The death of openly gay 18-year-old Lance Lundsten is being called a suicide due to anti-gay bullying. Why? Because people on Facebook said so. Whatever the cause of death (and any death, for any reason), this is obviously tragic. But out of respect, I’d rather not make a martyr out of someone who could have been (and certainly looks) perfectly happy and not in any way interested in being a martyr until I know how and why he died. Right now, no one knows how or why he died. And being so quick to believe something just because it fits into a popular narrative does a disservice to Lundsten. What if Lundsten wasn’t a victim at all? Would he like to be remembered as one? Are his parents comforted by the fact that everyone is saying their son killed himself, when there’s no proof that he actually killed himself?
This is the flimsy and ridiculous, at best, source that everyone’s (The Advocate, Queerty, etc.) been quoting the past couple of days. A local ABC affiliate in Minnesota, KSAX:
MILTONA, Minn. – The news of a high school student’s suicide began circling social networking sites Monday morning, after the news began spreading that 18-year-old Jefferson High School student Lance Lundsten had died over the weekend.
The news began spreading? That’s called gossip. Not news.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call at the Lundsten’s residence in Miltona.
When officers arrived, they discovered 18-year-old Lance Lundsten needing emergency medical care. Lundsten was transported to the Douglas County Hospital where he later died.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide. The Sheriff’s Office would not confirm the nature of the medical emergency.
Would not confirm…
According to his Facebook page, Lundsten was openly gay. On a Facebook memorial page in Lundsten’s honor, friends said that Lundsten had been bullied at school for his sexual orientation. Some students who knew Lundsten believed the bullying may have led to his suicide.
Who are they?! Quote them! Interview one of them! Facebook isn’t a “source.”
Lundsten’s funeral is set for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.
And then there’s this, buried at the end of the article:
Lance’s father called KSAX and said he received a call from the coroner saying Lance had an enlarged heart and died of a coronary edema. He said it was not a suicide. He also said there were no signs of drugs or alcohol in his system, but the toxicology report has not been finished according the medical examiner’s office. The medical examiner’s office also said they had no comment about the phone call to Lance’s father.
Why are “KSAX” and all the usual gay blogs so quick to push a narrative–“gay teen bullied to death”–without any facts and with such conflicting information? At best, it’s lazy and irresponsible journalism. At worst, it’s self-fulfilling victimization that perpetuates the notion that gays are always victims. Either way, it’s awful.
The above quoted and linked KSAX story has been edited this evening. Instead of “the Sheriff’s Office confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide,” the story now reads, “The Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that the cause of Lundsten’s death was yet to be determined.”
“Confirming” that you “believe” something happened doesn’t mean it actually happened, I guess. Let’s just hope Lundsten’s parents don’t read The Advocate or Queerty who, of course, have not revised their “anti-gay bullying leads to teen suicide” stories as of this update. Imagine how it would feel if you were a parent and your otherwise happy son died of natural causes and then a bunch of hysterical faggots started screaming that he killed himself because he was being attacked for who he was. Imagine how that would feel, the added notion of suicide and that your son was miserable, when you’re already dealing with the impossible shock of losing your son to begin with. Well done, everyone.