Apparently, this is anti-bullying month. I could make some jokes about what are we going to do during the 11 pro-bullying months, but I’m not really in a joking mood. This is unusual, because I can usually joke about just about anything, and occasionally find myself being skewered for my lack of sensitivity.
The fact is, this gets to the heart of my problem with the ANTI-BULLYING agenda. As much as I believe that bullying is wrong, there is no way to completely prevent it – there is always going to be some level of bullying. As much as we need to try to stop bullies, I believe the real problem is that VICTIMS DON’T KNOW HOW TO REACT.
There are different levels of bullying, each requires a different response. Sometimes, you need to punch the bully in the nose to get your point across.
Oh, wait: in today’s PC climate, your child is no longer allowed to defend themselves. If a bully comes after your kid and he defends himself, BOTH of the students are violating a ZERO TOLERANCE, NO FIGHTING policy, and BOTH the bully and the victim will be punished.
ZERO TOLERANCE POLICIES are symptom of an inability to make judgments. Part of it is an intellectual failing – we are not training people to be able to use common sense. The biggest part is a failing of character – we have made people afraid to use their own judgment, to make a decision and stand by it. We are training ourselves to be constantly in retreat.
A PUNCH THROWN IN SELF-DEFENSE SHOULD NOT BE CRIMINALIZED. Of course, this is a variation of STAND YOUR GROUND, which drives some people crazy (if they weren’t already there.)
People who think this way also believe that if you pass laws to make guns illegal, there will be no more gun violence. As if criminals (or bullies) care about the rules. Why does this mindset insist on disarming the law-abiding? Tell me – how does a 100-pound woman defend herself against a 200-pound assailant – even if he’s un-armed? By pointing a finger at him and telling him he’s under citizen arrest? GUNS IN THE HANDS OF LAW-ABIDING CITIZENRY ARE A GOOD THING.
I will confess that I felt bullied recently when someone tried to get me to wear a specific color to prove that I’m opposed to bullying. I find it horribly intimidating to be pressured this way. Should I:
A) Complain about it to the authorities?
B) Get over it?
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but my country has turned into an easily offended, beaten up victim-hood. When did this happen? Somebody needs to tell these people that they don’t have a right to NOT be offended.
Somebody looks at you without smiling – you don’t know what they’re thinking, but it can’t be good. Are you going to make a law about people frowning?
One of the biggest disservices we’ve done to the generations behind us is to try to take disappointment out of their lives. Everyone gets a ribbon for participating. Don’t hurt their little self-esteems by rewarding a winner – tell them they’re ALL winners. Where’s the motivation to try harder and improve? And more importantly, HOW WILL THEY LEARN TO COPE WITH DISAPPOINTMENT WHEN IT HAPPENS? (AND IT WILL.)
Isn’t it sad to see grown adults, ten, fifteen, thirty years after high school, appearing on a television talk show to confront someone who bullied them back then? Couldn’t someone have helped these people GET OVER IT AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES?
This is the crux of the problem I have with Anti-Bullying showcases. You will never completely prevent bullying. Teach kids to cope with it.
Teach them what to do when it’s really serious – where and when to get help, and who to get it from.
Teach them how to defend themselves when it’s necessary (and don’t punish them for it.)
And when it’s what used to be a normal part of life, help them by giving them some DE-SENSITIVITY TRAINING: teach them how to cope with people looking at them funny, or calling them names, or not inviting them to parties, and teach them how to not let it rule and ruin their lives, and GET OVER IT.