By now you’ve all heard of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington bridge to his death last week. He was 18 years old, a talented violinist in his first month of college, and he was gay. We presume that last fact made it okay, in his roommate Dharun Ravi’s mind, for Ravi to secretly install a webcam in the room they shared. From the computer of Molly Wei, Ravi’s high school classmate and fellow Rutgers freshman, a sexual encounter Clementi had with another man was then livestreamed by Ravi and Wei onto the Internet. Ravi even tweeted it, from an account that has been deleted.
Three days later, Clementi killed himself. Ravi and Wei have since been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for the incident described, and Ravi has been charged with two additional counts for attempting to record another one of Clementi’s encounters the day before his suicide. Prosecutors are also weighing whether or not to charge Ravi and Wei with a hate crime.
In an interview with CNN, Raj Ardeshna, 17, a former classmate of both Ravi and Wei, attempted to explain why two “terrific people” would do such a thing.
“To know that two intelligent kids could get caught up in something like this is shocking to me,” Ardeshna said. “The only rationale I’ve been able to come up with is that they thought they were being funny — but I really couldn’t tell you.”
The sad thing is, he’s probably right. They thought they were being funny. Because gay sex is hilarious. They don’t call it “gay” for nothing, right? It’s not only funny ha-ha, it’s also funny in that other way–oh what’s the word?–queer. As in “strange.” As in it’s-so-strange-the-same-rules-don’t-apply-to-those-funny-people. Like rules we have about privacy and serving in the military and marriage. Because gay sex is just too funny to be taken seriously.
If Ravi and Wei thought a classmate having gay sex was such a laugh riot, they’re not going to believe the funny business prison has in store for them.
Each faces up to five years if convicted.
Filed under: Bias Intimidation, Dharun Ravi, Gay Rights, Gay Teens, Hate Crimes, Homophobia, Invasion of Privacy, Molly Wei, RIP Tyler Clementi, Rutgers Freshman Suicide, Rutgers Freshmen Arrested, Rutgers Student Commits Suicide, Rutgers Student Suicide, Rutgers University, Suicides, Tyler Clementi, Tyler Clementi Suicide
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