Here are the facts: on Thursday, January 23, 11-year-old Michael Morones of Raleigh, North Carolina had a bad day at school. His classmates had, once again, called him names and taunted him. He took the bus home, arriving at his house before his parents, and attempted to hang himself. He succeeded well enough to damage his brain, possibly beyond repair. He’s still in the hospital.
Michael was bullied to the point of suicide for loving My Little Pony.
The story has already been covered well here . The more information appears, the more mind-blowing the tragedy becomes. How did a boy not even old enough to drive latch on to the idea that he should end his life?
Yes, he had family support, but for every visit from his awesome uncle, this poor kid was exposed to dozens of negative peers, and he had to face them alone every single day.
This isn’t an isolated incident.
About 1 in 9 kids try to kill themselves before their high school graduation. Early attempts occur as young as the third grade. Though these suicides make big news for a moment, the splash disappears quickly. This story is almost a repeat of one that ran in 2003: young, clever Thomas Thompson of the U.K. tried to kill himself with sleeping pills because his classmates hated how much he liked doing his schoolwork.
But once it hits the press, the emphasis switches to cyberbullying, whether bullying actually causes suicide or not, and a whole offensive gaggle of idiotic victim-blaming that I won’t dignify with linkage. The sympathy gets diluted and the real story gets lost.
But you and I know the real story. We’ve lived it. There’s no question that something must be done, even though – clearly – the pundits and politicians aren’t particularly interested in figuring out what.
There may still be hope for Michael. The outpouring of support from the geek community has been enormous. When he wakes up, there will be no question whatsoever that not only has he got a crowd, but that it’s the big one, the cool one, the one people want to be in. They were just a few measly years out of reach all that time. When he wakes up, he’ll know that we’re here. There’s a lot of power in that.
So let’s use it.
It is our responsibility as geeks to reach out to these kids and let them know that it gets better and that it gets better soon. Now is the time to wade into your community – yes, YOU – and make a difference. Get into local youth programs. Tutor. Lead Boy Scouts. Be a Big Sister. Bring your nephew to Brony Night. Be out. Be proud. Be downright obnoxious. Be a geek so loudly and joyfully that terrified kids like Michael can’t help but know that you are there, because even if they don’t say anything, they’ll see in you a light at the end of the tunnel.
For every bully, there needs to be three geeks. I’ll be one. If you come too, then we can all make sure that this never happens again.
Click here to donate to Michael’s Go Fund Me Recovery Fund.