Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bullying can be solved

Bullying is getting a lot of attention these days.  Yet, it isn't any closer to being solved than it was back when I got bullied in school.

Government schools are, of course, the main breeding grounds for bullying.  Even the bullying that goes on elsewhere generally has its roots in those abusive institutions of indoctrination and submission.  In the government schools, the bullies and the victims learn their roles and hone them.  They each play a part that they can't seem to break out of.  Some people keep playing these roles their whole lives.  That's awful!

As I have pointed out in several online comments, you can't end bullying by punishing the victims when they finally strike back.  No, the victims need to be encouraged to fight back, and as long as their actions are truly in self-defense (and it isn't hard to determine, if you are honest about it), there must be no punishment whatsoever.  I'm not a fan of punishment, anyway, feeling that the "market approach" works better even here.

Instead, "solutions" are suggested that make the problem worse.  The main "solution" for bullying that is touted by the touchy-feelie crowd is to run tell an "authority".  In other words, an even bigger bully.  There is no responsibility here.  It comes down to "my bully is bigger than you are".  Nothing is solved; nothing is learned- other than helplessness and dependency.  Not a good choice.

And then people are surprised when this doesn't solve anything.

You are the only person who will always be present when you are attacked.  It doesn't matter if you have a big bully who can come to your aid- he will not always be there, and he may not always have your best interest at heart anyway.

You.  Whether you are bullied or not- whether you overcome the bullies or not, it is up to you.  It is a choice you will make.  To bully or not.  To let the bullies continue to bully you or not.

In high school I had one tormentor who could never just let me pass.  He hadn't actually touched me, although he did threaten to frequently.  I dreaded seeing him.  I was a peaceful person- a little odd, perhaps- but I had no desire to fight back.  I thought it was wrong.  I thought I could just keep ignoring him and maybe he'd grow tired and leave me alone.

Then one day circumstances were different.

I had had a bad day.  I can't remember particularly what had gone wrong, if anything.  I was leaving the school and the tormentor started his routine.  But this time, for some reason, I had no inhibitions about dealing with him.  I dropped my books on the ground, wheeled around, grabbed him by the collar, lifted his feet off the ground, and shook him like a rag doll.  I told him that if he ever said that to me again I would kill him.  And, at that moment, I was serious.

(Now, he hadn't initiated force.  I was probably wrong to touch him at this point.  I accept my failure.)

I set him down, turned around, picked up my books, and continued on my way.  Behind me I could hear him daring me to come back and fight him.  I felt no need.

He never said another nasty thing to me.  He never came back for revenge.  He was polite to me from that day forward.  Years later a mutual friend told me that this guy had told him how much he respected me for not turning around and fighting him.

I didn't ever have any more problems with any bullies after that.  Did word get around, or did I no longer behave like a victim?  I don't know.

(Years before this incident I had tried to fight back against a group of bullies who were initiating force and stealing from me, and the outcome was vastly different- I was punished,along with the bullies, because I fought back.  I wonder, did those "authorities" who punished me for that first scuffle cause me to put up with more years of torment?  Probably.  Punishing the victims of bullying for fighting back is evil.)

This may or may not be related, but...

It was around the time of my successful bully encounter- probably a year or so later- that I stopped having any nightmares, too.  I had a dream where a guy had broken into the house to kill me and my sisters, and I beat the intruder to death with a baseball bat.  Quite a mess.

For a few months after that a bad dream would start while I slept, but would stop being bad because I would kill the monster/attacker and turn the dream around.  Then the nightmares just faded away, and I haven't had any dreams like that in decades.

I don't know what changed inside me.  But I do know that standing up to the bully was the first change- and it was not a mainly internal change.  The internal change came after.

I do believe that standing up to bullies, whoever they may be, is the right way to solve bullying.  In the long run, it will probably help the bullies just as much as it will help the bullied.  It must be miserable being trapped in that role.