The Lynching of a Butterfly and the Modern Mob

ImageAs a Dad, I cannot fathom the horrific pain that Jadin Bell’s parents must be experiencing.  I ache for them.

The officials are calling the possible impending death of young Jadin an attempted “suicide”.  It was not a suicide; it was the destruction of something innocent, something beautiful, something of supreme contribution exposed to an environment that valued it not at all.

The facts support their word perhaps.  No argument.  A 15 year old boy took a rope to a playground and without assistance from any visible being, hung himself.

Please let that resonate.   A person, a child, who would normally abhor personal pain and suffering, was so motivated towards self-destruction that he walked casually into a violence that mobs have deployed through out history to terrify communities into submission.

This situation too had its mob.  It was a more efficient modern mob than those of the past.   Modern mobs do their jobs so completely that they do not have to even show up for their final handiwork.

The La Grande Observer quoted his friend Jody Bullock “He is amazingly sensitive.   If he saw a wounded butterfly [as a child] he wanted to heal it … He is an amazing young man who is smart and very social; he has a persona and a presence that you want to be a part of.”

It is fitting that Jadin Bell wanted to heal butterflies.  He was the human soul equivalent of a magnificent butterfly himself who up until now did nothing more harmful than flutter sweetly into life.  According to a family friend, he elevated those around him with a “couple quick words and everybody would just forget about their problems and smile. He just had a gift.”

Then Jadin met the mob.  The same family friend reports that Jadin was “pushed to suicide after being bullied in person and on the Internet for being gay”.

Like history’s lynch mobs who hid under sheets and cloaks, the modern mob too is hidden so their exact identities are not known.  It does not take much however to hear their voices echoing.  Evidence the commentators in the local media beneath the story reporting about Jadin.  One calling himself “PuzzleFighter” declares “BTW, some guy who hugs me for no reason deserves a punch in the face.”   One who actually decries bullying,  “Curtisjunk”, does so in the most anti-gay of ways,  “I don’t care if the kid you’re talking about wore dildos hanging from his ears and a sign that said ‘Service Entry in Rear’…”

Other mob voices are merely apathetic. “BeautifulNW” states “So you don’t think children should be taught that at the end of the day, happiness is a choice? … I am all too familiar, but I chose to let my misfortunes fuel my passions, and I am much stronger because of it… Happiness is definitely a choice, even when you are young. ..And what if the “bullied” kids story is a bit embellished?”

This is not the first time the anti-gay cloud has settled over La Grande Oregon.  It was not even a year ago when its mayor was publicly criticized by the local college for  his anti-gay rant on Facebook.

The local commentator “Quidproquo “ confessed, “I was a real jerk to a gay kid growing up and that was because my parents were constantly putting down gay folks in our house. I realized when I was about 14 how wrong my parents were and I told the kid I was really sorry but no sorry could make up for how much teasing that kid endured on the bus every day, not just by me but by everyone.“  By everyone.

Many, rightly, want an end to bullying.  My friend, Andrea Rose Free wrote a compelling article about it , and a commentator “Mickey 602” said flatly, “I don’t understand why bulling is still allowed in schools.”

However, another commentator “DT” points out that “our culture is extremely bully oriented.. look at some of the cable news channels. “  DT may be right.  Becoming bully free in our US society is appearing to be as unattainable as our becoming gun free.  The retort “guns don’t kill people, people do” has a bullying counterpart.  Bullying is not the biggest thing killing kids like Jadin….  anti-gay hatred is.  Bullying is how it is delivered.

“ CMar74” addressed this by stating about La Grande, “the culture of intolerance in that town is horrific and am thankful we removed our family from it.“

It was a commentator on Andrea Rose Free’s blog who nailed it, however, in my opinion.  This is the testimony of someone who fought against the cause of bullying but found a deeper foe to combat.

“Christy” states,  “As a mother of a gay son raised in Eastern Oregon…no, it ain’t easy. Bullying is rampant and though I did what I could at the time to involve administrators on behalf of my son, I always regret that I didn’t do more. However, its never too late. I am involving myself with The Matthew Shepard Foundation to erase hate in communities and schools. Though my work on this is very much in its infancy stages, I will need support from the La Grande Community and others in the surrounding areas. It all comes down to fear. What one fears, one will destroy. And destruction comes in many forms. I for one am committed to doing my part to educate and erase fear in the hopes that destruction will decrease.”

A mom named Christy is standing firm as a modern day David against a Goliath of Fear and Hatred.  This is the battle we must wage.  We must clear not only places like La Grande of this evil, but also places like our own backyards and our own living rooms.  Please do not let her stand alone.  We desperately need our Jadins,  we need our beautiful butterflies.  Too many of them have been transformed into tragic angels whom their loved ones will never see again.

Pundits report the need for conversation about suicide.  They ask us to discuss bullying.  These are worthwhile conversations.  However, if we do not address fear and hatred, of gay people in particular, then we have missed the bigger picture and the mob will continue to find ways to express them, and more will die.

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About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: and here:
This entry was posted in Civil Rights, Family, Hatred, Living, News, Prejudice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Lynching of a Butterfly and the Modern Mob

  1. Pingback: Rob Watson: A Gay Dad’s Open Letter to the Parents Who Are Seeking to Devastate Their 15-Year-Old Daughter and Her 18-Year-Old Girlfriend

  2. Pingback: A Gay Dad Note to the Parents Who Are Seeking to Devastate Their 15 Year-Old Daughter and Her 18 Year-Old Girlfriend | evoL =

  3. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    This is a very touching story …. one of the many. And one life lost too many …. My heart goes to the family left behind!!!

  4. Pingback: The Lynching of a Butterfly and the Modern Mob | One Pride Network

  5. Pingback: My Journey Through the Dark Shadows of a Queer Teen by Rob Watson | QMO Magazine & Community

  6. Pingback: My Journey Through the Dark Shadows of a Queer Teen by Rob Watson | QMO Magazine Blog & Community

  7. People aren’t going to like this, but we need to teach our children to defend themselves. I wish I had known how to fight against my abusers; maybe I would not have PTSD and DID to deal with. It has affected me badly and only recently, I am learning to deal with it.

    What can be done to give young people self-esteem and pride in themselves and help them see they are worth fighting for? Seems to me the only language bullies understand is a swift kick in the arse. They prey upon the weak like a lion chasing a springbok on the veldt. Fight back against these little bastards; I’m tired of hearing about teen suicide.

    • This is my own angle on your response. Being trans and having faced suicide often over my years I know the feeling intimately. I’m not saying your suggestion wouldn’t help at all but it doesn’t touch the root of the problem. The root being that it has become perfectly acceptable for children to harass and bully someone else, often for being different. It’s not a situation where it’s one or a few anymore now, in my opinion partly because of social media, it’s en mass. The entire self defense only worse so far, that being said it doesn’t touch the desolation someone can feel for receive so much caustic hate for doing nothing but being themselves. Feeling so utterly alone and lost, not out of a lack of self confidence or feeling bad about themselves in and of itself but from feeling alone in their struggles. It’s that sense of despair from feeling so isolated that is often the crux of such actions.

  8. Pingback: A Gay Dad Sounds Off: Since When Did the Culture Wars Become a Food Fight | evoL =

  9. brett eeids says:

    Devestatinly heartbreaking…raise awareness snd shar this story. I am sharing/promoting it on facebook

  10. Janice Buehler says:

    I’m a 74 y/o woman, I live in Montana but was born and raised in La Grande, I left there for college when I was 19. I knew La Grande was conservative when growing up but didn’t realize the horrid bigotry. I mailed today a letter to the Evening Observer, La Grande’s newspaper for ever, condemning the bullying that led to Jadin’s death. I’m so sad and so angry!! Dr. Jan Buehler

  11. kzottarelli says:

    I’m so heartbroken hearing another young life lost. This is a child, someone’s little boy, their child! There should be no parent that tolerates their child bullying another child, one day it could be your little boy or little girl at the recieving end of that bullying. Just think about that, please! You would never want your child to be tortured that way, how in the world can you accept that for anyone elses child?

  12. apeene says:


  13. Pingback: Short Notes ~ How Many More Must Die | Notes from a Southern Kitchen…

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