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Dharun Ravi: Guilty

Today, Dharun Ravi was found guilty of a hate crime, evidence tampering, and invasion of privacy, for secretly using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s liaison with another man in their dorm room.

His roommate was Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days later.

Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid jail or the risk of deportation (he is an Indian citizen). How is it that he, with the advice of his lawyers, thought it was a good idea to go to trial instead of taking the plea deal? Tampering with evidence? Isn’t trying to get rid of evidence an indication that there was something that would incriminate him? Or was his arrogance fueled by the fact that thousands of hateful things are posted on the internet every day?

I'm not saying I feel sorry for Ravi - far from it - but what the hell was he thinking?

This country has developed a subculture where it is acceptable to openly bully. I read a story this morning where a school apologized for racial slurs chanted by students in the bleachers. Many of the comments on the article were just as hateful and nasty as what the students did, because they hid behind a fake web ID (I tried to find the article again, and a Google search turned up THREE similar incidents in this month alone!).

Most of the time, people who post hateful comments on articles or on their own blogs or Facebook pages totally get away with it. As a result, some people become more arrogant and increasingly bolder in their bullying.

Once in awhile, someone’s private rant becomes public knowledge, and next thing you know, they have been expelled from school or fired from their job. But I guess some people think they are safe.

Perhaps this is what happened to Dharun Ravi. Perhaps it is happening to too many of us.

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