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How does it feel to be profiled?

Posted on November 23, 2013 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 I got caught in a strange, unusual situation today. I had bought a birthday present for a good friend whom I have known for ten years. We were driving in my car on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, and suddenly we were surrounded by three plainclothes police officers. My first thought was that I had committed some traffic offense, but no, they asked me, “What are you doing here? Who is he? How long have you know him? Where did you meet him? Do you have drugs on you? Why did you go shopping here and not where you live?”

I identified myself as an 84 old man, working part-time as a certified mental health counselor. I thought the entire episode would appear comical, were it not so boldly offensive, since the questions were obviously off the wall and based on my highly suspicious companionship with a Hispanic person. I pointed out to the officer that he was wasting his time, and he finally relented.

There seems to be no good reason why New Yorkers, especially those of mixed racial ancestry, should have to suffer an illegal grilling, based on the color of one’s skin, hair style, clothes, tattoes and all the other things written, presumably, in the manual for professional police officers.

It’s about time we’ll have a fresh wind coming our way with Bill de Blasio and his family. We anticipate a police force without unnecessary profiling.

 


 

 

Don't Touch Me! Watchword of the Killer of Newtown, Conn.

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)


In the days following the Newtown, Conn. killings, a picture has begun to emerge of a very sick young man. Bit by bit, new information is pasting together a scenario of alienation and repressed anger. A barber notes extreme lack of eye contact and a relationship of a controlling mother who answers every question for her son. A friend of the family tells of a teenager without friends who spends hours playing video games depicting violence. His peers describe him as intelligent, but socially awkward. His mother takes him to the rifle range and keeps a collection of high-powered arms in the house.

The son’s anger culminates when he learns of his mother’s plan to have him hospitalized in a mental ward.

Prior to the massacre, Adam Lanza has a conversation with his mother. He tells her that he wants to join the Marine Corps. His mother tells him that he is not suitable for the Marines, because he doesn’t want to be touched. She realizes that soldiers in the Marines establish bonds through wrestling, sports, horseplay, and hugging, all of which are necessary to form comradery and teamwork. As far back as Homer’s Iliad, it was recognized that heroism sprouts from willingness to sacrifice one’s life for one’s friends. Nancy Lanza was not alone in noticing her son’s unwillingness to be touched, and other people have confirmed it.

Why, then, was Adam afraid of being touched?

In the sixties, a revolution took place against the formality of a society that had wasted its resources, including human lives, on two worlds wars. It was the time of the Beatles and slogans like “Make love, not war.” It was a period in which the Human Potential Movement, sometimes also called “The Encounter Movement,” starting in Esalen, California, spread throughout the world. One of the most important features that was rediscovered was the importance of human touch.

It was in the late sixties that I got to know Alec Rubin, one of the original founders of the movement. He became my guru and group therapist. Few people have had a greater influence on my life. Touch formed an important part of group therapy.

Touch is different in different cultures. People from Northern Europe touch less than those of Southern Europe. Even the distance between customers and sales clerks is closer in warmer lands. One study showed a difference of two touches per hour between persons living in the United States of Americans against 180 touches per hour between inhabitants of Puerto Rico. The philosophy of the sixties soon included touch as a quintessential part of treatment and healing. Hugging became standard fare in substance abuse residential facilities and spread to group therapy of all types.

In 1971, a book with the title “Please Touch,” by Jane Howard, became a must-reading for what was then called “the flower children,” and not long afterwards, in 1976, a museum in Philadelphia was founded under the same name.

In the past fifteen years, research of touch has produced more than one hundred studies, many of which by the Touch Research Institute. Michael Meany, endocrinologist, showed in a study with rats in 2000 that health and survival rate are related to touch.

 

 

Looking at the animal world, we see that every domestic dog and cat likes to be patted.

We observe that all primates engage in extensive touching, around 15% of their waking hours. But even insects like bees and ants use touch for communication, sending messages with olfactory glands. Touch may well be one of the most important tools in the process of survival.

Then, how is it possible that there are human beings who don’t want to be touched? “Haphephobia,” a fear of being touched, is relatively rare. Undoubtedly, it would be exceedingly difficult to set up everything needed for a valid research study. At this time one can only explore the psychodynamics based on inferences.

Nancy Lanza may to some have been the average, nice, friendly mother of a somewhat strange boy, but to others she seemed “domineering,” “controlling,” and “highstrung.” Even if we have to assume that Adam already at an early age showed symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, and even if we have to take into account that there might have been some sort of organic dysfunction when he warned his playmates at a baseball game that he was insensitive to touch and would not feel anything if he should fall, there still remain questions about his upbringing in the crucial years of early childhood. One can see how Nancy, preoccupied as she was with guns, would not have tolerated any intrusion by her son into her role as the owner and master of her million-dollar home. She might have fondled him one minute, only to punish him physically the next. The way the barber observed it, she was in total control. Adam could never trust her and by the time he was five, he might already have developed a fear of being touched, not knowing whether she would stroke him or spank him. Inwardly, he developed a raging anger against his mother and, at the same time, a jealousy against the children with whom she worked as a volunteer and to whom she gave all the love that her own son never received from her.

Other theories may explain Adam’s haphephobia. For instance, stress factors during the mother’s pregnancy or her son’s early childhood years may have contributed to his fear of being touched.

Strange as it may seem, touch is an area that has not been studied a great deal. The text books from a previous generation did not mention the subject, maybe in fear of being labeled unscientific. Recent studies by Dacher Keltner at the University of California at Berkeley showed that touch is fundamental to human communication, bonding and health. (Dacher Keltner, “Hands on Research – The Science of Touch,” 2010.)

Though we will never know for a fact, we can postulate that if Adam had not suffered touch deprivation in his early childhood, he might not have developed into a mass murderer. He might have exhibited some form of autism or some other defect of the nervous system, but the children of Newtown, Conn. might still be alive.

“Touching,” said Michelangelo, “is to give life.”

 

?Don?t Touch Me!? ? watchword of the killer of Newtown, Conn.

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

“Don’t Touch Me!” – watchword of the killer of Newtown, Conn.

 

by Gilbert Creutzberg

 

 

In the days following the Newtown, Conn. killings, a picture has begun to emerge of a very sick young man. Bit by bit, new information is pasting together a scenario of alienation and repressed anger. A barber notes extreme lack of eye contact and a relationship of a controlling mother who answers every question for her son. A friend of the family tells of a teenager without friends who spends hours playing video games depicting violence. His peers describe him as intelligent, but socially awkward. His mother takes him to the rifle range and keeps a collection of high-powered arms in the house.

The son’s anger culminates when he learns of his mother’s plan to have him hospitalized in a mental ward.

Prior to the massacre, Adam Lanza has a conversation with his mother. He tells her that he wants to join the Marine Corps. His mother tells him that he is not suitable for the Marines, because he doesn’t want to be touched. She realizes that soldiers in the Marines establish bonds through wrestling, sports, horseplay, and hugging, all of which are necessary to form comradery and teamwork. As far back as Homer’s Iliad, it was recognized that heroism sprouts from willingness to sacrifice one’s life for one’s friends. Nancy Lanza was not alone in noticing her son’s unwillingness to be touched, and other people have confirmed it.

Why, then, was Adam afraid of being touched?

In the sixties, a revolution took place against the formality of a society that had wasted its resources, including human lives, on two worlds wars. It was the time of the Beatles and slogans like “Make love, not war.” It was a period in which the Human Potential Movement, sometimes also called “The Encounter Movement,” starting in Esalen, California, spread throughout the world. One of the most important features that was rediscovered was the importance of human touch.

It was in the late sixties that I got to know Alec Rubin, one of the original founders of the movement. He became my guru and group therapist. Few people have had a greater influence on my life. Touch formed an important part of group therapy.

Touch is different in different cultures. People from Northern Europe touch less than those of Southern Europe. Even the distance between customers and sales clerks is closer in warmer lands. One study showed a difference of two touches per hour between

persons living in the United States of Americans against 180 touches per hour between inhabitants of Puerto Rico. The philosophy of the sixties soon included touch as a quintessential part of treatment and healing. Hugging became standard fare in substance abuse residential facilities and spread to group therapy of all types.

In 1971, a book with the title “Please Touch,” by Jane Howard, became a must-reading for what was then called “the flower children,” and not long afterwards, in 1976, a museum in Philadelphia was founded under the same name.

In the past fifteen years, research of touch has produced more than one hundred studies, many of which by the Touch Research Institute. Michael Meany, endocrinologist, showed in a study with rats in 2000 that health and survival rate are related to touch.

 

 

Looking at the animal world, we see that every domestic dog and cat likes to be patted.

We observe that all primates engage in extensive touching, around 15% of their waking hours. But even insects like bees and ants use touch for communication, sending messages with olfactory glands. Touch may well be one of the most important tools in the process of survival.

Then, how is it possible that there are human beings who don’t want to be touched? “Haphephobia,” a fear of being touched, is relatively rare. Undoubtedly, it would be exceedingly difficult to set up everything needed for a valid research study. At this time one can only explore the psychodynamics based on inferences..

Nancy Lanza may to some have been the average, nice, friendly mother of a somewhat strange boy, but to others she seemed “domineering,” “controlling,” and “highstrung.” Even if we have to assume that Adam already at an early age showed symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, and even if we have to take into account that there might have been some sort of organic dysfunction when he warned his playmates at a baseball game that he was insensitive to touch and would not feel anything if he should fall, there still remain questions about his upbringing in the crucial years of early childhood. One can see how Nancy, preoccupied as she was with guns, would not have tolerated any intrusion by her son into her role as the owner and master of her million-dollar home. She might have fondled him one minute, only to punish him physically the next. The way the barber observed it, she was in total control. Adam could never trust her and by the time he was five, he might already have developed a fear of being touched, not knowing whether she would stroke him or spank him. Inwardly, he developed a raging anger against his mother and, at the same time, a jealousy against the children with whom she worked as a volunteer and to whom she gave all the love that her own , son never received from her.

Other theories may explain Adam’s haphephobia. For instance, stress factors during the mother’s pregnancy or her son’s early childhood years may have contributed to his fear of being touched.

Strange as it may seem, touch is an area that has not been studied a great deal. The text books from a previous generation did not mention the subject, maybe in fear of being labeled unscientific. Recent studies by Dacher Keltner at the University of California at Berkeley showed that touch is fundamental to human communication, bonding and health. (Dacher Keltner, “Hands on Research – The Science of Touch,” 2010.)

Though we will never know for a fact, we can postulate that if Adam had not suffered touch deprivation in his early childhood, he might not have developed into a mass murderer. He might have exhibited some form of autism or some other defect of the nervous system, but the children of Newtown, Conn. might still be alive.

“Touching,” said Michelangelo, “is to give life.”

 

Obama's Body Language Wins Debate

Posted on October 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)


 

There was scant doubt as to who won the crucial debate on October 16, 2012,  between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But to me, the greatest moment did not consist in words, but in body language. Like the interviewer who judges the job applicant, perhaps at a subconscious level, by eye contact, facial expression, tension, involuntary movements of hands and feet, so we, the television public, became the judge as to who would serve best at one of the most important jobs on earth: that of the president of the United States.

The one moment that stands out was Obama’s response to Romney’s questioning pertaining to the death of our ambassador in Libya. As if it weren’t bad enough that Romney used that horrendous happening for political campaigning, rather than stand together as one with the president, Romney managed to misquote the president. Only this time it was not one of his usual false statistics to which I listened with one ear, having become immune to them, like background music. No, this was different: Romney had berated the very essence of leadership of a democratically elected president of the United States.

Obama responded magnificently, but even more powerful was the moment when he walked away from his adversary, showing his back. That’s a message more than words could say. It said that this man, Romney, was not worth another word about a subject that was sacred and that had no place in the debate: the immense sorrow and grief about the death of four people, one our ambassador to Libya.

When you show your back, you are telling your opponent that you no longer consider him as a contender. He has been reduced to a non-entity. End of debate.

 



 

 

Entitlement for the Rich

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)


 

The time has long since gone when you’d go to a hospital and they’d ask you, “What’s wrong with you?” Now, the question is, “What insurance do you have?”

I still have to get used to the idea that people with money are somehow more entitled to medical care than people who are poor. When Bill Clinton took office as the president, he went on TV and showed a card in his hand. He asserted that with that card, everybody in these United States would be entitled to medical care. When I traveled to Cuba in 2000 I was told, again and again, “Medical care in Cuba is free.” That’s the way it should be. And why?

Because nobody is entitled to better medical care than the next person. After all, we’re all living in the same planet and we all have one thing in common: we’re all human beings.The idea that money in the bank will pay for something that is denied to a person who is penniless is not only absurd. It’s obscene.

What gets me is that Obama’s hard work to overhaul our medical insurance system on a bipartisan basis has been fought tooth and nail by the Republicans with the warning that it would cost too much.

I don’t understand the logic of this. We are involved in an expensive war which has caused death and destruction on both sides, fanned the bitterness between the USA and the Arab world, and has accomplished little if anything. There is, on the other hand, no money for hospitals, and we watch powerlessly as we see excellent hospitals such as St. Vincent’s in New York close. Unemployment would change drastically if we would finance the work force to provide medical care to anybody who needs it. To staff a hospital, thousands of people are needed, not only doctors and nurses, but also orderlies, porters, mechanics, parking lot attendants, you call it. Instead, the ones who benefit most are not the patients, but insurance companies, advertisers of pharmaceutical companies, and litigation lawyers.

Of course, paying for medical care is nothing if your name is Mitt Romney. It’s pocketmoney, small change. But if suddenly a catastrophic event, like an earthquake that would destroy entire cities, with all their banks, insurance companies, electrical power supplies and with all the paperwork of a colossal infra structure, what would he do?  Has Romney worked harder than I have and is he more entitled to medical care than I  or the next guy?? Is he smarter, wiser, does he have a better rap? Many people would not like to see him as our president. I don’t think I would enjoy having a cup of coffee with him, even if he paid for it. He’s good in dishing up statistics and distorting the facts, but that doesn’t entitle him more than me or anybody else for benefits that we are all entitled to as human beings and that are clearly the responsibility of the federal government – not of the states with their confusing patchwork of different laws. The idea that, somehow, one is entitled to medical care (and add: education, ) because one had the fortune to have parents who were well-to-do and the business instincts to amass a fortune and power, is ludricous. Nobody is entitled to anything more than the next person, even the derelict who has no place to sleep, because in your heart you know that there, for the grace of God, you could be that derelict.

I knew someone who recently died of AIDS. In the last year of his life he had run out of the money he had earned as a small business owner, close to a million. The last time I talked with him, he had nothing left of his savings. He was forced to sell his apartment and apply for Welfare. He died a pauper. He worked hard all his life.

Let’s look at how the rich became so rich. For one thing, they don’t pay taxes and if they do, it’s a pittance. They have lawyers who know all the loopholes. They make sure that their corporate headquarters are located somewhere where they don’t have to pay taxes, for instance, in Delaware, or, better yet, in Bermuda.

They outsource to a country where very poor people, making the equivalent of $50 per month, do assembly line work without benefits, without medical insurance, in non-union shops. No unemployment problem there! The rich make their millions, and it’s all legal. They don’t have to loose a second’s sleep over where the money came from. These are the United States of America! The land of freedom and free enterprise! No big government interference! No communism, no socialism.

Romney said he paid 15% in taxes and he showed the paperwork for the earnings of one year. As for the rest, Romney said, you have to trust my word. If Romney were living in the Netherlands, the country where I was born, he’d have to pay 50% of his income, if not more. He’s crying about 15%, crying about peanuts. What does he do with all the money he doesn’t need? Spend it on a campaign to buy the presidency of this country?

Bet he thinks he’s entitled to that, too.

 

Acerca de la Reincarnacion (About the Reincarnation)

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 Miguel dice:

Miguel says:

A veces, yo encuentro a un persona que parece familiar. Quizas nos encontramos antes.

(Sometimes, I meet a person who appears familiar. Perhaps we met before.)

El dice:

He says:

El persona es como un telefono. Cuando se saque un “chip” del telefono y pone otro, el telefono tiene otro memoria. Es diferente.

(A person is like a telephone. When you take out the chip and put another one in, the telephone will have another, different memory.)

El dice:

He says:

Entonces, cuando yo muere, mi memoria es borrada. Aunque me recarne en otra persona, no me puedo recordame nada. Pero…el Espirito vive y se puede ver, porque se puede reconnocer conecciones entre la gente.

(So, when I die, my memory is erased. Although I may be reincarnated into anotther person, I cannot remember anything. Yet… the Spirit lives and one can see so, because one can recognize connections between people.)

 

 

Comentario por Gilberto Creutzberg

 

Miguel tenia ese conversacion conmigo el ultima dia de mi visita a la Republica Dominicana en septiembre de 2012. Yo le dije que era mi sentamiente que yo encuentre a el y a su hermano Cesar hace mucho tiempo, quizas en una otra vida. Miguel era de acuerdo. Mi amigo Charles Cataldo y yo hicieron una excurcion a La Cienega, ubicado abajo de la montaña la mas alta en la Republica Dominicana y otras islas del Caribe, Pico Duarte, donde el nieve cubre la cima en ese isla tropica.

Cesar era nuestro guia. Charlie y yo encontraron a su hermano Miguel y a toda la familia en La Cienega, tres horas de la ciudad la mas proxima, Jarabacoa.

El año era 1984. Charlie murio en el año proximo.

 

Miguel toca la guitarra y le gusta a cantar. Una de sus canciones favoritas es “El telefono:”

”Gilberto tiene telefono

que habla con Dios.

Ese telefono no tiene numero.

Es la oracion.”

 

 

 

(Comments by Gilbert Creutzberg

 

Miguel had this conversation with me on the last day of my visit to the Domican Republic in September of 2012. I told him that I felt I met him and his brother Cesar long before, maybe in another life. Miguel agreed. My friend Charles Cataldo and I made a jouney to La Cienega, a village located at the foothills of the highest mountain in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte, where in January snow covers the top in this tropical island. Cesar was our guide. Charlie and I met his brother Miguel, and we got to know their family in the small mountain village of La Cienega, three hours from the nearest town, Jarabacoa. That was in 1984. Charlie died the following year.

 

Miguel plays the guitar and likes to sing songs. One of his favorites is:

”Gilberto tiene telefono

que habla con Dios.

Ese telefono no tiene numero.

Es la oracion.”

(Gilbert has a telephone

with which you can talk with God.

That telephone doesn’t have a number.

It is prayer.)

 

 Retratos con subtitulos se puede ver cuando se va a "Photos" a pues va a "Rep. Dominicana Revisited"

(Pictures with subtitles can be seen when you go to "Photos" and then click on "Rep.. Dominicana Revisited")

 

 


 

Obama endorses same sex marriage

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)


 

   Obama, I love that dude. He is the greatest president of this country and history will recognize him as one of the greatests leaders. One thing is for sure: Obama has cojones.

   While a large number of states reject same-sex marriage and when the election is just around the corner, Obama shows no fear to take a strong stand.

   Yet, I wonder what the big deal is. The country where I was born, The Netherllands, decared same sex marriages legal more than ten years ago, the first country to do so, and some other countries have since then followed suit.

   Frankly, why are all these laws necessary to begin with? Suppose I had a non-sexual relationship with someone from the same sex, would that entitle me to the same rights and privileges as when my relationship were called a marriage and hence, involved sex implicitly? What happens if I were bisexual and separated from my wife but now lived with another male? Would I need to divorce from her before being entitled to the privileges of a same-sex marriage?

   I think marriage is a cultural institution designed to protect children, but the laws are more geared to protect money matters, such as income tax and inheritance tax. Also, there are bureaucratic power games operating, rather than laws, when hospitals and prisons decide who has visiting rights.

   We will not see changes, certainly not in the USA, within our life time that are based on common sense, rather than on money, power, or on religious prejudices.

 

Unmitigated Disaster

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)


 

   Yes, that’s what Dick Cheney called the Obama administration the other day. Wouldn’t you laugh, if it wasn’t so sad? It’s not funny when a very powerful person, controlling his country and probably the presidency as well, with a wealth that has no limits and that reaches out with its tentacles, like an octopus, into every facet of our modern world, - it’s not very funny when that person uses his wealth and power to send thousands of young men – and some women – to meet their death or to suffer life injuries for a war that’s in essence based on one three-letter word: OIL.

   The Bush administration sold the lies to the people that Cheney planted about weapons of mass destruction. The goal of the war, as announced piously by Bush, with tears in his eyes – Bush was always crying on those occasions! - was to bring democracy to Iraq. Not that anybody believed that. It didn’t matter. It seemed to be an appealing slogan that at least some of the party faithful were to believe as gospel truth.

   If the Bush administration had, instead, used its inluence to convert the USA to a country not only much less dependent on foreign oil, but using techniques to promote fuel-efficient electric or hybrid vehicles, developing wind and solar power, rather than boost the proliferation of cars like the SUVs, the USA would have taken the lead in respect for our environment, in aiming for efficient transportation systems, rather than advertising the unnecessary speed and power of automobiles.

   “An unmitigated disaster,” that’s what Cheney says. He means, of course, himself. There have been fewer men in history who set the clock of progress back, not only with respect to the environment, but with everything. A rigged election was eventually decided in Florida by voting machines that curiously could be influenced by two well-known factors: power and money, and by a lopsided Supreme Court with a questioned impartiality, especially when the polical predictability of justices like Thomas and Scalia stands out like a sore thumb.

   Maybe worse of all is Cheney’s unbridled defense of the use of torture. So you don’t call it torture, you invent some kind of euphemism and you have some of your boys to write some plausibly-soundling horse manure, even if it’s in direct negation everything the Geneva Convention stands for – an agreement of nations that carries the mark of a modern society vowing to do away with Mideaval thinking and methods that rely on inhuman treatment of our fellow human beings.

   Who is the unmitigated disaster? Dick Cheney, who else? Is that funny. No, not at all. Maybe people from other planets with living creatures in cultures superior to ours look at us in amazement. Who, they ask, is the unmitigated disaster? He must be talking about himself, but why are six hundred people listening to him applauding? Guess they worship the same god by the name of Halliburton. Cheney’s must be a very sick man, and we’re not talking about his heart by-pass.

 

Dharun Ravi says, "I'm sorry."

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

   This is a follow-up on the previous blog.

   On 3/22/2012, Dharun Ravi said the words I was hoping and waiting for, "I'm sorry," in a press interview. He also explained why he had been quiet for so long.

   He doesn't seem like a vicious, mean-spirited kid, but rather somebody who played the type of pranks that were perfectly acceptable before "Stonewall" in Greenwich Village.  

 .  I think he never meant any harm. He is, like millions of other young people, a product of a culture that has trouble accepting any signs of homosexuality in others and in themselves.

     There is hope for redemption. Dharun Ravi, you said the magic words. They coincide with the beginning of spring, with new life. For you and for us.

My message to Dharun Ravi: "Say you're sorry."

Posted on March 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)


 

Dharun Ravi was found guilty of some of the charges, particularly having committed a bias crime, but he was not found guilty in the death of Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Maybe Ravi was advised by his lawyer to keep his mouh shut, but I was desperately hoping and waiting for that one word: Sorry. He was already acquitted of manslaughter, let alone murder, so it would not have harmed him to say that one word, but he remained silent throughout.

The jurors knew and Ravi knew: not every "gay" person commits suicide even though a large majority of "gays" knows what it means to be ridiculed, harassed and discriminated against.  Statistics in this area of research regarding suicide rates among "gays"are scarse and most of the studies cite empirical data. Moreover, most of “gay people” do not go around with a label around their neck. In fact, many people who are happily married with chcildren may at times in their life engage in homosexual activities.

It’s evident that Ravi’s “pranks” in and by themselves did not cause Clementi to jump off the GWB. At the very most, they were the straws that broke the camel’s back. From all the evidence it’s clear that Ravi never intended any harm, least of all to cause his roommate’s death. In fact, it’s much more likely that Clementi’s mother may have played a larger role in setting off his depression by her attitude of rejecting her son’s sexual orientation.

But that doesn’t mean that Ravi had nothing to do with it. He could have said, in so many words, that his behavior, be it no more than the usual joking that goes on all the time about faggots, queers, daisies, pansies, cocksuckers, maricones, etc., might have been a contributing factor in pushing Clementi to make that fatal decision. Can one imagine how Ravi could have played a supporting role by stating that he had many gay friends and that, to him, people were people. Clementi might still be alive today and he and Ravi would have been close friends for life.

I find it intensily sad that Ravi’s father, who must have worked hard to send his son to a prestigious college in the USA, to Rutgers in New Brusnswick, NJ, saw all his dreams about his son’s future go up in smoke. He said one word that stood out: “Tolerance.” There is no question that there was an implicit pleading for understanding of social and cultural differences.

Does there have to be some form of punishment? Perhaps so. But if Ravi becomes the scapegoat while the majority of us think, smugly, that we’ve done our job and that justice is served, we haven’t learned anything. When two guys kiss each other while Rick Santorum holds a speech, the crowd booes. We have a far way to go.

Let’s first say, “Sorry.” Sorry for everything we do to each other rather to accept each other as human beings. Rick Santorum, a good Christian and a good Catholic should know better. He had the opportunity to remind the jeering people that Christ socialized with prostitutes and never said a single word to condemn people for their sexual orientation.

Say “Sorry,” Dharun Ravi, say that you’re sorry, deeply sorry. We’ll say it together.

 


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