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Just a Little Harmless Fun. Right?

30 Sep 2010

A body pulled from the Hudson River in New York this week is most likely that of 18 year old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. The young man apparently committed suicide after his idiot-of-a-roommate streamed and Twittered Clementi’s make out sessions with another guy.

Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, also 18, allegedly set up a miniature video camera before leaving the dorm room; a room Clementi had asked to use privately for a couple of hours. Ravi and Wei then accessed Ravi’s Skype account and broadcast it to an indeterminate number of friends. Before I explain the rest of the sordid details with video and links to police documents let me pose this question: Who among us has not watched playing, pranking and punking videos? I’ve mentioned that one of my favorite shows (Though often quite foul.) is Comedy Central’s Tosh.O which is a hit with young male viewers. It’s a show where host Daniel Tosh humorously comments on some of the wackiest and most ridiculous content from the Internet. I know I cringe and laugh–sometimes at the same time–when I see how nuts humans have become. Thus, was this just an idiot-roommate-stunt (because we were all idiots in college) or was it some diabolical plan to “out” a young man with homosexual tendencies?

Before we get to the questions, here is a pretty good breakdown of the event from CNN:

Now, back to the issue–was it cyber-bullying that went too far or the prank of a couple of kids–that went too far? Ravi and Wei were both arrested on Invasion of Privacy charges while police continue their criminal investigation. And concerns about Ravi’s sexuality have probably become part of the story at Rutgers after his Twitter: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my Web cam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” Yay? What’s that mean and what 18 year old guy uses it anyway?

Put yourself in Ravi’s shoes. You have a shy, private musician of a roommate and you’re certain he’s gay. The more you look, the more guaranteed it seems to be. Yet when you ask and dig no one confirms it–though they too have had questions. In fact, young Tyler had barely mentioned it to his best childhood friend and certainly NEVER could he claim it in front of his parents. So, as a roommate, you baited a trap. Except when the trap snapped shut, the animal wasn’t just wounded; he died–leaving his car, wallet and cellphone on a bridge’s surface. The cellphone was used to Facebook the words, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry,” just eight minutes before the fatal plunge.

Do the two college freshman go to jail for five years for their misuse of the world’s weapon of choice–social networking or will a lifetime of guilt and regret be enough of a sentence? In my opinion both young adults do go to jail and they do sit there, quietly and privately thinking and re-thinking their actions as punishment and as a little deterrent to the next idiot who already has his/her camera focused and ready to play.

Story from New York Post.
Ravi’s Twitter to friends.
News Release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

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September 30, 2010 2:32 pm Reply

SOOOO Sad! My prayers go out to his parents. As far as I”m concerned,these roomates have Tyler’s BLOOD on their hands! They are reponsible for his death!

September 30, 2010 3:31 pm Reply

This is a sample of ridiculous bullying. I liberal court (gee I wonder if they have any of those in NYC) could get them charged with 2nd degree manslaughter. Their actions, although not premeditated, led to the death of another. May they rot in jail for a long time.

September 30, 2010 5:04 pm Reply

What a sad story. Especially for his parents and family and friends who loved Tyler Clementi. Dahrun and Wei have Tyler’s blood on their hands and will have to live with his death and their actions for the rest of their lives. An example needs to be made of these two mean-spirited young people. I don’t know what charges could be levied in addition to privacy invasion, but it’s just short of murder. Recently there was a case about a mother in Missouri whose actions over the internet caused a teenage girl to hang herself. I’m not sure if there are laws regarding Internet harrassment, but Dahrun and Wei may be a precedent-setting case if there are none. They deserve jail time, if nothing else. How did our society become so mean, sick, and irresponsible?

October 3, 2010 12:12 am Reply

Just can’t believe people can be so cruel. This betrayal of trust was the ultimate of cruelty! So sad for this young man and his family.

October 3, 2010 8:21 pm Reply

I use to listen to you on KLIF. We also went to Hawaii with your group in 2006. I was sad that you left Dallas because I liked your Christian way on the air. I listened a little on-line to KTAR but not recently. I see that you are no longer on their show list. What are you doing now?
You & your wife are such nice people, (as are her aunt & uncle). I wish you the best. I would appreicate your reply.

Joyce Legler

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