Facebook just introduced a Find Friends button as I write this. It’s a gradual roll out, I suspect, so others will have seen it before me and others still have yet to see it. They snuck the Find Friends button between your Profile and Account buttons in the upper right hand corner. But really, do Facebook users need such a button?
Parents generally say they’d die to save their kids if ever in such a situation. Would they really? Bullying in America might just put that to the test soon. See why and take the survey at the end.
There is a bullying epidemic going on in America. For all the awareness being done about it, there doesn’t seem to be anything more concrete that is producing actions and results. Ellen Degeneres puts out a message that goes viral. People around the country wear pink for a day. However, while people are listening, they all seem just to shake their heads at the problem and get on with their lives afterward.
I don’t know what the answer is to stop the rash of bullying going on in America, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a concerted effort from the top to the bottom. There needs to be some visible leadership to get some laws in to make it a heavily punishable crime. The people in the system, especially the school system, needs to buy in to watch for signs and take complaints more seriously. However, I think the most crucial element will be the “organic” one from everyday people because you can put in all the laws you want, if you can’t enforce them, they’re no good. It takes a presence to see or notice things going on in order to prove, if not stop in the moment, the bullying going on. If the cops could do that to the level needed to stop bullying, there’d be no epidemic like there currently is. Local grass roots movements are going to have to be set up and mobilized to reduce the bullying, whether by preventing it in the first place or providing enough evidence to convict those guilty. If not, I am afraid that sooner or later, there will follow a rash of stories about Parents taking justice into their own hands to commit violence against the bullying kids and young adults, to try and stop the bullying, because they just feel nothing else can be done.
Am I crazy to think this? Try this train of thought, then answer the poll at the end.
As a Parent, would you be willing to die to save your kid’s life if a situation let you make this decision?
Whether you are a Parent or not, I think you know the perception in society is that a lot of good Parents would say “yes”.
Well, committing assault or murder against some kids to stop severe bullying on your kids is just a situation. In some cases, there are plenty of signs, and complaints lodged just go unanswered for years, like that in Mentor, Ohio. That’s plenty of time to think about “stepping in” with some vigilante justice. It’s not even a sudden situation like a car underwater and you have to make a decision to get your kids out before you to save them while dying in the process. This can be thought about, or come to a boiling point for rash action one day. Furthermore, you probably don’t even have to die for it. Just plea bargain for life in prison, if it’s murder, or plea guilty for less penalty if it’s not murder as the death penalty might not apply. What jury wouldn’t “understand” your choice? The jury might still give you a lighter sentence or acquit you even if you don’t plea guilty. There have been far more ridiculous acquittals than a crime for your “cause”. And because it’s usually more than one person doing the bullying, you could save the world a bunch of bullies for one “life”. Isn’t “fair trade” in these days?
Is that what it’s going to take before anybody does anything about this bullying?
I would certainly hope not! But how much patience does America have? Wait. America and patience?
Also, let’s hope the Parents of kids who committed suicide over bullying don’t take any drastic actions after their kids’ death, either, when they may perceive there isn’t anything else to live for. Hey, lots of people do revenge killings for things far less than their children. Killing out of revenge for your kid’s death is pretty real, in my mind.
I hope America will stop its soul searching soon and get doing something about this bullying epidemic. There’s no need for soul searching here. It’s just wrong! So get going to do something about it.
What can be done you might ask?
Well, how’s about forming something like a voluntary citizen neighbourhood patrol? Or have a group of people willing to accompany the bully victims where they aren’t under supervision, like the walks to and from school, or even in school over lunch and such? Just one person with a victim would do. It doesn’t have to even be someone big and strong, either. Just having another person there to be a credible witness would deter a lot of bullies. One bullied student’s story versus a group that lie together to defend themselves may be hard to win a case on, but one adult who can confirm the bullied student’s story turns the tables completely. Get a group together where individuals could be called upon as cases arise. It’s voluntary, but I hear there are a lot of unemployed Americans these days. Surely there must be some among them who would be willing to step up, if not some retired people and just other good citizens able to find the time.
Schools could also have more supervision around, and rules about what students could be kicked out for, whether kicked out of school or just the lunch cafeteria. Give the bullied students some places of solace. Take their complaints more seriously.
While none of this would likely ever stop the bullying, it probably could relieve it enough that far fewer students might get to the point of suicide. It might not be cool for the bullied student to be viewed as needing an adult to protect them, but I don’t think being cool is their first priority in life under the circumstances.
Meanwhile, get some laws in to make punishments for bullying real to those who do it. They’re mostly not yet adults. They’ll not likely be charged with a lot of jail time anyway. So just put in a bill for some jail time for starters.
And continue the awareness efforts. Just make sure there’s more to go with it.
It’ll be interesting to see where this goes in the next couple of years. Let’s hope it’ll never get to Parents committing violence on the kids. But in the meanwhile, the question lingers in my mind.
I am not a Parent so I am not writing this with emotional blindness a Parent might. I can only imagine the situation. Yet, I feel it is realistic enough a situation that I think if I were a Parent, I might just answer “yes” to my own poll.
As for the bullies, ironically, they’re the ones with the least self-esteem. Not able to succeed in life by the measures the rest of society uses to determine success, they have to gang up on individuals just to feel good about themselves… and they can’t even do it alone. Unfortunately for them, life doesn’t afford them this opportunity for ever. It’ll only be a matter of time before their loser status catches up to them, and it’ll be a lot harder to dig out later in life than earlier. Too bad they’re too stupid to realize this.