I am pretty sure that I am preaching to the choir. At least, I hope that I am.
Another teenager, this time in Tennessee, killed himself in response to being bullied. It sounds terrible, but I am not particularly surprised.
This Daily Kos post contains two powerful videos. The first, by a boy named Jonah Mowry, talks about the terrible pain of being bullied. The second, equally moving, is from a bully who harassed Jonah, apologizing and explaining the origins of his bullying.
I know grown adults who as children literally lived in fear of their lives from bullies. I know people whose lives were destroyed, who were forced to reconstruct their sense of self slowly, bit by bit, and who bear scars -- physical and psychological -- that will never go away. People who were driven to the brink of suicide. People who today as grown adults struggle to cope with PTSD as a result of this trauma.
There is another, larger price to bullying. Schoolyard bullies can turn into adults who commit violence. Gay-bashers do not spring full-fledged into adulthood: they are nurtured from a young age to hate and to use that hate to justify hurting others. Every man holding a "God Hates Fags" sign, who thinks that some African countries have the right idea when they jail or execute homosexuals, was once a boy who might have felt justified in torment he heaped upon others.
Violence begets violence. Exclusion and hatred beget more exclusion and hatred.
As the Red-Headed Menace observed, sometimes the whole world is too much like middle-school.