Here’s the scenario:
Four girls corner another girl in a public restroom. They proceed to verbally harass her, threaten her, gang up on her, knocking her to the ground so one can beat on her. Her face is bloody and bruised and they hold her down so they can cut off her hair. The two of the girls pull guns out of their bags, threatening to “do worse” to her if she ever talks to the cops again. One girl says, Why wait? Let’s kill her now.
There’s a struggle and one girl drops her gun, and the victim gets the drop on them, grabs the gun, and fires in a panic, killing one of her tormentors and wounding another.
This is the basic plot of the episode of a show I watched today. And it’s making me…So. Mad.
I hate bullies. And I was silently hoping that rather than panicking, firing blindly, and crying, that the victim would find her anger and kill those bitches.
Check that. I know it sounds wrong. I’m not advocating the type of violence where a perceived or alleged victim of bullying goes into a school and opens fire on everyone. But watching these girls, these gang bangers, torment this poor girl, who dared to go to the cops because one of the girls’ boyfriends tried to rape her, made me fucking sick.
With all the rampant gun violence in this country, it’s hard to take a stance on gun ownership. I believe in the right to defend oneself. I believe it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six. But denying the fact that the easier access to guns in this country means more guns are used in committing violent crimes is foolish. Still, I couldn’t help but side with the victim when she turned her one of her tormentors and would be killer’s own gun against them.
But this isn’t really a post about guns; it’s about bullying, which has been around since the beginning of time, I’d wager. Only “back then” kids used their fists. And the bullied kids either weathered it or fought back…with their fists. At one point or another, whether on the playground in grade school, or by their more sophisticated tormenting of their middle and high school peers, I’d bet most of you gentle readers have experienced bullying at one time or another. I was bullied. Until I got tired of it. And then I started to fight back. It got to the point, for me, where being bullied felt worse than standing up for myself and risking a beating…which I never got. The fights were always broken up, or the bully backed down or bested. Or all of the above.
But I guess I was lucky. The bullies in this show were intent on doing serious harm to the victim. Dealing with gangs can be considerably different because they have their strange ideas of loyalty and gang politics. Some people just have no reverence or respect for human life. It’s an arrogant, sociopathic point of view for which I have the utmost disdain.
But most bullies are just cowards, falling somewhere in between the fabled “low self-esteem” and true criminal. I don’t really know where I’m going with this post except to say we need to stamp out bullying. Part of doing that involves not being a bystander. And that involves a certain amount of personal risk. Risk of standing out, getting in trouble, being sued…or risk of bodily injury. In the end, how you handle a bully is a personal decision, but even if you personally are a “turn the other cheek” kind of person, when you see another person getting bullied, don’t be a turn your back kind of person.