Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jamey Rodemeyer

I was trying to avoid posting something about Jamey Rodemeyer, but I am having trouble ignoring it, so here goes:

For those who are unaware, last week (9-18-2011) 14 year old Jamey committed suicide. The factors which contribute to something like this are many and varied. In Jamey's case there had been a history of bullying, but as a health care professional I have to say that this by itself is not a cause of suicide. It is a contributing factor.

Nevertheless, I am astounded at the actions of many in this case (though I shouldn't be - it happens all the time). Bullying should never be acceptable. I am sure the bullies - and their parents - at this moment feel no remorse and no sense of responsibility - after all, they did not kill Jamey. Jamey killed Jamey. Yet responsible they are, and accountable they should be.

If a person commits a felony, and in the process of that crime someone is killed, the perpetrator is charged with murder. It doesn't matter that they did not intend to physically harm the victim: if the crime had not happened, the death would not have occurred. I think this should be the case for bullying. If you bully someone who then commits suicide, you should be charged with homicide, the degree of which would be determined by the nature of the bullying.

Some, notably Lady Gaga, are calling for a new law to be enacted in Jamey's name. I don't think that should be necessary, though since bullying itself is not a crime, I do support Lady Gaga's efforts. And may I offer some wording for Jamey's law?

The excuse, "I was only bullying him, I did not pull the trigger/put the rope around his neck/etc." is as valid as "I only ran over that person because I was drunk and s/he was in my way."

And that says a lot, coming from me. Why? Because I so totally disagree with our current "justice" system. But that is a topic for another blog entry.