Wednesday, September 28, 2011



Like many of you, I watched the Paws Up Forever Project video on You Tube.
Earlier in the week. I watched Jamie's blog and heard, in his own words, his thoughts and saw his torment first hand. Jamie's’ suicide shows us the result of bigotry and intolerance first hand. A result that never needed to occur.
From my own reaction to this tragedy, two questions come to mind:
What, if anything, can be done to stop bullying and displays of hatred?
Second, Why did this young boy choose suicide over life?

Neither one of these actions are acceptable.

Bullying, exists throughout our social fabric. It’s wrong and is usually displayed by individuals that either lack intellectual capacity or people whose ideas are without basis. When logic does not apply they resort to name calling and ridicule
Suicide is one of most misguided, desperate, and yes, selfish, acts an individual can perform.

Suicide seems to be the action of last resort when ones world is caving in around them. A last act of desperation when the “pain” is too great to endure and there is no solution in sight. How bad do things get before one seeks suicide as the only solution? The answers to this question might best be left to the “experts” in suicide prevention to address, but I think it’s a question we all have to ask ourselves.

Many of us have endured the ridicule, hatred, and intolerance shown by others towards our sexual orientation. Many of us have felt the isolation of dealing with our desires versus the perceived socially acceptable “way we should be”. I’m positive that many of you have looked at suicide as a solution. If we look at the whole issue honestly and dispassionately, we will find that sexuality is just one of many reasons people might choose suicide as a solution.

The question that we all have is: "what can we do to prevent this from happening...what can we do to help people in this ugly, sad place and lift them to a place of hope"? 
Many of us have worn Jamie’s shoes, all of us have survived and endured. We know what it’s like and we know that their is hope. I encourage all of us to contact our local suicide prevention organizations and offer our help. The fact that you are reading this has qualified you to be of aid to kids and others that have come to the point of choosing this option. 
Be there for there for Jamie. Contact The Trevor Project and ask what you can do.

People are bullied for being too fat, too skinny, the “wrong” skin color, too smart and too dumb. Wherever there is a group, their are those that don’t fit in and there are those in that group that will ridicule any “outsider”.  People that engage in bullying are usually those that have insecurities and questions about their own qualifications for being in the “in” group. For many straights that bully gays, it’s more a product of their own insecurities and questions about their own sexuality. School districts across the country are now recognizing that bullying has far reaching effects beyond the schoolyard. I will never believe that society will end bullying, but aggressive efforts in our schools will go along way towards convincing kids that bullying is socially unacceptable. Contact your school districts and check out their policy on bullying. Attend Board meetings and speak out as they work towards crafting a policy to deal with it. More importantly, be an example of tolerance in your own life. We have all seen comments on the web, ranging all topics, from politics to personal life choices, that are met with name calling, and ridicule rather than civil discourse. We can have discussions dealing with all facets of life that are civil and respectful. It’s the fool that resorts to calling others names and relying of verbal force rather than a thoughtful response.

I'm sure that all of you share my frustration when we hear of an incident like Jamie’s. It saddens us and angers many of us.
Let your grief and your anger motivate you to activism. I’m not talking about throwing a few bucks at the cause, or attending an event to show your support.. Contact the Trevor Project, be active in your community. Let this incident motivate you to action.

A little lesson in history.

The fact that you can openly go to gay bars, march in a celebration of your sexuality, marry in some states, serve in the armed forces openly, or in many states work as a openly gay person, is because people before you opened their mouths and stood up to injustice and bigotry. The people that stood up years ago at Stonewall, or marched in the Gay Liberation parades were also the people that went to Board meetings in their communities, questioned political candidates, and involved themselves in causing the change that you are the beneficiary of today.  

We ALL need to ACT in our communities if we are ever going to leave a world where kids like Jamie do not have to endure what we have endured or feel they have to choose as Jamie did.

Doc Spad