Amanda was exploited, bullied and beaten. She told her story here in this video. It did no good though because now she's dead. And the RCMP have launched a full investigation and hundreds of tips are pouring in. A case of the barn door closing long after the horse has gotten out. People are looking for blood now. We demand retribution. But where were we when Amanda's soul was bleeding?
There are oh so many who knew all too well what was happening to this tortured teen. Those who knew a little of what was going on, her family, did all they could. But others, perhaps hundreds of others, did nothing. Or worse, they perpetuated the hatred and the torture of Amanda. They cut her with words the way Amanda cut herself with knives. And the many didn't seem to care. They watched, they let it happen, they encouraged it. It "titillated" them. Her abuse and exploitation was grist for the gossip mill. It was facebook content. It was something to text and to IM about. Amanda's suffering had entertainment value. In this regard she was exploited by far more than just those who had sexual intentions for her.
But the exploitation doesn't stop there. Amanda tried hard to get help. She was placed on anti-depressants. Most anti-depressants have, for many people, the curious side effect of increasing the risk of suicide. The drug companies, God damn their hateful souls, know this. But there is profit to be made in depression. So in this way, Amanda and the hundreds of thousands of other depressed/suicidal children like her are exploited for profit. And the medical professionals who prescribe these blood-tainted snake-oils, also know the risks of what they prescribe. They also exploited Amanda.
And what about the creators of facebook and smart-phones. The ones who hard-market to our kids. They provide the vehicles through which most of Amanda's suffering occurred. Should we be assigning a portion of the blame to them as well? Their products make it far easier for our kids to communicate, but far harder for them to socialize in a meaningful way. In this regard, human suffering is reduced to a few mega-bites of text, devoid of all meaning and human connection. Is Apple responsible for turning "Generation-Text" into desensitized, unfeeling humanoids- creatures who vaguely resemble humans? We've all seen them, groups of teens sitting in the food-court at the mall, each with their noses glued to their iPhones as their thumbs furiously dance over the touch-screens, seemingly oblivious to the presence of those around them.
|Who is sexualizing our kids?|
And what about the media? Who is responsible for "sexualizing" our children? The fashion industry? The cosmetics industry? Movies? TV? Who are their role models? The Kardashians? Britney Spears? The list goes on and on. The fact is, we let Amanda down. All of us, myself included. We bitch and gripe and complain, but in the end, we do very little to improve the human condition.
But is assigning blame going to stop the pain and suffering of others? Amanda's torture and subsequent suicide is a symptom. It is a reflection of our society and we have found it far too easy to hate or to simply feel nothing at all. It is a black and creeping, cancerous-blight. As such, the human collective requires healing. It requires education. It requires understanding and love, which in turn, requires courage, leadership and collective will. Retributive justice is great for closing barn doors, but it's based on the ancient concept of an "eye for an eye" and as Gandhi observed: "That makes the whole world blind". Rather than blinding each other, we should be learning how to take better care of each other.