ROSE NOLEN: Accept different groups in America; don't hate them

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 4:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It has been my experience that there is something in the nature of some people that compels them to carry everything to the extreme. At school it seemed that there was at least one of these people in everybody's class.

While some people limit their runs to an hour in the mornings, others must run until they can hardly stand up. Some people adopt a cat as a companion, others insist on bringing home a tiger. Somehow in every thing these characters do, they have to exceed the limits.

So, it should not come as a surprise that these individuals would be using the Internet to aid them in climbing over the edge every chance they get. I'm talking here about the young man and woman who allegedly used a webcam to broadcast scenes from the Rutgers University student's sex life over the Internet. Three days later, the student, Tyler Clementi, ended his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Bullies are everywhere in life. They use whatever weapons are at their disposal to victimize others. They are damaged individuals who can only get satisfaction by hurting others. Like rapists, they feel empowered by taking advantage of people whom they perceive as weaker than themselves. It was the fact that Clementi's encounter was with another man that made him vulnerable to such victimization.

One advantage of growing up in a family that is open to people regardless of race, color, culture, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation is that when you become an adult you don't have to carry all that baggage around with you. It also helps to have a religious faith that teaches that all human beings are sacred in the eyes of God.

I've known gay people all my life, and I haven't found them to be any different from straight people. I treat them as individuals the same way I do everyone else. I really feel sorry for people whose opinions of others are based on their expectations that their friends will all fit in a certain mold. They must lead very boring lives. Frankly, I'm not interested in other people's sexual orientation, and I haven't had discussions on the subject since I was a teenager.

I'm truly sorry that it has taken these tragic episodes of cyber-bullying for the cyber-police to make public what is and what is not permissible to place on the Internet. Some of us in America have fallen into the belief that "anything goes" here and it must be quite confusing to children when they have to try to figure out where the lines are drawn. When I look at some of the programming on television I find it easy to believe that there are no lines.

What the judicial system must do and do soon, is ensure that the punishment for these hateful acts is equal to the crime. What the families of these victims must be enduring is unthinkable. And it's almost unbelievable how many public gay bashers turn out to be gay themselves, driven to self-hatred by the hostility expressed by some toward those who are different.

I know it's hard for some to accept the fact that America is home to all kinds of people, and they have been brought up to believe that people of one color and one religion are the only ones that matter. As I watch the haters go to work on one group after another, I can understand how other countries find this attitude enormously tiresome. I can almost hear people ask, what group do Americans hate today? It's to the point where one almost feels like waking up in the morning and turning on the news to find out what group is hated that day. It will soon become as common as checking the weather reports.

I believe if every woman who has suffered abuse would work at making her children aware of the consequences of abusive behavior we may be able to end it in a few generations. The same, I believe is true of victims of hatred.

If all of America's hated groups would work hard to teach their children the consequences of hating people because of the group of which they are a member we could end that in a few generations. The perpetrators of these evils will ultimately die and their students' ranks will diminish with each generation as the rest of the world continues to evolve.

In the meantime, the evil people will find new ways to bully and spread hate. Hopefully, the judicial system can stay ahead of them.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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Ray Shapiro October 12, 2010 | 12:35 a.m.
(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 12, 2010 | 6:35 a.m.

Being subjected to a continuing litany about how everyone (well, ALMOST everyone) hates and/or bullies others does little to correct the problem. It may even worsen it, in the sense that it paints things as far worse than they actually are. And while we may need to increase the penalties for cyber bullying it is impossible to stop such things strictly by adjudication. Adjudication occurs after the fact.

As Barry Goldwater so aptly put in in the 1960s, you can legislate civil rights but you cannot legislate racial tolerance. It would be nice if you could, but that has to come from within individuals, not from laws.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2010 | 11:53 a.m.

This is exactly the dangerous type B.S. that only a moron would believe....

This lady would rather trample freedom of speech and freedom of expression, than to just ignore a few "bullies" on the Internet. Personally I can't think of anything more moronic than that....

What would she do if confronted in the real world with some "annoying jerk" that would say derogatory things about her in public? The mature thing to do is just ignore the "jerk". Which I might add is even easier to do on the Internet than it is in public............

I would be inclined to call this lady a "militant racist" from reading her posts.. One would think that racism is so prevalent in the U.S.A. that certain races of people could not leave their homes; from reading her articles. The fact is that we have made great strides towards ensuring that everyone is treated equally in the U.S.A.; and this lady should give her government a little more credit that she is...

In the sad case of Tyler Clementi there is no need to make new laws, "tighten up" the law, or make an end run around people's constitutional rights; laws were already in place to allow Mr. Clementi good and adequate legal recourse in rectifying what these two individuals did to him. As sad as it is; the fact remains that Mr. Clementi made a conscious decision to commit suicide. That was his choice. In Tyler Clementi's case he could have complained to the FBI and asked for charges to be bought against his room mate for Invasion of Privacy and Wiretap Violations, all pretty serious charges that could have equaled prison time for his room mate.

You can not stop the nature of evil people but you can respond to it appropriately and reasonably......

Rick Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 12, 2010 | 1:48 p.m.

Good points, Rick. You mentioned one thing I feel needs further comment.

I, at my present great age, continue to be amazed that physically and mentally mature people don't seem to understand that being offended by remarks of others is OPTIONAL. It's up to the receiver whether they want to be offended. It's a choice. If someone says something offensive to me or about me I can choose to simply ignore what they say.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 12, 2010 | 2:11 p.m.
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