We interrupt regularly scheduled programming for an off-topic note about cyber-bullying. Don't do it. Speak out against it. Talk to your kids about it. The hate thread about me that I mentioned a couple of posts ago has given me first-hand experience. Fortunately, I'm an adult, and it's not even a tiny blip on the radar compared to many of the things that I've been through in life; yet it was still painful and continues to be weird. And when I read in the news about the things that some people are doing, I feel tremendous compassion for those young people who can't live with the cyber-attacks on them.
If you participate in a campaign of hate against someone, involving tens or hundreds of people or more, you really don't know how it will affect them -- their lives, their families, their work. You'd better be sure that that kind of destructive negativity is what you want to engage in, and that you are justified in doing so (and I don't know how you'd justify it, frankly). And you can't blame the Internet for bullying; it's the people on the Internet who choose to act without dignity or integrity. I'm sure that the students who drove the Rutgers student to his death didn't intend that outcome; they can tell themselves that things got out of control. But the truth is that they are responsible for perpetuating hate.
Author William Rivers Pitt has written a beautiful essay, Come Wake Me Up, on Truthout. I'm recommending it to everyone today. I wish I could be as eloquent and gently insistent as he is in this piece, and as poetic. It's a message of love. And as Pitt says, it's not an answer, it's a beginning. It's a position we can choose to take in the world. Most of us are not evolved enough to make every action and every word loving, and we all make mistakes. But if we start from an intention to choose love over hate, and remind ourselves over and over again, and keep trying, then we'll each have a far better chance of ending each day without having destroyed someone else.