Bullying has claimed too many lives, especially the lives of the young.
But today, there was even a more depressing message than a show being canceled issuing from the mouth of the tour manager.
"What?" Andy asked in disbelief. In his half awake state, he couldn't comprehend, much less believe what he was hearing.
"A fan, just a kid, really, hung herself because of cyberbullying."
Andy felt his stomach come up into his mouth. Unlike the popular artists like Lil Wayne, who cared little for their fans, only that they kept their pockets stuffed to the brim, the Brides did care for their fanbase. If Andy's heart was going to be as large as the love he had for the kids he performed for, the organ would be coming out of his bony chest.
The truth of the matter was, whenever they heard that a fan had died, whether it was self inflicted or not, they were always bothered by it. The times that it was suicide, it bothered them even more. In a strange way, they saw something of themselves years ago in each and every one of those kids - the need for someone to be there for them at the least. And they did try to be there for their fans, even if they didn't go and comfort each and every one of them personally. They did their best, at least reminding them that they weren't alone in their suffering.
But to Andy, the news that he heard this morning hit closer to home than the rest of them. A few years earlier, he had lost a cousin to cyber bullying. She was just 16 years old when she shot herself. She hadn't even gotten her driver's license yet. Remembering this, the singer felt tears pricking at the corners of his eyes.
"You ok?" CC asked.
Andy shook his head, swallowing, before saying, "But she was so young..."
Jinxx nodded sadly.
"This is getting ridiculous! This is like the 10th friggin' fan to off themselves cuz of getting' picked on!" Ashley said. He tended to deal with bad news with rage, not tears.
"I think the amount of bullies has gone up since we were in school..." Jake said quietly.
"Yeah, and the fuckers think it's sooooo freakin' funny to do shit through anon, where they can't get caught and punished!" Ashley fumed. If he saw one of the poor girl's tormentors at that minute, they'd be shredded limb from limb.
"You guys are right." The manager agreed. He hated having to break the news to the guys about this kind of thing.
"We'll film a PSA." Andy said, his jaw set in determination.
A week later, they had a video on youtube. It was the 5 of them, against a blank wall. They lacked their usual warpaint and teasted up hair.
"We're saddened to hear of the recent death of one of our fans. "BVB Army, Please join us in mourning the loss of one of our own. Please remember that even in your darkest moments you still have the choice to focus your energy on the positive and create a better life."
" Andy began.
"She wasn't even 14 when she took her own life." Jake continued.
Ashley, still pissed over this whole thing, added, "She was driven to do that shit by cyber bullies."
"Most of the time, it's in the form of anonymous texts, emails, or comments, making it harder to trace and punish." Andy said. Jinxx nodded wisely to this.
"But just cause it isn't leavin' you with a bruise or anything doesn't mean it doesn't hurt and it doesn't leave the worst trauma. Actually, it's worse, cause ya can't see it from the outside, and ya won't know somethin's wrong til it's too late." Jake said.
"Hell, I bet even those popular douches who pick on ya get cyber bullied at some time or another." CC said.
"But the point of it Is, cyber or not, bullying is hurtful, even if it doesn't leave a mark on the outside. If you, or anyone else is getting bullied, in any way, tell someone, even if you think it won't do a damn thing. Reaching out for help might save your life." Andy said.
"And yeah, we've been there, where you were, getting cursed and and thrown into shit every day of our lives. But we never let it stop us." Jake said.
"In closing, we have a few words to say. Cyber bullying is no joke. Remember, that you're not alone, no matter what. Life will get better, even if it doesn't look like. Never give in, never back down, and never let them bring you to your knees." Andy said.
Then, all five of the boys, even the notoriously silent Jinxx, said,
"Stop bullying before it takes more lives. Rest in peace Lara Burns."
Just found out about this last night, and it saddens me to know that someone that young felt the need to take her own life. At that age, she should've been looking forward to getting into highschool, and still having fun before life got too full of trouble and responsibility. Instead, she was forced to suffer through constant bullying, especially cyber bullying, which a lot of the time, is done 'anonymously'. It saddens me more, however, to know that kids in her age group could be so cruel as to pick on someone so relentlessly that they see no other way out of it.
I've been in the same place as her before, being bullied, cyber and verbally, and even through telling adults in authority, nothing was done. I've tried suicide before. I understand to some level what she was going through, the feeling of being alone, the constant picking of other kids, the feeling that it was never going to get better, that there was no other way out of it.
I sincerely hope that no one else, especially someone this young, ever gets bullied to the point of suicide again.