McKinney Teen's Suicide, Monica Lewinsky and The Price of Shame

So a couple things collided in my world yesterday, a TED talk and a child's body found in a ditch 1/4 mile from my house. I feel these two events collided not by accident and I am compelled to share on the Good Friday.

The first was that I listened to Monica Lewinsky's very brave TED Talk on the price of public shame and our culture of cyber shame and cyber bullying for our children.

Then I learned that a young teenager's body was found in a ditch 1/4 mile from my house. Out of respect for this child and his family the details have not been released as they should not, but was said that the boy was being bullied at school and had asked for a transfer out of his high school.

As we do our own personal reflections about Good Friday and our personal lives please think about this child.

I spent the majority of the day yesterday in fear for my own son yesterday thinking that someone may have murdered this child. Not wanting him to be too far from the house while he played and we waited to find out what happened. In reality it was a murder conducted by many people that by acts of aggression and omission slowly over time.

It is the acts of omission that anger me the most.

In this new era of instant communication, fast paced careers I fear that we all have an overinflated sense of self importance that makes us feel too important to have the "time" to "do anything else". We don't have time to help a neighbor, we don't have time to get involved, we don't have time to change such a huge problem such as cyber bullying.


If this child was murdered in the traditional sense of the word this community would be hunting the perpetrators, we would be condemning such an evil person for taking the life of a child just beginning his life. We would be demanding justice for his life and not stop until we were satisfied.

It gets tricky when we have to look at our own children, administrators, coaches, parents, family members and friends and call them evil. To consider that they in their collective acts of aggression and omission are evil murderers. I get that when a person chooses to end their own life no one is technically to blame. But just as Pilot washed his hands of Jesus's death...were they really clean? He could have done something to stop it but chose not to get involved because of any sort of personal risk it might cause.

We need to stop washing our hands...we need to get our hands dirty.

It takes practically zero effort to look a stranger in their eyes and ask them how they are doing. I promise within 5 minutes you will hear things that will amaze you leaving you both better for having spoken.

Check on a neighbor. I had no idea Willis was so sick. I had never met Willis or Linda in the 4 years I lived here. Yet I promise with getting my hands dirty I benefitted more from cleaning their backyard than they did having it cleaned up.

Be a CHAMPION FOR A CHILD if children are in your life. Along the way repeat over and over that they can come to you no matter the problem and you will help.

Do not participate in negative cyber comments. Call out people for being assholes and tell them to quit. Support the person being bullied even if you don't agree with them. You may not feel that it will help but I doubt you would think that same comment thread would make someone consider taking their life either.

Empathy is our most precious and lacking commodity these days. What do you have to lose by being nice? There is not reward for being a hardass but the Kingdom of Heaven awaits for those that are empathic and compassionate.

Ok. I'm off my soapbox.