I Think, Therefore I Am Not

October 21, 2010

Raynard Jackson

Am I the only one who has noticed the media’s total irresponsible coverage of the Rutgers’ college student who committed suicide when he became aware that his roommate streamed his gay sexual encounter on the internet? I think, therefore, I am not.

Supposedly, the student jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate broadcast his gay sexual encounter live on the internet. The media portrayed his death as a cause célèbre as to how “gay” bullying has led to the suicide of many gay teens. As a result of this case, supporter of gay rights want laws passed making “gay” bullying a federal crime. Are you kidding me?

This student’s death was not the result of him being gay, but rather a combination of factors that converged into him making the decision to take his own life.

Any psychologist will tell you that most suicides are not the result of a single factor, but a series of factors. The Rutgers’ student’s realization that his sexual encounter was seen on the internet may have been the last straw to his internal struggles, but was not the cause!

So, the gay community has used his death as a vehicle to advance their agenda—which is to force others to accept their lifestyle choices. As terrible as this case was, the issue must be viewed for what it was; a conflagration of complex circumstances that led to someone’s death.

Would the public and media reaction have been any different if the same facts existed, but the sexual encounter was heterosexual? Their argument would have been that the student committed suicide, not because of his heterosexuality, but rather because his privacy had been violated and the encounter shown on the internet.

The point is that in both cases, one’s sexuality (gay or straight) may have been a contributing factor, but not the only factor. The violation of privacy, in my view, is more germane than the sexuality.

Bullying has been around for time immemorial. During my childhood, I have no knowledge of any of my friends committing suicide as a result of bullying. We had fights, disagreements, and arguments. But, a few minutes later, we were all back to playing again. So, why are things any different now?

One major reason is that far too many parents are busy trying to be friends to their children, as opposed to being parents. What was it about this student’s life that made him feel that killing himself was his only way out? As I stated above, suicide is a series of complex forces coming together leading to a tragic end.

We also have the grandchildren and the great grandchildren of those who came of age during the 1960s now being parents. Kids naturally look for structure in their lives during their formative years. But today’s parents now give their children choices about everything. There are no absolutes. Today’s kid’s sexuality is more like a multiple choice exam. Little “Johnny” is asked do you want to be male, female, transgendered, bisexual, asexual, etc.? Do you want to be straight, gay, or both? Kids are told that Susie has 2 mommies or Jimmy has 2 daddies. In the immortal words of George W. Bush, “that’s fuzzy math.” I had a friend tell me that he has known he was gay since he was 5. I had no thoughts of anything sexual at 5, so I am somewhat confused by that.

No one should be bullied for any reason! But, at the same time, it’s a part of growing up. From the media coverage of this student’s death, you would think bullying is a new phenomenon. It is totally irresponsible for the media and the gay community to make a correlation where none exists. In logic, we call this a non sequitur (meaning, one’s conclusion doesn’t follow from the facts).

This student being gay is not why he committed suicide, but rather a series of complex issues that came together in a perfect storm. Thus, the media’s argument is a non sequitur.

People need to be more critical in their thinking and not accept things at face value. We cannot count on the media or even the gay community to have a logical, thoughtful discussion of this student’s death. They are more concerned about pushing a political agenda, which I find very distasteful. Because I think, I am not surprised that people are latching on to this tragedy for their own personal purposes.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine (

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