Before reading this post, please take the time to view the video above by Ryan Cassata our new friend and a great inspiration to many. Thank you Ryan, for sharing your experience, strength and hope with us!
Many tragic deaths continue to happen in this world, by suicide, homicide, and in some parts of the world by execution because of sexual orientation, gender identity and even the color of one’s skin. Why do the numbers continue to increase in spite of the universal awareness of these horrible tragedies? Apathy, my friends, pure, unadulterated APATHY! Many individuals say, “Oh my God, isn’t that terrible!” some say “They had it coming!” In any case, many States, Cities and Schools do little to protect the victims of bullying because they believe that “this sort of thing isn’t that serious in our school or school district.” How can they possibly know if they do not see the horrors that go on behind the scenes? How do they know when many victims (and witnesses) do not report the incidents because they fear repercussions from the bullies or fear being “labeled” by the perpetrators of these incidents (In my State of Ohio bullying is now considered a CRIME). More States need to create such laws and ENFORCE THEM with consequences that are strong enough to make the perpetrators of such crimes think twice before engaging in such destructive behaviours. Educational films are great, but they are NOT ENOUGH! Some bullies just laugh them off as if they are a joke. I cross children to and from an elementary school and watch and hear middle school kids when they are being dropped off nearby. They think that everything is a joke, even after the nearby Chardon High School shootings a few months ago. Some of them just do not comprehend the seriousness of this problem. They are more concerned about peer pressure and the acceptance of their peers. Some things need to be put in the hands of school officials. Training for handling such behaviors and keeping it in check needs to be a requirement for all schools, and the parents that do care need to get involved. They need to let their children know that they can talk to them about anything without fear of repercussions. Movies and tracts may have their place in the small picture, but in the big picture, Entire communities must get involved. A dear friend of mine, an author, motivational speaker and activist has a wonderful support group on facebook, a safe place for people who feel that there is no hope, and I urge you to check it out for yourselves. His name is David Watters, and the group is called “GIVE ‘EM HOPE”. The website is: http://www.facebook.com/groups/GiveEmHope/. If you are suffering, I know that you will find comfort there. If you have survived and have experience, strength and hope, then you are needed there. In closing, We must push for more legislation in more States and Cities, and get the school systems to take this problem as the matter of life or death that it is. Everyone who is a victim or a witness to these incidents need to be brave enough to step up and put a stop to bullying…and to feel that they will truly be protected when they do so. Yours in the Fight to save precious lives, ~Peacemaker (aka c.a.siegel, activist, author and friend)