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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not The Wild Wild West

The latest scandal in the realm of bullies, victims, and those who hate the whole process happened recently in Maryland.  A mother who was sick of seeing her young son bullied challenged the neighborhood bully, with his gang in tow, to fight her son on his front lawn.  Someone captured this with a cell phone cam, and the mother can be heard exhorting her son to stand up and fight the bully (even while he's asking Mom to please help him), and threatening the bully with what he'll face if he doesn't stop screwing with her son.

Now guys, we all know it's not easy to take the higher road.  We'd all rather be like Rambo in the original "First Blood," and just take down everyone who messes with us, even if it's a whole town.  We'd all rather be like the little kid in "A Christmas Story" and go off on the bully when he least expects it, and leave him crying and bleeding like he deserves.

Only problem is, we don't live in a movie.  We also don't live in a comic book, or in the Old West, or in prison.  We do not live in a "survival of the fittest" state of nature.  We live in a civilized society with laws.  And the gangsters out there know this, so the minute we try to lay the smackdown on them, they will play victim, and they will probably win, too!

Most parents don't want their children to be victims.  But if a parent gets involved that much, knowing full well that his or her is not violent, and not predisposed to go for the jugular (unlike bullies, who have no conscience), it's his or her fault if her child gets hurt.  You don't send soldiers to the front lines with no weapons, no tactics, and no training.  Why would you send your child into a fight if he or she can't handle himself?  And more importantly, how does that make you any better than the bullies' parents, who have been letting him or her get away with that crap since birth?

I know a few parents who actually teach their children self-defense.  It's not a nice thought to imagine that parents are telling kids how to fight, because we all know that this is what Mommy Gangster (and Daddy Gangster, if he's still around) have been tolerating from or encouraging from Baby Gangster.  Only problem is, if they don't know how to fight at all, they really will get hurt, even if a parent doesn't encourage it.  So until the Gangster family takes responsibility for their actions, children unfortunately have to be taught to defend themselves.

If only our friends, the school administrators, would really follow through on anti-bullying programs, this would not be necessary.  Instead of punishing both parties, and chiding them for not relying on the system (while simultaneously proving that the system doesn't work), how about (a) just punishing the bullies; and (b) following through to prevent retaliation; and (c) holding parents responsible for what Baby Gangster does when he's OFF school property!  Instead of worrying only about keeping students quiet and orderly, they need to worry about "solving" these problem children!

Just for the record, I don't think violence against violence is the smartest way to solve problems.  Many children don't know this, but colleges not only see their academic transcripts, but sometimes they also ask to see their disciplinary records.  That's right, kids, the admissions office could decide that actually don't want too many drunks and troublemakers on their campus, and reject kids who can't control themselves.  Sometimes keeping your reputation clean is more important than being a tough guy.  Like I said, we don't live in a comic book, and Wolverine didn't go to college.

Nevertheless, if your child is faced with a bully who does more than taunt, shout, and shove, he or she has to be ready for it.  We all know school administrations don't care "who started it," and will NEVER be motivated to punish bullying no matter HOW many laws or rules are enacted unless they face consequences for their own negligence.  I don't mean beat your chest and act like your tough and bad ass -- that's what the bullies do, and we're not them.  Just protect yourself, and hold them off until someone with a brain arrives and gives Baby Gangster what he deserves.

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