Dharun Ravi, who has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for inciting his Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi's suicide, has expressed little remorse, and continues to blame Tyler Clementi's boyfriend for the incident. The law has proven inadequate to the crime, and now the best justice that can be obtained for Clementi will be administered by other students and community members shunning Ravi for his cruelty and misuse of technology.
According to Ravi's attorneys, his primary defense for setting up a webcam that broadcast intimate images of Clementi and his boyfriend via Twitter was that "He had no idea that Tyler Clementi knew what had happened."
There's little question Ravi wanted to humiliate and haze his gay roommate. 18-year old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi didn't think the hazing was funny; within hours, he hurled himself from the George Washington Bridge to stop the painful mockery.
Tyler Clementi's tragedy is only one in a long series of incidents where the Internet, social media, and mobile technology have been used to hurt others in ways never seen before. In 2006, 13-year old Megan Meier, who was known to neighbors and friends as emotionally-vulnerable and less mature than peers, was driven to end her life by hanging in response to a fake MySpace boyfriend and taunts orchestrated not by another teen, but by 40-something Lori Drew, the mother of a former friend.
In 2006 in Missouri, the law was completely inadequate to punish Drew, who remains a poorly-chosen cause-celebre for Internet freedom advocates. With no legal recourse, the small Missouri town shaken by the incident took action in the form of old-fashioned shunning. Drew soon found herself victim of the same social pain and ostracization she applied to Megan Meier.
Dharun Ravi may never understand the extent of his wrongdoing. Through shunning, he may be compelled to understand a small part of the pain and suffering he caused to the family and friends of Tyler Clementi, and Tyler himself, whose only crime was falling in love with another boy in his first weeks at college.