been solved and he probably would not be out of 25 grand.

    There are tons of questions but it is up to the legal system to work for a solution at this point.

  26. Another question I have, did anyone hack into Ravi’s twitter/Skype etc and pose as Ravi? Some of his friends are reporting that he is a very open minded guy and would never do such a thing. Anything is possible in cyberspace. Then if that is the case, people are unnecessarily accusing Ravi and raking him over the coals. I am sure if there are any witnesses, they might be instructed to not talk to the public.

    Anyone can post messages/video etc and get a Twitter account with a celebrity name. Maybe someone wanted to humiliate Clementi using Ravi’s name and identity.

    The Creator only knows the real truth.

    In Kali Yuga, the truth stands on one leg, as opposed to all four legs in some other Yuga, which I can’t remember…. If one is inclined to believe that sort of thing.

  27. @ Alina I agree that some South Asians are treated differently than East Asians in the American media. However, in this case Ravi and Wei are definitely being given the benefit of the doubt by the press. The articles I have read definitely follow the narrative of the good, Asian American, youth, middle class stereotype. There is hypocrisy of the press in relation to LGBT issues depending on the community.

    @Abhi, I don’t appreciate you trying to put words into my mouth. I did not say everyone should be victimized. I am just shocked at the hypocrisy of you Abhi and some other posters. I believe there is simply a lack of outrage of Ravi on this board because he’s also South Asian. Ravi’s act was so cruel, evil, and calculated he should be punished to the fill extent of the law.

    . I agree with the other posters that state race is indeed a factor in this case. The narrative of the media articles I have read both place emphasis on the fact Ravi and Wei are two Asian American youths from “good” families that wanted them to obtain a post secondary education. Are you going to suggest Abhi that race is not a factor in this case? I simply pointed out the press the obvious.

  28. Thank you for injecting some pragmatic decency into this thread. The histrionics and Abhi’s suspicious defense of defense was getting out of control.

  29. “A rumor, an ugly, poisonous rumor about me, my sexuality, my tendencies. “

    Anna, I don’t know the nature of what you were ‘accused’ of except what you’ve mentioned in this post.

    The fact that you felt that rumours about your sexuality were ‘ugly’ & ‘poisonous’ and made your life so miserable, just shows how people who are actually gay must feel about themselves in an environment where they’re surrounded by bullies and homophobes.

    I’d just like to add that having your sexuality questioned, shouldn’t be thought of as an ‘accusation’ or ‘ugly’ and ‘poisonous’. Nobody would think of being called ‘straight’ as an accusation.

    Again, I’m making some assumptions here that the rumours were that you were a lesbian because you used the word, ‘sexuality’. Apologies if I got that wrong.

  30. It should be emphasised that this was not a hate crime by a long stretch. It was a crude, tasteless student prank. The guy Dharun is not a homophobe or a far right queer basher etc. That line of thinking should not even arise in this case. Elements in the media, including Ellen Degeneris, are trying to connect this story with oppression or persecution of gays in general. But that’s false, at least as far as the ‘culprits’ in the incident are concerned.

    Note to editors: I have a Canadian service provider, so how do I sign in?

    • Do you personally know Dharun Ravi? Is he really just a regular guy who has no anti gay bias? I am just going by what I read in the newspaper and on CNN and of course, SepiaMutiny (!!!). Do you know, if he is a real sweet young man, if his Twitter was hijacked by someone else??

      How is Dharun Ravi holding up or is he unaffected by the events? Just wondering, no sarcasm really. It is not a wild idea that someone who knows the guy would post here in his defense.

  31. “A rumor, an ugly, poisonous rumor about me, my sexuality, my tendencies. “

    Anna, I don’t know the nature of what you were ‘accused’ of except what you’ve mentioned in this post.

    The fact that you felt that rumours about your sexuality were ‘ugly’ & ‘poisonous’ and made your life so miserable, just shows how people who are actually gay must feel about themselves in an environment where they’re surrounded by bullies and homophobes.

    I’d just like to add that having your sexuality questioned, shouldn’t be thought of as an ‘accusation’ or ‘ugly’ and ‘poisonous’. Nobody would think of being called ‘straight’ as an accusation.

    Again, I’m making some assumptions here that the rumours were that you were a lesbian because you used the word, ‘sexuality’. Apologies if I got that wrong.

    [And also apologies for the duplicate comment.]

    • Dear BroomBox, Yes, you got that wrong. Thank you so much for not assuming the worst about me or what I meant.

      I would not have cared at all if they thought I was a lesbian. People can believe that or not, it’s the truth. I wrote “Sexuality” but I did not mean “Sexual orientation”.

      I’ll try to respond to other comments later– I just wanted to clarify this, immediately (and while I had two minutes to do so).

      My only request(s)– please stop accusing me of things for which I did not advocate. Please stop putting words in my mouth. Please detach yourself from the mouth-frothing and mob mentality and actually read what I carefully tried to say.

      And please– this is the saddest one– please, please…if you have been bullied, or attacked in the past, and this is a trigger for you, please accept my compassion and solidarity. Though a few of you seem to have ignored what I wrote about it, I was tormented by Desi bullies, too, so if anything, my “sympathies” lie with Tyler. I am not apologizing for anyone, just because they were Brown, and the constant allegation of such is insulting– as well as a failure of reading comprehension.

      To everyone who understood what I tried to convey (and to those who wrote kind words either here or via email): thank you.

      • “Please detach yourself from the mouth-frothing and mob mentality and actually read what I carefully tried to say.”

        and please start the mouth frothing and mob mentality only when the Indians are attacked. You are batting for the wrong side people!

  32. i personally don’t see the need for all this argument. this story is old news already and the hype has definitely worn off, at least for me. plus, i think it’s pretty obvious that dharun ravi won’t be going to jail on murder charges. perhaps i don’t see this issue as particularly relevant, but in general, the story simply isn’t sensational enough to warrant my extended attention.

  33. “Do you personally know Dharun Ravi?”

    No, but I’ve read comments about him, which show that he is liberal, and not a homophobe. Also, common sense tells you he wouldn’t have a roommate who was gay, if he was against gays.

    • Since I don’t know Dharun Ravi, his family or friends, I can’t conclude that he is a liberal or a homophobe or conservative or whatever. His friends may be trying to go public to paint a nice picture of him and do damage control. Or maybe he truly is the world’s sweetest person or a maybe he is Satan personified, or something in between the two extremes. I just don’t know the facts for sure.

      But it is a free world, anyone is free to come up with their conclusions and express them as they please. I respect others’ opinions.

      I am even wondering if Ravi’s identity, Twitter and Facebook accounts were hacked into by some other party/person (without Ravi’s knowledge) in order to humiliate Clementi and make Ravi look bad as a bonus. Or something sinister like that. Anything is possible in cyberspace and it’s not too difficult especially when people share their computers, leave them in a dorm room unattended or share passwords, etc. Nothing like a good conspiracy theory, I guess. Seriously, I have heard about people hacking into others accounts and sending damaging emails, etc in another person’s name.

      My own child gave away my email and password to her friends a few years back. They wanted to get Webkinz and Club Penguin accounts and their own parents were reluctant to give their own emails. So I started getting tons of emails about Webkinz and Club Penguin accounts. I promptly changed my password and now keep it secret even from hubby and the little one. But I digress.

      Now did Darun choose Clementi as a room mate or was he assigned Clementi randomly? One would think, if Darun chose Clementi, well, that would mean Darun couldn’t care less about Clementi’s lifestyle, etc.

      Are there any lawyers who can shed some light on this case? What are NJ privacy laws for kids who are 17 or 18? In the Erin Andrews case, the 47 year old who secretly videotaped her without her clothes in a private hotel room got about a year of jail time. And he is now a registered sex offender. That is not a very nice title. Plus he probably lost a heap of money with lawyer’ s fees, etc.

  34. That’s why I hate that the term “Asian American” is used to lump everyone whose ancestors are from between Turkey and Japan together.

    in the USA the term is legally is inclusive of people from pakistan to japan, at least since 1980. turks are classified as white. also, though there are obvious differences, i do think high achieving south and east asians in the USA do have some affinities of experience which bind them together more than the simple census definition would. that being said, when i last looked at intermarriage data they were not more likely to intermarry than other pairwise outmarriage combinations, so there are limits.

  35. btw, re: the pressure on gay teens. i do think it is in some ways sui generis. as an atheist brown dude with a muslim/hindu appearance (sorry guys, most people didn’t know the difference then) in a 99% white high school which was mostly republican, i got orders of magnitude less crap than the one out gay dude. guys just reacted to that issue viscerally. the only case which is worse is probably being intersex. though in this day and age there is a lot of variation from school to school.

  36. Ugh…..When this story broke I knew Sepia Mutiny was going to support Ravi in some way, shape, or form. I just KNEW. You are making excuses for him,Anna–even if those excuses are framed by genuine sympathy for the victim.

  37. And before anyone says it– no, I’m not looking for them to be “hanged”—obviously that is not on the table for this. And I dont know what, if any, role the girlfriend played. But he violated privacy laws and he DOES need to be prosecuted for that and punished for that like anyone else would. Nothing less. We can argue back and forth about whether an 18 year old should be held responsible for his actions; we can argue about at what age you’re supposed to become a decent human being. But if every other 18 year old in this country is considered an adult and held legally liable I don’t see why he should be an exception.

  38. “But he violated privacy laws and he DOES need to be prosecuted for that and punished for that like anyone else would. “

    OH.MY.GOD. Who on this thread argued that this should not be so?? Of course he should be punished for what he is responsible for, and in this case it is quite a lot. However, Anna and others have made very solid points about the rhetoric surrounding this tragic story– namely that the media has spun a lot of things out of control which has provoked cries of “they are sociopaths and should be hanged, etc. etc.” There is no evidence to confirm or deny any sociopathic tendencies (as a psychologist, I really hate when people use these terms so loosely), nor do we have the full information as to what happened there. This incident provides a really valuable opportunity to discuss the nature of being 18 and a minority in a environment where anything goes. I would not want to be judged as an adult by some of my actions during my freshman year at college. Would you?

    As a side note, i really appreciated Abhi’s use of the American Pie clip to show how ubiquitous the “surreptitiously tape and broadcast your roommate/hot neighbor/dorky classmate” meme is in pop culture. It’s everywhere, and it’s condoned, and that can’t be overlooked.

  39. What I mean by ‘can’t be overlooked’ is that the influence of the media on our social norms is vast, and it is hypocritical to be a public that demands more of this in our media without understanding that it will seep into the minds of the young.

  40. Very well said Neetu. I’m amazed too by how easily the term “sociopath” is being tossed around. And thanks Anna, Razib and Abhi, for some really good points. I don’t have anything to add except a suggestion that some commenters should read what they (Anna et al) actually said instead of arguing against points that were never made.

  41. Just out of curiousity, did the American Pie movie set a trend around the US (or even just certain pockets of the US or with young kids) where videotaping private moments or someone else’s is starting to become more and more common? It looks like a totally funny movie but it’s fiction or semi autobiographical or whatever. Or, is it a case of art imitating life or vice versa?

    I must be really out of touch with popular culture. I don’t know how common the perverted & disgusting upskirt videos, celebrity sex tapes ie Paris Hilton’s, ladies’ restrooms and ladies’ dressing room secret cameras are nowadays. Occasionally on CNN, MSNBC, etc, you may hear of these events where some creepy dude hid a secret camera in places where people expect privacy. I don’t know if a MacBook with a webcam and Skype qualifies as a hidden camera. Laws will probably updated as a result of tragic cases like Ravi’s. (Again, we really don’t even know if he is the one responsible for what happened or his motive.)

    Privacy is starting to become a thing of the past as technology gets more advanced in all aspects of life. Which can be a good thing in some cases, like if you suspect a babysitter is beating up kids, etc. But some people like Erin Andrews may not have a good opinion of hidden cameras. It all depends on your experiences and perspective.

  42. I don’t think this blog and it’s writers are so blinkered that they defend Indians and those of Indian origin unquestioningly. One example, Anand Jon – he received no sympathy from anyone here. Another was the Sabhnani case.

    That being said, I feel Abhi’s comments did not encourage constructive discussion on here at all – I rarely comment, though I read regularly, and felt that I was being placed on the defensive even though I 1. do not believe that Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei are sociopaths and 2. believe that this baying for blood has to stop. I do also believe that their behavior deserves censure and my disapproval, and that by feeling shock and outrage at their behavior I am not being hypocritical. I also feel that the behavior in the American Pie scene that Abhi cites so accusingly is not something I condone or approve.

    Anna – I love your posts. Thank you for being such a brave writer. NonDesiIndian – Anna is the last person on this blog you should accuse of partisanship.

    • Hey Silpa,

      I do think it is futile to discuss whether Dharun was sociopathic or not, given that none of us know him personally and are qualified or capable of doing that. That said, there is no earthly reason why he can’t be sociopathic in the sense of his demonstrated lack of empathy. What I take exception about is that many here would extend the benefit or doubt to Dharun Ravi. There are people wondering if his account was hacked. lol. And did the hacker turn on the web cam in Dharun Ravi’s room also? Two times? That is the kind of idiotic defensive rationalization that some people here are engaging in. And some people have compared it to the American Pie thing, as if to justify it!

      Yeah, Anna is a brave and nuanced writer. It is quite clear to me that she or any other Sepia Mutiny writers would not have extended the same “thoughtfulness” had the deceased been an Indian or South Asian.

  43. “I used to think the same but over time I realise that “Asianess” does exist, if anything, in vague Eastern & Oriental stereotypes. We do share strong collectivist family cultures and are “Eastern” in spirit (even Turkey I guess qualifies). “

    In general, neighboring countries have similar cultures/values/etc. But in this case I think the pointing fingers to their ethnicity and saying, “Well China and India are neighbors so that explains it!” isn’t valid.

    To be blunt, a significant portion (40% – 50%) of Americans believe homosexuality is “wrong” in some sense and unfortunately many hate crimes against LGBT people are committed each year, mostly by non-Asians. Homophobia isn’t exactly foreign to American culture, which is why blaming it on their “Asian-ness” doesn’t make sense to me.

    If the percentage of Asian-Americans committing hate crimes against LGBT was higher than for White, African, or Hispanic Americans, Orville’s point may be valid.

  44. Hrm–good point about Anand Jon, Silpa. I love Anna’s perspective in general, but I am a little in shock to the extent to which Ravi’s behavior is being–if not defended, then being set in a wider context that almost seems to apologize for him–both here on this blog and elsewhere. I know the purpose of news articles is to get to the bottom of the story, but I have to wonder why he is extended this treatment when other criminals aren’t.

    When I was in college I saw a dumb, innocent freshman cheat on her exam, be judged by adults, and get expelled from school for that. That’s what happens. In this country when you’re 18 you’re considered an adult. And her error in judgment didnt have a victim the way this did. Or to cite another example–many of us directed a great deal of vitriol at Kaavya Vishwanathan, an 18 year old who committed a victimless crime that was not malicious–it was just self serving and stupid. I might even go so far as to call what she did a mistake.

    This–was NOT a mistake. It was cruel, it was deliberate, it was premeditated. It had a human target. A boy died. I am not drawing parallels to Matthew Shepard here, but neither am I going to put it in Kaavya Viswanathan category.