Sunday, June 25, 2017

Exploiting the Death of a Young Man in Defense of the Faith

LifeSiteNews (via Lisa Bourne): “Father’s lawsuit claims his son was wrongly accused of gay slur before committing suicide.” They drool over the opportunity to smear gay people. It is their insane obsession in an attempt to validate the teachings of the Catholic Church that gay people are “objectively disordered” in spite of an Everest of scientific evidence to the contrary.

David French at the National Review did his part too. Some wacko by the name of Ashe Schow weighed in as well. All of these people have something in common. French and Ms. Schow reacted prior to the defendant's response (a motion to dismiss). Tt least French hedged a tad with “if the allegations are true.” Ms. Bourne writing two weeks after the reply was filed simply chose not to read it or consider it.

This is a sad tale of two seniors at the University of Texas, Arlington. An openly gay student, Nicholas Watson, complained to university officials that another student, Thomas Klocke, harassed him in class by typing into his web browser that “gays should die.” Watson typed back that he is gay. Klocke allegedly responded by telling Watson that he was a “faggot” who “should consider killing yourself.”

The university assigned an investigation to Daniel Moore, associate dean for academic integrity and an experienced investigator. Moore found that Klocke probably violated the university policy against harassment and placed him on probation for the final three months of the term. The expectation was that Klocke would obey all the rules and graduate as scheduled. Klocke did not appeal (although he could have). A week later Klocke committed suicide. I will get to the specifics of the investigation later.

Klocke's father is an attorney who works for the Airline Pilots Association in Texas. His response, as executor of his son's estate, was to sue both the university and Watson claiming (as alleged by his late son) that this all started when Watson made unwanted sexual advances on Klocke. My gut tells me that neither story is completely accurate. However, it seems clear that it was not the direct cause of his son's suicide regardless of whose version of events you believe.

According to LifeSiteNews:
…even though university investigators found no evidence to support the claims, Klocke was kicked out of the class and his grade suffered, putting his graduation and further plans at risk.

Klocke killed himself last June after being punished by the university for sexual misconduct.

Along with UTA denying Thomas the benefits of his education, the suit contends “the actionable misconduct of UTA and Watson foreseeably injured Thomas, causing him immense embarrassment, the destruction of his reputation and severe mental anguish and pain,” all of which helped lead to Thomas taking his own life.
The lawsuit also alleges the university ignored his son’s claims of unwanted sexual advances on the part of Watson and suggests that Klocke’s rejection of Watson led Watson to make up his story, potentially for fear that he himself could be accused of sexual misconduct.
Not exactly.

The first thing that Dean Moore did was to issue a no-contact letter to both parties. Klocke responded with an email stating “I did not violate the Student Code of Conduct.” The following day Moore met with Klocke and his reaction was the Klocke's story did not make sense. On one hand he said that he knew what this was about yet, on the other hand, the story he offered was not one that would have led to an investigation. According to Klocke, Watson said that he (Klocke) was beautiful and Klocke had to tell Watson to stop. Klocke did not report this incident separately but only in reaction to Watson's allegations.

Klocke does not seem to have denied the allegations of calling Watson a faggot who should die. Rather, he asserted that such conduct would not amount to sexual harassment. If that is an accurate summation (according to the motion to dismiss) then Klocke basically said that it was his right to retaliate with gay slurs if a gay man hit on him. Klocke claimed that Watson was “a threat to me” which is telling. Moore, by the way, charged Klocke with plain harassment, not sexual harassment.

In addition, Moore interviewed another student who witnessed part of the exchange and corroborated Watson's version of events. Ultimately Dean Moore was faced with two conflicting stories. He chose to neither expel not suspend Klocke. Rather, he placed him on probation (which is nothing more than a stern warning to follow the rules) for what would have been less than three months when Klocke would graduate. At some point in the process Klocke could not attend the class in which the interaction occurred (Moore wanted to keep these two away from each other). Moore made arrangements for Klocke to meet with the professor one-on-one, do all of the work that was required and take the final exam. This saga took place over roughly three weeks.

Now I know that some of you are thinking that Klocke was insecure and that this episode intensified Klocke's insecurities to the point that he killed himself. I am not so sure.

A kid is dead. It is a tragedy and Wayne Klocke (the father) is trying to blame others including the gay kid who filed the complaint. I am guessing that Watson did hit on Klocke and that Klocke's homophobic response was as alleged. Wayne Klocke's complaint is full of innuendo and anger.

I have written about my personal struggles with PTSD and I tried to commit suicide in 2010 (a bottle of Ambien + enough oxycodone to down an elephant + an anti-emitic + a perfectly made medium-dry Bombay Saphire martini — the damned olives are lethal). Most suicide attempts are not intended to succeed.

There are only three reasons that people actually kill themselves or make a serious attempt (mine, by the way, was intended to succeed):
  1. An incurable illness.
  2. Psychosis.
  3. Deep depression.
Depression is the most common factor and that generally requires more than three weeks to develop. I have met with several people who tried and failed. Once someone makes the decision to kill themselves there an intense sense of relief. Then time is required to put their affairs in order and to plan how to do it. Three weeks is not enough time.

Could Klocke have been an outlier or could he have made an unserious attempt that succeeded? Sure. Yet, if this incident was responsible then the kid was in a very fragile state, unknown to his parents. One thing is for sure: Blaming the gay guy is pointless. If these events were responsible then it is because of deep-seated animus and insecurity. It's too late for Wayne Klocke but that might be the important take-away.

I suspect that this case is going to be dismissed but Texas can defy the odds and often does. As for LifeSiteNews and the other participants like David French, their behavior is just shameful. They are contributing to the atmospherics that might be responsible for Thomas Klocke's death (although I have my doubts). It's all about shame. Ratzinger should think about that as well. He will not.

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