Tuesday, November 09, 2010

....And Again....Brandon Bitner

Brandon Bitner was tortured at school because he was different. He was what many call "emo" and he wore his hair dark and in his eyes; he wore the requisite dark clothes. He played the violin. His bullies assumed he was gay.

Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was just a different kid in dark clothes who loved to play the violin.

Now he's dead.

Brandon Bitner left a suicide note in his house, then walked 13 miles down a darkened highway until finally deciding to run in front of a tractor-trailer.

i can only begin to imagine what went through his mind on that long walk in the middle of the night. Was he thinking, hoping, wishing, and praying that it would get better?

Earlier in the week, at Midd-West High School, where Brandon Bitner was a freshman, there was an anti-bullying assembly. It wasn't held in response to any specific incident, but because the principal felt it was an issue that should be addressed.

Most students at school recall the assembly being treated as a joke. Bullying is fun for warped little minds with low self-esteem and too much time on their hands.

But, and this is where I get even more angry, many of Brandon Bitner's friends knew he was being bullied because of his perceived sexual orientation, the way he dressed, his love of the violin. And they spoke out against the bullying....after Brandon Bitner ran in front of that truck. I would have hoped they'd spoken up before Brandon Bitner died.

We all need to speak up.
If we are friends with someone who is being taunted and tortured by classmates, by strangers, by their family, it is our duty to speak up.
If we see it happening on the street we need to speak up.
If it's happening to us we need to speak up.

See, bullies live in the darkness and bully from the shadows, but with voices we can shine a light on them and they'll scamper away like rats.

We need to speak up. Before another Brandon Bitner talks a walk in the middle of the night and never comes home.



R.J. said...

I'm so angry right now. I hope those kids that weren't taking this seriously live with this for a very long time. I'm no psychologist but you wonder if the kids' reaction at that assembly may have been the last straw for this poor kid.

Anonymous said...

Emo's are always crying about killing themselves anyways, so what?

Nic said...

Are you kidding me? You don't have the balls to post your name or anything on here? Brandon was tortured. He was accused of being something he was not. Just because he wasn't a star soccer or baseball player. He loved his music. Don't you dare make the assumption that "emos" cry about killing themselves......EMO means EMOTIONAL. I'm sure you've felt emotions before. But you're probably one of those low self esteem fuckers that bullied kids and everyone else and drove them to harm themselves. Grow the fuck up. This town has lost such an amazing child, and I hope every person who has bullied him is haunted by what they did for the rest of their lives.

Bob said...

Nic, Thanks for commenting.
I feel awful that I missed what Anonymous said, because I would have deleted it as I don't like that kind of speech here.
But thanks for taking care of him, or her, for me.

For Anonymous: You're a chickenshit asshat who cannot even post under your own name, and for you to snicker or joke about someone, anyone, anywhere, killing themselves for any reason is beyond disgusting.

Keith said...

HEY! I knew him! He was straight and who cares if he was "emo"? He bleeds the same kind of blood and thinks the same thoughts! SO shove it up your ass whoever you are you son of a bitch!! Do you know what it is like hearing that a classmate committed suicide because some people decided it'd be "cool" of "fun" to make fun of him?

SteveA said...

Sad indeed...."emo"? "gay" - anything different is such a fear for weak minds!

And to the idiot annonomous - "emo" is a fad.....an expression of one's self through dress, and music....you need to grow a mind and have the same crap bestow on you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob (and friends!)...I don't know how I found your blog, but after I wrote on my own blog about another teen suicide this week, I kept wondering what the rest of our GLBT community and its friends, gay and St8, are saying about these tragedies. What I keep coming up with is that we really need some kind of visible program BEFORE it gets better because, as most of us know, it does get better, but not until it's gone hella worse. I can't even imagine what it must be like to come out at 12, 13, 14 or during high school or first year of college.

But especially for the younger teens---GLBT or otherwise or not even sure---we need to reach their parents, the people at home. Most adults have shown us that their grasp of what it means be to be Gay and untolerated is pretty lame, if not downright, abusive.

These kids can hear that it gets better until the cows come home, but if they have to wait 5,6, 7 or more years (when they leave home) for it to get better, one can understand how demoralizing that looks.

Just thinking out loud here, but I think we need a two-pronged approach---a national campaign targeting the parents, siblings and relatives of GLBT youths, and secondly, a referendum that schools MUST get involved(easier said than done, I know) with helping kids learn the tools to handle being different and unique, because we are ALL different. But GLBT kids have it the worst because sometimes they are just happy to have any friends at all, a few people who accept them. So to ask those friends, or expect them, to stand up to the bullies on behalf of the Gay kid, is just not something most kids are willing to ask for.

We have to build a kind of see-through coccoon around them, at home and at school, so that they can be who they damn are and the bullies get shunned, not the Gay kids or kids who are perceived as Gay. As people who have been shunned, no one can do it better than us if we focus our energies on turning the tables. We need to equate bullying with things no bully wants to be associated with---I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to come up with a list.

Anyway, enjoy your blog and the other comments, and, as I said, just thinking aloud here. I'm old enough to remember when AIDS took a lot of my friends and a huge number of our most talented, brilliant, and wonderful Gay men; I cannot, will not, stand by and watch bullying decimate another entire generation of GLBT youth before they even get to the good stuff about being Gay!


Stan in NH said...

That is such a shame. Here is a great little gem of a video that I found.
It just has heart and speaks volumes without returning violence. I love it.

twunty mcslore said...

How awful. All these suicides- just awful.

Ever heard of Alan Turing, the gay man who basically saved our asses in WWII? He was bullied to death as well. Tragic. Fascinating story.