Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Dharun Ravi starts his sentence...but it's not serious enough for Tyler Clementi's parents

"I wonder how newspapers like Westword survived without weekly stories promoting gay, marijuana, and goth newslines! Patty, you should be ashamed!" So writes The Wilk in response to our current cover story, "Over the Rainbow," which details efforts to stop the bullying of gay teenagers.

Goths might not have been big news when Westword started 35 years ago -- but marijuana certainly was. And so were the early efforts of homosexuals to gain fair treatment.

The movement gained ground slowly -- but as "Over the Rainbow" describes, the pace picked up in the fall of 2010, when Tyler Clementi jumped from George Washington Bridge after he discovered that Dharun Ravi, his roommate at Rutgers University, had used a webcam to spy on a kiss he shared with another man. Police found Clementi's body seven days later.

On Thursday, Ravi started a thirty-day jail term for his role in Clementi's death. The day before, he issued an apology: "My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices.... I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on September 19, 2010, and September 21, 2010," Ravi said.

Clementi's parents issued their own statement in response. Although "we do not question the sincerity of his feelings," they said, they definitely questioned the judge's lenient sentence. "It missed a valuable opportunity to reinforce the message that our society takes these types of crimes seriously and that we will act decisively to protect individuals' privacy and human dignity."

We will continue to take these types of crimes seriously, too.

Sorry, Wilk.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Curtis Park neighbors help grow Stout Street Children's Park."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun