So you probably saw this video making the Facebook rounds the past few weeks and thought, “Wow, what a powerful message!” or “This is worth sharing!”.
I admit that I watched this video last night and as a father, I kinda felt for this kid’s story. I had my own experiences in middle school with bullies and others that I didn’t quite get along with – that was with minimal adversity. Thinking about my own daughter, I know it’s bound to happen in her lifetime too. As much as I want to protect her from the evil in the world, she has to learn about the dark side at a comfortable click to appreciate and cherish the good.
As a multimedia guru, I was impressed by the the kid’s video concept. The song fit well with the hand-written cards, appealing to the realness of the message. Never suspected it was lifted from another similar video.
As an internet user, I had my doubts to its authenticity. I hate to generalize, but most little dudes around the age of twelve are not that awesome.
Should you feel foolish that you wasted your time sharing and replying to this so-called “fake” original video? No. I’ll explain why.
Turns out this kid Jonah is suspected of lying and acting in the first video – but the truth is the story he told is quite real. Thousands of kids across America are bullied each day at school by others because of something different about them. It could be race, orientation, relationships, popularity, clothes, even music.
As a parent, it’s essential to teach your child about these differences and why being different is not a threat – for the safety of your child and other children.
Just one example of how easy sh*t can get real is a story that from roughly 4 years ago in Oxnard, CA:
On Feburary 12, 2008, at E.O. Green School, 15-year-old Brandon David McInerney, was witnessed repeatedly looking at Lawrence “Larry” Fobes King, an openly gay student, during a class in a computer laboratory. At approximately 8:15 a.m local time, McInerney withdrew from his backpack a .22-caliber revolver belonging to relatives and shot King twice in the back of the head. Following the shooting, McInerney tossed the handgun on the floor and walked from the classroom.
A day or two before the shooting King walked onto the basketball court in the middle of a game and asked McInerney to be his Valentine in front of the team who then made fun of McInerney. Just after lunchtime on February 11, King passed McInerney in a corridor and called out, “Love you baby”. Later that day King was seen “parading” back and forth in high-heeled boots and makeup in front of McInerney.
There’s also the story of openly gay teen, Seth Walsh, in September 2010 where his single mother Wendy found him unconscious; he had tried to hang himself from a tree in his backyard after multiple bullying incidents.
April 2010, alpha girls were jealous of new high school freshman, Pheobe Prince, who started dating a popular football player. “They taunted her, crossed out her picture on a student-body poster, heavy abuse on Facebook. After months of bullying, her mother tries to get the school to do something. Finally, on January 14, after a day when she was allegedly harassed in the library, in the hallways and on her way home from school – a canned drink thrown at her, and the words “You Irish slut, you Irish whore” – Phoebe Prince went home, picked out a scarf her sister had given her for Christmas and hanged herself in a stairwell. Her sister found her. The mean girls? They logged on and mocked her death.”
There are countless horror stories out there, and they continue to be counted. This kid Jonah is suspected to do it for attention on the internets. While others have quietly suffered and leaving their parent(s) with incredible tragedy – in his follow up video, Jonah is distastefully laboring a difficult issue that others have endured far far worse. Hopefully things are looking up for him and now he’s in a better place, that’s all I can say without knowing the dude.
I really want to avoid saying that this is a “teaching moment”, but if your spawn is in middle school or even high school, remember your Yoda:
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
And while you’re doing your best Yoda, tap into your inner Buddha:
For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.
The original video:
UPDATE: One reply out of thousands outraged:
UPDATE 12/13: This WAS Jonah’s real YouTube channel which he made several videos ridiculing and making fun of obese people. Since removing his response video from the “blahblahblah2145” channel, he has recently removed all of his hate videos titled “HUGE” on his original YouTube channel: