Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clearing the Air

I was heartbroken to read of Jacob Rogers' suicide.  Another young life...gone.  I was also a little more than "a little upset" to read that, in the end, Jacob felt ignored, that no one would help him, that no one "would listen and stand up for him".  I was a little more than upset because that's the message I've been trying to convey as the Jonahmania train sped away from the station.  I've been trying to get the point(s) across that 1.) Jonah told us 4 months again that he's ok, and he is; and, 2.) there are millions and millions more just like him all around the world, and some most likely right in our own backyards who could use just a fraction of the outpouring of love that Jonah has received.  Jacob Rogers was very obviously one such teen.

I voiced my opinion strongly in the blog entry about Jacob.  Not everyone agreed.  I accept that.  I actually applaud that.  But, I thought it would be a good idea to backtrack a step or two and clear the air.

  • First and foremost, I don't take anything away from Jonah Mowry.  I think he's a remarkable young man.  And, for the record, he really is doing just fine.  He's being a normal 14 year old goofball.  I know because I read his tweets every day.  The original video really was 4 months ago.
  • I truly am overjoyed that Jonah has put a living face on an issue that most of us had only heard about once it was too late.  And, to be sure, that was the magnet that drew millions to him.  Bravo to you, Jonah.  The issue of bullying and its effects now have a floodlight shining on it because of you.
  • I am, in fact, worn out from the continued gushing to Jonah.  And, that has nothing to do with Jonah and EVERYTHING to do with we as a people.  Perhaps people are still gushing because on some level it helps them shed the guilt of having turned a blind eye to this not-so-new epidemic we have until his video.  Perhaps there are folks who are feeling that, by doing this tremendous act of compassion (and, it truly is just that!), they are doing their part to change that culture.  They're not.  They're force-feeding someone who appetite has already been sated while ignoring millions right around him who are starving to death.
  • One hundred and thirty PLUS facebook Jonah support groups (at last count, which was 24 hours ago); 7,000,000+ views to the first video, and 900,000 MORE views of a copycat release of the same video, plus too many video responses for me to bother counting at this moment; 300,000+ comments to the original videos, MILLIONS of comments to the two subsequent ones, and another 19,000 on the copycat release, and a never-ending stream of brand new "supporters" for a 14 year old gay teen who told the world through haunting tears 4 months ago that he was hurting, he was scared, but that he was going to be alright amounts to overkill.
  • Don't shoot the messenger:  whereas this is wholeheartedly MY opinion, his own mother has gone on national news to say the same thing...THREE days ago!
To be clear, when I watched the video for the first time, I cried.  I cried painful tears.  I was Jonah.  I was beyond Jonah.  He's been called hurtful names.  As a 12 year old gay kid, I was beaten to a bloody pulp.  That video touched the heart of that broken 12 year old.  I understand the emotion of the video wholeheartedly.  And, I understand the support it received.  However, I also understand that this issue goes far, far beyond Jonah Mowry.  It's been here long before he was born and, unless and until we start demanding change, it will be here long after he's gone.  Jacob Rogers needed just a fraction of the support everyone rushed to give Jonah.  It would've kept him alive.

It would've kept him alive.

Apparently, Jacob came from an impoverished family who has already said that they can't afford to have a proper funeral for him.  You can make a difference. The link at the top of this article will lead you to the original news article about Jacob's suicide.  At the bottom of that article is information on how you can donate to help cover the cost of the funeral.  Now, THAT'S supporting the cause.