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Friday, April 24, 2009

My bullied son's last day on Earth:bullies must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!



An eleven-year old boy killed himself, because he was being bullied severely Dunaire Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia. Jaheem Herrera (pictured on the left) was so depressed and so unwilling to go to school on April 16,that he chose to hang himself using his belt in the closet!! <:(. Jaheem told his mother and school officials about the bullying and his mother, Bermudez said she complained to the school about bullying seven or eight times, but it wasn't enough to save him.Bermudez said she thinks her son felt like nobody wanted to help him, that nobody stood up and stopped the bullies. Despite recent strides towards preventing bullying in schools and increased awareness programs, a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network study showed that 65 percent of teens are bullied each year and most believe adults can't help them. As someone who was bullied in school severely by other children, and as someone who is a survivor of hate crimes which occurred to me in Grades 8 and 9 most every day, I am deeply affected by this news of Jaheem's death. He did not kill himself, these bullies and the members of the staff of this school killed him by not taking the moral, legal and necessary actions to stop this awful experience which Jaheem had to deal with on a daily basis. Being bullied like I was for having a visible physical deformity, caused me severe problems in my life. I started simply telling myself over and over in a dirge "nobody likes me,no body likes me", until I could not deal with this abuse any more and I tried to kill myself. When a group of 14 year old children use the word "hate you" every day when you are forced to be in school, it has a very traumatic effect on an adolescent as I can assest to. Unlike Jaheem, I chose to tell no one about my abuse, probably because so many students in my grade 8 and 9 classes at Vernon Barford Junior High School were bullying me at the same time,that I thought if I tell a teacher or principal,these bullies will do something even worse to me. Fortunately, years later, thanks to help from Psychologist James Battle, I learned that it was not me with the problem, but rather it was these bullies who had and maybe still have their problem(s),relating to their ability to interact with others. I also learned that my behavior of trying to run away from the bullies at recess was an assertive behavior and not cowardly. Anyone who hates someone else, and repeated engages in hateful behavior towards another human being, has to be stopped! Why should someone who commits hate crimes against another individual or group of people be permitted to be within the education systems and employment sectors of our countries? Acccording to new medical research into the effects of hate, individuals who are being victimized by bullies, and who are being hated, actually incur brain damage! And new research which delves into the minds of those who have been hated by others has shown that "four types of brain abnormalities are associated with child abuse and neglect. In the Fall 2000 issue of Cerebrum, the researchers also review evidence that suggests this early damage to the developing brain may subsequently cause disorders like anxiety and depression in adulthood.The science shows that childhood maltreatment may produce changes in both brain function and structure," says Martin Teicher, MD, PhD, director of the Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program at McLean, and author of the paper. Although a baby is born with almost all the brain cells (neurons) he will ever have, the brain continues to develop actively throughout childhood and adolescence. "A child's interactions with the outside environment causes connections to form between brain cells," Teicher explains. "Then these connections are pruned during puberty and adulthood. So whatever a child experiences, for good or bad, helps determine how his brain is wired."

The McLean team identifies four types of abnormalities caused by abuse and neglect. "These changes are permanent," says Teicher. "This is not something people can just get over and get on with their lives." These abnormalities are:

(a)Limbic irritability-The limbic system is a network of brain cells sometimes called the "emotional brain." It controls many of the most fundamental emotions and drives important for survival. The McLean researchers found evidence that abuse may cause disturbances in electrical impulses as limbic nerve cells communicate, resulting in seizures or significant abnormalities on an EEG, a diagnostic test that measures brain waves. Patients with a history of abuse were twice as likely as non-abused patients to have an abnormal EEG. Interestingly, all of the extra EEG abnormalities affected the left hemisphere of the brain. EEG abnormalities were associated with more self-destructive behavior and more aggression.

(b)Arrested development of the left hemisphere-The brain is divided into two hemispheres, with the left controlling language and the right responsible for visual-spatial ability, perception and expression of negative affect. In six separate studies and analyses, the smallest involving 20 people and the largest involving 115, the researchers reviewed medical records, conducted neuropsychological tests to measure left- and right-brain abilities, examined the results of MRI scans to provide pictures of the brain at work, and studied the results of sophisticated EEG coherence tests, which provided information on brain structure as well as function. These studies provide evidence of deficient development of the left brain hemisphere in abused patients, so that the right hemisphere may be more active than in healthy individuals. The researchers speculate that the left hemisphere deficits seen in abused patients may contribute to the development of depression and increase the risk of memory impairments.

(c)Deficient integration between the left and right hemispheres: The corpus callosum is a major information pathway connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. The researchers reviewed MRI brain scans from 51 patients admitted to McLean's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program, and compared them to 97 MRIs of healthy children obtained from the National Institute of Mental Health. In abused children, the corpus callosum was smaller than in healthy children. After reviewing the medical records, the researchers found that neglect was associated with a 24 percent to 42 percent reduction in the size of various regions of the corpus callosum in boys, but sexual abuse had no effect. In girls, sexual abuse was associated with an 18 percent to 30 percent smaller size in the corpus callosum, but neglect had no effect. They also found that abused patients shifted degree of activity between their two hemispheres to a much greater extent than normal. They theorize that a smaller corpus callosum leads to less integration of the hemispheres. This in turn can result in dramatic shifts in mood or personality.

(d)Increased vermal activity: The cerebellar vermis is a part of the brain that is involved in emotion, attention and the regulation of the limbic system. The McLean researchers used a new functional MRI technique known as T2 relaxometry, which provides information about blood flow to the brain during a resting state, to measure vermal activity in both abused and healthy individuals. Thirty-two adults participated, including 15 with a history of sexual or intense verbal childhood trauma but no physical trauma. The higher a participant's LSCL-33 score, the greater the degree of vermal activity or blood flow. The researchers theorize that the abused patients had higher vermal activity in order to quell electrical irritability within the limbic system. They hypothesize that the cerebellar vermis helps to maintain emotional balance, but that trauma may impair this ability.

After documenting these four types of brain abnormalities, the McLean researchers examined animal studies to determine how such damage might occur. Such studies show that neglect and trauma increase production of cortisol and decrease production of the thyroid hormone, which affect development of neurochemical and neurotransmitter receptors in the hippocampus, amygdala and locus coeruleus, parts of the brain that regulate fear and anxiety. Based on these studies, the McLean team theorizes that the stress caused by child abuse and neglect may also trigger the release of some hormones and neurotransmitters while inhibiting others, in effect remolding the brain so that the individual is "wired" to respond to a hostile environment.

"We know that an animal exposed to stress and neglect early in life develops a brain that is wired to experience fear, anxiety and stress," says Teicher. "We think the same is true of people."

(source:http://mcleanhospital.org/PublicAffairs/20001214_child_abuse.htm


Anyone person who would tell another person in this world,that they are hated, has some very serious behavioral and background issues. According to to what I have read about hate crime" on the internet, some perpetrators of hate crime engage in their behavior because of their negative beliefs and attitudes about the hated person. Others are "thrill seekers" and commit hate crimes to alleviate boredom, to have fun and excitement, and to feel strong. Others who commit hate crimes due so in order to project their toughness to friends. According to Karen Franklin, Ph.D. The Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training
University of Washington, "I
n the long run, effective hate crime prevention must focus on promoting tolerance and an appreciation of diversity among school children. As long as the schools are breeding grounds for intolerance and abuse, hate crimes will continue." (source:http://www.apa.org/ppo/issues/pfranklin.html)

The National Institute of Mental Health in the United States has funded the first major study of the consequences of hate crimes on victims, narrowing in on anti-gay hate crimes. Preliminary research indicates that hate crimes have more serious psychological effects than non-bias motivated crimes. In 1998 the American Psychological Association
issued the report Hate Crimes Today: An Age-Old Foe in Modern Dress. In the report Dr. Jack McDevitt, a criminologist, stated, "Hate crimes are message crimes. They are different from other crimes in that the offender is sending a message to members of a certain group that they are unwelcome."
In the words of Al Gore: "We must send a clear and strong message to all who would commit crimes of hate: it is wrong, it is illegal, and we will catch you and punish you to the full force of our laws." (source:http://www.infoplease.com/spot/hatecrimes.html)

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.