Outliers often wonder why atheists write so much about gay issues. Part of it is solidarity between injured minorities. Part of it is that some of us are gay or have gay friends. Part of it is that we are positive atheists that seek justice and fairness. Part of it is that we can empathize, sympathize, and understand their experiences of oppression, as atheists we are also reviled. Sometimes the crime is just so heinous and stupid that no one should be free from listening. An 18 yr old boy was set on fire at his own birthday party.
Simpson had Asperger’s syndrome, a speech impairment and epilepsy, the Yorkshire Post noted. The teen had reportedly been dared to strip down to his underpants before being doused in tanning oil, after which Sheard set him aflame at the party. Other reports said that anti-gay messages, including “gay boy” and “I love d*ck,” had been found scrawled across Simpson’s body.
The sentencing was disappointing, to say the least.
Jailing him for three years and six months, Judge Roger Keen QC told Sheard: “At his 18th birthday party you destroyed Steven’s life.”
But the judge said taunting which led up to Steven’s death had been ‘good-natured horseplay’, and that Sheard, now 20, of Darfield Road, Cudworth, was ‘egged on’ by other partygoers.
Hate taunting is good-natured horse play? You’re kidding! Attacking someone who is disabled and has emotional issues is good natured? This is stunningly stupid. It could only be said as a remnant of English culture where beating and whipping were considered normal. Boarding school abuse modernized.
But he didn’t know lighting his skin on fire would kill him? Why would that question even arise? Why should he ever be in a position to experiment and find out? He knew it would burn but just not how much? He wanted to torture but not kill?
My 12-yr old daughter wants to quit school because the kids are so mean to each other. My other daughter works hard to be cool and fit as she knows her status and well being is dependent on her not being like an outsider.
I myself though I now gloss over it do still remember being teased horribly for being cross-eyed, being smart, and when exposed, not believing in god.
This shiytt is accepted as the normal part of growing up? That is bullshyte. Total fawckeing, gawde damned, human hating, bullshyte. Having lived in a dozen states, gone to many different schools, and lived in a variety of communities the spectrum of bullying and abuse is not in any way necessary or ubiquitous–the entire premise of the conservative community harkens back to the good old days where everyone was neighbors, Mayberry RFD, Petticoat Junction, and Father Knows Best–that it isn’t necessary even to bullying, patriarchal conservatives. That it is tolerated and condoned shows the inability of administrators to do their job by accepting abuse as normal. Children are not wild, angry animals that are expected to try and destroy each other–Lord of the Flies is not normative. It is always a failure of the community. In spite of genetics and horrible things like fetal alcohol syndrome, they do not dictate destiny. Acceptance and refusal of support are the despots that encourage this vicious behavior.
My spouse started a new Jr High teaching job. She has a class that is considered to be the wildest, most dysfunctional class to date. The larger community divided the districts such that these wild kids come from mobile home parks to protect their own white-bread schools. Yet, no extra support, money, is spent in trying to help these kids succeed. The school is to survive them and let them loose on society. The kids don’t care about punishment or being kept back–they have been told and assume that they are scum and will never amount to anything or even graduate–they are fawckied so fawccke em. Her associate teachers say just punish them constantly, yell at them, and meet their anger. She refuses, meeting them with as much compassion and reason as she can muster, refusing to cuss back, refusing to yell, refusing to reactively punish. The parents also disenfranchised say they can’t do anything either. Friends outside of school bemoan the lack of legal corporal punishment. This situation is too common. This is why teaching has such a high depression and suicide rate.
A recent story notes how picky-eating in children is genetic but rather than giving up and saying let them eat to ill health to rather spend more time, more gentle time, getting them to eat other foods, being careful not to establish an adversarial relation. It is not that parents should give up or accept it. It is that different people need different levels of support. Smart kids need more support as well or they go sour and satisfy their intelligence elsewhere, usually antisocially, dangerously and illegally. I was lucky in that I had a loving family, lived away from most kids, and was project oriented. George Carlin’s personal history is a litany of how to fail a child. Luckily, he found comedy as a means to deal with himself and society.
Jail is full of stupid kids that are blamed for their parent’s, school’s, and community’s mistakes. It’s easy to insist responsibility is personal and then turn and say it takes a community to raise a child. Which is it?
The judge should be fired and put in jail. The community that voted or assigned such a judge should be taught mediation, restorative justice, and compassion–aaah, put em in jail too. How many other kids have they fawckied up.
Jim Newman, bright and well