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Nov 20: "Kick A Ginger Day"


kimmy

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How non-violent of you to wish, as an adult, for the opportunity to have attacked those who 'so much as looked at you funny' -- for dying yourself red, no less -- as you criticize kids who engaged in violence.

:rolleyes:

I hate bullies.

We moved around a lot, and at each new school my little brother was a target for bullies. Sometimes even I was a target for bullies, as people wanted to put "the new kid" in her place and probably figured I was an easy target as I look like a creme-puff. As a result, I had plenty of first-hand opportunity to confront bullies. Did I used hugs? Role-playing? Bring in counsellors to work out a non-confrontational solution? I'm just not that high-minded... I used judo.

It might not be the politically correct thing to do. But I can report that people stopped messing with my brother once they'd seen what happened once I got involved.

As someone who's stood in the middle of that circle of pushing and taunting kids, I completely empathized with the kids in these stories, and wished I could have been there to be on their side.

-k

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Guest American Woman
I hate bullies.

As someone who's stood in the middle of that circle of pushing and taunting kids, I completely empathized with the kids in these stories, and wished I could have been there to be on their side.

Fine and dandy, but desiring to have 'dished out beat downs' to anyone you think had merely 'looked at you funny' makes you a bully, and the irony of that is what I was commenting on; especially since you're reacting as an adult while they were reacting as kids.

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However: it's clearly not a kids show. Kids are dumb. Kids don't understand satire.

-k

Its their parents that usually don't get it. I'll never forget how a few of the older kids in our elementary school got into trouble when the plywood Stan and Kenny cross-walk 'guardians' were hit by a car one day. Predictably the kindergarten kids learned the word bastards that day.

Sure enough, Kenny was on the job the next day.

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Fine and dandy, but desiring to have 'dished out beat downs' to anyone you think had merely 'looked at you funny' makes you a bully, and the irony of that is what I was commenting on; especially since you're reacting as an adult while they were reacting as kids.

When I said "anybody who looked at me funny," that was hyperbole, my friend. Along the same lines as "anybody who touched a single hair on my head" or "anybody who so much as laid a finger on me." Had I known I'd be in for a dose of your painful literalism, I would have said "I'd have colored my hair red and provided vigorous retaliation against anyone who confronted me with Kick A Ginger Day aggression." And I would have. And they'd have had it coming.

I did indeed find it tremendously satisfying to cause pain, fear, and humiliation to those who had sent my little brother home crying or who had tried to rough me up. I probably enjoyed that far more than I ought to have. That could indicate that I'm not a very nice person. Perhaps it proves that I'm just plain mean. I've never represented myself to be some paragon of virtue, or a pacifist, or a role-model for the peaceful student of tomorrow, or anything of the sort.

Does it make me a bully?

Some people certainly thought so. That view was usually articulated by the parents of kids who'd lost fights with me. Personally, I don't agree. Personally, I think that the definition of a bully requires some sort of motivation. Whenever I have fought, outside of the realm of competition at least, it has always been with pure motives.

Kids who made my brother's life a nightmare deserved what they got. Kids who tried to pick fights with me because they thought I looked weak deserved what they got.

What they got, aside from a lesson in high-calibre judo, was an important life lesson. And they're probably lucky they learned it from me instead of somebody even meaner.

-k

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Its their parents that usually don't get it. I'll never forget how a few of the older kids in our elementary school got into trouble when the plywood Stan and Kenny cross-walk 'guardians' were hit by a car one day. Predictably the kindergarten kids learned the word bastards that day.

Sure enough, Kenny was on the job the next day.

:lol: A "Kenny" crosswalk guardian sounds like a recipe for disaster.

-k

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South Park is known for relentless satire on just about any controversial topic. Anything from racism to religion to political correctness is ridiculed without mercy.

The show is often controversial and often generates debate about whether they go "too far" or whether there's even such thing as "too far".

However: it's clearly not a kids show. Kids are dumb. Kids don't understand satire.

First of all, if the show is filled with "satire on just about any controversial topic", why this particular topic? Presumably South Park has satirized blondes, fat people, the French. Why are you suddenly concerned about ginger people?

"Kids don't understand satire."

I agree. But so what?

The difference between satire and sarcasm is the difference between surgery and butchery. — Edward Nichols
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Whether parody, sarcasm or satire, in all cases, it involves one saying something that is false when it is obviously true, or vice versa. I look at the sky and say, "What a beautiful green sky today!"

The reason teenagers are sarcastic is because children don't understand sarcasm. Teenagers want to show that they are no longer children. (Try this experiment with a 14 year old and an 8 year old: spill something and say, "Smart move." Look at the faces.)

I generally don't want watch TV but I know of South Park because of youtube. To me, South Park is adolescent. It uses sarcasm (satire?) to prove that it is not a children's cartoon. And that's all it does.

----

Irony? That's sarcasm with an audience. The characters believe the statement is true but the audience knows that it's false. (I use the last of the milk, say "Smart move" and then discover that I poured orange juice in my coffee.)

In the Disney movie Enchanted, at the end, one character talks about love and another says, "you said that without a trace of irony." When I heard that line, I wondered. The scriptwriter couldn't put "sarcasm". But in fact, that's what is intended.

We live in a satiric age. We laugh at children. And the Gods laugh at us.

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Guest American Woman

When I said "anybody who looked at me funny," that was hyperbole, my friend. Along the same lines as "anybody who touched a single hair on my head" or "anybody who so much as laid a finger on me." Had I known I'd be in for a dose of your painful literalism, I would have said "I'd have colored my hair red and provided vigorous retaliation against anyone who confronted me with Kick A Ginger Day aggression." And I would have. And they'd have had it coming.

No one has a right to touch a single hair on your head or to lay a finger on you. They do, however, have the right to look at you funny, so your initial choice of words, hyperbole aside, is telling. Furthermore, since you find my "literalism" to be "painful," I suggest you toughen up a bit, because in light of your reaction, "you had it coming." B)

I did indeed find it tremendously satisfying to cause pain, fear, and humiliation to those who had sent my little brother home crying or who had tried to rough me up. I probably enjoyed that far more than I ought to have. That could indicate that I'm not a very nice person. Perhaps it proves that I'm just plain mean.

So you enjoyed "roughing kids up" when they "had it coming." You were a kid then yourself, but since you're now an adult, I find your attitude, as you criticize kids, ironic. Have you managed to comprehend that that's what my comments were/continue to be about? :rolleyes:

I will add that the kids who did the shooting at Columbine were bullied. They thought the other kids 'had it coming,' too. So there is such a thing as carrying the "they had it coming" attitude too far.

And since you continue to go on and on about this, I will add that I do find your attitude, as an adult, inappropriate. Seems to me a better outlet for your anger would be to mentor kids who are bullied or to be part of 'bully awareness,' working with kids who are bullies, rather than harboring the desire to beat them up. Fact is, you're an adult now, and there reaches a point when it's time to let the past go or do something productive with one's feelings; it's far better than remaining bitter and angry.

I've never represented myself to be some paragon of virtue, or a pacifist, or a role-model for the peaceful student of tomorrow, or anything of the sort.

And I've never mistaken you for such a person. :D What you are is an adult who reacted violently as you criticized kids for reacting violently. And again. That was, and remains to be, my main point. So carry on if you must, but my point has been made.

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And since you continue to go on and on about this, I will add that I do find your attitude, as an adult, inappropriate. Seems to me a better outlet for your anger would be to mentor kids who are bullied or to be part of 'bully awareness,' working with kids who are bullies, rather than harboring the desire to beat them up. Fact is, you're an adult now, and there reaches a point when it's time to let the past go or do something productive with one's feelings; it's far better than remaining bitter and angry.

Oh, I dunno. I was bullied as a child. I've never forgotten, or forgiven either. There are people walking around today that I cheerfully would walk past as they were dying of thirst. I wouldn't give them the sweat off my back.

You have to have experienced such bullying to understand. Those who haven't have literally no concept of how it makes you feel. Worse yet, there's some kind of crazy idea that the victim just needs to "stand up for himself", ignoring that bullies aren't stupid and rarely bully someone their physical equal.

So I would have been there cheering Kimmy on! Adults, teachers and other authority figures usually prove useless at protecting victims. They focus on the bulliess, making them sit though anger management sessions as the bullies simply use the time for a nap and then go back out onto the playground to resume bullying the same victims. When my daughters began school I would walk them in and from what I witnessed things are still the same today.

What some folks don't seem to be able to understand is that kids are kids, by definition! Their brains are not developed enough to reason like adults. Child bullies bully because they CAN! They have learned to enjoy it and there is no real deterrence that they can understand. "Anger management" just goes over their heads.

When a brain is that undeveloped often the only deterrence the child can understand is physical. If giving pain results in receiving pain the lesson is simple enough that the bully can understand.

It always seems that protecting the victims is considered secondary. Rehabilitating the bullies is the focus. The excuse given is that this is more effective in the long term. Perhaps it is, although I don't believe that myself. What is obvious is that other children continue to be victimized over the long term.

Victim children in effect are taught that they are victims twice, that authority figures will NOT protect them!

Frankly AW, you sound rather naive!

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Guest American Woman

Oh, I dunno. I was bullied as a child. I've never forgotten, or forgiven either. There are people walking around today that I cheerfully would walk past as they were dying of thirst. I wouldn't give them the sweat off my back.

And you suffer for that, as life goes on for them without a thought of you. So who's being hurt? You think it's good to harbor that anger and bitterness? Or do you think perhaps, as I suggested, it would be better to channel it towards something constructive? And remember, as you yourself have stated, they were children when they bullied you; children, as you yourself have stated, with "undeveloped brains." So having ill feelings towards them as adults is rather pointless.

You have to have experienced such bullying to understand. Those who haven't have literally no concept of how it makes you feel. Worse yet, there's some kind of crazy idea that the victim just needs to "stand up for himself", ignoring that bullies aren't stupid and rarely bully someone their physical equal.

I think bullying is a real problem that needs to be properly addressed. I don't begrudge a child who 'fights back' by any means, but I wasn't responding to a child here, and I would hope an adult wouldn't have the 'I'm gonna kick anyone's ass who looks at me wrong because they deserve it' attitude that too often leads to further violence; violence that goes too far. That's been my point. Have you missed that? That 'they deserve it!' attitude from kids who are bullied can be dangerous, and I cited an example, so that's not the the "solution" to fixing the problem.

So I would have been there cheering Kimmy on!

Good for you, but that's not what my response was in regards to. I never said kids shouldn't fight back, but harboring the desire to beat them up, and loving it, I see that as a problem; especially in an adult.

Adults, teachers and other authority figures usually prove useless at protecting victims.

Which is why I suggested getting involved in that area rather than harboring the desire to beat kids up. You don't think that's a good suggestion? Why?

They focus on the bulliess, making them sit though anger management sessions as the bullies simply use the time for a nap and then go back out onto the playground to resume bullying the same victims. When my daughters began school I would walk them in and from what I witnessed things are still the same today.

All the more reason for people to get involved, wouldn't you say? Kimmy herself said she wanted to be there for the kids, and I see being there for them in ways other than 'helping beat the crap out of anyone who dared look at them wrong' would be the way to go. If you think that's wrong, then I think that attitude is part of the problem.

What some folks don't seem to be able to understand is that kids are kids, by definition!

Exactly. So I find it odd that an adult would still be thinking/wanting to respond like a kid.

Their brains are not developed enough to reason like adults. Child bullies bully because they CAN! They have learned to enjoy it and there is no real deterrence that they can understand. "Anger management" just goes over their heads.

How would you know? Have you ever tried mentoring a bully? Furthermore, I'm not so sure bullies "enjoy" it in the true sense of enjoyment. I think kids bully because of lack of self-esteem/unhappiness. Anyone who is content and happy and feels good about themself has no need to bully. Bullies need to bully in order to feel good about themselves.

When a brain is that undeveloped often the only deterrence the child can understand is physical. If giving pain results in receiving pain the lesson is simple enough that the bully can understand.

And sometimes, because the child who is bullied is also dealing with an undeveloped brain, physically reacting to bullying goes too far. Did you miss that in my previous post? This is why the "enjoying dishing out violence/they deserve it" attitude is dangerous. It's why the problem needs to be addressed beyond "beating bullies up."

It always seems that protecting the victims is considered secondary.

Not to me it isn't, but I don't think instilling a love for beating the crap out of people is a necessary response and I don't think that attitude 'helps' the victim. There's more involved as I've already stated.

Rehabilitating the bullies is the focus. The excuse given is that this is more effective in the long term. Perhaps it is, although I don't believe that myself. What is obvious is that other children continue to be victimized over the long term.

You say "perhaps it is," although you personally don't believe it. But I'll repeat your words: "perhaps it is," so at the very least it should be part of dealing with the problem, along with proper punishment. The trouble is, not all children are able to beat the bully up when they fight back, and sometimes weapons become involved, and the result is disastrous; especially when the 'they deserve it' attitude goes too far.

I repeat. I don't see an adult advocating violence as a solution as the right attitude. If you do, so be it. I guess that's why this remains such a problem, if this is the solution that adults are advocating.

Victim children in effect are taught that they are victims twice, that authority figures will NOT protect them!

Yet my suggestion was to get involved; to help those who have been bullied. That would, to my way of thinking, show them that authority figures/adults do care; and it would also help their self esteem, as they hopefully would get some understanding of bullies and why they bully, so they don't take it so personally, and they themselves don't grow up bitter and angry. Growing up angry, holding on to feelings of bitterness, only victimizes someone further.

Frankly AW, you sound rather naive!

Frankly WB, I think you're wrong.

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And you suffer for that, as life goes on for them without a thought of you. So who's being hurt? You think it's good to harbor that anger and bitterness? Or do you think perhaps, as I suggested, it would be better to channel it towards something constructive? And remember, as you yourself have stated, they were children when they bullied you; children, as you yourself have stated, with "undeveloped brains." So having ill feelings towards them as adults is rather pointless.

I think bullying is a real problem that needs to be properly addressed. I don't begrudge a child who 'fights back' by any means, but I wasn't responding to a child here, and I would hope an adult wouldn't have the 'I'm gonna kick anyone's ass who looks at me wrong because they deserve it' attitude that too often leads to further violence; violence that goes too far. That's been my point. Have you missed that? That 'they deserve it!' attitude from kids who are bullied can be dangerous, and I cited an example, so that's not the the "solution" to fixing the problem.

Good for you, but that's not what my response was in regards to. I never said kids shouldn't fight back, but harboring the desire to beat them up, and loving it, I see that as a problem; especially in an adult.

Which is why I suggested getting involved in that area rather than harboring the desire to beat kids up. You don't think that's a good suggestion? Why?

All the more reason for people to get involved, wouldn't you say? Kimmy herself said she wanted to be there for the kids, and I see being there for them in ways other than 'helping beat the crap out of anyone who dared look at them wrong' would be the way to go. If you think that's wrong, then I think that attitude is part of the problem.

Exactly. So I find it odd that an adult would still be thinking/wanting to respond like a kid.

How would you know? Have you ever tried mentoring a bully? Furthermore, I'm not so sure bullies "enjoy" it in the true sense of enjoyment. I think kids bully because of lack of self-esteem/unhappiness. Anyone who is content and happy and feels good about themself has no need to bully. Bullies need to bully in order to feel good about themselves.

And sometimes, because the child who is bullied is also dealing with an undeveloped brain, physically reacting to bullying goes too far. Did you miss that in my previous post? This is why the "enjoying dishing out violence/they deserve it" attitude is dangerous. It's why the problem needs to be addressed beyond "beating bullies up."

Not to me it isn't, but I don't think instilling a love for beating the crap out of people is a necessary response and I don't think that attitude 'helps' the victim. There's more involved as I've already stated.

You say "perhaps it is," although you personally don't believe it. But I'll repeat your words: "perhaps it is," so at the very least it should be part of dealing with the problem, along with proper punishment. The trouble is, not all children are able to beat the bully up when they fight back, and sometimes weapons become involved, and the result is disastrous; especially when the 'they deserve it' attitude goes too far.

I repeat. I don't see an adult advocating violence as a solution as the right attitude. If you do, so be it. I guess that's why this remains such a problem, if this is the solution that adults are advocating.

Yet my suggestion was to get involved; to help those who have been bullied. That would, to my way of thinking, show them that authority figures/adults do care; and it would also help their self esteem, as they hopefully would get some understanding of bullies and why they bully, so they don't take it so personally, and they themselves don't grow up bitter and angry. Growing up angry, holding on to feelings of bitterness, only victimizes someone further.

Frankly WB, I think you're wrong.

And I still think you're naive! I can't comment on how things are done in your country but I have some experience with the way things are done in my neighbourhood. I've seen one poor 8 year old who had been persistently bullied at my daughter's school, time and time again gone to the principal with his parents. The 12 year old bully would be given yet another anger management session and the next day he would beat up the 8 year old for "tattling". One day the victim child attempted to fight back and was seen by a teacher on playground supervising duty. The 8 year old was hauled up before the principal and HE was given an anger management session!

The parents finally sent their child to a different school, where fortunately there have been no such problems!

Why get involved only to tilt at windmills? Trying to fight "city hall" is very time intensive and far from an easy task. I simply don't have the time or energy left to become some kind of "bully mentor" as you suggest. I'm too busy trying to bring home the bacon. What's more, I don't see why anyone should have to do such! We pay taxes to our school system. The system has an obligation to provide a safe environment for our children. They should do their jobs!

When the system doesn't do its job, that forces citizens into vigilantism. Not because they want to do it but just because how else can they protect victims? If you have to get personally involved, then it only makes sense to take actions that are immediate and effective in stopping the bullying. In my community, you can't even expel a bully. The worry is that it might hurt the bully's education. My answer to that is, so what? A bully is ruining the educational experience for a NUMBER of victims! Expel the bully immediately. If his parents are worried about his education, let them pay for private tutoring.

If you have that kind of spare time to take on "city hall" then perhaps YOU should do it! Nothing's easier than coming up with some great idea for SOMEONE ELSE to have to do!

What you don't seem to understand is that to a victim bullying appears to be "crossing the line" between bestial and human. I had very few fights as a child once I realized that there was no moral reason to show restraint against a bully. There was no need to fight fair. If authority would not protect you then there were no restraints on how you protected yourself. A bit of creativity and you could arrange to have the bully hurt far worse than he hurt you!

Most interesting, those childhood bullies who experienced that form of retaliation became quite civilized individuals as adults. I'm still friends with some of them! Yet of those I know who never experienced such retaliation they seem to be not much different as adults than they were as childhood bullies.

I can agree with you in theory that feelings of revenge are not necessarily positive motivators but I find them perfectly understandable. It is an outgrowth of the frustration of experiencing the negative consequences of "anger management" behavioral techniques that never seem to actually WORK outside of an ivory tower, assuming you define "work" as protecting the victims first and foremost.

It's just part of being human. I make no apologies for it. Why do audiences cheer for Steven Segal? Why is the noble defender such a box office draw? We older hippies still remember how Billy Jack would defend the hippy commune from the local rednecks, giving them back a taste of their own violent medicine.

Where do you buy those rose coloured glasses today, AW?

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I can agree with you in theory that feelings of revenge are not necessarily positive motivators but I find them perfectly understandable.

By the tokens above and below, it stands to reason you must understand the root causes of so much of today's terrorism.

What you don't seem to understand is that to a victim bullying appears to be "crossing the line" between bestial and human. I had very few fights as a child once I realized that there was no moral reason to show restraint against a bully. There was no need to fight fair. If authority would not protect you then there were no restraints on how you protected yourself. A bit of creativity and you could arrange to have the bully hurt far worse than he hurt you!

Perhaps Morris' comment about righteousness was a little premature.

Edited by eyeball
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By the tokens above and below, it stands to reason you must understand the root causes of so much of today's terrorism.

Perhaps Morris' comment about righteousness was a little premature.

Were YOU bullied as a child, Eyeball? Do you have a personal perspective?

Or perhaps you were on the other side of the equation and don't want to accept any guilt.

Whatever. I never considered my feelings at the time to be righteous. I simply wanted to get through a pain free day.

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Were YOU bullied as a child, Eyeball? Do you have a personal perspective?

I was somewhat bullied at home. I had an uncle who was a bit of a mean drunk and when him and Dad got together to drink ol' uncle Dave would try to tease me and goad my father into making sure I would be tough enough to defend myself in the event I was bullied. It was a little weird.

Or perhaps you were on the other side of the equation and don't want to accept any guilt.

I was the first born amongst all my brothers and cousins and was often given the job of watching out for the others, such as when the drinking started. If did get a little heavy handed I was only following orders ... B) OTOH maybe I was just following a poor example.

Whatever. I never considered my feelings at the time to be righteous. I simply wanted to get through a pain free day.

I moved around a lot as a kid and I was usually too busy trying to deal with the challenges from new kids than doing much challenging myself. Unfortunately I became more interested in drinking but fortunately I was a cheap drunk and usually got sick before I could get mean.

My kids never moved once and attended the same schools throughout their childhoods and I don't think they've ever seen me drunk as I pretty much grew out of that before they were born. We live next door to a native reserve and my kids rode the buses every single day without a single incident of bullying despite their being heavily outnumbered. I was routinely asked about this by friends and especially old-timers in the area who worried that the native kids would beat up on the non-natives but there just weren't any problems at all. When I moved here as a kid there was a lot of fighting between local native and non-native kids and even adults. Friday night at the pub was often also known as fight night. That's just not anywhere near as prevalent as it used to be although there still seems to be an certain number of local toughs who always seem to get a little too full of themselves from time to time - like the deckhands I had this summer... Very very hard workers but also very very hard partier's.

My youngest son is a big skookum lad (a young man now) who's occasionally found himself in the role of peacemaker and he seems to have performed this 'duty' in a commendable manner.

Edited by eyeball
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TV satire could lead to real-world bullying.

TV satire like South Park is just a thing, its what people do with the impressions it leaves that count. If the kids in my little town are anything to go by they've been far to busy pissing themselves laughing than being inspired to become bullies. I don't buy the assertion at all.

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First of all, if the show is filled with "satire on just about any controversial topic", why this particular topic? Presumably South Park has satirized blondes, fat people, the French. Why are you suddenly concerned about ginger people?

Good grief, August, didn't you read any of the thread?

The concern for ginger kids is because this has become a fad that has prompted dozens of real-world attacks-- last year in Canada, and this year in Canada and the United States as well.

The satire was not directed at "ginger kids". The satire was of hate speech and granfalloonery: Cartman, one central characters, incites hatred of "ginger kids", then is inexplicably stricken with "gingervitis" and becomes a "ginger kid" himself. Experiencing life as a ginger kid, Cartman becomes angry and resentful, and rallies the other ginger kids to lash out at their oppressors, with Nazi-like unity and ruthlessness. When his friends reveal that his red hair and freckles are actually a result of hair dye and ink they used on him while he was asleep, Cartman becomes worried for his own safety and reveals to his ginger followers a new vision: everyone must get along.

-k

Edited by kimmy
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We have a message board where people argue passionately about events on the other side of the world and issues that will never affect them personally.

If there are people here who genuinely don't understand that people have intense feelings about things that have actually affected them and their families, I guess I have nothing at all to say to those people.

***

AW mentions Columbine as an example of people going "too far" in lashing out at their tormentors. Well, of course. Nobody deserved to die and things should have never got that far. But Columbine was really kind of a watershed for peoples' understanding that there's an actual issue. It's terrible that it took something so horrible to wake people up, but it did.

And this is something Wild Bill references: it just doesn't register with people until they see it for themselves. People lack empathy. They lack understanding. The parents of the bullies and the school officials might think they understand the issue, but they don't. Not unless they've seen their own kid trying to fake illness each morning because he's afraid of what's going to happen to him if he goes to school that day, not unless they've seen their own kid come home from school each day and lock himself in his room and cry for hours.

When the principal wants to know "why didn't you tell me things had gotten to this level?" what he really means is "why didn't I listen to you when you told me things had gotten to this level?"

When a bully's parents say "This wasn't a big issue until that little monster brutalized my son," what they really mean is "I didn't think this was a big issue until that little monster brutalized my son."

How, other than experiencing it for themselves, can these people understand that it *is* a big issue? When it affects their own kid, suddenly it takes on some urgency for the other parents. When he's got police in his office, suddenly it takes on some urgency for the principal.

It's unfortunate that things had to escalate to create some urgency to solve the problem, but it did, and the problem was solved.

What I know is this: weeks of meetings with the school, weeks of assurances that "we're talking to the students involved" and "we're talking to their parents" and "we're doing our best" accomplished absolutely nothing. But I turn one kid's face into bolognese sauce, and it's like magic. Suddenly my little brother doesn't get beat up anymore, suddenly he's not afraid to go to school, suddenly he doesn't come home crying, suddenly he can have friends and have a normal school experience.

If meetings with parents and counsellors and mediation and all of this is such an effective means of dealing with bullies, how come it accomplished nothing in weeks... while just one good old fashioned curb-stomping solved the problem in just one day?

I think Wild Bill is right about consequences too. Whatever the consequences of bullying are, they're obviously not much of a deterrent. Why's he doing it? Probably so his friends will think he's a bad-ass. I think they're more or less a joke to the kids involved. "Oh yeah, and there was this role playing session with the counsellor and it was so lame..." Something he can brag about to his friends to make himself seem like even more of a bad-ass. On the other hand, there's absolutely nothing *less* bad-ass than getting your face pounded by a wimpy nerd's sister in front of half the school. The real consequence that made a difference: pain, obviously... but equally important, loss of face.

Take part in anti-bullying activities? Mentor a bully? The lesson people seem to want to provide bullies is that if you hurt people, you'll have to sit through some really boring lectures. I can't abide that. I doubt there's any "anti-bullying program" I could be involved with that would provide the lessons I feel ought to be provided, which are the age old ones: treat people as you'd be treated... live by the sword and you'll die by the sword... push people far enough and they'll push back... and no matter how tough you are there's always somebody tougher. The only mentoring a bully really needs is first-had knowledge of what it's like to be on the receiving end, and it's just not appropriate for me to provide that. The only anti-bullying activities I will be involved in is this: the kimlets-- if godforbid I should at some point reproduce, god help us all-- I'll start teaching the kimlets judo when they're about 5. I'll probably hold off on teaching them boxing until they're 9 or 10. That'll be my way of reducing bullying in my community.

One day last winter I was at a bus terminal and a couple of kids had taken a smaller kids' cap and were playing keep-away and taunting him and it was obvious that the smaller kid was not at all part of the "fun". When one of the keep-away kids came within reach I snatched his backpack and slung it over my own shoulder. "Heeeey, give it back!" he demanded. "Make me," I replied. It was almost as if a little light went on somewhere inside his little head. Negotiations ensued... the kid got his backpack back, in exchange for returning the other kid's hat and saying sorry. That was probably terrrribly inappropriate of me, but I think it was a learning experience.

-k

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Guest American Woman

And I still think you're naive! I can't comment on how things are done in your country but I have some experience with the way things are done in my neighbourhood. [...]

Why get involved only to tilt at windmills? Trying to fight "city hall" is very time intensive and far from an easy task.

No one said it wouldn't take time and/or be easy. If there were a quick, simple solution, I daresay the problem wouldn't exist. As for "why," I would think that would be obvious.

I simply don't have the time or energy left to become some kind of "bully mentor" as you suggest. I'm too busy trying to bring home the bacon. What's more, I don't see why anyone should have to do such! We pay taxes to our school system. The system has an obligation to provide a safe environment for our children. They should do their jobs!

You don't see why anyone should have to do such? How about because those you say are in charge of the problem aren't effectively dealing with the problem? So no one has the time or energy to actually deal with the problem, or apparently the desire to even try to do something about the problem, yet they complain and criticize.

When the system doesn't do its job, that forces citizens into vigilantism. Not because they want to do it but just because how else can they protect victims?

I already gave you examples other than "vigilantism," which, I've already pointed out, can lead to disastrous results.

If you have to get personally involved, then it only makes sense to take actions that are immediate and effective in stopping the bullying.

That might make sense to you, but it doesn't solve the problem. If a kid is able to take on the bully, the bully will likely just move on to a weaker target, until the end result can be weapons or who knows what. Anyone who encourages their child to fight, especially anyone who 'looks at them funny,' is putting their child in potential danger. Again, I'm not knocking a child who fights back; I'll repeat yet again in hopes that it sinks in that my comments were in regards to an adult whose 'answer' is to 'beat down' kids and who apparently enjoys it. I feel that's a dangerous attitude to have, and I find it ironic coming from an adult who is criticizing kids for being violent. That was my initial observation in this thread and it hasn't changed.

In my community, you can't even expel a bully. The worry is that it might hurt the bully's education. My answer to that is, so what? A bully is ruining the educational experience for a NUMBER of victims! Expel the bully immediately. If his parents are worried about his education, let them pay for private tutoring.

I couldn't agree with you more. If the schools can't deal with a bully in a regular environment and they are concerned about his/her education, have special resources for them.

If you have that kind of spare time to take on "city hall" then perhaps YOU should do it! Nothing's easier than coming up with some great idea for SOMEONE ELSE to have to do!

Talk about a non-response. I'm not the one who said I wished I could have been there to beat kids up, am I? I'm not the one harboring bitterness and anger. My suggestions were good ones, which is perhaps why you aren't commenting on the actual suggestions, but are lashing out at me instead.

What you don't seem to understand is that to a victim bullying appears to be "crossing the line" between bestial and human. I had very few fights as a child once I realized that there was no moral reason to show restraint against a bully. There was no need to fight fair.

As has already been pointed out, that sounds a lot like what's going on in the world today. It's a recipe for school shootings and for terrorism. Once people don't think they have a moral obligation to be fair, anything and everything goes. It's why I feel this attitude is a dangerous attitude to have; especially in adults. This, also, has been my response. I have to wonder if you even take the time to digest what I've been saying.

If authority would not protect you then there were no restraints on how you protected yourself. A bit of creativity and you could arrange to have the bully hurt far worse than he hurt you!

See above.

I can agree with you in theory that feelings of revenge are not necessarily positive motivators but I find them perfectly understandable.

So you agree with me then. You agree that feelings of revenge aren't positive motivators. Odd that you would keep calling me naive in light of the fact that you agree with what I've said.

It is an outgrowth of the frustration of experiencing the negative consequences of "anger management" behavioral techniques that never seem to actually WORK outside of an ivory tower, assuming you define "work" as protecting the victims first and foremost.

School shootings and terrorism are also outgrowths of frustration. That's my point. There has to be another solution other than advocating violence in response to violence, especially when there are no moral restraints put on it.

It's just part of being human. I make no apologies for it.

A lot of people causing a lot of harm in the world make no apologies for it.

Why do audiences cheer for Steven Segal? Why is the noble defender such a box office draw? We older hippies still remember how Billy Jack would defend the hippy commune from the local rednecks, giving them back a taste of their own violent medicine.

You do realize that those are movies, not real life, right? They are an escape; they aren't solutions to real-life problems.

Where do you buy those rose coloured glasses today, AW?

In the USA, of course! ;)

As a side note, my daughter works with 'at risk' kids at the Jr. and Sr. high level in LA, and 'at risk' means emotional/behavioral problems. That's what the school is for, so the entire class/school consists of kids with problems. One of the teacher's husband, my daughter's friend, was shot and killed buying a sandwich at a local fast food place not all that long ago right near the school. The reason? He was wearing a jacket that gang members mistook for a rival gang. The next day my daughter, in telling her class of the suffering that this senseless act caused, had tough boys who tower over her, kids who are in gangs themselves, literally in tears.

Sometimes kids have no one else caring about them, teaching them what's right and wrong. Sometimes bullies, as I've already pointed out, have strong feelings of inadequacy. No one who feels good about themselves, their life, feels the need to bully. I notice you had nothing to say about that in your rush to simply call me naive.

I see bullying as a real problem. I don't see adults advocating unrestrained violence as the answer.

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Guest American Woman

By the tokens above and below, it stands to reason you must understand the root causes of so much of today's terrorism.

Perhaps Morris' comment about righteousness was a little premature.

I just want to point out that I was going to make the same observation, but you beat me to it.

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That might make sense to you, but it doesn't solve the problem. If a kid is able to take on the bully, the bully will likely just move on to a weaker target, until the end result can be weapons or who knows what. Anyone who encourages their child to fight, especially anyone who 'looks at them funny,' is putting their child in potential danger. Again, I'm not knocking a child who fights back; I'll repeat yet again in hopes that it sinks in that my comments were in regards to an adult whose 'answer' is to 'beat down' kids and who apparently enjoys it. I feel that's a dangerous attitude to have, and I find it ironic coming from an adult who is criticizing kids for being violent. That was my initial observation in this thread and it hasn't changed.

I couldn't agree with you more. If the schools can't deal with a bully in a regular environment and they are concerned about his/her education, have special resources for them.

Sometimes kids have no one else caring about them, teaching them what's right and wrong. Sometimes bullies, as I've already pointed out, have strong feelings of inadequacy. No one who feels good about themselves, their life, feels the need to bully. I notice you had nothing to say about that in your rush to simply call me naive.

Special resources? Why should MY taxes pay for another parent's dereliction of duty? That in itself defines your approach.

I perfectly understand you, AW. I simply don't agree with you! I don't think your 'solutions' work in protecting victims. I think they are 'touchy-feely' approaches that are idealistic and not practical.

When a child is being bullied, he or she wants it to stop NOW! They don't want a solution to be a long term process of trying to re-educate the bully. During that process the victim will still suffer. If the process is a failure the victim has endured the pain for nothing.

That seems to be the essence of what is being argued here. Reading your posts and Kimmy's reveals two entirely different perspectives. Kimmy is concerned first and foremost with the victims. You seem to be most concerned with the bullies.

You seem to believe that violence against bullies will only escalate their negative actions. That contradicts my own real-world experience. After a bully received a healthy dose of his or her own medicine I have never known them to seek easier prey. In every single instance I witnessed or directly experienced as a child the bully almost instantly stopped their negative behavior.

What's more, I have never seen a successful outcome to the approaches you have suggested.

When a bully is given immediate and reciprocal treatment in their own painful manner the lesson is both quick and powerful. There WILL be consequences for inappropriate behavior! NOW, and not later! Of course this will likely hurt the bully's self-image. It's supposed to! We all have problems but this is never an excuse to bully another human being. Making a bully feel shame, pain and embarrassment will likely block an inappropriate behaviour with bullying as an outlet for their problems. It would be nice if at that point the bully received help but that is a secondary goal. STOPPING the bullying is the immediate necessity!

This is one subject where I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, AW. My personal philosophy is very "utilitarian". I respect what works! I'm afraid I have essentially ZERO confidence in doing things your way.

If it's any consolation, in a school full of kids that believed as I do (and I daresay Kimmy as well) your own children would never be bullied! The same cannot be said for a school using your methods.

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Special resources? Why should MY taxes pay for another parent's dereliction of duty? That in itself defines your approach.

Yeah, my approach is to be more concerned about the bullying problem than I am my pocketbook. I care more about kids. Imagine that.

So. Another solution offered, another solution rejected by you. The first would take your time, which you aren't willing to give. The second might include some of your tax dollars, which you aren't willing to give.

Seems all you are willing to do is complain about the problem and everyone else not doing their job as you advocate violence without any moral compass as some sort in inane "solution."

I perfectly understand you, AW. I simply don't agree with you! I don't think your 'solutions' work in protecting victims. I think they are 'touchy-feely' approaches that are idealistic and not practical.

When a child is being bullied, he or she wants it to stop NOW! They don't want a solution to be a long term process of trying to re-educate the bully. During that process the victim will still suffer. If the process is a failure the victim has endured the pain for nothing.

If you don't "re-educate" the bully, the bully will not change and victims will continue to endlessly suffer. In the meantime, I've suggested help for the victim, but you rejected that, too.

That seems to be the essence of what is being argued here. Reading your posts and Kimmy's reveals two entirely different perspectives. Kimmy is concerned first and foremost with the victims. You seem to be most concerned with the bullies.

And you claim to understand me. Re-educating the bully does help the victim. Violence, especially excessive violence with no moral compass, could end up hurting many, many people. One doesn't know if the bully has a gun, a knife, whatever. When you encourage a child to fight as a solution, you are putting that child in what could be a very dangerous situation. So I care about the victim not being seriously injured or killed and I care about ending the problem of bullying by re-educating the bullies. If you can't see that as helping/caring about the victim, then you have blinders on or are willfully misrepresenting my concern.

You seem to believe that violence against bullies will only escalate their negative actions.

I not only "believe" it could; I know it could, as it has happened and continues to happen.

That contradicts my own real-world experience.

There are many, many things going on in the world that are outside your own real-world experience.

After a bully received a healthy dose of his or her own medicine I have never known them to seek easier prey. In every single instance I witnessed or directly experienced as a child the bully almost instantly stopped their negative behavior.

Yes, of course. A child filled with hate and violence is going to become instantly meek as a lamb once they are confronted with violence. We see it all the time. (And you call me naive??)

What's more, I have never seen a successful outcome to the approaches you have suggested.

There's apparently a lot you don't see.

When a bully is given immediate and reciprocal treatment in their own painful manner the lesson is both quick and powerful. There WILL be consequences for inappropriate behavior! NOW, and not later! Of course this will likely hurt the bully's self-image. It's supposed to!

Of course hurting a child's self image who is already bullying because of a bad self image is going to have wonderful consequences. But again, if you think every time a child confronts a bully the child doing the confronting beats the bully into submission, you are beyond naive. Furthermore, if you don't understand and address the fact that one or the other could be armed, or retaliate with lethal force, you are out of touch with reality.

We all have problems but this is never an excuse to bully another human being.

Whoever said there was an excuse for bullying? Of course there are no excuses. There's a difference between "excuses" and "reasons," and one would be wise to try to understand the reasons behind the behavior in an attempt to more effectively deal with the problem.

Making a bully feel shame, pain and embarrassment will likely block an inappropriate behaviour with bullying as an outlet for their problems. It would be nice if at that point the bully received help but that is a secondary goal. STOPPING the bullying is the immediate necessity!

Again, I disagree. You say a bully who was met with shame, pain and embarrassment suddenly stops being a bully, that you've never seen them seek out a weaker victim or bully again, but I have to assume that you don't follow all of these bullies around 24/7, so you'll have to pardon me for not taking your word for it; especially since I've seen the results of the 'I'm gonna take them down - they all deserve it' attitude.

This is one subject where I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, AW. My personal philosophy is very "utilitarian". I respect what works! I'm afraid I have essentially ZERO confidence in doing things your way.

We definitely will have to agree to disagree as I see you as completely off base in your advocating violence without moral compass as a "solution" to violence. I have zero confidence that beating up an angry child is going to result in a child who's no longer angry. But that aside, again, you are placing the victim in harm's way when you advocate they deal with a violent personality with more violence.

If it's any consolation, in a school full of kids that believed as I do (and I daresay Kimmy as well) your own children would never be bullied! The same cannot be said for a school using your methods.

What utter rubbish. In a school full of kids that believe as you do, there could very well be horrible results; violence involving weapons, violence resulting in someone getting badly injured, violence resulting in death. I already offered Columbine as an example, and that's but one example.

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Yeah, my approach is to be more concerned about the bullying problem than I am my pocketbook. I care more about kids. Imagine that.

So. Another solution offered, another solution rejected by you. The first would take your time, which you aren't willing to give. The second might include some of your tax dollars, which you aren't willing to give.

Seems all you are willing to do is complain about the problem and everyone else not doing their job as you advocate violence without any moral compass as some sort in inane "solution."

If you don't "re-educate" the bully, the bully will not change and victims will continue to endlessly suffer. In the meantime, I've suggested help for the victim, but you rejected that, too.

And you claim to understand me. Re-educating the bully does help the victim. Violence, especially excessive violence with no moral compass, could end up hurting many, many people. One doesn't know if the bully has a gun, a knife, whatever. When you encourage a child to fight as a solution, you are putting that child in what could be a very dangerous situation. So I care about the victim not being seriously injured or killed and I care about ending the problem of bullying by re-educating the bullies. If you can't see that as helping/caring about the victim, then you have blinders on or are willfully misrepresenting my concern.

(...)

Of course hurting a child's self image who is already bullying because of a bad self image is going to have wonderful consequences. But again, if you think every time a child confronts a bully the child doing the confronting beats the bully into submission, you are beyond naive. Furthermore, if you don't understand and address the fact that one or the other could be armed, or retaliate with lethal force, you are out of touch with reality.

(...)

Again, I disagree. You say a bully who was met with shame, pain and embarrassment suddenly stops being a bully, that you've never seen them seek out a weaker victim or bully again, but I have to assume that you don't follow all of these bullies around 24/7, so you'll have to pardon me for not taking your word for it; especially since I've seen the results of the 'I'm gonna take them down - they all deserve it' attitude.

(...)

We definitely will have to agree to disagree as I see you as completely off base in your advocating violence without moral compass as a "solution" to violence. I have zero confidence that beating up an angry child is going to result in a child who's no longer angry. But that aside, again, you are placing the victim in harm's way when you advocate they deal with a violent personality with more violence.

All of this seems predicated on the basic assumption that bullies have deep-rooted personal problems that must be resolved to change their behavior. That might be true for some of them, but I highly doubt it is true for most.

Observable evidence seems to indicate that for the most part the groups of bullies are comprised of happy and popular kids, not angry outcasts. Looking over many of the "kick a ginger" incidents for example, and you find groups of 8, 12, even 20 kids involved. It stretches the imagination to think that these were just big group-therapy sessions for kids who secretly have personal problems. You've mentioned Columbine... if I recall correctly Harris and Kliebold claimed that their tormentors were the jocks and cheerleaders and the most popular kids at their school. Obviously the manifesto of lunatics is not a trustworthy source as to what really happened at that school, but it again sounds more like the bullying problem, if there was one, came from the popular crowd and not from some isolated angry kids.

I think the far more plausible explanation is that they're doing it for the same reason kids play "mailbox golf" or some other reckless illegal prank. They know it's wrong, but they do it anyway because:

-they think it's fun or funny

-they think it makes them look cool, tough, bad-ass, or otherwise boosts their prestige among their peers

-their friends are doing it

-they don't believe they'll get caught or don't fear the punishment if they do

-they don't understand that what they're doing is serious.

-they don't understand that what they're doing can lead to serious consequences.

Every story like this of which I've been personally involved in and every one that I'm aware of always has some sort of explanation like "...we were just playing around, we didn't think it was a big deal until (until Jimmy committed suicide... until Jimmy brought a knife to school... until Jimmy's brother and 6 friends showed up and put Joey in the hospital...)"

These aren't psychologically damaged monsters. These are regular kids whose problem is ignorance. They feel terrible about their role in what happened once the story gets to the "until" part. When things get to the "until" part, they are rudely awakened and have no further wish to be part of anything like that again.

The problem is, until the "until" part of the story, they simply won't take it seriously. And unfortunately, it takes the "until" part of the story to get the school and their parents to take it seriously as well, or in many cases, for them to even find out about what's actually going on.

-k

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So you've decided you have something to say to me after all? ;)

All of this seems predicated on the basic assumption that bullies have deep-rooted personal problems that must be resolved to change their behavior. That might be true for some of them, but I highly doubt it is true for most.

Observable evidence seems to indicate that for the most part the groups of bullies are comprised of happy and popular kids, not angry outcasts.

"Popular" is not by any means synonymous with "happy." I'm aware that groups of bullies can be comprised of popular kids, but the "happy" part is an assumption on our part; we perceive being popular with being happy when we are kids, much as many adults perceive being rich with being happy, while one is most often not a guarantee of the other.

Looking over many of the "kick a ginger" incidents for example, and you find groups of 8, 12, even 20 kids involved. It stretches the imagination to think that these were just big group-therapy sessions for kids who secretly have personal problems.

I think a large percentage of young people today are struggling with "personal problems" to one extent or another. A lot of people tend to assume that everyone else is dripping with confidence and for the most part is sailing through life, but I think most kids are struggling with one thing or another. The idea that kids are happy just because they are popular, on the football team, a cheerleader is hard for me to fathom as I don't see those things as guarantees of happiness. One can be a member of one of those groups and still be insecure, pressured at home, struggling with divorced parents/step-parents, trying to stay thin, trying to maintain that popularity/position on the football/cheer-leading team. Often times, perhaps this is what defines their self worth to these kids.

You've mentioned Columbine... if I recall correctly Harris and Kliebold claimed that their tormentors were the jocks and cheerleaders and the most popular kids at their school. Obviously the manifesto of lunatics is not a trustworthy source as to what really happened at that school, but it again sounds more like the bullying problem, if there was one, came from the popular crowd and not from some isolated angry kids.

I never said bullies were "isolated" kids, and popular kids can be just as angry about personal issues as isolated kids can. I tend to believe Harris and Kliebold; I have no reason to doubt them. But violence sure wasn't the answer.

I think the far more plausible explanation is that they're doing it for the same reason kids play "mailbox golf" or some other reckless illegal prank. They know it's wrong, but they do it anyway because:

-they think it's fun or funny

-they think it makes them look cool, tough, bad-ass, or otherwise boosts their prestige among their peers

-their friends are doing it

-they don't believe they'll get caught or don't fear the punishment if they do

-they don't understand that what they're doing is serious.

-they don't understand that what they're doing can lead to serious consequences.

If kids are bullying because they think it makes them look cool, evidently they don't feel cool without the bullying, which supports my point. As for "their friends are doing it," again, if they had confidence in their own choices, they wouldn't be doing it; it's a need to be accepted.

Being kids with a not-fully-developed brain, they might or might not understand that what they are doing is serious/can lead to serious consequences, which would also apply to the kids who are 'retaliating with unrestrained violence with no moral compass,' which is why it is dangerous for kids to take that attitude. That has been, and remains to be, my main point. It's a bad situation for everyone.

As for not believing they'll get caught/be punished, I think if enough parents put pressure on the schools, this could change. If a football player/cheerleader/whatever knew they would have to miss a game if caught engaging in improper/cruel behavior, if the teachers knew it was expected of them to report this type of behavior when they observe it, perhaps that would help.

But regardless, beating up kids, encouraging other kids to put themselves in a dangerous situation, could very well led to harm. It's in effect encouraging the 'gang mentality.'

Furthermore, kids who develop an 'I'm gonna kick anyone's ass who looks at me funny,' and enjoys it, could very well be seeing "bullying" where none exists. After all, kids aren't always Mother Teresa, but that doesn't make them bullies, either. There is some gray area between the two.

These aren't psychologically damaged monsters.

No one said they were. They are kids, whose brains aren't fully developed, dealing with all sorts of personal issues along with all the changes they are going through physically/emotionally.

These are regular kids whose problem is ignorance.

So people should educate them. That's been my point.

They feel terrible about their role in what happened once the story gets to the "until" part. When things get to the "until" part, they are rudely awakened and have no further wish to be part of anything like that again.

Actually, some show no remorse. And sadly, that goes for some of the parents who encourage their kids to go after others as some sort of 'retaliation' for whatever.

The problem is, until the "until" part of the story, they simply won't take it seriously. And unfortunately, it takes the "until" part of the story to get the school and their parents to take it seriously as well, or in many cases, for them to even find out about what's actually going on.

Again, if there were outside pressure put on the schools, perhaps they would be more inclined to find ways to more effectively deal with the problem. As for parents of bullies, not so sure they would ever see their 'angel' as a problem. I think the parents of the bullied are the ones who are going to have to take a stand/be vocal. Be LOUD. Demand that the school takes steps to 'punish' those who are visibly doing the bulling. Be involved.

I do see bullying as a huge problem and have never indicated anything else. I truly feel for the kids who have to be subjected to it and empathize with all who are suffering. But I also realize that the bullies, too, are kids, and without proper guidance from someone somewhere, they likely aren't going to change; and I don't see adults advocating beating these kids up as a solution.

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I just want to point out that I was going to make the same observation, but you beat me to it.

Which observation, the one about understanding the root causes of terrorism or righteousness?

Bullying is certainly a word that has been used to describe the manner in which the west pursues its goals in much of the world. How much difference is there really between bullied kids who finally go postal or bullied people who go jihad? Its been my observation for some time now that the themes used to describe abused individuals, families, countries, cultures or people, not to mention the abusers and bullies are so similar as to be almost virtually identical.

I guess by drawing these parallels so often I must appear to be a bit of a thread hijacker, but I can't help it when these parallels are so glaringly obvious. I guess what really stands out is how oblivious so many people seem to be to them. South Park and satire in general is likewise either something people get or don't get.

Another comes to mind...the recollection of my uncle's goading me to become tougher and meaner so I could survive in the world reminds me of the way Canada as a country is so often told it needs to do the same for the very same reason. I still recall the vivid scars my uncle had on his face from someone who'd finally had enough and smacked him with a bottle or pool cue or something. I can see the utility in being tough but I'm not so sure about the wisdom of being mean.

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Another comes to mind...the recollection of my uncle's goading me to become tougher and meaner so I could survive in the world reminds me of the way Canada as a country is so often told it needs to do the same for the very same reason. I still recall the vivid scars my uncle had on his face from someone who'd finally had enough and smacked him with a bottle or pool cue or something. I can see the utility in being tough but I'm not so sure about the wisdom of being mean.

Exactly! Being tough is one thing but being mean or a bully is something quite different. I have no qualms about treating a bully badly but I would and do have tremendous guilt if I realize that I have been unfair to someone, even by mistake. It sounds like your uncle couldn't tell the difference. I hope getting his "comeuppance" taught him something.

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