Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Bullies used to be relatively benign. I mean, sure... there were the bullies who would threaten to kill your child, but more often than not, their bark was worse than their bite and they would just muss 'em up a bit, (and usually, only if they were boys). There were fights in the playground - after school at 3:00 - but you never heard of anyone really winding up with anything worse than a black eye or a bloody nose.
Today's "bully" is a whole new version of evil. In fact, I am THRILLED and I mean, utterly and completely THRILLED that I am no longer in school. Today's bully is inherently cruel, seems to have virtually no moral compass whatsoever, and shares various personality traits with certain serial killers... namely - the enjoyment of torture inflicted upon other human beings.
When I was growing up, incidents like Columbine didn't exist. At the time, even that was an isolated incident - at least for anyone younger than college age. In fact, Columbine was the 4th deadliest school shooting since the 1927 Bath School Disaster - but the three deadliest shootings that preceded it, (including Bath), all involved college age or older individuals who were severely depressed, had brain tumors, and/or anxiety disorders, that were not properly treated. Columbine wasn't too different in that respect either. The primary culprit, Eric Harris, had expressed depression, suicidal tendencies, and anger prior to the Columbine massacre. He was placed on various anti-depressants and medications, which some speculate may have led to his ultimate demise, and the gruesome, tragic killing of 12 other students, 1 teacher, and the injury of 26 others.
That said, today's bullies scare the living bejeezus out of me. They seem to just simply be mean, cruel and inexplicably violent.
Take for example the recent retaliation of one brother, (Wayne Treacy, whose other brother committed suicide), against a girl, (Josie Lou Ratley), he'd never met. He literally sought her out due to a text message exchange, (pertaining to his deceased brother), and decided she needed to die too. He found her thanks to the help of one of her "friends," and with no warning whatsoever, proceeded to stomp on her head with steel-toed shoes until she was unconscious and barely clinging to life.
This followed another gruesome incident at the same school... wherein a few boys who were squabbling over the cost of a video game, sought out the boy who they claimed owed them money - and set him on fire, using a flammable liquid. THEY SET HIM ON FIRE.
What befuddles me about all of this, is the continued speculation that it is all the result of violent movies, music and video games.
Really? Somehow, I don't think so. Does anyone EVER want to call into question the ability of the kids' parenting abilities? Anyone?
Maybe we should all take a look at the following and read up on Matthew Bent's parents - the parents of the child who actually set Michael Brewer aflame:
Um... I grew up watching scary, violent, and sometimes gruesome movies - and I'm FINE. Maybe thanks to the fact that I had a good set of parents, who appropriately disciplined me when I did something wrong. Fortunately, I didn't do anything all that wrong all too often.
Back to today's "bully." There's the recent story of Phoebe Price - a pretty 15 year-old transplant from Ireland to Massachusetts, who was literally cyberbullied and physically bullied by a group of catty, jealous girls, who clearly had no moral compass whatsoever, that ultimately led to Phoebe's suicide. Should we go ahead and blame that on the movie "Mean Girls' which the girls in question were referred to by their peers in school? Or should we perhaps examine the lack of reasonable parenting in today's society that led to those girls' abhorrent behavior? It sure is a hell of a lot easier to blame a movie, isn't it?
One of my favorite quotes from the movie Parenthood, "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."
But no, godforbid anyone point a finger at a parent. That's an outrage...
That said, I am NOT saying parents are the ultimate culprits here. There are, in countless incidences, MANY occasions where a great set of parents end up with a rotten egg... and it is truly unfortunate - and more often than not, inexplicable when their children do something horribly, terribly wrong...
But if people continue to point the finger at media... well... then I hate to say it folks, we're going to have a long, nasty, horrific chain of evil, violent events taking place at the hands of our children, thanks to evolving and ever-accessible media and the lack of accountability among parents.
And now... the conclusion of an altogether too long post: why I wrote this in the first place.
Every day when I'm watching the news, my jaw drops every time a story is presented along the lines of what I've summarized here. I can't believe what kids are like today - and part of me wonders... do I really want to bring another life into this?