New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today called the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi an "unspeakable tragedy" and said he can't imagine how the two students accused of secretly filming Clementi can sleep at night "knowing that they contributed to driving that young man" to suicide.
The governor spoke hours after a body that was pulled from the Hudson River was identified as Clementi. The student leaped to his death after his roommate allegedly secretly filmed him during a "sexual encounter" with a [fellow male student] and posted it live on the Internet,
Christie grew emotional when discussing Clementi's death.
"As the father of a 17-year-old, I can't imagine what those parents are feeling today, I can't. You send your son to school to get an education with great hopes and aspirations, and I can't imagine what those parents are feeling today," he said.
The governor also wondered about the two students accused of taping Clementi, bragging about it online and then trying to catch him on video a second time.
"There might be some people who can take that type of treatment and deal with it, and there might be others, as this young man obviously was, who was much more greatly affected by it," Christie said. "I have to tell you, I don't know how those two folks are going to sleep at night, knowing that they contributed to driving that young man to that alternative."
The victim apparently posted a short, haunting goodbye note on his Facebook account: "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."
I generally believe that the proliferation of social networking technology like Facebook, Twitter, web cams, etc. is a net positive for society. That said, situations like this offer sobering reminders that "progress" can also result in new forms of evil, and can produce tragic consequences. How profoundly sad.