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. That said, there is no earthly reason why he can’t be sociopathic in the sense of his demonstrated lack of empathy

    Yes. Just like there is no earthly reason Barack Obama couldn’t be Kenyan or Glen Beck didn’t rape and murder a girl in 1990. Or you could just acknowledge that being as how you don’t know him, you don’t have any facts of the case, and you’re not a clinical psychologist, you don’t have the standing to be making any such claims about a guy that you know only by reputation and only after a mistake he made led to awful consequences.

    Or hey, maybe you’re a sociopath given your demonstrated inability to empathize with anyone involved in this story. Demanding a pound of flesh from people you don’t know and a situation you aren’t familiar with ain’t exactly the behavior of a sympathetic, compassionate individual.

    It’s not an Indian thing. I extended the same benefit of the doubt to him before I even knew his name. There is no rationalization going on so you can put down your lance Quixote, as there be no dragons here.

  2. This–was NOT a mistake. It was cruel, it was deliberate, it was premeditated. It had a human target. A boy died.

    The boy who died had a history of depression and needed help. The perpetrators committed a tasteless prank. Trying to link the tasteless prank to suicide is really stretching the logic of causality.

    The problem here is that when a stray bit of straw lands on a camel’s back and breaks it, scapegoating that one strand of straw for the damage done by entire Goddamn load on the camel is wrongheaded and stupid. What’s happening here is that two kids who committed a tasteless prank are having their actions trumped up to monstrous proportions.

    This isn’t justice, it’s not even retribution. It’s some bizarre ritual in which straight-guilt suffering liberals can turn two kids into effigies of homophobia so that they may be burned in some macabre rite of purification.

    If someone had done something like this when I was in college they would have talked to the RA. The RA would have written them up to have a discussion with whoever manages the dorms and they’d put the kids through some mandatory classes to learn about sensitivity on top of having their spot in the housing lottery docked for next year if not kicked out of university housing altogether. Punishment issued and lookee here, it’s even proportional to the crime! Now there’s a novel idea.

  3. heh. Aren’t you smart. Obama and Beck, really! Probably sounded clever in your head, didn’t it? Unlike your Glen Beck rumor, Dharun Ravi did BEHAVE in a way that would be consistent with a person seriously lacking in empathy. More qualified people have to decide whether he is a sociopath or not. I wouldn’t be surprised either way. And that wouldn’t change the gravity of what he did. He should have known better. He should have cared more. Dharun Ravi has my sympathies. But he must pay for what he did. My sympathies don’t get in the way of that. I don’t empathize with Dharun Ravi, though. If I were in a similar situation, I would have acted differently. And I expect most people be so.

    “Demanding a pound of flesh from people you don’t know and a situation you aren’t familiar with ain’t exactly the behavior of a sympathetic, compassionate individual.” And here is Yoga Fire accusing me of being a sociopath and giving excuses for somebody who actually did seriously injure another person and his family. Surprise! Yoga Fire is dumb enough not to spot the contradiction in his own statements. He has no familiarity with me or my situation, but labels me a sociopath.

  4. “And that wouldn’t change the gravity of what he did. He should have known better.”

    if not, why’d you continue to address the sociopathy issue? yogafire doesn’t put as much gravity into what happened as i would, but at least he/she is clear in what they’re getting across. but your whole comment was a really incoherent hodge-podge.

  5. “Ravi’s act was so cruel, evil, and calculated he should be punished to the fill extent of the law. “

    No, it was just a crude, tasteless student prank. It would be ‘calculated’ if the intent of Dharun Ravi was to instigate a suicide. That was hardly his intent.

    Incidentally, there is racism against East Indians in both Canada and the US. But for the life of me, I cannot recall a single instance of an ethnic Indian going to the extreme of taking his own life, in order to escape from the trauma. Indians have been strong, even in the most horrendous days of anti-East Indian racism in Canada in the 1970′s. That’s a lesson for gays.

  6. Dharun Ravi did BEHAVE in a way that would be consistent with a person seriously lacking in empathy.

    And you’re behaving in a way that would be consistent with a child molester, what with you displaying a capacity for making conversation on the internet. WHEEE! Casting aspersions is fun!

    And here is Yoga Fire accusing me of being a sociopath and giving excuses for somebody who actually did seriously injure another person and his family. Surprise! Yoga Fire is dumb enough not to spot the contradiction in his own statements. He has no familiarity with me or my situation, but labels me a sociopath.

    By calling you a sociopath I was mocking you silly.

    Indians have been strong, even in the most horrendous days of anti-East Indian racism in Canada in the 1970′s. That’s a lesson for gays.

    Having support from a strong family and community that cares about you helps with the coping. The challenge for gays is generally that they don’t get the benefit of these things. It’s not as if they can just make their parents be cool with what they’re doing.

  7. Anna’s article, and the comments by Abhi and Razib, are spot-on as far as I’m concerned.

    As a social worker-type guy involved in the school system, I’m aware that violation of sexual privacy via electronic media happens ALL THE TIME. Now that all teenagers have the capacity to film something via their phone at any time, this type of incident is absolutely commonplace. Young people will thoughtlessly film things that happen at parties, and then others will receive it via text and send it on with no thought to the consequences. I went to one school where perhaps 100 kids (out of a school of perhaps 600) must have had footage on their phones of one of their female classmates being taken advantage of by several guys while drunk. Another case involved a DVD of a filmed sexual assault being sold at various schools – at least several hundred copies bought by teens.

    My point is that while what Ravi did was terrible, it must be viewed in the context that this kind of behaviour is semi-acceptable amongst young people. He may be book-smart but clearly, like most teenagers, he is low on empathy and not good at thinking of consequences. And yes, he is homophobic. Like at least half of all teenage males are. If he had been a few years older, I’m guessing he would not have decided to record what he did.

    The teenagers who do these things are not sociopaths – they are stupid and careless teenagers. Most such incidents do not result in suicide, which is why the potential consequences of these privacy invasions do not hit home to the culprits.

    And no, I’m not suggesting for a moment that “most” teenagers would do what Ravi did.

    And while it is clearly extremely difficult for someone like Clementi grappling with such a betrayal and how it relates to his sexuality, it was his choice to commit suicide. Ravi did not make that choice for him.

    Punish him, to be sure. But talk of “hate crime” or “second degree murder” is just nonsense.

  8. “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. “

    Absolute nonsense. What I’ve noticed about Anna, even when I disagree with her, is that she is big in heart and mind and can be moved by human plight in any guise. Look again at your own reactions.

  9. I wish I could ‘like’ comments on here. Eurasian Sensations (?)’s comments deserve that and a round of applause.

  10. Wow. I am so disappointed in some of these comments, and am frustrated to see so many people try to separate what happened from the larger context of homophobic actions and messages that permeate our society. Please stop trying to distance this horrifying story from the culture at large. This is just like those who act like racism against South Asians is just an “individual” thing and not a systemic issue rooted in our culture.

    To those who are suggesting that Tyler Clementi would have killed himself anyway, or that his suicide was triggered by other things as well: take a look around you. In September alone, 9 LGBTQ TEENAGERS committed suicide due to homophobic bullying. Two more girls died yesterday (ages 17 and 21). Young LGBTQ and questioning teens are constantly faced with messages that they are “wrong” or that when their friends die, they’re dying because they’re “weak”. I doubt that if Ravi was the one who died after being taunted due to his race, people would be rushing forward defending his bully. In fact, this analogy doesn’t even do justice to how horrible this crime was, because unlike homophobia, overt racism is generally not considered “acceptable” in society.

  11. To those who are suggesting that Tyler Clementi would have killed himself anyway, or that his suicide was triggered by other things as well: take a look around you. In September alone, 9 LGBTQ TEENAGERS committed suicide due to homophobic bullying. Two more girls died yesterday (ages 17 and 21).

    I don’t see how that statistic refutes the idea that Clementi’s suicide wasn’t “triggered” by Ravi. Suicide doesn’t just get “triggered” by individual situations. Outside of some rare circumstances it’s caused by deeper underlying issues.

  12. I have to report that just signing in has been an arduous process for me, because I tried to sign in through blogger. I just got lost in the system. Twice. A less patient or computer savvy person might have given up.

    So basically, I think this new commenting system sucks, based on my experiences alone.

  13. “Suicide doesn’t just get “triggered” by individual situations. Outside of some rare circumstances it’s caused by deeper underlying issues”

    And you know that how Yoga?

    Looks like Anderson Cooper will weigh in on Friday…should be interesting.

  14. This is not intended to be sarcastic or facetious AT ALL. I am just wondering and very serious.

    Did Ravi sustain any brain damage or suffer a concussion at some point in his life? Can any neuroscientists help us understand if he is presenting any type of (undiagnosed) head injury? He is supposed to be the best break dancer and some of the moves involve revolving the body upside down on the head. (Ravi was voted “best break dancer” or something like that in his senior class in his high school year book.) Even if he did, would that explain why made some strange choices? I mean, who in their right mind would be interested in voyeurism of two gay adult males, especially if one is homophobic?

    Of course anyone can make bad choices whether or not a head injury is present.

    I knew one lady who suffered a head injury from a car crash. She was normal (actually an MD from India and therefore very brilliant) before the crash but suddenly displayed some weird personality traits afterwards. She would stare at her friends in a strange way and cry for no reason, pick fights out of the blue, for instance. I am completely serious and not trying to make fun of head injuries at all – it can happen to anyone. It is truly scary.

    • @ gm: I mean, who in their right mind would be interested in voyeurism of two gay adult males, especially if one is homophobic?

      I don’t think brain damage or any kind of mental illness has anything to do with it (unless you consider homophobia a mental illness).

      Homosexuality elicits strange reactions in young men. Some are completely paranoid about it. Some experience revulsion. Some pretend to be revulsed but are secretly sexually curious, which can often make them even more uncomfortable. Some are curious, not out of sexual interest, but just in a “that’s so weird, I need to check out what these guys actually do” sort of way. Or curious in a “that’s gross but I can’t look away” kind of way.

      Ravi could have experienced any of these things, or a combination. Weirdly, it seems that getting out the camera is not an uncommon teenage reaction to seeing something unusual these days.

  15. (Moderators – please delete the duplicate of my last post. When I tried to post it the first time, I got an error message and didn’t think it got posted. Sorry about that.)

    I think Ravi and Wee together made a bad choice, if everything they are accused of doing is true. Their parents will get them the best lawyers that money can buy and they will probably walk free. But if they have a conscience, they have live with the shadow of this tragedy everyday of their lives.

  16. Can people take it down a notch? This is a really sad and upsetting and it seems like an inappropriate way of dealing with this to yell at each other about whether you need to load a gun or pull a trigger to make it go off.

  17. Shana:

    “unlike homophobia, overt racism is generally not considered “acceptable” in society.”

    Positively not true of Canada in the 70′s and early 80′s. Overt anti-East Indian racism was generally accepted; only a small minority openly opposed it. How many suicides of ethnic Indians were there in that period? Probably none. It speaks to their strength and courage in the face of hostility and adversity. The LGBT community could certainly learn from it, and be inspired.

  18. Some are curious, not out of sexual interest, but just in a “that’s so weird, I need to check out what these guys actually do” sort of way.

    i knew a guy like this. it can be confusing talking to them. he really wanted to see gay porn, and wanted me to rent some from the video store because he was too embarrassed. i guess he didn’t have a high speed connection at home?

  19. I’m less interested in Dharun than I am in his parents. I really wonder how they feel about their son’s actions and recognize the failure in their parenting on teaching him to respect and tolerate others.

    • There is nothing scientific or even logical about my observations here, but they are only my observations and views. Sometimes good parents can pop out undesirable kids. To use a very extreme example, we don’t know much about the parents of the Columbine killers or other scum like Bundy . I have never heard about them being psychotic criminals or lousy citizens – they seemed like unremarkable average people.

      Also, the reverse can happen. Sometimes extremely unreasonably cruel parents produce nice children or at least kids with normal personalities.

      I also wondered about the parents who raised Dharun Ravi & Molly Wee. The newspapers say they are highly educated professionals living in an upper middle class area. To achieve that, they must have had a strong work ethic and the ability to get along with work colleagues, at the very least. I forgot which website this was, but I saw a news videoclip of one of Ravi’s neighbors. He said Ravi seemed like a normal kid. I guess that means he wasn’t the neighborhood bully, throw eggs at cars or set dogs’ number two on fire in front of a neighbor’s front door (real story I heard about.). Or if he did something along those lines and he never got caught. So maybe Ravi just made a mistake that ended up with a horribly tragic ending. Kids do many dumb things as they reach maturity, luckily without any awful consequences as Anna points out.

      Hopefully, Ravi and Wee will walk away from this wiser and more careful about who they choose to videotape, etc. Maybe they can educate other high school kids about the dangers of the latest technology/secret cameras as part of their punishment.

      (In response to Rahul Rvd: I agree with you – Ellen Degeneres is on the hot side, especially during her younger years when she had her stand up comedy specials and her hair was longer. But she does do ads for Cover girl makeup so we are not the only people to think she has a hot look. This is coming from a straight female. )

  20. Thank you for your post, Anna. This was just beautiful. The line that most resonated with me was this one, “I am so glad I didn’t do anything regrettable or illegal.”

    I think if we reach out deep within our own selves, we will undoubtedly find out that we’ve grown older and wiser, partly due to our somewhat rational behavior during our teen years, but mostly due to dumb good fortune and the lack of hyper-connectivity.

  21. I think if we reach out deep within our own selves, we will undoubtedly find out that we’ve grown older and wiser, partly due to our somewhat rational behavior during our teen years, but mostly due to dumb good fortune and the lack of hyper-connectivity.

    Reminds me of something my high school gym coach used to say about tattoos. If I remember correctly it went something like “Think about yourself 10 years ago. Were you smart back then? NO! You were a Goddamn idiot. And odds are that you’re STILL a Goddamn idiot. It’s just going to take you another 10 years to realize it.”

  22. I can guess why he might have taped his roommate the first time-perhaps the thought of “I wonder if my roommate is gay? Let me find out.” But I can’t fathom why he would do so the second time, unless he was trying to make sure his bedsheets weren’t getting dirtied during the act or something….

    (and no, I don’t think what he did was ok, it was clearly illegal, but, I do think it was an act of immaturity, lack of empathy, not sociopathic behavior, and not due to brain injury)

    As someone who has spent time studying mental illness and working with patients in a state psychiatric hospital, including those who had attempted suicide, I have to state something that I thought was general knowledge but it seems is not— namely that suicide that is not related to mental illness is actually very rare.

    • There was a question about whether the deceased tried to commit suicide 2 years earlier in one of the comments on this thread.
      So many questions about this tragedy – did anyone at RU also harass, shun and/or bother Clementi about the secret video? Could that have been a factor in his suicide too?
      It sounds like Clementi must have been in a vulnerable state or have an underlying condition prior to being secretly videotaped. It’s is difficult to prove without knowing all details and it is up the to legal system to work this case out.

  23. This whole situation is so tragic. In addition to the three kids immediately involved, I’m thinking of these three kids’ families, too. The tragedy they must all be going through is unimaginable.

    Thanks, Anna, for even posting about this. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d see a discussion about LGBTQ issues here and it’s bittersweet that this has made headlines. This isn’t something that we in the South Asian community often talk about, even when there is a gigantic pink elephant in your parents’ living room. But I digress…

    If anyone here would like any information on possible resources for people in the South Asian LGBTQ community, there are a few organizations out there that may help:

    Trikone (www.trikone.org): The oldest support and resource group for South Asian LGBTQ people

    SALGA-NYC (www.salganyc.org) A group for LGBTQs in (big surprise) NY.

    There is always PFLAG, which is all over the country.

    The Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org). They are amazing.

    And hey, if none of that helps, reach out to a friend. Reach out to me. Just reach out to someone. I think Ellen said it best: “Things will get better. And you should be alive to see it.”

  24. great write up…I like the part about change – change begins with us.

    My father, once mentioned that ‘wisdom is wasted on the old’.

    Our teenagers (who are adults in this case) need to be reminded that they need to be responsible and respectful if they want respect back. Life does teach one (sometimes the hard way) but hopefully lessons should not take such drastic outcomes.

  25. I think Ravi and Wee (and the rest of their fellow dorm mates/ students) are lucky in one way. The outcome could have been very different if Clementi was wired a different way. For instance, Clementi could have obtained a machine gun and put a few rounds in the amateur film makers & other innocent bystanders like a Columbine situation. Or he secretly could have put a ton of laxative in Ravi’s drink or spit in his food out of vengeance, and so forth…. (I have read and heard about these things. There is no way this stuff would have entered my mind, otherwise. I could have never made this up.)

    As a Gandhian at heart, I detest violence and even images of violence, but unfortunately, senseless violence does happen in the civilized world. Because I’m Hindu & vegetarian, I am a firm believer in ahimsa and so I hate the idea of causing any harm to all living creatures (with the exception of spiders.).

    Most children are taught the golden rule or some version of it – from the time they are 3 years or so. But it is never too late to teach or remind your kids about treating others with respect. You just never know what someone’s state of mind is when dealing with them, even just by looking at them. People walk around all the time and manage to hide their depression and even other conditions/feelings/illnesses.

  26. “think Ravi and Wee (and the rest of their fellow dorm mates/ students) are lucky in one way. The outcome could have been very different if Clementi was wired a different way.”

    It would be interesting to hear the reaction of the ethnic Indian LGBT community, to this incident. The Caucasian LGBT has been, by and large, very vindictive and stern, wanting severe punishment for Dharun. The Indian LGBT is likely to be more nuanced, balanced and humane, with only a minority being merciless. Racial and cultural factors do weigh in, even on matters like this one.

  27. I think it is very disappointing that some people on Sepia Mutiny are actually having sympathy for Dharun Ravi because he is South Asian. Ravi and Wei should be punished to the full extent of the law. The comments about Ravi and Wei’s actions as being a “tasteless prank” are insensitive and vindictive. Ravi and Wei broadcast Tyler Clementi’s intimate moments for the world to see and the young man was closeted. Straight people just don’t understand what it means to be gay. Tyler Clementi probably felt there was no one he could turn to that could help him with his evil roommates. Ravi and Wei must be punished and a message must be sent that homophobia is unacceptable.

  28. But that’s just the point, Orville Douglas. They didn’t even realise the stupidity and harmfulness of their prank. They certainly can’t be accused of assisting or instigating suicide, unless you can prove that was the motive. Also, how do you know they , Dharun and Barbara, are homophobic?

    To repeat, Ethnic East Indians faced horrible racism and discrimination in the 70′s in Canada, yet there is not one recorded suicide, when the actual intent WAS malicious. There is a lesson in strength and character for the gay community.

  29. Varun Shekhar I can see your point that Ravi and Wei probably did not understand to the full extent that their deleterious behaviour could have tragic consequences. However, I believe Ravi and Wei definitely knew their behaviour was vindictive, cruel, and just plain wrong. I doubt Wei and Ravi would want someone recording their sexual experiences and broadcasting it to the world. The American justice system has to send a message to young people that the internet is not a safe haven for obnoxious and bad behaviour. Ravi and Wei should not get any sympathy because they are young they are old enough to know their actions were wrong. The legal system must punish Ravi and Wei and make an example out of them for their disgusting bad behaviour. Tyler Clementi is dead, his family has now lost a son forever.

  30. <

    blockquote>To repeat, Ethnic East Indians faced horrible racism and discrimination in the 70′s in Canada, yet there is not one recorded suicide, when the actual intent WAS malicious. There is a lesson in strength and character for the gay community. Are you serious? You think that out of all the thousands of ethnic Indians living in Canada in the 70′s, there wasn’t a single one who killed himself?! How would you even know that? Did you peruse the obituaries for every town in the country daily looking for Indian names and listed cause of death? Because obviously very few suicides are publicly reported. Only if the suicide happened publicly or for a scandalous case like the Tyler Clementi one.

  31. I don’t know if Rutgers has rules or some policy on illegally/secretly videotaping someone on campus. Is it considered a crime if it is done on campus or in the Rutgers dorms? Students have been expelled for slightly smaller offenses like cheating & copying. (I consider academic dishonesty to be very serious, though.) It is up to the university lawyers to decide Ravi’s fate – or do they make those decisions? They might want to go to a different college after everything gets settled. Some students may be uncomfortable if he (and his friend/accomplice Wee) came back to campus. Hopefully, he and Wee learned an important lesson here, whether or not they have any remorse. (Although I would never want to be a room mate of Ravi’s or even Wee.)

  32. Molly Wei’s name should have been spelled “Wei” and not Wee in my last post. Also, there was no taping, as I incorrectly stated in my post. It looks like Ravi just broadcasted Clementi’s encounter to Ravi’s friends over the internet.

  33. Again,a crude, immature, vulgar prank. But not instigated suicide. If Tyler was strong, and really happy in his life, he wouldn’t have taken the plunge. Nobody just kills themselves because they are broadcast on the internet. That’s not worth killing oneself over. Life is bigger than that. And to answer the question about how I know about the strength of the ethnic East Indian community in the face of racism, well, of course I have not been in every city and town through the length and breadth of this huge country( Canada). But I have closely followed community news, events and trends. There have been stories of ethnic Indians feeling alienated, discriminated against and even the odd one persecuted. But not a single one of these led to any suicide, nor to any uproar about that (putative) suicide, nor even really to the fact of the racism! It’s safe to say it( suicide) didn”t happen, or it was very negligible. And I can speak from direct personal experience. As a youngster in the late 70′s, I endured it for 3 years, and I was younger and more vulnerable than Tyler Clementi. But I am very much here.I determined even at that younger age that life was far vaster than a bunch of vicious, demeaning insults and ignoramuses. This is not a ghost who is posting.