Between Fall 1997 and Fall 2001, I lived in a dormitory at the Busch Campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey - in greater New Brunswick.
That's where an act that is effectively a murder took place in September 2010. Chances are nonzero that the key events have occurred in the same apartment where I lived. What happened?
These two folks, Mr Dharun Ravi and Ms Molly Wei, had quite some fun to monitor their gay roommate, music student Tyler Clementi.
On September 19th, Mr Dharun Ravi of Plainsboro streamed the video with a sexual encounter of Mr Clementi with another man, M.B. - using Twitter as a tool to promote the show. Even though a kiss could have been the only thing seen on the "live show", Mr Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge to the Hudson River on September 22th - using Facebook to inform his friends and "friends" about his last decision.
Mr Tyler Clementi, the gay victim
The New York Times just reported that Mr Ravi has been indicted by a New Jersey grand jury on hate-crime charges for his usage of the webcam which exposes him to a 5-10 years in prison.
Ms Molly Wei of Princeton who has arguably been as important a part of the "project" as Mr Dharun Ravi will probably escape with no punishment whatsoever. It is pretty obvious from the text that she transferred all her guilt to Mr Dharun Ravi and the jury has bought it. However, her case remains active.
I find Mr Ravi's behavior outrageous. He has probably been a fanatical homophobe. However, the situation has transformed a homophobe to a de facto murderer. Now, it is obvious that people who destroy other people's lives in this way have to be severely punished. The only question is whether the punishment should be distributed among all the bullies, including those whose victims don't commit suicide (or don't get comparably far in their discomfort), or whether only the "unlucky" bullies who effectively kill someone else should be charged with these big charges.
But much more generally: what Mr Tyler Clementi did was totally legal, so any behavior that brings a huge discomfort to such a young man is immoral and should be classified as a crime. Technically, Mr Ravi has "only" violated Mr Clementi's privacy - except that such violations have repercussions, as this sad example clearly demonstrates. These repercussions - the actual ones and maybe even the potential ones - should be included to the juries' decisions.
This was a very sad story. To improve your mood, a new event from the world of "crime" that took place today and that is amusing.
Just as the Hungarian president was beginning his visit to the Prague Castle, two police women from the Republic of Chile arrested Czech President Václav Klaus for his theft of the pen. They announced the decision in Spanish and Czech. However, both cops were rather quickly taken into custody by two Czech cops who happened to be real. ;-)
By the way, Jay Leno has noticed (click) that the main thief during the event was not Prof Klaus but actually his Chilean counterpart who stole... almost everything.
Marilyn Monroe has already paid tribute to Prof Klaus, too. Hollywood is preparing a new movie about Indiana Klaus and the pen of Chile. I hope you don't believe it is just a parody.
Well, some people can't distinguish reality from parodies. Slovak TV JOJ has informed its viewers that Klaus will begin to medically cure his kleptomania this month. When Ban-Ki-Moon visited Prague, they had to take his credit cards from the pockets because it would be painful if those disappeared. And so on. It turned out that TV JOJ has simply bought a story from a fun portion of an online Czech magazine Reflex - without realizing that it's a hoax! ;-)