Do we share responsibility for each other?

That used to be a question nobody ever had to ask. What a sad statement of the times that I not only ask it, but I’m unsure of your answer.

When I re-read this poem again recently, it made me think about all the sheeple who watch bullying and do nothing. I’ve never understood it, being the kind of person who gets involved the moment I see bullying. But after writing The Boxer Rebellion and exploring the fear and guilt experienced by these watchers through the characters of Angela and Margaret, I don’t think they’re bad people, just people who get lost in moral ambiguity about responsibility.

A POEM ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY
By Charles Osgood

There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task.

Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling. Anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was his responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done.
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognized that anybody could
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.

But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.

When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.

Somebody should have done the job
And everybody should have,
But in the end nobody did
What anybody could have.

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Student Non-Discrimination Act

After I met my Beloved I moved from California out to Minnesota. It was not a place I’d ever thought I’d live, but once I got here I found great neighbors, great culture, great sports and something much rarer:

Politicians I can respect.

Paul Wellstone was my Senator when I first moved here, and through him I found the integrity, hope, and sense of dedication to the people I’d only dreamed of until then. He was unafraid to stand up and be counted, and he had a way of leading people into standing up beside him. When he died, the people of Minnesota lost far more than a representative to the Senate – they lost one of their best friends.

 Apparently he inspired others just as much as he did me, and one of his former constituents, a comedian making a name for himself in television and print, decided to step up and fill the void left by Paul Wellstone. That man was Al Franken.

 I’d read his books, so I knew how smart he was, and I’d watched his work on Saturday Night Live and knew how funny he was. He was a native son of Saint Paul, and when he was sounding out the public to see if he should run for Senate, I attended a function at a local park so I could meet him. Well, that wasn’t going to happen as I didn’t come with a fat wallet full of promises of future support, but I did grab exactly sixty seconds of his time when he foolishly wandered in my direction. “Please,” I begged him, “don’t forget your LGBT constituents if you’re elected. You’re progressive, so many of us will support you, but that’s no reason to take us for granted.” Then I smiled at him and begged, “And may I take a picture with you?” Which he graciously allowed me to do.

You hope your words sink in when you gather the nerve to speak truth to power. You trust in the humanity of your fellow man because you have no other option, but in truth, I held out little hope that any politician elected at that time would stand up for gay rights.

People have asked why I write about gay bashing and bullying. Sadly, in recent years Minnesota has seen a terrifying increase in student suicides, and most of them have been associated with bullying at school. A large school district was eventually labeled a ‘suicide contagion zone’ because of the sheer number of attempted and successful suicides.

Local school policies have allowed bullying to grow far out of hand and disproportionately born by LGBT students. When a shocking fourteen students successfully committed suicide (remember, almost ten times as many try, unsuccessfully) in less than two years, I knew it was time to do something. I did the only thing I knew to do, I wrote about it. The Boxer Rebellion is my way of telling their story, and enlisting your help to make the bullying stop.

And Senator Franken did what he was able to do; he sponsored and championed Senate Bill 555: The Student Non-Discrimination Act. In the following YouTube video released by his office in October, 2011, you’ll see his passion, and his need for our help to get this legislation finally passed. Watch the video, then contact the office of your local state senator and simply tell them you hope Senator Fill-In-The-Blank will co-sponsor the Student Non-Discrimination Act bill, and support it.
 

It’s happening, again.

Suicides of teens due at least in part to bullying. In Utah and Minnesota, students are killing themselves because they’ve been bullied. The sad fact is, that for every one suicide reported there are at least another fifty attempts.

Parents, students, and administrations must work together to make sure each and every public school in America is a safe place to study, no matter WHO their students are.
I stumbled across this video today. I believe we all have to help stop this madness in whatever way we can, so I’m sharing it.

I’m proud to announce the publication of THE BOXER REBELLION on Amazon.com as an e-book!

THE BOXER REBELLION is my latest work. Here’s the description:

Rumor has it that the new kid, sixteen year old Nick Clements, is gay.


The news couldn’t be better for senior quarterback Brent Greene because he needs to distract his fellow students to keep them from wondering about his own orientation; and it dismays Penny Papadopoulos, whose heart first breaks for Nick, and then becomes forever entangled, and scarred, with him.


Tranquility High is a school full of sheeple led by a few bullies. Acts of humiliation, physical assaults, and cyber terrorism, unchecked by teachers forbidden to interfere, is resulting in multiple suicides. When the violence turns to murder Nick and Penny start THE BOXER REBELLION, a desperate attempt to save their own lives and the lives of others.


Teenage cruelty rips away the mask of Minnesota Nice in this coming of age novel set in suburban Minneapolis. THE BOXER REBELLION is a penetratingly frank account of teen suicide and murder. The unique perspectives of those involved give a voice to some of those affected by the thousands of students bullied to death in America every year.


DISCLAIMER – FAIR WARNING:


People who have experienced teenage bullying first hand may be triggered by this book. For that, the author is truly sorry.
Those that have only seen gay bashing or bullying amusingly portrayed in sit-coms on TV may be shocked and upset by the all too real life examples in THE BOXER REBELLION. Not everyone has it as easy as Kurt.
Although THE BOXER REBELLION is about teenagers, the subject matter is mature and intended for legally adult readers. If those aged seventeen and younger wish to read this book, they should get their parents’ permission first.


You can purchase THE BOXER REBELLION from Amazon.com by following this link: http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=gentasebas-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B007WZHCH0&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

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