It has only been a week since my post about the tragic death of Richard Nieuwenhuizen, who was beaten and kicked to death by a couple of teens after refereeing their football match. Unfortunately, there is already cause for another post like that one. Several things have happened this past week which make me hang my head in shame. I’m quickly losing my faith in humanity all together.
This Thursday, the news came out that a 15 year old high school student – Fleur – had committed suicide by jumping in front of a train while her classmates stood watching. She did this after having been bullied all her life, finally seeing no other option. She left a letter to her parents, naming the other students who had been bullying her. This story horrifies me. Apparently, schools have lost sight the implications of bullying and it’s result is the death of this girl. The news says that the whole town is in mourning and that there have been several memorial services complete with speeches from the Mayor and people from her school. I don’t buy this. Where were all those people when she needed them the most? Did they Mayor care when she was just another student? No. Schools should put effort in preventing this kind of horror instead of crying about it when it’s too late.
This was a big story in The Netherlands because of the death of a young man called Tim Ribberink, who commited suicide earlier this year because he had been bullied incessantly all his life. He was 20 years old when he died. After his death, some columnist or other thought it was appropriate to publish a letter to Tim’s parents on a newspaper’s website. In this letter he stated that although his death is tragic, they should be glad he’s gone for he was a homosexual and, really, who would want their son to be gay? It was disgusting. I never read the whole letter myself as it was taken down soon after it was put up. However, the damage was done. It was horrible, kicking the parents when they were down, disgracing Tim’s memory even further.
“Mijn zoontje is pas vier, maar ik kan nu al heel duidelijk aan hem zien dat hij géén homo is. Zo voed ik hem ook op, met voldoende autootjes en een speelgoedgarage. Mocht hij ooit tóch homo worden, dan zou ik mijzelf dat als ouder heel erg verwijten. Ook zou ik dodelijk ongerust zijn, want homo’s hebben altijd schokkend veel sekspartners. Maakte u zich nooit zorgen over ziektes bij uw zoon, mevrouw Ribberink” — Quote from the ‘letter’ to Tim’s parents.
Translation: My son is only four, but I can clearly see that he is NOT a homo. That is the way I raise him, with enough little cars and a toy autoshop. If he became gay after all, I would blame myself as parent. Also, I would be terribly worried, because gays always have a shockingly large amount of sexual partners. Were you never worried about diseases with your son, mrs Ribberink”
Because this was a big story months before the death of Fleur, the country was shocked to hear about another young person’s death. Finally, all kinds of investigations have been initiated to stop bullying. Too bad that this won’t benefit the kids, kids like Fleur, Tim, Amanda Todd, and countless unnamed others, who have already made the decision that life wasn’t worth living anymore because of the pain they have suffered from every day.
Then, yesterday, I heard that some guy walked into a school in Connecticut and started shooting, killing 26 people after already having killed his mother earlier in the day. I don’t have words for this kind of .. I don’t even know what to call it. I could probably write an essay long blog about the pros and cons about the gun ownership laws in America and probably an even longer blog about why he would have done such a thing. However, I won’t do that.
I only want to express my sincere and profound sadness that these things happen all around us, every day. I could name many more examples that have made me lose faith in humanity as a whole but if I did that I’d probably still be writing next Christmas. If you’re familiar with internet meme’s, then you’ll maybe also be familiar with the “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore” meme. This is how I feel, nowadays. We are apparently unable to treat our fellow humans with respect, even if we don’t agree with their views, religion, sexual orientation, colour of their skin, body type or numerous other things and this makes me very sad.
Once again, my condolences go out to the families of all the people that I have mentioned in this blog and to all the families of the victims of the shooting in Connecticut.