BY JAMES NIMMO
I’m not asking for sympathy for Dharun Ravi who was recently convicted of bias intimidation charges in New Jersey in connection with the suicide of Tyler Clementi.
Dharun Ravi is the first person I know of who’s been charged in connection with any of the numerous gay teenage suicides in the last two to three years.
Why was Ravi selected to be the scapegoat of an entire nation?
In the courtroom with him should have been legions of un-indicted co-conspirators from all the ranks of America’s thriving hate industry that I am now personally accusing of aiding violence and encouraging bias intimidation, the same charges brought against Mr. Ravi.
The astounding number of reported teen suicides connected with sexual orientation and bullying can be seen in this cursory search engine list.
Why haven’t there been more prosecutions before the numbers reached this high?
But I know why: it took eleven years for a national hate crimes law, the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act to be passed by Congress after much moral obfuscation, religious proselytizing, and political hectoring following the heinous Wyoming death of Matthew Shepard in 1998.
It would seem that the addition of a non-gay victim’s name, James Byrd – a black man horrifically dragged to death in Texas, also in 1998 – had to be added in order to make the gay aspect of the proposed law palatable to a wider array of fearful politicians and backstage manipulators.
But if Ravi is guilty as charged then so are the Bible-thumping, hate-spewing administrators of churches – men and women preaching the family values of their peculiar construction of an anti-social moral code – who constantly bemoan the growing recognition of civil equality for gays and lesbians in our legal and social networks.
Guilty also are politicians who introduce bills and elected officials who sign into law religious prejudice masquerading as social conscience that denies the citizenship and humanity of a significant portion of the American population, a number that represents gainfully employed, socially contributing, law-abiding gays and lesbians.
These officials are charged with the protection and improvement of the lives of all of us, not just those who subscribe to a hypocritical code of conduct that belittles, if not demonizes, minorities they find worthless.
What of the guilt of the voters who have passed state laws and amendments disenfranchising decent citizens who have done no harm to others, wishing only to have a constructive life for themselves and their loved ones.
I accuse them of contempt.
Guilty also then are the school administrators required by law to maintain a safe learning environment, who turn their eyes away from those moral cowards who bully students perceived as gay or lesbian.
Who hasn’t read of the students, some as young as pre-teens, who have committed suicide after telling their stories of fear and oppression to their parents and caretakers yet had received little to no remedy.
Who doesn’t remember being told as a child to “tell an adult” when you have deeply personal problems, seemingly unsolvable situations beyond the knowledge and experience of youth? Yet these adults failed those in their charge, both by kinship and by law.
I accuse them of corruption.
Will I be able to bring these charges to fruition in a real court of law? No, of course not.
However, the court of public opinion will eventually find this collection of moral thieves and spiritual bandits guilty of willful malfeasance in their public duties with their punishment being a remaining lifetime of scorn and shame.
– James Nimmo lives in Oklahoma City and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer