Reading through the New Yorker article and other accounts since the incident, it seems that Dharun Ravi's actions and tone were consistent with how kids interact with each other these days. Being jackasses online, boasting to his peers and just juvenile behavior. But isn't that reflected in popular culture (Reality TV, Tosh.0, TMZ, etc.)? He and Tyler did not communicate well, and I think those soft-skills are missing among today's youth. In a world of tweets, Facebook, blogs and other online communities, we also leave quite a trail... Maybe that's the biggest lesson here. Neither of them seemed to have a filter. Unprotected Twitter accounts, posting openly in webcam/porn/sex communities, bringing an older hookup back to the dorm... I think there needs to be more education about maintaining your online identity.
As to the case, it seems as though Tyler was troubled long before college. There was a mention of his fascination with the G.W. Bridge, as well as issues coming from a conservative family life. Maybe Ravi's actions had no influence on Clementi's suicide. There's a bit of immaturity on both sides as well. I think "sexiling" your roommate multiple times so early in the school year, is extremely disrespectful. That goes regardless of sexual orientation. I had roommates in college who brought questionable partners home for hookups. But we at least had an understanding, and it was certainly after we had a chance to get to know one another. But maybe Tyler was experimenting and taking advantage of his relative freedom? There's no harm in that, but it illustrates more about his home and family life than anything else.
The webcam angle also seems overblown. Dharun was most-likely venting about being booted from the room, but relishing the fact that the drama provided a attention/bragging opportunity. He may have also been trying to demonstrate his tech-prowess. But as the New Yorker article referenced, there was "no posting, no observed sex, and no closet."
Homophobic? Hate crime? I don't think so. I just think there was an extreme lack of respect and understanding between the two. But the case has been politicized and we'll have to see how it plays out...
Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian