The Amazing Atheist put out a new video (see below) dealing with the Amanda Todd bullying case that I think it spot on. I really think TJ gets a bad rap from the overwhelmingly liberal atheist community, much of what he says, I end up agreeing with. Oh sure, he’s not the nicest guy around, but then again, neither am I. One doesn’t have to be nice to tell the truth and the truth is really all that matters.
Fair warning, this post is going to piss off a lot of liberal readers.
So a bit of back story. On October 10, 2012, Canadian Amanda Todd took her own life because she was being cyber-bullied. She left a YouTube video explaining her experiences with being assaulted, threatened and harassed. This has been picked up by the online community as a great tragedy and held high as an example of what they consider a clear and present problem.
However, TAA was absolutely correct that hundreds of thousands of people also died that day and no one is talking about their deaths. No one knows their names. No one considers their deaths a problem. They won’t be enshrined on Facebook, they won’t have videos made about them on YouTube, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people on October 10 will be no more remembered than the hundreds of thousands that died on October 11. In fact, on the same day Amanda Todd killed herself, Roger Williams was given a life sentence for the beating death of his young son Rodicus. Williams then submerged the dead boy’s body in a cement-filled trashcan and dumped the can miles away at an abandoned mobile home park. Anyone hear about this story? Anyone? How about the so-far unnamed bullied Japanese boy who leapt off a building in Otsu last October? Where is his Facebook tribute with millions of views? There are tons of other examples I could give. The fact is, let’s be honest, Amanda Todd is getting all the attention because she was pretty and white and active in social media.
In the case of Amanda Todd, whether we like it or not, she chose to take her own life. Rodicus Williams did not. The word “tragedy” gets bandied around a lot, but in this case, if you could only apply it to one case, Williams is the one to which it clearly best applies. Roger Williams not only brutally and senselessly beat his own young son to death, he then tried to hide the body and finally, to hide his own responsibility for the crime. I can certainly sympathize with the bullying that Amanda Todd must have taken, but she did choose to take her own life. Unlike many people who are saying she was “forced” into it, she was not. She made a choice. There were many other choices she could have made. No one held a “gun” to her head and forced her to pull the “trigger”. She did it herself. Certainly, I’m not letting the bullies off the hook, I’m just relating the facts as the apply to this case.
What most people fail to recognize is that Amanda Todd is hardly blameless in this whole debacle. I’m not playing “blame the victim”, but the facts in this case are the facts, no matter how much liberals might wish otherwise. Far too many liberals play the “you can’t blame the victim” card as a means of asserting that no one is ever at fault in any way, shape or form for what happens to them. This simply is not the case. Amanda Todd allowed an older man to take a picture of her breasts and circulate that picture online. She jumped into bed with a boy who had a girlfriend. In fact, from what I understand, the majority of the bullying came directly from the girlfriend and her friends. Whether we want to think of these things as mistakes or errors in judgement, the fact remains that actions have consequences, even unintentional actions or stupid mistakes. No one can make the claim that Amanda just didn’t know any better, she had refused the same request to take flash her bare breasts a year earlier so clearly, she knew it was wrong. I’m not trying to blame Amanda for what befell her, beyond the undeniable fact that she made some serious errors in judgement and those errors should have been addressed, by her parents, by school counselors, by those who claimed to be her friends, long before it got to the stage of her killing herself.
That said though, I’ve gone on record criticizing the overemphasis we place on bullying. Yes, bullying is a problem that we need to address, but we also ought to address the seeming inability of children these days to deal with bullies in any constructive manner. Unfortunately, we are raising an entire generation of children who largely are not being equipped to deal with the real world. Between helicopter parents who won’t allow their children to fail to parents who pay no attention to what is going on in their child’s life, it’s no wonder these kids fall apart. The simple fact is, bullying and abusive behavior doesn’t magically disappear when you graduate from high school and the way a child learns to handle such behavior is a good indication of how well they will be able to deal with the pitfalls and problems of adult life. The real tragedy here isn’t that a single teenage girl took her own life, but that we have a society-full of these teenagers who are so ill-equipped to handle reality.
It is, without a doubt, a shame that Amanda Todd died. It’s something that didn’t have to happen but a lot of mistakes were made on pretty much every side. We can place blame on Amanda for reacting in such an extreme manner and making foolish mistakes that unfortunately led to the situation. We can blame Amanda’s parents who failed to keep tabs on her, failed to be aware of what was going on in her life and could have headed this off at the pass. We can blame her bullies who acted in an immature and irrational fashion for which there can be no excuse. We can blame the bullies’ families, for the same reason we can blame Amanda’s, for failing to understand and control their minor children. We can even blame society to some small degree for allowing our social structure to become this horrible. But we won’t do any of that, modern society is not good at accepting blame, only at pointing fingers at everyone else. Nothing is ever your fault.
In the end, while I’m certain this is going to lead to calls for stringent laws and school reform, it will miss the whole point of the tragedy, that kids need to be raised better, to take responsibility better, to deal with their problems better and not to take the easy way out. Amanda Todd is just one of millions upon millions of teenagers worldwide who are being failed by their parents and their societies, who are not being given proper moral training, who are not being given proper supervision, who are being allowed to live virtually full-time online and who are not being given the support mechanism to avoid tragic outcomes like befell Amanda Todd. As I said earlier, this will lead to calls to control cyber-bullying, but that’s just treating a symptom. Society doesn’t want to address the cause of the problem, that being society itself.