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Monday, January 20, 2014

BULLIES - A cranky re-run

BULLIES

This re-run is from January 2012

Apparently one of the biggest problems our young people have today is bullying.  Bullying has always existed.  “Our Gang” comedy movie shorts had many episodes where Butch and Worm (Woim) picked unmercifully on Spanky, Alfalfa and other “Little Rascals”.  In my day there was always a kid that wanted your lunch money, or just pushed you around for the heck of it.   If bullying has always been around, why is it such a big problem today?

Back in the day, bullies could be avoided.  You could hide your lunch money, take a different route to school, or hang around in groups to avoid or discourage a bully.  Sometimes you just had to stand up to a bully.  You either socked him in the eye and he left you alone, or he socked you in the eye and that was usually the end of it.

Today, courtesy of computer and cellular technologies, bullying has reached a new level.  You can’t hide from computer social networks or text messaging.  It reaches you at school and at home, and reaches everyone you interact with as well.  Bullies have not gotten worse; technology has just made them more “productive”.

The internet has allowed bullies to do their thing 24/7.  Today’s bullies can torment with anonymity.   When Butch and Woim were torturing Spanky and Alfalfa they did it in private.  Their victims did not lose face in front of more than a few people, and they had the opportunity to fight back, however unsuccessful that may have been.

Victims of bullying today have their embarrassment plastered over Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  The world witnesses their torture.   The world views their weakness.  The world sees their shame.  It is more than many can endure.

Bullies today are no different from ages ago.  They are still spineless weaklings who boost their own sense of worth and esteem by beating down others whose weakness is of body or differences rather than of mind and spirit.  As the pistol has turned the young punk into a feared robber, and the nuclear bomb has turned the smallest rogue nation into a terrorist threat, so has technology  changed the bully from a nuisance to a demon.

The weak immature unfinished brain of the mean-spirited bully has  gone from an annoyance to be avoided and then pitied to a serious threat to taunt and destroy the defenseless and the “different.”

The tool used to make today’s bullies so effective was invented and developed by the same nerds, geeks and “different” people that are being bullied today.

I don’t have an answer to the bullying problem, but it cannot be brushed aside as something that all generations have endured.  It is no longer just a small pothole in the road to adulthood, it has been escalated by technology into a major threat to destroy lives. 

There was a time when you could argue that bullying in some ways made our youth stronger.  The claim could be made that bullying tempered the metal of the weak and prepared them for the world.  Today’s bullying technology has applied more stress than most metal can take. We can no longer look the other way.   A “boys will be boys” mentality can no longer be tolerated. 

Attitudes must be changed.       

11 comments:

  1. you're right. there is no escaping their tactics these days.

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  2. Well, I'm not sure this qualifies as "brushing it aside", (and it just might) but I'm of the opinion that we're raising a generation of whimps.
    Plain and simple. Stand up for yourself!
    Typically, those being bullied are smarter (or should be) than the bullies. There's always a way to outsmart a bully. And if it comes right down to it, just stand up to them. I've had to do it, when I was a young snot. Managed to come out the other end unscathed. Maybe I was lucky, who knows?
    In my adult life, I do seem to recall standing up to a fellow who had exactly a hundred pounds on me, and all I said was, "So what now, you gonna beat me up?. No problem, I could use a nice rest in hospital, and then when I get out, I know a really good civil litigator who would be quite happy to take your house from you. So go ahead."
    He thought better of it.
    I think once he understood that I wasn't afraid of him (and he had been in a few bust-ups) we got along just fine. Again, I suppose it could have gone either way.
    Now, going back to my original contention of our generation of whimps, I blame the "helicopter Moms" who are so afraid that their precious little darlins are going to be somehow scarred for life by some triviality, that those same little darlins never learn how to stand on their own two feet.
    It's an epidemic I tell ya!

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  3. How can I agree with both you AND Bob?

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  4. Up until now I've been blase about this attention on bullying but you make some good points. Technology is changing this into a more significant problem than it was in days past. I don't know what it will take to tackle this problem but it's good we're focused on it as a society.

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  5. I married a self confessed childhood bully. And no, they don't out grow it.
    Today however, bullying has reached a terrifying scale. It can reach a point where children take their own lives or even worse, strike back with guns taking lives of the innocent.

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  6. I agree, cyber-bullying is an insidious thing. And kids are cruel. That's a dangerous combination.

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  7. I can't agree 100 percent. Whatever happened to "sticks and stones?" It's not like you're getting a bucket of pig blood dumped on you at the prom. Sometimes you have to let things go. If it's not physical, you have to learn to tune some of it out. Who are you going to tattle to and get protection from every time someone hurts your feelings as you go through life? Don't let people make you feel inferior.

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  8. I know it's a surprise to say it, but for several years when I was younger I was bullied. Back then we just coped with and hoped they just went away. It stopped when I started dating my hubby who back in the day was in the "bad boy" class. I think people were too afraid to pick on me then. :) As an adult I have ran into my childhood bullies who have even stopped me to say hi as if they can't remember back in those days. The really sad thing is the number of young kids in this town who are committing suicide because of being bullied. :(

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  9. I think bullying is not worse today, but that we understand better how damaging it is. When I was a kid bullying was unofficially regarded as part of childhood and teachers didn't do that much about it. (We also had a couple of teachers who bullied the weaker students in their classes). I was terrified of an older boy at school when I was little who used to bully me, and my dad came to the playground and threatened him directly, said if he ever bothered me again he'd come back and break his legs. This supposedly fixed the problem or did he just turn his attention to someone else? Or was he damaged himself by his own experiences? These days it can seem like there's a bit of overkill/moral panic around bullying but at least schools actively manage it and at least we're all more aware and a but smarter about it now.

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  10. having been in the bullied crowd i can truly say that something fundamental has changed. i was fortunate enough to have mitigating circumstances but also lived in an age where discovered bullying was hammered hard. today bullying is poo-pood at best. all too often the bullied is punished more severely when they stand up than the bully can ever expect which is a recipe for excess revenge as we've seen several times.

    shake hands and shake it off. that was the mantra of one of the the local school supers and it almost ended in disaster.

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  11. Like Bob said, those being bullied are often smarter than the bully, so why don't they see the bullying for what it is and turn off the text message, the tweets, the facebook, ignore the whole thing and get on with life. Are they so insecure in themselves that they can't live without absolutely everyone liking them?
    I remember someone very popular in our workplace saying to me "I don't like you" and I replied I don't need you to like me. Took the wind right out of her sails.

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