Death is a silence in the cycle of violence.
And nothing is more disturbingly silent than the death of a young person.
And nothing should give us more pause as a society to read headlines like "Eleven Year-Old Commits Suicide"... especially when you read that the young boy was tormented at school with anti-gay slurs, and nobody stepped in to stop the madness.
Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Springfield, MA, very likely wasn't gay. But no matter: he was a target, and calling someone "faggot" is still OK in our society. And for a kid in a new school, as was the case here, it became too much to take. Even though the mother complained to school officials that her son was being harassed, nothing was done to protect him.
Ryan Skipper was a 25 year-old Central Florida man, who had served as an altar boy in his church. He kept his homosexuality a secret until his final year of high school. And while others might have been enjoying that last year... his friends say Ryan had to endure getting shoved in the hallways and having rocks thrown at his car.
Ryan was murdered in 2007 because he was gay. The state labeled it a hate crime (how many times do you really have to stab somebody? In his case... more than 20, and his throat was slit).
Even with the enhanced penalty, his murderer was found guilty of SECOND-degree murder, and given a life sentence. I'm not an advocate of the death penalty. But when I read cases such as this, I feel even more strongly that capital punishment is a joke. Why is Ryan's life only SECOND-degree? Was this crime not heinous?
Lives cut short this way are a shame. A shame that should make people think about the consequences of calling somebody a "faggot" or a "dyke". The action that belies chiding something useless or not-as-good or ugly as "so gay". The outcome of what happens when those in authority ban a gay bishop from attending an international gathering of his brethern at Lambeth Palace. The result of votes in states such as Florida that say, "Your relationship is not as worthy as a heterosexual one."
These deaths are the tangible evidence of the intangible and indefensible hatred of the "other".
Death is a silence.
April 17th, students, teachers and others, will be keeping quiet to mark that silence. In the absence of words, one can only hope that there will be meditation on how to make this world a safer place for the LGBT young people.