Comments

  1. Andrew says

    Call me a conspiracist, but doesn’t that letter seem to be very…. what’s the word, grammatically correct? I work with kids these age and I don’t know any who could type up that well written of a letter, without using “U” or “urself”, things like that. But, it does say it was left in English class… That student may hate gays but they gave good grammar…. Maybe it’s the teacher!

  2. JackFknTwist says

    This is a hate crime in construction.
    It should be investigated and prosecuted as such.
    take any fingerprints on the page; take everyone’s fingerprints in that school.
    If in an envelope take a saliva test and test everyone’s DNA in that school.
    Seize all the computers each one has access to , at school at home.
    No stone unturned.

  3. John C says

    My heart goes out to this kid. Good for him for speaking out about it- that takes some guts. How many gay teens deal with this kind of crap and don’t tell anyone? Ooof.

    To Ryan- the lives of these jerks are peaking right now. It’s all downhill for them. Yours is just starting, and I promise that it will be filled with the smartest, sexiest, most intriguing, funniest people you’ll ever meet. Hang in there.

  4. anon says

    Okay, investigate the death threats. It’s certainly a case of assault and making terroristic threats (both punishable by long prison terms). However, very few death threats should be taken seriously since having gone through the trouble of writing it all down, the perp probably will be satisfied that his work is done. Could it be a teacher? Could the victim have written it himself? These are both possible, but should the police investigate (and usually they tell people to get lost if they are asked about death threats), it should be very easy to ID where the paper came from and if any of the known parties own some. Plus, almost anything printed w/ a ink jet or laser printer will have an “invisible ink” serial number on it, which will ID the printer.

  5. Jay says

    Stay strong Ryan. This is just a delusional psycho who is very sick and who must get caught. You did the right things by reporting this and now it is the job of the school and the police to catch this young twisted piece of garbage.

  6. says

    Anti-bullying/safe schools legislation is back on the agenda of the MN Legislature when they come back in a few weeks. Hopefully a bunch of legislators see this and it passes this time.

    To suggest that the kid wrote it himself is obscene. From that part of the Twin Cities its not a complete surprise, it’s Michelle Bachmann territory.

  7. says

    Ryan
    Never.Give.Up.

    As John C said. your life is going to get better and better but you have to have faith in yourself and stay strong. If you are ever in despair there are places to call.

    To Ryan’s parents
    Stay attuned. Stay involved. Kids are vulnerable and gay kids without a good support system are especially vulnerable. A bullying situation can seem overwhelming.

  8. Lucas H says

    Be brave, Ryan! Leave them in the dust when you graduate. Whoever wrote that letter is a sick, sick person. Stay strong for now and move out when you get the chance.

  9. Andy says

    I have a bad New Jersey waitress feeling about this, to be honest. Why would a teen psycho print out a physical note and then risk being seen leaving it on the victim’s desk? Why not just email it from sham webmail account? Also, the note is a lot longer and better written than you would expect. And there is the reference to the victim’s past suicide attempts and cutting behavior. If those statements are true, then it would show that the author has intimate knowledge of the victim and would offer a completely gratuitous clue as to the author’s identity.

  10. says

    These Fox News reporters dealt with this amazingly well. Big kudos to them for stepping up here. They didn’t mince words, calling out the venom and hate, that bullying is a problem nationwide and that these threats have to be taken seriously.

  11. Mike Ryan says

    @ GROVER – my thoughts exactly. If it is a real threat it should be turned over to the police and forensics to ascertain who sent it. Once obtained the individual should be arrested and face a hate crime charge – a minimum of 3 years in Federal prison.

  12. Mark says

    What really bothers me about this article, and the video, is I am not seeing any outrage on the part of the parent or parents. Where is there any indication the parents are banging on the doors of authority to demand this be investigated thoroughly?

    Why weren’t they interviewed in the video? Why weren’t they interviewed on the TV spot? Are they ashamed of him?

    And what, ultimately, will be done with the perp when they do discover who’s behind it? Suspension? (oh yeah, big deal).

    If this actually happened, and if this isn’t a hoax (yes, I’m disgusted by the past hoaxes – totally) then serious work needs to be done within the family to support this kid.

    So I ask again – where is the parental and family support for Ryan? What about his siblings? What about the grand-parents? What about the uncles and aunts? Can none of them speak out in support of Ryan about this? Or are they also on the same bandwagon with the haters at Ryan’s school?

    And as far as the patronizing statements the principal made about school safety and the safety of all of the students, boy that was one well-rehearsed moment he can look back on and be proud.

  13. Visage says

    People like Edd, Grover, Anon. and especially Andrew, repulse me. You read like concern trolls rather than gays or allies.
    ‘Well, we’ve seen instances of gays who have lied, so let’s treat them all with the guilty-until-proven-innocent rule! Let’s doubt them in a standoffish way, not give them any credence, and broadcast that on the gay news site!’

    Well I’ve seen straight people who have lied; that doesn’t mean I cast doubt every time a straight person opens their mouth to declare they have been wronged.

    How disgusting that a child has the courage to come forward with a breathtakingly evil, threatening letter, and internet readers think, ‘Well I remember that pathalogical liar waitress wasn’t telling the truth about that no-tip incident, so this kid might be lying too!’

    Ever hear of the benefit of the doubt?

    P.S. Andrew, you especially. I often find your comments read like a concern troll.

  14. Visage says

    @ Joe Furthermore, if it was a hoax, that would imply that the person who brought the complaint forward was the liar. So you must think the child wrote that “relatively well written” letter himself.

    If you don’t think the child wrote it, then it wasn’t a hoax because the oppression the boy felt was REAL. Meaning: if the teacher wrote it, the kid STILL received a an abusive death threat.

  15. Adam says

    I don;t believe he wrote it himself. Something similar happened to me in my high school, a gay friend received death threat notes and they vandalized his car. This was in mid-90’s and once found, the guy got a lunch hour suspension, a slap on the wrist, as it was just the gays. I wrote a letter to the school board, the principal was disciplined and the guy got a four day suspension. Glad the times are changing, there was a time when fewer people were on your side.

  16. Hey Darlin' says

    To Ryan,

    It’s so easy in today’s society for one person’s vitriol to seem so much more important than the love that surrounds you. The truth is the love is so much greater because it’s based on the real you. Don’t lose sight of the ones who currently love you or the ones who are waiting to love you.

    There are always going to be haters. They’ll vary in degree and magnitude but at the end of the day they won’t amount to much.

  17. Andrew says

    @ Visage

    I’m sorry if my comment offended you. I do believe you have me mistaken for some other Andrew on this site. I haven’t commented on a story on here since Brendan Burke died, which today is his birthday, and made me think to come on here today.

    Anyways, I never said it was a hoax, did I? I’m just stating that this person really thought about what they were writing at the time. My thought isn’t on it being a student, but possibly a teacher who is sick of kids and this is an outlet to let some hate out?

  18. John says

    It really is hard to believe that one human being can be so hateful towards another for no good reason. I will never understand how someone can spend so much energy on something that is of no concern to them. To the author of that vile letter,do you not realize how much people suffer because they are not what you decide is normal? And you hide behind so called religion to justify your morbid existence. Ryan hang in there…it does get better. Any thoughts of causing yourself pain should be put out of your head now. You are NOT the one with the problem. Remember that. There are people that love you.

  19. FFS says

    I wish all those d!ckwad Duck Dynasty defenders I’ve argued with, that swear calling gays sinners “comes from a place of love,” were around so they could read this filth.

  20. andrew says

    @Visage: I don’t know what a “concern troll” is. This is the only comment that this Andrew posted on this thread. However, I am happy to hear that you read my comments. You might learn something. You might learn what it means to be an out and proud gay man who doesn’t always jump in with a PC comment that always assumes the LGBT person is automatically correct.

  21. Visage says

    @ Andrew reply 1, scroll down and see your doppleganger…

    @ Andrew reply 2 & 3 (my troll) You’re no better than Rick or anyone else who has a miserable reputation here. You’re just slightly more covert about it.
    “You might learn something. You might learn what it means to be an out and proud gay man who doesn’t always jump in with a PC comment that always assumes the LGBT person is automatically correct.”
    – One can not learn from a generic troll. You are not “out and proud” anything; maybe a homophobe. Giving the benefit of the doubt doesn’t mean ‘automatically assuming…’. It’s mostly racists, homophobes, anti semtites, misogynists, i.e. white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, males that even use the term PC to defend their offensive behavior.

    “I don’t know what a ‘concern troll’ is” – When you don’t know what something means, look it up. Also, LURK MOAR

    “‘I am not a coward’ so I leave an anonymous note?” – Oh and YOU’RE NOT anonymous?! I never said or implied anything to that effect anyway..

  22. John says

    I wonder if I am the only one who found it ironic that what were, undoubtedly, various “swear” words, were blacked out, but the language of very violent imagery was deemed OK for people to see/read.

    I think that that speaks volumes about why things are where they are in the U.S. It reminds me of “Nipplegate”: while an illegal war was being fought in Iraq, people were freaking out about Janet Jackson’s nipple being shown.

    Love beats hate, and Jesus would agree with that. Teaching people about sex and sexuality years ago would have resulted in the country being in a very different (i.e. more enlightened) place than it is right now.

    The priorities in the U.S. are completely out of whack. No wonder people are so hypocritical!

  23. Randy says

    I too, am thinking that it maybe be the teacher or an adult with very good grammar skills. Whomever it is, they are a “Coward” in the worst way. Maybe even a closeted person that hates themselves so much, because they have to remain in the closet. Because of their position in the community, they are unable to be themselves. You have a kid that has the confidence to come out and be who he is, just causes these people more turmoil within themselves. Then again, it could just be some misguided religious person who has no idea about life and literally believes what the Bible states. I hope they find who is doing this and Props to Ryan!

  24. Andy says

    I made one of the comments above, and I stand by it. I am not saying that I have come to any conclusion that this is a hoax. I am not saying that we should assume this is a hoax. I am saying that we don’t know. And while I usually assume that a person’s claim of victimization is true even before all the evidence is in, there are some instances where such a presumption is unwarranted.

    There are aspects of this particular story which suggest that waiting for the evidence is the better approach. Specifically, the use of a printed note, the length of the note, and the personal and intimate nature of the note. It just isn’t what you would expect from a teen homophobic psycho. The note I would have expected to see would be something like “Die fag. We hate you. Die.” And it wouldn’t be a note; it would be an email or FB post from a sham account.

    The actual note goes on for paragraphs, and the author claims to know this kid’s insecurities and history.
    It is likely either from an adult, from someone who got close to him, or it is a note from him to himself. If it is either of the first 2, it is a real crime; the last option makes it a hoax.

    Finally, some have noted that it is well written. The punctuation and grammar are perfect. The author even refers to days being “numbered” which is pretty good writing. How does this cast doubt on the story? Well, watch the video. This kid is very well spoken. A smart guy. By itself this wouldn’t be enough to raise a red flag. But coupled with the other oddities, it does.

    Sorry if the cautious approach bugs some people who quite understandably want to give this kid a full throttled embrace. But if skepticism pisses you off, please direct your ire at the waitress in NJ and the lesbian who claimed to have been assaulted in her home in Nebraska and the couple who burned their home, falsely claiming to have been a victim of arson.

  25. says

    @Andy
    Or. Embrace Ryan as the victim until it’s proven otherwise.

    Skepticism should always take a back seat to assistance when the situation is potentially life threatening. I don’t believe we should be equating a death threat to a tip hoax. Even if it does end up being a hoax I’d much rather find out that I was fooled on a hoax than to do nothing and find out it wasn’t.

    To do nothing or worse to assume Ryan did this, without proof, puts Ryan’s life at risk. Something no potential victim should face alone especially a fragile teen.

  26. ToThePoint says

    Spell and grammar check. Authorities need to seize all PCs in the school and of all teachers and students and start tracing histories etc. Don’t forget tocheck printers and print histories. A thorough check by a competent computer guru can find even deleted files and find the perp. Put them under the jail!

  27. Paul R says

    I obviously have no idea if this story is real, but I don’t see why it’s so difficult for some of you to imagine it being true. The letter is not perfectly written (though most of the errors are minor—missing apostrophes, misplaced commas, and such) and could certainly have come from a high school student. (Not all religious, homophobic psychopaths are stupid; just most.)

    This note could easily have been written by, say, a boyfriend of one of Ryan’s female friends. The details aren’t all that personal, and I’m sure that plenty of Ryan’s fellow students gossip about him and/or he’s shared stories of his past with too many people or the wrong people.

    I’m not suggesting that the story is automatically true, but it’s hardly implausible. And this is far more serious than the waitress who lied about a tip–if the story is true, it’s a frightening death threat.

  28. rebarb says

    Typical behavior of a bully and coward. He/she doesn’t have the courage to be upfront ,instead they leave an anonymous note. I hope for Ryan’s sake that school officials , parents and police are taking this seriously.

  29. Andy says

    @Seriously –

    Absolutely, I agree. I was speaking only of how we, the gay public, should be looking at this news story. Law enforcement and the school obviously have to assume for now that these threats are real and act accordingly to identify the culprit and to counsel the victim.

    However, we readers of this blog aren’t law enforcement. And despite all the nice “we’ve got your back”-type comments, no one here is going to be counseling or having any substantive involvement in protecting or comforting Ryan. Since all we are doing is reading and digesting information, I think we should do it with caution. Not indifference or undue suspicion. Just caution.

  30. Bill says

    @JackFknTwist : your suggestion is problematic due to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If they seized all computers that a student might have access to, including the students’ parents computers, that would definitely lead to a lawsuit.

    If I were a parent in that school, was developing software on it, and had my computer seized, you can bet there would be a lawsuit that would put a dent in the town’s budget. How would you like to be working on something for months and have the state take it away from you because someone in town you don’t know misbehaved?

    That aside, I hope they do catch the person(s) responsible.

  31. emjayay says

    Andy, your comments about taking due caution about the possiblities here, even if not highly likely, are well taken at least by me. I hadn’t thought of any alternative stories. Unlikely, but not impossible.

    No guys, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a case where it is legally possible to seize every computer in town. It’s likely it was written and printed at home. Too bad we don’t use typewriters any more. Everyone knows how to solve crimes involving typewritten letters. Well anyone who has ever read a mystery that’s old enough.

    Any investigation would probably start with things like asking teachers for names of students whose writing it seems like. Who would use the unusual phrase “house of god”? Most high school students, particularly the redneck types, indeed do not write this well. But some do.

    Leaving it on the desk in two classrooms does indicate a pretty close knowledge of him. And it is odd. As I remember, slipping a note into your locker through a louver is the usual way. A sure thing, and it can be done when no one is around.

    Oh about knowing about suicide attempts and cutting. Remember, in high school, particularly in a small town, anyone might know anything.

  32. says

    It is an unfortunate fact that a few of the Towleroad commenters expressed the hope that this young man didn’t write these notes himself. We have seen this happen in the past and it will happen again. I don’t know what causes glbt’s to need the attention but it hurts all of us when they claim bogus harassment.

  33. ratbastard says

    I recieved multiple hateful anonymous letters, emails including death threats over the past month, all directed at my homosexuality. Additionally, anonymous hateful graffiti was scrawled on my front door and mailbox. Can I prove these things really happened and were genuine ‘hate’ crimes, rather than my looking for attention for myself and/or The Cause? No. Anonymous mean spirited mail, email, graffiti, etc. are a dime a dozen.

  34. Troy N. Houghtaling Sr says

    Wow, Ryan all I can say is stay strong and in God. He will protect you. You are a good looking young man and you look very strong in your believes. I do not know why or if you really did harm yourself but there is now need to be yourself live your life to the fullest. Get your education in high school and move to a place where you will be happy. The only coward I see here is the person that wrote this letter to you. He had to hide the letter so you would find it. He was not man enough to hand it to you face to face. He was not man enough to sign his name on it. He brought other people into it cause he was not man enough to take it on himself. take it with a grain of sand but just watch your back. Good luck and I am here if you need to talk. I came out when I was 22 and you would not believe what I have went through. God bless and you are in my prayers.

  35. BrokebackBob says

    If Jesus was manifest with us and could see what people like Ryan are going through he would channel the might and power of his Father and those evil ones would be as the dust of the Earth once again.

  36. Bill says

    @Donny: as a test I typed a phrase from the letter into Google, with the phrase surrounded by quotes. While I could have missed something due to not reading each article separately, all seemed to be articles about this incident. I was curious if there was some canned text that someone might have used to put the letter together rather than actually writing the text. If it was canned text, it wasn’t on a publicly accessible web site. The text doesn’t sound like something a high school student would write, but that doesn’t mean a student didn’t copy it from somewhere or paraphrase something.

    If anything like this happens to you, by all means notify the police, but before various media sources get wind of it, type some key phrases into Google as I did to see if it was a copy-paste job (or recommend trying that to the police): if you/they find a unique source, they can trace IP addresses to find people who live in that area who might have accessed that web site (this would require subpoenas to make the web site divulge the log files, but the police can do that as part of an investigation.

  37. Paul says

    I strongly feel it was not Ryan who wrote this letter, as some have suggested (or like some are hoping it’s not) it might be. I think his raw emotions are real and genuine. Ryan is a brave young man who has the courage to make it through this trying time! Stay strong Ryan!

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