I hope and pray you have heard of this news story.
Dharun Ravi, in case you haven’t heard of it, set up a webcam to record his gay roommate’s sexual activity with a boyfriend and broadcasted them to his friends on Twitter as a prank and a joke. The roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge days later.
After a media storm, Dharun Ravi was prosecuted and sentenced to 30 days in jail and 300 hours of community service, as well as three years of probation.
What. The. Fuck.
This bastard should have been convicted of committing a hate crime if not manslaughter. Whatmore, his total lack of remorse and apology has been noted by various members in the trial.
Tyler Clementi’s brother, James:
I watched as Dharun slept through court as though it was something not worth staying awake for. I listened while Dharun and his defense attorneys laughed together as though it was a private joke in the courtroom that I and my family were not aware of.
The judge, Glenn Berman:
I heard this jury say guilty 288 times, 24 questions, 12 jurors, that’s the multiplication, and I haven’t heard you apologize once.
And Frank Bruni, in his New York Times article, summing up Ravi’s lack of remorse and what the case had boiled down to - the defense focusing on the awful criticism Ravi had to face for the last few months and insisting that it was enough punishment for causing another human being’s death:
There was so much talk around him—from his lawyer, from his parents—about the hell that Ravi himself had been through. The indignities he had suffered. Is that where his own thoughts dwell? On the (admittedly) profound ways in which his own life has been stalled and complicated rather than his unacceptably callous treatment of a roommate who didn’t warrant it?
I’m haunted by Ravi’s father’s last-minute plea to the judge. To my ears it didn’t emphasize the wrong that Ravi had done. It emphasized Ravi as victim: of a rush to judgment, of a presumptuous news media, and of a degree of derision from society that, in this man’s eyes, went beyond anything his son deserved. It was an odd tack to take. Perhaps a telling one, too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Finally, yesterday, we saw Ravi cry—for his mother, whose pain at the thought of her son’s compromised future was writ in her convulsive sobs as she delivered her own last-minute plea to the judge. His tears in that instance seemed to be for his own family, not for Clementi’s. And not for Clementi, whose manner of death suggests a magnitude of emotional turmoil that’s heartbreaking to contemplate, whether you are or aren’t a component of it, whether you do or don’t see yourself as an agent of it.
Here’s what James Clementi told the judge about the brother he lost: “I cannot imagine the level of rejection, isolation and disdain he must have felt from his peers. Dharun never bothered to care about the harm he was doing to my brother’s heart and mind. My family has never heard an apology, an acknowledgement of any wrongdoing.”
Did that reflect some sort of legal strategy on Ravi’s part? Well, the verdict has been handed down. The sentence has been decreed. The strategizing can end. And a sorry of proper amplitude can be said.
If, indeed, Ravi has it in him.