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IN MEMORIAM

Student behind 'laser cat' photo takes own life

Draven Rodriguez and his cat Mr. Bigglesworth at their home in Schenectady on September 10, 2014.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Draven Rodriguez and his cat Mr. Bigglesworth at their home in Schenectady on September 10, 2014.
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Schenectady High School senior Draven Rodriguez, whose fearless creativity earned him international fame last year, took his own life Thursday evening, according to multiple authorities familiar with his death. Rodriguez, the teenager responsible for the laser-cat yearbook photo that became an Internet sensation in the fall, committed suicide in his home, authorities said. He was 17. Rodriguez’s mother, Melissa Petersen, and stepfather, Jonathan Stewart, gathered with family at the residence Friday. They declined to be ...

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comments

safny
February 21, 2015
9:34 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Stunningly sad.

FlyPTi
February 21, 2015
2:01 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

So very sad. My prayers for Draven and his family
Darlene Lee

pbd
February 21, 2015
3:38 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Profoundly sad. Sympathy & prayers for his family (including Mr. Bigglesworth) and friends.

themisfit13
February 21, 2015
4:43 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

So sad to see this. I was very impressed with him standing up for what he wanted. He will be missed by the community.

pnotto
February 22, 2015
2:40 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

With this incident, it is truly sad over his death and my heart goes out to his family in their time of sorrow. But if you stop and think if someone would have looked at this odd behavior they may have seen an underlying problem with him psychologically and if he received the correct intervention and proper treatment he would have dealt with whatever problem(s)there were instead of him taking his own life. Instead of condoning odd behavior that may have been a large red flag signaling a problem that should have been seen it unfortunately placed someone like this young man in jeopardy where the people in his life should have seen beyond condoning this behavior and go the extra distance to seeing that he received help from the people who could have headed off something like him committing suicide. Having had dealt with families like this in my chosen profession the question(s) will be asked by them in, should we have seen this coming and if so, maybe there was something that could have been done to stop it from happening. Every life is a precious gift from God and the "what if" question will unfortunately plague this young man's family for the rest of their lives...

reader1
February 22, 2015
7:36 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Very sad.

RE: odd behavior - just because someone does not act like we would or like we think they should does not necessarily constitute a red flag.

rsmall803
February 22, 2015
12:32 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

by odd behavior does that mean he was being bullied for that behavior? he seems to have had many friends and aided many including those being bullied. if he took his life for being bullied than i'm sure many close to him were aware of this. this is a very sad loss of life for a beautiful young man.

pnotto
February 22, 2015
3:03 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Rsmaller803, I am glad you brought up the issue of bullying. You see as I stated every life is special because it is a gift from God and his parents had this gift for his brief time on this earth. My heart goes out to them and I am sorry for their loss. But instances like this need not have to happen. The problem with this issue is that sanctimonious know-it-alls like yourself claim to have the answer to this issue, but the problem is that you don't even know what the question is so it doesn't make you an expert on this. What it makes you is an ignorant passive bystander. I dealt with this issue when I was in school but instead of complaining about it, my parents got me involved in the Martial Arts and I learned to defend myself instead of becoming a VICTIM like so many of you know-it-alls prefer Mr. Rodriguez and others battling this issue to be like. This issue of bullying really sticks in my craw mostly because these young people are being given terrible advice on how to deal with this problem which only adds to it and then compounds the issue making it worse than what it should be. If these young men and women were given the proper training in how to handle this problem they would have the confidence on how to solve and handle the issue. This is why there are these incidents where these gifted young people are taking their lives and it is our fault as a whole as the older generation because we are not teaching and training them how to fail and how to deal with failure while over coming the issue to better themselves so they can deal with it in adulthood. My question to you rsmaller803 and the other geniuses who claim to have the answer to the problem of bullying is when is it going to be enough to see what you folks are supporting doesn't work. This issue of bullying is nothing new, but the so called experts claim it is and it can only be solved with government intervention through the school system(s) which again fails these adolescents miserably. If Mr. Rodriguez had so many friends then why didn't somebody step in and try to solve the issue correctly to help him and not to be constantly being victimized. The best way to handle a bully is to knock him/her on their gluteus-maximus, it worked for me and has worked for others who have solved this problem in their lives. The following video is of a young man who has the confidence on how to deal with this issue and others like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUtirCf-...

rsmall803
February 22, 2015
3:57 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

pnotto, i think you're being a little hard on me. if you re-read my comment you'll find i'm not a sanctimonious know-it-all nor do i profess any expertise on bulling. i'm simply trying to understand if bulling was the cause of this young man taking his own life.

pnotto
February 22, 2015
4:58 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

rsmall803...My apology then to you for miscalculating your response...To answer your question the answer is yes it was, unfortunately...

reader1
February 23, 2015
8:39 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Was bullying the cause? Perhaps I missed it, but I hadn't seen that reported anywhere.

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