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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two little boys

Yesterday's New York Times carried this story on the "By the numbers" Blog of Charles M. Blow

Here's how it begins:

On April 6, just before dinner, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, a Massachusetts boy who had endured relentless homophobic taunts at school, wrapped an extension cord around his tiny neck and hanged himself. He was only 11 years old. His mother had to cut him down.

On April 16, just after school, Jaheem Herrera, a Georgia boy who had also endured relentless homophobic taunts at school, wrapped a fabric belt around his tiny neck and hanged himself as well. He too was only 11 years old. His 10-year-old sister found him.

Two beaming little boys, lost. To intolerance? Too tragic.

The sad ends to their short lives shine a harsh light on the insidious scourge of the homophobic bullying of children.

The article also includes some eye-opening data about the link between homosexual bullying and suicide. I can't commend it to you highly enough.

The article ends lke this:

Carl and Jaheem, I will never forget you. I am the father of 11 year-old twins. I will give them extra hugs and kisses tonight in memory of you. I will teach them to be even more tolerant, in memory of you. I will make sure that they know that I am always there if they need an ear or a shoulder, in memory of you. I will let them know, when the waters get choppy, that the storm will always pass, in memory of you. And, I will make sure that they know in no uncertain terms that whomever they grow up to be, I will love them always and forever. This too I will do in memory of you.

We will soldier on in your stead. You rest in ours.

(It should be noted that to my knowledge neither child had self-identified as gay or bisexual at the time of their death, but now it matters not. Whoever they would have been is forever lost to the grave.)


Grandmère Mimi said...

Heartbreaking. When we will we ever learn that tragic consequences follow "relentless homophobic taunts"? Two precious lives snuffed out without their chance to grow in wisdom and grace.

Lord, have mercy.

Br. Christopher Nicholas said...

Awful, horrible and terrible. I know private schools are not immune to anything that happens in public schools but they also usually to a better job about teaching character and virtue (things never even discussed when I was in public school). Why is it that we never hear about hate crimes like this, extreme bullying and shootings in private schools (of all stripes i.e. religious and non-religious). What could we learn from this and incorporate into the public school system?