by F. Grey Parker
Asher Brown seems to have been your basic, ordinary American kid. The fact that he used a handgun to drive a bullet into his brain should make you stop everything you are doing and think. It really should. We should not view him as a statistic. He is not a loser in the law of averages. He is not a chit in the gambling hall called life. We should not allow ourselves to look the other way. If you take 2 or 3 minutes out of your busy day to read of him and then say, "oh well, the world is a sad place," then shame on you.
By all appearances, he was bullied to death. The LGBT community has jumped on this. They should. It's clearly evident that this kid was called a lot of common pejoratives that are reserved for those with minority sexual orientation. If it were not for today's brave equal rights activists, this might not have popped up on our radar at all.
But, I really hope that a more important factor does not get lost. It doesn't matter how he might have been different. Or, if he was even any different at all. We simply continue to fail to protect the individual child in America.
Why is it that when one kid makes vague or luminously murderous remarks in the post-Columbine world, they are subjected to everything short of a literal and physical dissection? But, when a group of children make a specific target of another child, day in and day out, using slurs alone, nobody does anything?.
Do you remember how you felt when you were an adolescent? Really? When a young teenager has only his or her parents on their side, they may as well have nobody. That's when, if no peers come to their aid, other adults are supposed to help. There is now brewing an important battle between the late Asher Brown's parents and the various school officials that they approached over 18 months to try and protect him. School officials are denying they were ever contacted. The fact that no charges will be filed in this case only serves to highlight our lack of humanity. How about reckless endangerment charges for the Principal. I mean it. We don't need new laws. Or hate crimes laws. Or some, as yet un-passed set of youth protection statutes. How about we view the total and utter indifference of our society's bureaucrat child-protectors as being subject to reckless endangerment when something like this happens.
We have to take a new approach to our children, the ways we socialize them and the fact that we ignore William Golding social constructs within their ranks.
First of all, depression in America is a terrible illness. It is more and more lazily treated in adults. Our children fare worse. Ya feel gloomy? Take these pills for thirty days without any talk-therapy whatsoever and don't call me. You are being bullied? Jut out that chin and ignore them. They said you were a/an (insert insult here)? Well, you know you're not that so let it go.
"Asher took his own life with his stepfather's 9 mm Beretta, which was "stored on one of the closet's shelves." There was no suicide note. His stepfather David found his body, lifeless, after coming home from work. "I thought he was laying there reading a book or something," he says. "My son put a gun to his head because he couldn't take what he was hearing and the constant teasing."
His mother Amy came home to police sirens and yellow tape at her house. "They called him different names for being homosexual," she says. "He just had enough."
Have you had enough?