A couple of nights ago Ronin Shimizu passed away. He took his own life.
Ronin was a junior high-school cheerleader who was bullied because of it. In fact, the bullying situation was so bad that his parents eventually decided to home-school Ronin, since school officials weren’t able to protect him from the taunts.
My hear breaks for Ronin. I feel a tremendous amount of empathy in this situation, because Ronin’s story hits very close to home for me. I was a high-school cheerleader back in the 1980’s, and it wasn’t easy, especially back then. I wasn’t the only boy on our cheer team, like Ronin was, but I was subject to bullying because I was a male cheerleader.
One night in the fall of 1988, I was leading cheers on the sidelines of a football game in Deadwood, SD. I remember it was very cold and it was snowing. I was shocked when I felt tremendous pain and the wind was knocked out of me by a football drilled into my back by a football player on the opposing team. The physical pain was excruciating, but it paled in comparison to the utter humiliation I felt. That was just one example of many of people expressing their discomfort with me. (My family even experienced harsh comments as a result of my cheerleading.)
That’s why this story of Ronin hits me so hard. I just can’t believe that that still happens in 2014. I thought that we had moved beyond that.
Please pray for Ronin’s family. Please understand how bullying affects people. Teach your children.
Let’s all just love each other for who we are, and accept each other just the way we are.
Read Ronin Shimizu’s sad story here.