Sep 25, 2011

[Technicolor Musings] Young Love Can Be Tragic

S&W Model 18-3 (.22LR) - England via Flickr.

Local news is ablaze with reports of a 13 year old boy who shot his 16 year old lover in Pampanga last September 20. The incident happened at SM Pampanga where the younger boy managed to get a gun past security in order to shoot his slightly older alleged lover and then himself. There are various Facebook pages discussing the identities of the two individuals in question, but I felt it best not to venture into such details at this time.

Both eventually died after they were taken off life support.

The shooting naturally raises many questions, but of course the local media can only really focus on the "safe" issues. Thus the discussions regarding the prevalence of loose firearms in the country and the calls to mall owners to tighten security in order to prevent such shootings from happening again. While these remain valid concerns, I doubt this one incident will trigger a wave of reform in terms of gun laws or anything of that nature.

What is naturally absent from the news discussions is the fact that the two young men were romantically entangled. There's news that a "third party" may have been involved, thus triggering the anger of the younger boy and I suppose that does provide motive for the shooting.

It's hard to come to terms with the kind of mental state the shooter must have been in to reach this point. How can someone that young feel that kind of emotional weight sufficient enough to decide to take the life of someone he had professed love to? Then again, how can anyone at that age truly understand love?

eduardo gaviña / yogurinha borova by SANTOS CARRETTO - YOGURINHA BOROVA via Flickr.

The immediate instinct is to look to the parents and question what kind of emotional support they provided this troubled young man, but that's a different issue entirely. I've yet to find a news report that discusses fully whether or not the parents knew their son was gay since they indicated that they were not familiar with his 16 year old friend, or whatever you want to call him. It's hard to make accusations that the parents didn't necessarily provide the kind of support that might have prevented this from happening. We all know that love and other strong emotions can make us do some pretty weird and disturbing things, actions that fall well outside of our regular comfort zone.

We could look at our society as a whole and the kind of support we provide homosexual teens like the boys involved in this incident. While some writers have discussed how "gay-friendly" the Philippines is, those of us who actually live here know that there's not much difference here versus how gay men and women are treated here, especially when young. Coming out is extremely difficult with the added context of conservative Roman Catholic upbringing getting into the mix and the way families in general try to live within their respective moral frameworks that seem to provide few options for homosexuals. It's very likely that the young boy in this story had not told his parents about his sexuality not necessarily out of fear but more out of some ill-perceived shame that he might bring the family. We know it's the same story in many other countries and we're not at all exempt from this.

But what lesson do we take away with us from this incident? Is it sufficient to just go back to talking about the security issues of the country and how all the different bag inspections and bomb-sniffing dogs at malls can do little to really stop this kind of violence?

If anything, I feel we need to continue to think about the kind of environment we foster when it comes to gay teens. Have we created a society that supports young gay men and women in their effort to come out of the closet and accept who they are? Do we have hate unconsciously woven into our daily speech and our actions that perpetuates a sense of dread and fear when it comes to younger individuals discussing their sexuality? There are many things that need to be considered, something that can't be covered in a single blot post alone.

But if anything, we need to think about all this. There's a lot that needs to be considered. And a lot more that needs to be changed.
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1 comment:

  1. Masyado silang mapusok pagdating sa pag-ibig. Para sa 'kin, it boils down to how the parents raised the kids. Anyway, kahit ano pang discussions gawin natin about the whole thing, wala na ring mangyayari. I'm just hoping this is just an isolated case and doesn't reflect a deeper problem that young gays faces. Hayz... 13 and 16 year olds... I was thinking all about high school when I was their age.