Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Body Slam Heard Around the World

It seems that the world is imploding before our very eyes. Unrest throughout the Middle East, the devastation in Japan, economic travails here at home overseen by a president who would clearly rather be golfing in Rio instead of solving our problems like we elected him to do, after a short while you start to feel helpless.

That’s why the story of Casey Heynes is such a welcomed relief. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s a story about a kid who was bullied and finally decided he’d had enough and fought back against the aggressor. Glenn Beck even showed the video on his show yesterday. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is…

From what I’ve read, the reaction to Casey’s actions has been overwhelmingly positive. Reports are that this isn’t the first time he’d been picked on. The video clearly shows a set-up on the part of the undersized bully and his “friends.” They were intent upon inflicting psychological damage to Casey by showing what an easy target he was. Giggles can be heard as they recorded the assault.

What they got instead was a life lesson.

Casey is to be applauded for standing up for himself. He’s now being called an “Internet hero.” That may be taking it a bit too far, but for anyone who’s ever been bullied, he’s definitely a role model. He showed remarkable restraint by taking several punches to his face before he body-slammed the little bully to the ground. He then showed even more restraint by walking away. He could have just snapped (which he didn’t, by the way) and beat the bully to a pulp. And he would’ve been justified had he done so.

But he didn’t. His response has managed to give us a bit of hope that aggression can be dealt with successfully. After all, the world is seemingly full of bullies. There can only be two responses to bullying: submission or retaliation. One continues the torment, the other one stops it.

Now, for a long time, this little maxim was common knowledge. No one likes bullying in any form, but it’s been around as long as mankind. It’s only been recently, with the feminization of the education system, that the idea of defending yourself against an aggressor has been criticized.

In fact, it didn’t take long for some so-called “experts” to show how not to solve the problem by saying that bullying victims shouldn’t fight back.

That, gentle reader, is a crock of bullshit.

One Dr. Ken Rigby had this predictably weak response, "What he did was snap and physically assault this little person, breaking his ankle it wasn't a fair fight," Dr Rigby said. "Most people were applauding the student for taking action after he'd been tormented that's understandable, but the school should have been told.”

Huh? Excuse me, Doctor, did you see the same video the rest of us saw? Did you not see the times the bully punched Casey in the face first? Casey snapped? I think, good sir, that, had Casey actually “snapped,” he would have continued to beat his assailant. Again, are you looking at the same video? If you are, then I’d suggest that you seem to have some difficulty processing visual input.

The sad part is, he’s not alone. Psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg questioned why no one intervened. "Where was the supervision? If it is true that this was a long-standing feud, why had nothing been done?" he asked.

This is the inherent failure that’s built in to the attitude of submission to authority. That is precisely why nothing was done, Mr. Hyphenated-Last-Name. The school’s administration obviously chose to look the other way. This had been a long-standing feud between the two kids according to reports. That’s called capriciousness and is inherent in any type of authoritarianism. The power to control is also the power to ignore the rules and enforce them selectively.

Here’s more educated idiocy: Anti-bullying expert Karyn Healy at the Parenting and Family Support Centre said fighting back was only asking for more trouble.

Um, not if it’s done right, Ms. Healy.

I’ll hop in the Way Back Machine here for a second to remind the younger folk how It Used To Be Done.

Back then, when we used to wash our clothes by beating them on a rock by the river, adults recognized that aggression in boys was a normal part of growing up, regardless of the society. Disputes were normally handled between the aggrieved parties with an adult nearby to step in if necessary. If, after a few of these fights, things weren’t resolved, said adult would step in and a formal fight was arranged. Boxing gloves were given to the two and they were told to have at it. In the vast majority of cases, the bullied party won. Even a loss wasn’t that bad, as the bully managed to find a bit of respect for the kid that had the guts to stand up to him.

Never did a dispute advance beyond this point. A winner was declared, the loser lived with his loss and the aggression was expended. In fact, in a turn of events that I’m sure would surprise the so-called bullying experts, sometimes the two kids actually became friends.

In other words, the problem got solved.

When you compare that against the advice of these “experts,” it becomes clear that their “answers” only invite more aggression and do not stop the bullying. That’s their goal: to keep kids fighting each other so they’ll need the services of the “experts.” That’s more of a business plan than the solution to the problem.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that you’re sometimes forced into a fight. If repeated attempts to defuse the situation have failed and you must fight, be sure to send a message. Bullies are the real weaklings in any situation: their insecurity makes them want to feel in control of someone else. When confronted with strength, they always back down. It may need to be done more than once.

The little punk bully got what he so richly deserved. I sincerely doubt that Casey will be picked on again.

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