News out of southeastern Minnesota tells more sad tales of teens who succumbed to bullying and committed suicide. Oftentimes it is the short one, or the heavy one, or the shy one, or the stutterer, or the gay, but thirteen-year-old Rachel Emhke didn’t seem to have any distinguishing characteristics except that she got on the wrong side of the wrong crowd. For seventeen-year-old Jay “Corey” Jones, his life got both better and worse after he came out as gay. His dad said,
“I just saw a difference in him I saw a smile, I saw a little more energy than actually being down and out and depressed-looking,” [his dad] said. “To me he felt a sign of relief, like, ‘Yeah I got over the hard part, right,’ you know.”
But, being out also meant the bullying increased.
In national news, the Washington Post is out with a well-attested article that suggests Mitt Romney’s elitist upbringing also included some bullying at his posh private school. But the well-manicured governor’s son was not the object of the abuse; instead, the presidential wannabe was the chief perpetrator.
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
Candidate Romney has attempted to get out ahead of the story by issuing the standard wishy-washy apology … I don’t remember but if I offended anyone, I’m sorry. In any case, Mitt says, “I’m quite a different guy now.”
We can only hope so, but I doubt we’ll be seeing any “It Gets Better” videos out of his campaign.