Thursday, October 27, 2005

Is David Eberwein A Positive Role Model?

Let's pedal back to Fall, 1991. I was a freshman at Gallaudet. During the typical fire alarm prank at Cogswell Hall, now Ballard Hall North, students mingled right outside of the building. It ws 3 AM or so. Some were sleeping, some were drunk, some were playing around. Typical atmosphere for a college dormitory, really.

There was an odd girl named Elizabeth whose dressed very conservative, even in pajamas. She was from a conservative family in South Carolina. Her sign language skills were shitty, to say the least. Elizabeth can sign very well only in Signed Exact English. Unfortunately, she became the target of a certain group -- David Eberwein and his cronies.

Initially, I expected things to happen like that in college, or even in high schools. But David was trying to be a leader of some sorts at his school and at Gallaudet, where does he apply his courtesy to? Only for his friends and the peers that bowed before him. Elizabeth happened to be the one of few persons who resisted David's antics.

Know what he did next? I remembered seeing David picking up the wet dirt right outside of the dormitory and threw it at Elizabeth's pajamas, just because he wanted her to react. When she was stunned and tried to move away from David, David used his foot to hold her pajamas on the floor while she struggled to pull away. David urged his cronies to throw her their barrage of insults and physical intimidation. And they did. They thought it was hilarious that a girl freaked out like that.

I was stunned by that episode. Later, it becomes a common thing at Gallaudet for 5 years -- if you dare to question or challenge David Eberwein, you should be expected to be physically intimidated, threatened and barrage of insults for many years.

I think it is safe to say that there are many victims out there that might agree with what I said today, but many of them will never admit on my blog because they feared his retribution.

With his immature approach of using body language to intimidate people who disagreed with him is not a role model that I'd want to epitomize. If you want to be the leader of some sorts, you have to apply what you learned and put it in use for the common goodwill of others -- not for your own benefits!

On another side, his antics never stopped when he graduated from college days. I heard the stories that he toned down a lot, but let's face the reality -- the trail that he left at Gallaudet is merely appalling. The destruction of ordinary people's lives and few organizations. Yes, he drove several students to withdraw the school.

Naturally, I was horrified that he became a teacher at some deaf school. Not only that, I was also appalled that he came out of the closet, just few weeks before he graduated from college. He came out after a great gal, Becky Luftig, whom David incessantly bashed her for years at Gallaudet, got killed in an automobile accident. Perhaps, his guilt made him clean up a little. Too little, too late, really.

I vividly remembered him coming to Pop Stop, now known as CyberCafe, on 17 Street and he asked me if I was glad that he came out of closet. I turned my head to someone else next to me and smirked, then turned back to David and said, "It is tragedy for us all." You could see him flinch a little. You know, he normally came to my dormitory bedroom to borrow the comic books. I did not hold it against him. Why should I? I like to think that I'm better than he is.

Knowing his antics, he will never work with groups for the best solution, he will do anything in his power to get what he wanted. How? To sic his friends and loyalists to go after others in order to exact his wishes.

These things happened for five years between '91 to '96. I believe Gallaudet was such a paradise to be when his legacy ended at Gallaudet after the departure of his rat-looking sister, Adele! You know, there are inside snide remark about David's looks -- many joked that his mouth is similar to a horse -- you need the bridle to control his mouth.

You know, I believe in second chances. I met a good friend of mine from Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- Erik told me that he met David and his boyfriend, Colin in Provincetown and that David has toned down a lot and that I should make an effort to be friends with him. Of course, I believe in second chances.

At Deaf Way II Conference three years ago in Washington, DC -- I was with Chlms and few friends at a bar where I saw Colin and David coming in. I did not hold any animosity towards David and Colin. Colin may be the dumbest person on the planet for being in love with such a classic prick but that is not my place to criticize him. But at a special event like Deaf Way II Conference, it is time to be cordial towards all. David was chatting with Chlms who is my, I repeat, my fag hag. I thought it was time to be polite and say hi out of courtesy. Know what happened next? David became belligerent and went on a barrage of insults toward me, much to my chagrin. Why? Just because I rejected his notions in the first place? Get a fucking life. Evidently, some old things do not change.

Today, David may be the President of some organization in California. He hasn't accepted his mistakes and apologized to different people that he harmed and destroyed during the course of his lifetime. Trust me, there are people who feared when someone spelled his name. For instance, someone once said, "DE is here!" You could see the fear in others' faces. They did not want to see him around.

What kind of role model is that? One reader called "Me" considered David Eberwein, "The amount of energy in David Eberwein's single fingernail, to lead the Deaf Community is greater than the amount of energy you've produced in your lifetime to work for the deaf community. He's a positive role model to the community. You, Ricky Taylor, are not."

I speak for myself, I care less if people wanted to emulate me. I used to be active in some organizations in high schools but after what I encountered in college days, I stopped doing that. Why? David has succeeded in doing one thing, making me lose an interest to do something productive for the community.

The most important thing in life, to me, is to acknowledge who you are, accept who you are and stand up for what you believe in. And yes, be nice towards all unless provoked upon. I already mentioned several times in the past that I do not want to be your role model. I do not want to be your best friend. I want to be me.

I cannot fathom the idea of looking up at a despicable figure like David Eberwein as a positive role model but if you wanted to do that, more power to you. But certainly not on my part.

I expect a flurry of hateful responses from certain few, and few comments that might agree with what I said.

I believe in second chances, but third chances? I'm not certain about that, though. Today, I do not have any animosity or hatred towards that particular douchebag -- why should I? All I feel for him is pity. But the door on my end is always open to dialogues, of course in a civilized manner. Something that he is not familiar with.



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