Hate Crime Survivor Had Enough


I just read yesterday about David Ritcheson, the 18 year old the hate crime survivor, who killed himself by jumping off a cruise ship. The attack was so vicious that he was left a shell of his former self.

Ritcheson, 18, rarely discussed his feelings and declined to get counseling after being attacked at the drug-fueled teen party in April 2006. A year later, he testified before Congress in support of a hate crimes bill.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle this past April, he said: “I shouldn’t care what people think or say. It’s just the fact that everyone knows I’m the kid. It was bigger than Houston. It was bigger than Texas. It was bigger than America. Everybody in the world knew what had happened and everybody knew the details of it.”

Ritcheson, a Mexican-American, was beaten and sodomized with a patio umbrella pole. He also was stomped and burned with cigarettes, and his attackers poured bleach on him before leaving him for dead. He was hospitalized for more than three months and endured 20 to 30 operations.

Again, we are left asking, what if the attack by these hate-crime bullies could have been prevented?  What if he got counseling or some sort of help?  Why wasn’t a child of 16 getting help, even if he didn’t want it. In my opinion, the writing was on the wall. This young man probably spent two years waiting for this opportunity, during which time he might have received counceling or help.

It is a shame to see a life wasted like this. It is another sad loss and martyr in the war to stop bullying.

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