Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rest In Peace Jacob Rogers 12/07/2011 (Yet ANOTHER Victim of Bullycide!!)

This is the point I've been trying to get across as the world was engaging in Jonahmania.  While all of the attention and adoration is being thrust upon Jonah Mowry, there were still millions of struggling teens around the world who needed just a fraction of that attention.  Just a fraction.

Just a fraction may have saved Jacob Rogers' life.  Today, he ended that young life because he just couldn't deal with being bullied any more.  In fact, he'd already dropped out of his senior year of high school because it had become a nightmare for him.

According to his best friend, Jacob felt like he was ignored, that no one was helping him.  Left alone with his pain, he did what far too many young people before him has done:  he ended the torture himself.

My prayer is that we as a loving, caring people get past the Jonah mania and remember that there are millions of kids in the world who are struggling just like that 13 year old boy that the world fell in love with over the weekend of December 2nd.  That boy is now doing just fine.  However, we just lost another one who "felt ignored" and couldn't handle the bullying anymore.

Rest in peace, Jacob Rogers.  "If only I'd known your name..."

How To Tell The Difference Between A Cry for Help and Crying Wolf

A very dear friend and relative of a recent suicide victim suggested to me that I should write about the hazard of crying wolf.  Good idea, I thought.  She was inspired by the occasional posts from young people bluffing or "crying wolf".  And,  to be sure, I've personally witnessed a boy who, in private chat sessions with myself and another friend, talked very strongly about ending his life while simultaneously yucking it up with friends on a couple other pages.  In addition to that, I've personally had several instances where someone was talking serious suicidal talk yet became infuriated when people tried to step in and intervene.  What's the answer?

The fact of the matter is if we're serious about saving lives, if we're really dedicated to seeing the number of teen and gay-teen suicides decrease dramatically, we have to look at each individual threat equally.  We have to consider that every single time someone speaks of "ending it", there's a crisis that needs immediate attention...whether that person "wants" help or not.  I know that I am personally not trained to be able to distinguish the real threats from the ones "crying wolf".  And, I'd go as far as to say very few of us are.  As annoying as it can be dealing with someone who's simply crying wolf (and, trust me, being cussed out, called names, and belittled for your efforts can definitely be annoying!), I think it's essential for everyone to remember that even their lashing out is a huge, bright-red flag.

The bottom line is that we have to take every single threat seriously.  And, since precious few of us are professionals in this field, having readily available resources in times of crisis is essential.  The Glendon Association provides a lot of valuable information and other links.  Also, I would think that knowing the warning signs of teen suicide is also crucial.

The unfortunately high number of high-profile teen suicides over the past few months has brought needed attention to the severity of the situation.  Jonah Mowry's painful video of strength and courage intensified the spotlight.  Now, it's up to us, the compassionate ones seeking to make a difference, to be prepared when the moment arises.  And, trust me, it will.

Nothing at All

In this day and age, it's hard to believe that there are still four states, incredibly, that has NO anti-bullying law on their books whatsoever!!  There's nothing in place to protect the most vulnerable ones.  Those states would be Michigan (big surprise there), Montana, North, and South Dakota.

Michigan, you may recall, was the state that tried to pass an anti-bullying bill with a clause in it that would've given a free pass to those who bullied because of "sincere moral and/or religious beliefs".  And, if that was your first time reading about that, fear not:  we banded together, got a petition signed by tens of thousands, and had THAT clause taken out of the bill. (They don't get to legally bully in the name of God)  Michigan is also the state where the mayor of one of their cities, Troy to be exact, admitted to making gay slurs on her facebook page.  Apparently, the hearts of the legislators are as cold as Michigan's weather.

And, as for the Dakotas and Montana, possibly the thinking is that there just isn't a large enough population to warrant such measures. (the CITY of San Francisco has a larger population that the STATE of N. Dakota!)  Just thinking out loud.  Maybe that isn't that at all.  Maybe they just don't care.  I don't know the answer.  What I do know is that if having anti-bullying laws in place will help even one person, there's a need for them to be on the books.


Of the four states I just mentioned, only South Dakota remains as the only one with no laws in place whatsoever.  North Dakota has just passed their and requires their schools to have policies in place by June 2012.  Montana has a very vague "referral" program in place.  And, Michigan, ah yes Michigan.  If you are interested in the anti-bullying laws in your state, and I think everyone should be, here's an interactive map with that information.