Friday, April 27, 2012

And, Then There's Tennessee

Some of you may have already seen this article posted on the facebook blog page or elsewhere on the Internet.  According to Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison, teen suicides are due to bad parenting.  I can't make this stuff up.
We can’t continue to legislate everything and we’ve had some horrible things happen in America and in our state, and there’s children that have actually committed suicide, but I will submit to you today that they did not commit suicide because of somebody bullying them. They committed suicide because they were not instilled the proper principles of where their self-esteem came from at home.
I don't even know where to begin.

Let me make sure I've got this right:

  1. Bullied teens who commit suicide have their parents to blame.
  2. It's more important to protect the bullies than it is to protect the victims of it.
Ok, if a middle- or high school student takes a weapon to school, a gun or a knife or whatever, and attacks another student, is that a criminal act?  Yes.  It's called assault.  In Maryland, it would be called assault with a deadly weapon, with the possibility of the added charge of assault with the intent to maim.  Either, or both, charges would certainly then make the perpetrator a "criminal", and they would be facing significant time.  If a middle- or high school student takes a  weapon to school, gun or knife or whatever, and kills another student, is that a criminal act?  Of course it is.  It's called murder.  So, how is it that if that same middle- or high school student bullies another student, be it verbally or physically (and, always emotionally), so badly and so relentlessly that the bullied teen resorts to ending his or her life, they should be absolved of any wrong doing?  Explain to me so that I can fully understand just how does sending these kids to the Principal's office for detention is going to solve anything?  A child is dead because of his/her actions!  That makes THEM responsible!  Jacob Rogers is gone because of bullies.  Phillip Parker is gone because of bullies.  And, Jeremy Faison wants to send their bullies to detention.  He doesn't want them to become criminals.  I won't mention the fact that they've already committed criminal acts.  And, when it comes to the targeted bullying of LGBT teens, just as it is with bullying based upon race, the potential is there for it to be a hate crime.

That Mr. Faison could even dream of blaming the parents of the suicide victims is beyond reprehension.  What he did with his statement was kick these families, who are already reeling from the untimely and unnecessary death of their beloved young child, right in the gut.  Worse, he's now on record as saying that, in his misguided opinion, it's more important to protect who cause death by their actions of hatred and intolerance than it is provide protection for those who are suffering.  

If there's any "failure" to be "good parents", wouldn't it make sense that it would be the parents of those who find it necessary to demean, verbally and sometimes physically batter others to the point where they feel suicide is the only remaining option for them to make the bullying stop?  The obvious ones with self-esteem issues are the ones who feel the need to put others down in order to make themselves feel good. (and, yes, that is a problem that needs to be addressed if we're to tackle this issue of bullying/teen suicide)  To a further extent, where are these young people learning to hate and be so intolerant at such an early age.  They weren't born that way.  Hatred and intolerance is taught and, in most cases, it starts at home.  Good parenting?  

I've pointed out before, several times actually, that these lawmakers were elected into office.  The question has to be "how"?  To a further extent, the larger question, in my opinion, should be "how are they staying in office"?  And, to show a little equity to Jeremy Faison, he's not the only problem in the Tennessee legislation.  There is still a push to pass a bill that would make it illegal for teachers to even say the very word "gay" in their classrooms.  They are also one of the states that wants to make it legal for LGBT teens to be bullied as long as it was because of the bully's religious, political, or philosophical beliefs.  There's a definite problem with bias and intolerance in Tennessee's legislation, and it's costing lives.  Worse, there are those in the Tennessee legislation who seem to be perfectly okay with that.  In fact, they now have one legislator on record as saying that he wants to protect the bullies.  

Power in numbers?  Politicians are "hired" by virtue of our votes.  As such, they can be "fired" by virtue of our votes.  This isn't about politics.  Enough is Enough isn't a political blog.  This is about stopping the madness of bullying and teen suicides.  And, in particular, LGBT teen suicides.  Having paid, elected officials introduce laws that goes against preventing bullying and, especially, teen suicides only assures that we're going to continue seeing the spike in bullying, teen suicides, and especially LGBT teen suicides.  After all, strip away all of their smoke and filters, and what they're really saying is that they're homophobic and don't really care about what's happening to our LGBT youth.  That is unacceptable.


  1. You have a grammar error in the first paragraph, last sentence, and second word pretty sure you meant to put can not or can't there. This grammar error bugs me a lot consider what your article is about and it makes it sound like your being sarcastic about the entire article.

    1. EGADS!! You were 100% correct. I leapt out of be and ran to my computer when I read your comment. Sorry about the error. I'm typically very meticulous in my proof-reading. Missed that very important one. Thank you for alerting me.


    2. buggy86... speaking of grammar, you mean "you're being sarcastic" not "your being sarcastic."

    3. buggy86, Your reply has several errors, not withstanding its brevity. The first sentence is clearly a mashed up run on of what should clearly be 2 separate sentences. The second sentence is missing difficult to determine words or, more probably it us another run on. Finally, like many would-be writers and typists, you say "your" when you clear should have said "you're".

  2. Ron, there are those who are so entrenched in their egos that they can't see past the end of their noses as they make pronouncements against others while their own lives are falling apart. i have YET-YET to see ONE single Outspoken Republican or judgmental member of the religious right (which is neither)who isn't either gay themselves, is carrying on an illicit affaire, has a child out of wedlock, a child who is ALSO gay, or some other very human circumstance that they feel they are not beholden to because of who they are! Gay Rights is a HUMAN RIGHTS issue-plain and simple! The fact that the US is still having to learn about Human Rights while slamming other countries is a true abomination! We are losing children by the droves because they are aware that in their circumstances, they are not safe to come out! Coming out is the basic expression of who one is! A child who knows they are Neurodiverse,a Different Thinker, a person whose orientation is not that of their immediate family,should NOT have to feel endangered by the fact of their existence! I am an Ordained Minister, and I am sick to death of religious people of different faiths playing the God or Jesus card to justify fear and judgement! That fear and judgement is causing the unnecessary loss of Human Life! There is NOTHING Godly or Christ-like about condemning a child to death because they choose to Love differently from others!
    The God, the Christ, and the Angels that I know and have Faith in, do not operate on such a petty level! the Christ I know, the God I know values all of His/Her/Their children!
    To want the death of a child, or to encourage your children by your condemning attitudes to bully those who are different from you IS AN ACT OF EVIL!
    I applaud you Ron for speaking the Truth! The Time is Here for all of us to stand in defense of ALL children who are Different! the only reason bullying exists is because the very parents who are blaming the parents of the Neurodiverse ARE THE PROBLEM!
    It is time for All Good People of Faith to Stand Up for the Rights of All Children-Gay or Straight! Gay Rights are Human Rights-pure and simple!

  3. I remember once, many years ago, I was reading a Stephen King novel set in Derry, the town where "It" took place.

    The character is walking in the town and sees graffiti on a wall saying "AIDS from God" and quietly observes that there is something sick and twisted underlying the very nature of the town.

    That's how I am feeling about the American South over the last few years, but there are individuals cropping up all over that follow that nasty trend.

    We have laws making it mandatory for physicians to rape a woman seeking an abortion with a ten-inch rod. Known as a trans-vaginal ultrasound, the technology is *ethically* used in cases of suspected ovarian cancer as it is the only way to get a good look at the ovaries.

    The ovaries are not where the foetus is.

    It's said that this is done to determine the exact age of the foetus before abortion, as a foetus over a certain gestational age cannot legally be aborted. The age limit is generally whenever the foetus could survive without the mother's body. If a foetus is too young to view with a non-penetrative ultrasound, they have to use trans-vaginal ultrasound to see it.

    Except if the foetus cannot be seen on a normal, non-rape ultrasound, it's definitely too young to survive outside the mother's body.

    So it's just a perverted way to punish a woman for needing an abortion.

    This doesn't just exist in forms like the bill in Virginia, which offers the physician the choice of the ultrasound method, but is law in Texas where it's get raped or go home.

    Then, in Michigan, up north in what should be the liberal heartland, given what corporation coddling did to industry in Detroit, we have an Assistant Attorney General stalking a gay student leader, and NOT getting fired for his psychotic behaviour because he did it in his time off.

    We have a spate of gay teens committing suicide because of the unbearable hate, degradation, physical assault and mockery they face every day, and men and women strive to protect the bullies who killed them because they're "from good families".

    Why is everyone so focused on the fact that they're "dead gays" instead of DEAD CHILDREN? These people KILLED CHILDREN and made them suffer for years beforehand.

    More dead children: We have Trayvon Martin, murdered by a well-known racist, for the Florida crime of "walking while Black". The police gave the murderer a pat on the back and let him off, then tested the dead child for drugs. Elsewhere, a veteran marine's medic-alert system calls for help, the police arrive, drag him out of bed while hurling racial epithets at him and SHOOT HIM.

    And in Tennessee, a state which seems to allow officials into office based on the number of sex or hate crimes they intend to commit, we now have this effort to prohibit children even learning the word for their own sexuality or that of others, to protect murderous bullies and even to outlaw male masturbation as "Wasting seed". That's a very unpleasant step towards criminalizing under-age girls for not being pregnant - every period flushes an egg down the toilet.

    Slut-shaming, gay-bashing, transphobia, rape culture, dehumanization of women and racial minorities, fear of Judaism, religious indoctrination, corporate pandering, slave-labour wages and employee abuse...

    There is something utterly fucked up and *evil* happening in America today. Please stop electing these people and start locking them up.

  4. Tennessee is the correct spelling.

    Not all of us in Tennessee support these horrifying politicians. Many of us are working and speaking out for a better, brighter future for all.

    The more we speak out, the sooner change comes.

  5. Hey Ron, as the "Once Upon a Time" young lover of Bobby Griffith, of "Prayers for Bobby" fame, I have lived through some dark, rather "Fearful" times for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters! I've also born witness to some remarkable shifts in "Societal Attitudes", and have been hopeful for permanent, or lasting change for quite some time now! But even in this, the 21st Century, young folks either coping with the "Coming Out" Process, or because of mere perceptions that they're "Gay" are choosing to take their own lives! I'm incredulous, no "Enraged" that people with attitudes like this person are in positions of power or authority over the lives of young people, let alone afforded one ounce of credibility with such blatantly ignorant, if not merely ill informed views! September 2010, which I began referring to as "Bloody September 2010", saw nine young people make this terrible choice! What was most difficult for me was the complete absence of "Screaming Voices" decrying this sorry state! I want to thank you "Caro Mio Fratello", or my dear brother, for your expressed "Outrage", and waged war on this disgusting and sorry state of affairs! Please pardon my being a bit "Partisan" for a moment, but I truly hold responsible a "Fascist Right" for perpetrating much of the "Evil" you've described! And with you my friend, I refuse to sit by and allow "Homophobia, Xenophobia, Racism, Misogyny etc" to hold sway! I shall with utter "Pride, Pleasure" and delight, be re-posting and redirecting folks to your efforts here! I'll hop on my broom and spread it over the "Ethernet" if need be!
    Blaine William Andrews

  6. First of all I must say that I couldn't believe what I just read that it is the fault of the parent's of the victim that they committed suicide??? Is he for real???? How misguided can one hateful man be??? Suicides by bullied teens gay or not are the fault of the bully and the bullies parents! Parent's who teach hate are breeding bullies plain and simply. Parent's of those bullies are rarely blamed for their part in driving a teen to kill themselves. Even if the bully or their parent's didn't literally "pull the trigger" their actions and torment caused the death of that individual!More needs to be done to make the bully and their parent's pay for the death they have caused. It is a parent's duty to teach proper morals and values to their children from a young age. Teaching respect for others no matter what their differences is paramount in putting a stop to bullying related suicides among our teens. More also needs to be done at the school level to make those bullies accountable for causing the suicides because they think they can get away with bullying without consequences. In an ideal world parent's should be positive role models for their children but sadly that is not the case. It breaks my heart that a child or teenager is tormented so much that suicide is the only way out. Jeremy Faison clearly is and probably was a bully himself considering his belief that the bullies are not to blame for the teen and child suicides. I was taught to respect all people not matter what their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability and I carried those values into my adulthood. I follow that same mindset with my own child who as a special needs child has the potential to be a victim of bullying himself. It's the right thing to do.

    1. I just wanted to say, I love this (your) reply, I am a 49 yo gay man who was born with severe developmental disability, and "successfully" committed suicide in his 20s...thank GOD for good doctors, my life is different now. I wish more people thought like yourself :-)

  7. As a teacher of elementary children and the parent of a wonderful gay son, I have no tolerance for intolerance! When I hear a slur within my school, especially at such a young age, I do two things. First, I have the child look up the word gay in the children's dictionary, which describes the word to mean happy, cheerful and full of happiness. Second, depending upon the age level, I tell children that begin gay is not anything that I ever want to hear hatred about. I explain that in my classroom, there will never be bullying allowed, whether verbal of physical. Many of my students come with the notion that being gay is a sin or some other form of wrong. I have to walk a fine line as an educator, about what I can say and how far I can go, but I always believe that part of my job is to instill the value of tolerance and acceptance of differences. My student body is especially varied, and so, I make it my business to see that we are a bully-free zone. I hope that it will translate into the future as my students mature. Sharon L.

  8. Ron,
    I commend you for your good efforts to help kids in need. I hope and pray your good works make a difference in the lives of gay teenagers. They need to know they are not alone and there are people who are working diligently to change the world. Great job Ron.
    Ed Tatko

  9. Ron,

    I think you would really appreciate this article from No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?. It's about a Virginia school district that is trying the ban "cross-dressing" in an effort to keep non-gender conforming students from being abused and bullied.

  10. Well sh!t, I won't be moving to Tennessee any time soon. This legislator sounds like a real moron.