Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bullycide Struck New Year's Morning: Rest In Peace Jeffrey Patrick Fehr

It's painful having to document so many teen suicides.  However, unless we're constantly confronted with the shear enormity of the situation, the fear is that people will again become complacent.  We can not afford to let that happen.  Not now.  Not ever.

In the wee hours of New Year's morning, when folks were winding down from their New Year's Eve celebration of whatever form it was, 18-year-old Jeffrey Patrick Fehr ended his life of turmoil.  According to his family, Jeffrey had been bullied since the sixth grade because of his sexuality.  It only got worse in high school as Jeffrey excelled on the school's cheerleading squad.

Off to college, and out-of-the-closet, Jeffrey met a young affair of the heart who lived some distance away.  He apparently went to spend the holiday with his new heartthrob, but that ended in a breakup.  Alone, he drove back to Granite Bay.  While others were preparing their celebrations, Jeffrey was plotting his last moments.

Left unanswered forever, of course, is what was Jeffrey's breaking point?  Was it the breakup?  Was it the years of taunting and bullying?  Those questions will haunt his family and friends for many years to come.

Here's what IS known:  the LGBT community has lost yet another rising star.  Jeffrey's friends have lost one of their own, as well.  And, his family is now carrying the heavy burden of picking up the pieces of his suicide while trying to make sense of it all.  No family should have to do that.  It's been said here, as well as many other places, too many times already; however, it bears repeating again and again and again until we begin to see a noticeable change.  A change in this mean-spirited culture which breeds a climate that makes it ok, even acceptable, for people to taunt, berate, and attack other who they perceive as different.  A change in the verbiage of our leaders, from the schools to local government to the state level, and all the way up to the national players.  Their hatred and intolerance breeds the ignorance that fosters a climate that allows this type of behavior to flourish.  And, from that ignorance, we're losing young life after young life to the mournful fate of suicide.  Bullycide.  And, here's my point:  it will begin to end when enough of us make enough noise to enough people and make it crystal clear that this is absolutely no longer acceptable.  There truly is power in numbers.  With effort, every single one of us can make the difference that is needed to end this black mark on our society.

Rest in peace, Jeffrey Patrick Fehr.  So sorry to see you go.