Bob Dylan had a million great lines within the lyrics to his songs and unfortunately, one of those lines is all too perfect for the moment.
“And how many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?”
That comes from “Blowing in the Wind,” and it came to mind when I learned yesterday that, again, another gay teen took his life.
Kenneth Weishuhn was a 14-year-old from northwest Iowa who dreamed of being married one day to another boy.
It seems that about two weeks ago, Kenneth, who was very well-liked at his school, decided to come out to his friends. They must not have been very good friends because after telling them he was gay, Kenneth became their target of ridicule and hurt.
The list is getting too damn long. And that’s just the list of those who make the news. The It Gets Better Project is a great response to help these teens wrestling with hatred and despair – there’s even a new one produced by gay Mormon students who attend BYU – but I can’t help but notice the irony that at least two videos in the project were made by teens who later killed themselves. That has to be a huge weight on these teens. And I thought I was carrying an unbearable burden when I was a teen. Or maybe I just found a way to carry it.
Buddhism tells us we are the owner of our feelings, but that’s really difficult to understand and accept when the bad feeling you have is connected directly to others who relentlessly and gleefully taunt you, then hunt you down to taunt you some more. What can make it easier is having others around you that can support you, even protect you. And yet, Kenneth thought he had friends like that. That’s why he came out to them.
I’m kind of rambling right now.
How many deaths does it take? I bet at least one more.
I'm a content director for a television company, guiding content on Web sites. I'm an avid listener of Frank Zappa and a practicing Buddhist who follows the Theravada vehicle. I'm an insatiable traveler who calls Chicago home.