The recent, leaping, suicide death of 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi from the edge of the George Washington Bridge reads like “Lori Drew: Part II” in so many sad ways. Two Rutgers students are charged with “invasion of privacy” because they secretly streamed live internet video of Tyler making out with a guy in his dorm room.
Was Tyler’s suicide forced, impulsive or pre-planned?
Clementi’s post on his Facebook page, dated Sept. 22 at 8:42 p.m. read, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”
This morning’s New York Times reports Tyler was able to reach out online for help before his death:
The messages in the forums of a pornography site, JustUsBoys.com, appear to have come from Mr. Clementi, a talented violinist from Ridgewood, N.J. The postings show a student wrestling with his rising indignation over a breach of privacy and trying to figure out how best to respond.
In one of the person’s last messages, at 4:38 a.m. on the day Mr. Clementi took his life, the person wrote in a post that the roommate had tried again to catch him on camera the previous night, and had messaged friends to watch online.
He decided to act. “I ran to the nearest R.A. and set this thing in motion,” he wrote. “We’ll see what happens.”
Was Tyler “pushed over the edge” in deciding to take his life? Or was his leap completely of his own free will?
Do you think the webcam taping was a cruel joke, or was it a hate crime?
Do Gay young adults deserve more protection under the law because of their perilous minority sexual status in mainstream America?
A recent study found gay kids are four times more likely than straight kids to commit suicide and that nine out of 10 gay kids have reported being harassed.
Could Tyler Clementi’s suicide have been prevented after he discovered the betrayal of his life broadcast over the internet? Or was there something else brewing inside Tyler that ignited him into leaping?