Much has been made of former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi only receiving 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service and an order to attend a counseling program for bullying and alternate lifestyles for his role in the death of his gay roommate Tyler Clementi.
Now there’s no doubt that Ravi played a role in the death of Clementi; I would think even he would admit that. But he didn’t push Clementi off the George Washington Bridge.
In September of 2010, Ravi set up a webcam in his dorm and captured Clementi kissing another man, he tweeted about it and two days later, tried to catch Clementi in the act again. He did, and about half-dozen students viewed the live video online.
Within days, Clementi realized he had been shamed and embarrassed, and he leaped from the George Washington Bridge after posting one last status update on Facebook: "Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry."
For many, a 30 day sentence looks like a slap on the wrist; the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
Prosecutors charged Ravi with 15 criminal counts, stemming from invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence to bias intimidation; the last two were the two most serious counts and could have landed him a 10-year prison sentence.
So from all of that, Ravi only got 30 days in jail, community service and counseling. There's no wonder why many are up-in-arms, but what the judge presiding over the case said was correct: Ravi’s intent wasn’t hate.
"I do not believe he (Ravi) hated Tyler Clementi…" Judge Glen Berman said. "He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity."
The fact that Ravi hasn’t apologized is also a reason why many are upset; his insensitivity and preference to stay mute during the trial rubbed many the wrong way.
Ravi didn't utter one word at the trial because he felt that no matter what he said, people would take it whatever way they choose.
Ravi said in an interview with the Star-Ledger that he didn't apologize because it "would sound rehearsed and empty ... When politicians give public apologies, to me, it always sounds so insincere and false."
In a way he’s right, there’s nothing Ravi could have said or done to bring back Tyler, but showing an inkling of remorse wouldn’t have hurt.
To the Judge's point, Ravi’s actions weren’t malicious; they were stupid and reckless. The fact that he didn’t think about the repercussions is what bothers me the most.
Ravi had to have known that after his stunt, Clementi would be ridiculed and teased and that’s something I can’t forgive him for. The pointing of the fingers and the chuckles behind his back is something Tyler Clementi has been dealing with his entire life. His bullies only had more ammunition thanks to Ravi.
Shaka Griffith is the News/Politics Editor of GlobalGrind.com Follow him on twitter @Darealshaka