Oh, society, you keep outdoing yourself.
Life is a precious thing, as we all know. But I have to be honest when I say I have no faith in the future of humanity or society as a whole.
Yes, I’m going to get a little serious with this post. I usually try and avoid things like this, if not just because I know people can get emotional and quite crazy when talking about things like this.
But if society and this world doesn’t find a way to change (and it likely won’t), this world could be in some serious trouble when the youngsters of today are adults.
Taking away politics and the economy, one of the biggest issues I think we need to worry about is bullying. This situation can happen at any level — high school, college, and in adulthood (if you don’t think wars and such are a form of bullying, check things out and think about it — it is). But the scary situation is in the younger ages.
When I was in middle school/high school I felt what it was like to be bullied. Not so much in a physical way, but in mental ways. Name calling and all the catty crap that happens in high school. I wasn’t part of any particular clique, but I kind of roamed. I had friends in all different “social classes,” but I also had “enemies.” By enemy, I mean people who felt it was their nature to call me (and many others) names or crap like that.
It made high school pretty much such.
See, I hated high school. With a passion. I consider those years some of the worst of my life. I didn’t go to my last high school reunion because I didn’t want to look back at that time in my life. The people who I want to deal with from that era, I do, whether it be by seeing them on occasion, being close friends or seeing updates and such on Facebook.
I assure you, for the group I graduated with, it isn’t many.
A couple friends I graduated with tried to assure me that many people had “grown up and gotten past that stage.” My response was simple — I don’t care.
See, people grow up. I understand that. But for those who were on the opposite end of that situation growing up, you don’t forget. For me, those years were awful and it was because of a certain set of people. I have no interest in seeing or talking to them again. I don’t forget.
To be fair, I probably said some unkind things to people as well. It’s a trickle-down effect. One gets slammed and then continues it down the chain. I hope my words back then to others weren’t as bad as what I felt. If it was, it’s probably karma that really got me. And if that’s the fact, I full apologize to those I said things to — though I wouldn’t expect anybody to ever forget because I know the feeling.
That leads me to the reason for this post.
No matter what was done to me during that time period in my life, I got through it. Whether through a physical altercation or two, or just ignoring and battling through it, I got by.
And I’m still here.
An alarming amount of kids these days aren’t graduating high school because of bullying. Why? Because they are committing suicide. That’s a scary situation, folks.
In all the years I received harsh treatment, I never once considered that. Never. Even in the past two years when my life has taken a downward spiral with the economy, it’s never crossed my mind. Ever.
But 14- and 15-year-old kids are figuring this to be the best thing.
It doesn’t matter why someone is being bullied. Whether it’s because of how they dress, the color of their skin, their sexual preference or where they live/come from, it shouldn’t matter.
Leave them alone.
Have you heard the name Amanda Todd?
If you haven’t, you should Google her name. The name has been in the news and all over social media for a couple of weeks. Amanda was a 15-year-old who lived in Vancouver.
Notice I use her name in the past tense. That’s because she committed suicide a couple of weeks ago. This was the culmination of several years of being bullies, online and off. It got so bad that this poor girl decided the best way to escape everything was to kill herself.
This story, obviously, is spreading. I’ve seen it in many different publications and online media places.
As it’s told, the story is one of a young girl who made a mistake when she was a seventh grader. She would webcam with friends to meet and talk to new people. Some stranger talked her into flashing the camera. A year later, a man contacted her on Facebook with the threats of sending said photo to everyone if she didn’t put on a show.
Scarier? The stranger knew many details about her — address, school, friends, names of friends and family etc.
Soon, the naked photo had been forwarded to “everyone.”
From that, Amanda apparently developed some serious issues, including anxiety and depression. Drugs and alcohol followed. She changed schools and tried to find new friends. But the man followed and created a Facebook profile, using that naked photo as a profile photo.
The bully started up again. She cut herself as a way to release the pain. She moved again. Maybe things would get better? A boy started to seemingly like her. But some girls from her first school came and beat her up. It was filmed. She was left along. After that, she tried to down bleach to commit suicide. She was saved — that time.
And how is all this known?
Amanda told the story. Take a peek at this YouTube video she posted a month before killing herself. It’s a nearly nine-minute video, but I encourage you to watch. It’s heart-wrenching in all aspects. This video has more than 5,000,000 views.
The sad part of this is Amanda isn’t the first teenager to commit suicide from being bullied, whether cyber or in person. And, unfortunately, she likely won’t be the last.
But this is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a much better way than it is. Parents are part of this, too. Society today has the parents whose kids can never do wrong. It’s been that way for a long time, but more numerous now. When I was in newspaprts, I was accosted many times by parents who thought I should write more about their kid, or this other kid shouldn’t get written about because he or she wasn’t as nice as their kid.
I’m all for backing your kids in anything they do, but one needs to keep it in perspective.
We have to remember that things like this aren’t reversible. Amanda Todd’s smile will never be seen on Earth again. She won’t be able to hug her parents. She won’t have a fairy tale wedding, have kids and grow old with her husband.
And that’s sad.
Instead, the people who bullied her will continue their lives. They’ll get to experience those things. It’s my hope proof is found and the people who bullied Amanda will be dealt with in a legal manner so that they, too, will suffer. It’s my hope they find the person who has cyber bullied Amanda and punish him to the full extent of the law. Apparently, a hacking organization has outed somebody, but Vancouver police said he’s not the person.
I honestly don’t know the next step in society. As the world continues to grow and develop more and more, society is going to change. It’s not the 50s anymore. There’s a lot of hate and it comes out quite easily now.
For anybody — but especially somebody who hasn’t even graduated high school yet — suicide should never be an option. Always find something to live or push for. Instead, it seems like it’s becoming more commonplace for people to consider this a justifiable solution.
And that’s sad. Not just for the person and his or her family and friends, but for society as a whole.
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