Amanda Todd

AMANDA TODD

Any suicide is a tragic event, almost by definition. Even someone who takes his/her own life to relieve pain and suffering has lived for long periods with tragedy, a kind of living death that allows for nothing but consciousness, often just the consciousness of pain. When a teenager takes her own life the tragedy is amplified. Choosing to have a baby is an act of optimism on the parents’ part. It is a statement that the world in which a child will grow up is a place worth living in. The suicide of a young person takes away such an assurance. For some, the world is not a good place to grow up.

The death of Amanda Todd, through what is termed ‘cyber bullying’, is a tragic event that should not be turned into a criminal investigation. Never in human history has such a powerful instrument of communication, the internet, been at the disposal of such young people. To use a cliche (that nonetheless makes sense), the internet in the hands of a child is a loaded gun. We must acknowledge that the solution is not to take the tool away–that’s impossible–or to monitor it to the point of invading privacy, but to equip kids to handle bullying. Just as arresting school bullies on the playground is absurd, arresting youth for this kind of harassment is counterproductive.

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About ken

I am a former Toronto teacher and writer now living in Vancouver. I work with Dr. Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, with whom I published Eye of the Hurricane: My path from Darkness to Freedom (Chicago review Press, 2011), as Director of Media Relations and as an advocate for wrongly convicted prisoners. Other publication credits include Songs of Aging Children (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992) a book of short stories about troubled youth, and Taking Steam, a play co-authored with the late Brian Shein, staged at New York's Jewish Repertory Theatre and Toronto in 1983. Life Without (Quattro Books, 2012) is a novella about a New York cab driver wrongly convicted of killing his pregnant wife. Gary Geddes (Lt. Governor's Award for Literary Excellence) described it as "one of the most brilliant and harrowing short novels I've read since I went on a John Hawkes binge."

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