The difference here is where Caylee's Laws came out of a fully adjudicated criminal case where facts were known, the anti-bullying law was inspired by an ongoing prosecution where the facts are anything but clear. This was pointed out by Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Michael Smirconish in his column today. He states that the widely circulated version of the story is that Ravi and a female student, maliciously and on more than one occasion, used a webcam to spy on Clementi while he was in an intimate encounter with another man. Supposedly, Clementi was so embarrassed by all this that he committed suicide. Ravi stands accused of exposing Clementi's sexual orientation to humiliate and intimidate him.
However, those facts are not all that certain. The defense is stating that:
- there was no sexual encounter, nor any recording of a sexual encounter;
- Clementi may have been depressed before he arrived at Rutgers, in part because of his own mother's reaction to his sexual identity; and
- Ravi had said in one online exchange that he really didn't care about Clementi's orientation ("I'm not really angry or sad . . .").
I agree that bullying is bad and needs to be dealt with more pro-actively by schools and school districts. But the solution to the problem should not be a political response to a tragic incident, especially one where the facts are far from clear! Voting on my Facebook page is trending towards an opinion that the law will either be ineffectual, or not effectual enough. What do you think? Do we need this law? Will it be effective? Does it go too far (or not far enough)? Leave your opinions in a comment below or vote on my Facebook page.