Bullying

Yes, this is a post on bullying, but I can promise you that this is not what you expect. By the way, I think I should express that these views are mine and, although I would like them to spread like wildfire, for now, they are mine and mine alone.

Bullying is stupid. Both sides. It is stupid for tormentors to be tormenting and tormentees to be tormented, but these are natural. Bullying, as we see it, is 100% natural. If you don’t believe me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=927Eh8Uz0uc

Bullying is natural, based on that video, tormenting is as natural as breathing. So what is my qualm? I’m glad you asked. I don’t like the term bullying…it means nothing. This is what happens to words. The media takes a word and attaches to it so many connotations, that the word itself changes. A perfect example is race. “African American” used to be black and the lesser used “Caucasian” for white. Why did the terms black and, to a lesser extent white, leave the norm? Well, negative connotations were associated with the term i.e. a low class, poor, and questionable character who is unemployed and a leech onto society OR a threat to the establishment (think Black Panthers). White was partially abandoned due the metamorphosis of black into African American. It’s frustrating to me because African American means something, an individual who is from Africa, but is both living and a citizen in the United States of America. Most black people are not African American because they are from the U.S., but are referred to as African American. I usually argue that if you are African American, I am a Pangean American (because if we are going to claim residency based on an arbitrary ancestry, why not make it interesting).

So, Zach, what’s your point? Are you pro-bullying? I’m getting to it, don’t rush me and not per se. I say per se because most of it is based on a physiological need to assert dominance in our hierarchical society. That being said, I abhor the concept of bullying as a catchall for crimes…call it as it is. For example, if an aggressor steals lunch money via intimidation or force, (s)he committed robbery. If an aggressor uses insults or words as a weapon, it can be considered verbal abuse, defamation of character, slander, and, if written, libel. If an aggressor threatens with physical harm and has the means to do so and/or does so, that is assault. If an aggressor intentionally creates physical and unpermitted contact, that is battery. Half of the time, bullying can be classified as one or more of these things: robbery, slander, assault, and/or battery.

Legal definitions of these terms:

Robbery: The taking of money or goods in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, by force or intimidation.

Slander: oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed.

Assault: An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm.

Battery: At common law, an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another.

Note: before making a legal case, you should read the entire entry on each crime and consult with a qualified attorney.

So the next time you decide to say X was bullied (by Y), use the real word and call it what it is because, otherwise, you remove the seriousness of the crime. That is why bullying is not taken seriously; the connotation is that bullying is done only amongst juveniles, but nearly everyone at some point in their life can be called a “bully” because it doesn’t mean anything, but if someone is accused of slander or assault or battery or robbery, the accusation holds more weight (because it can be done by anyone). Really, “bullying” is not specific enough to tell you what crime has been committed.

Two more things, then I’ll close…I promise.

Why are there more cases of “bullying” nowadays? My theory is that parents are too overprotective. Most of us remember seeing those old black and white films with the family with the dad (with a cigarette and a part in his hair) advising his “jee-willickers”-saying son on dealing with a bully. There are two ways to deal with a bully: run away or confront your problem head on (paraphrased from the movie concept I have in my head…if you can name a movie where this comes up, let me know in the comments). Nowadays, it seems as if parents are teaching their kids that they will handle the problem for them or that they should avoid all conflicts forever. In trying to protect, they rob the learning experience from the child. Zach, that doesn’t explain why there are more cases of “bullying.” Well, by creating this sense of parents working for kids, the kids have an inflated sense of importance and they want everyone to bend to their whim. Also, if kids were to stand up to aggressors, their would be fewer instances of aggression because the ratio of aggressors to non-aggressors favors non-aggressors.

Okay, well, why are there more suicides due to bullying? Because parents prevent kids from gaining the experience of dealing with aggressors appropriately, they can feel that if their parents cannot solve the problem, there is no way that they could do it either. They feel helpless and, because they are not taught about suicide or mental health when young, think that suicide will prevent the pain (it prevents both pain and relief, but they aren’t taught that).

Summary/How do we fix this mess?

  1. Assertion of dominance is natural, but if you have a problem with they way it is being done, read on.
  2. Stop calling it bullying and call it what it is: robbery, slander, assault, battery (consult with a lawyer)
  3. Parents, love your children enough to let them deal with bullying themselves (unless they explicitly ask for help, and them make sure they are the managers and you are the employee).
  4. Parents, talk with your children about suicide and mental health.
  5. Don’t be afraid to talk about your problems with someone, it doesn’t have to be your parents, but by expressing what you are feeling, you prevent your feelings from overwhelming your logic.
That’s it, told you I’d be done. For legal reasons, I want to state again, that these are my opinions and I hope you see the logic in them, if not, let me know in the comments or through social networks (trust me, you’ll find me).
Zach Bornheimer (46 Posts)

Zach Bornheimer is a musician and professional geek from South Florida currently attending the University of South Florida and is pursuing a degree in Music with a concentration in Jazz Composition. Find out more: http://zachbornheimer.com.


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