I didn’t think the story around Stuart Kelly’s death could get much worse.
I didn’t think things could seem more difficult, more dark, for the Kelly family.
Until I read the news this morning.
News that Stuart Kelly, 19, was bullied by peers and strangers, through social media and in person, because he was seen as somehow responsible for the lock-out laws in Sydney.
He was used as people’s whipping pole because they wanted to go out drinking on a Saturday night, and he wanted to keep the streets safe so more people didn’t die like his brother, Thomas Kelly, when he was just 18.
In an act of senseless violence, Thomas was punched by a stranger as he walked down a street in Kings Cross, Sydney, with his girlfriend in July 2014.
Yesterday, news broke that his little brother Stuart had taken his own life.
Reports Stuart was relentlessly bullied have not been confirmed.
They were uncovered by The Daily Telegraph, after friends of Stuart’s allegedly came forward.
Nothing has been proven, but it’s easy to believe the allegations are true. People use Twitter and Facebook as a machine for venting rage and bitterness all the time. Cowards who feel comfortable tearing someone down while using anonymous names will use any excuse, any opportunity, to blame someone else for the situation they find themselves in.
In March this year, the Kelly family received online threats and abuse as part of a hate campaign over Sydney’s lock-out laws. The same hate campaign that saw the Thomas Kelly’s memorial in Kings Cross torn down and vandalised, and the website for the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation hacked and locked.
Anger is too bland a word. Sickness would be closer to the truth, for the feeling at the pit of my stomach.
Sickness that these cowards could cause such harm through violent, hateful keyboard messages, to someone who had already suffered enough.
Anyone who has sent abusive messages and threats to Stuart and the Kelly family through social media, should be charged with assault.
Because their actions also constitute senseless violence.
The cowardly perpetrators of this emotional violence should receive the same sentence as that of Stuart’s brother’s killer, which he received in 2014.
Just like the punch that killed his brother, Thomas, the taunts of these bullies found their mark.
They hit Stuart in the place he was most vulnerable.