October 28, 2010

One Way Our Schools Are Training New Narcissists

playground.jpg
let someone else play on it



A bunch of first grade boys and girls were playing soccer at recess.  One boy, Devastator, was particularly aggressive and slide tackled two kids. The playground rules is, "no slide tackles."

On the third slide tackle he hurts a boy who starts to cry.  Devastator laughs and says, "sorry fucknuts, no crying in baseball!" and runs off.    He is wearing goalie gloves.  A girl says, "hey, no slide tackling-- you're going to hurt someone!"  Devastator spits on the ground, comes over, gets right in her face, puts his fist up against her nose and says, "you better go back to where you came from, or you're going to get exactly what's coming to you."  I don't know who taught this kid to talk.  I assume TV.

The game immediately resumes, no one challenges him.  Soon, he slide tackles another boy.  The same girl, in defiance of Devastator, yells, "hey, no slide tackles!"

Devastator approaches slowly to close the distance,  then suddenly sprints towards her.   Another boy just manages to grab a shoulder but can't hold it, so he slows Devastator down for only a second, but long enough for the girl to get a head start running.  He chases her-- she runs to the teacher and he quickly doubles back to the soccer field.

The girl tells her story, and the teacher responds, "just don't go near him.  I'll talk to him.  Go play a different game, I don't want him hurting you."

Later, the girl tells her mother, who calls the school.  The teacher tells the mother that they have had a lot of trouble with that boy already, they are handling the problem, but in the meantime it's best if the girl simply stay away from him.  "She was really brave, but we don't want her to get hurt or for him to fixate on her, so it's best if she stays out of it."


II. 

Bullying?  Or regular playground stuff?   You can New York Magazine this story and say that Devastator is carrying around a lot of anger and the school needs to intervene.  If he's willing to threaten a girl and then actually try to attack her, he's destined for trouble and a full Nautica wardrobe.  Is this what we want?

If that's the magazine you like, then you have to wonder if the school is really doing enough to protect her and the others?  And what's their policy on violence towards women?   If the girl hadn't said anything, would he have gone unnoticed only to date rape a 3rd grader?

But Devastator isn't the important person in this story.

This girl stood up to the bully not to protect herself but for the sake of others-- and rather than supporting this behavior, the school crushed it in the interest of expediency and "safety."

If there is any value you do want to encourage in kids, it's looking out for each other.  The girl had it; the boy who tried to snag Devastator also had it.  Those were reflexes, they didn't plan this out over morning waffles, but whatever was going on at home and in their heads lead them to have, and to follow, those impulses.   

But the school fostered the reverse value: "don't get involved, take care of yourself, let the Watchers handle it.  That's their job."  Note that the school didn't inadvertently teach her not to look out for others, it specifically instructed her not to look out for others.  "We'll handle it."

I'm not saying she should have fought him (and I'm not not saying it, either), but what kind of school doesn't want a kid to stand up to a bully, especially when they're doing it to help someone else?  What kind of crazy school wants you to back down-- and get someone else to protect you?  What kind of school indoctrinates kids that power is only possessed by a) bad people; b) the state?

Oh.  All of them.

---

http://twitter.com/therlastpsych

  







Comments

Now THAT is well said.... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 5:11 PM | Posted by Lise: | Reply

Now THAT is well said.

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Keeping up the Kantian trad... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 5:33 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Keeping up the Kantian tradition of calling out "authority" for what it is!

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I want to cry, I wish I cou... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 5:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I want to cry, I wish I could cry, but I'm just numb to it. I look at my nephews growing up and I can see it happening, I can see them being shaped and coerced and manipulated into worthless little rat bastards.

Fuck.

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How DARE you besmirch the g... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 5:42 PM | Posted by DCF: | Reply

How DARE you besmirch the good name of Nautica?

Kick ass post.

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I'm 22, and I definitely re... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 5:57 PM | Posted by Jukebox: | Reply

I'm 22, and I definitely remember that mentality being forced on me. You can't fight back, you'll get in trouble - they will punish you and the bully exactly the same. Your options are to run to the teacher (achieve temporary safety and be branded a pussy forever), or to simply take it.

Your last point was perfectly worded. Watching out for your friends is bad behaviour to be rooted out. It's terrible.

Moving on.

A satellite problem here is that the teachers don't have much power anymore either. They have to be careful about how they break up fights, never be alone with students, and just generally cover their asses because if they do or say anything that can be interpreted as 'harmful' to a child (even if the child is a piece of shit), they will lose their careers.

So when teacher says to little girl, "I'll take care of Devastator," all that means is shaking their finger at him and sending a note home to his parents - who, judging by their offspring, are not the Cosbys.

All this amounts to absolutely NOTHING happening. And the little girl learns a terrible lesson: Devastator has more power than the teachers. The bad people are more powerful than the authorities - at least until they commit horrible atrocities the public will crucify them for. And at that point, it's too late.

"I'm all alone."

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You know who's really to bl... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 6:08 PM | Posted by Erin: | Reply

You know who's really to blame here? The parents. Who names their kid "Devastator"? That is truly a terrible thing to call a child. No wonder he slide tackles.

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This is a surprising respon... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 6:20 PM | Posted by Pastabagel: | Reply

This is a surprising response from the teacher. Schools are so paranoid about litigation that every school has some formal anti-bullying program that requires certain specific actions to be taken if a parent calls in to report an incident.

The reason the school responded this way is that if the girl intervenes on someone else's behalf and Devastator devastates her instead of the other kid, guess who her parents are going to sue?

Furthermore, imagine these kids are 15, and Devastator is 70 lbs heavier and 5 inches taller than the girl. Do you want her to intervene then?

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Damn right, let the Watcher... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 6:43 PM | Posted by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

Damn right, let the Watchers handle it. Keep the girl and other innocents out of harm's way.

What? There can only be one Slayer; she is the chosen one. Odds are against the little girl. If the Slayer's not handy, the Watchers will have to do.

Alternatively, we could go down a different pop culture path and ask "Who watches the watchers?"

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Be explicit here...what rea... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 6:55 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Be explicit here...what reaction from the teachers in this situation would benefit society the most?

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How is it possible that the... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 7:12 PM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

How is it possible that the author knows all the particulars of this story, down to the children's dialogue, but the adults responsible for supervising the children's behavior on the playground somehow missed the entire episode as it took place? And also seem to misapprehend the interpersonal dynamics of the situation even after it is reported to them?

Because this is a completely rhetorical situation?

Section I reads like a fictional set-up in order to knock down section II, but the two don't follow. Why should the girl internalize the teacher's recommendation to avoid the bully as something she should do only "to protect herself"? Won't she form her own conclusions about the event and what it means?

Isn't it also possible that she would avoid him anyway, and advise her friends to do the same i.e. continue to stand up and be proactive without direct confrontation. "He's a jerk and he doesn't follow the rules, let's play soccer with someone else."

There are lots of power dynamics the two "good" kids can use to their advantage in this scenario without having to fight or defer thoughtlessly to the teachers. None of those are considered here.

What about when the girl told this story to her parents? Isn't it possible that they commended her on her behavior and that she internalized that praise to continue to do the right thing?


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So the answer to narcissism... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 7:30 PM | Posted by Isaac: | Reply

So the answer to narcissism is... 6 year old vigilantes? Isn't setting yourself up as a law unto yourself just as narcissistic?

The right answer, I think, is for the teachers, the ones with the REAL authority in the situation to punish the bully (in a way that takes away from his identity as a bully) and reward the girl and other boy for standing up for others in a clearly public way... But in the midst of this recognize that the RIGHT way of standing up for others is to report it to those who can do something about it, rather than take the law into their own hands. That seems a very dubious way of dealing with the problem.

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So the answer to narciss... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 8:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Isaac's comment, by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

So the answer to narcissism is... 6 year old vigilantes? Isn't setting yourself up as a law unto yourself just as narcissistic?

The right answer, I think

Stop right there. What "right" answer? The question may be multiple choice, but there's more than one way to skin a sow's ear. To hell with answers, we can't even bother with those until we figure out how we got here. We can't even figure that out until we figure out a) there's a problem; and b) figure out what that problem is.

What thought process led you to translate "standing up for others" as "vigilantes?"

Why do you automatically assume that the teachers are the REAL authority? What makes someone or something a REAL authority/American?

[There is not enough time in the day to sufficiently articulate my thoughts. Regretfully, this will have to do for now.]

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I remember a kid or two fro... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 8:35 PM | Posted by Termm: | Reply

I remember a kid or two from elementary school like the Devastator. There are your regular, mean bullies, for them it's all about winning and being the best, even if you need to bend/break the rules. But then there are kids like the Devastator who might be future sociopaths, instead of winning, they actually enjoy exerting control and fear in others, and causing pain in others.

The same bull**** happened with him that's happening here; kids would tell the teacher, who would tell the principal, and a call or note would be sent to the kids parents, and the parent's didn't give a damn. Plus, this guy was always big for his age and most were physically unable to really stand up to him.

As far as I know, he never changed and the school system utterly failed in preventing his behavior. Once we got to high school, the number of kids bigger and stronger than him went up exponentially, and he knew his reign was pretty much over. I was never bullied much and got along with a lot of people, but to those who are getting bullied as early as 2nd or 3rd grade, "wait till high school and make friends with some big guys" just doesn't cut it.

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Good points, except the one... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 8:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Pastabagel's comment, by Anon: | Reply

Good points, except the one about "what if they were 15". First of all, if they were both 15, it's extremely unlikely the Devastator would hit a girl. Besides the fact at that age most boys learn to never hit a girl, if he did it that would be social suicide and the immediate end of his image - he beat up a helpless girl. Not only that, but if shes 5' 0" 105lbs, and he's 5' 8" and 160, she wouldn't stand up to him, unless she already knew he wouldn't hit her.

Also, when you're 15, you're going to school with 18 year olds. Unless your name is Shaquille or Yao, there will be people bigger and stronger than you.

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Right answer, in this conte... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 8:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Butterfly McDoom's comment, by isaac: | Reply

Right answer, in this context, would be a way in which both ends could be met... The girl rewarded for standing up for others, the bully punished for being a bully, but without suggesting a punch in the nose or that she has the right to go around policing the playground for bad behavior (which I thought I had made clear in the earlier comment).

Teachers have the power because they're the loco parentis, both legally and socially. Not sure what being 'American' has to do with anything, since I didn't suggest anything in that direction in the least bit.

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Isaac,The people w... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 9:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Isaac's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Isaac,

The people who can do something about bullying don't do anything about it because the teachers and administrators have been lawyered up. Their solution to bullying is to avoid the bully.

Avoid the homosexual priest who has a special liking for little boys, and don't go into that part of town, because it's dangerous.

Stay away from the danger, and there will be no danger.

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"Whereof one cannot speak, ... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 9:20 PM | Posted by G: | Reply

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

If the "Devastator" had brought a cap pistol or a pocketknife to school, what would they have done? The objects themselves would have done no harm; but he would have been kicked out or even expelled, the police would have been called. Parents would have been put on notice.

Yet they allowed the boy free rein to terrorize and injure other students, without consequence.

How’s that for priorities?

It was like that in every school I attended when I was a child - it's still that way. The teachers always knew, but they did nothing, or worse, they blamed the victims for not staying out of the bully’s way.

More than once, in elementary school, some little toad would shove or threaten me; the result was always the same - a bully on the ground with a bloody nose or bleeding lip. They always looked so surprised.

In junior high, I was the only Anglo in the school, and actual gangs repeatedly attached me - on one occasion a witness said there were fifteen of them. Fortunately, I had been taught how to use a heavy leather belt with a big brass buckle - you wrap it around your hand with about six inches and the buckle left loose. Better than nun chucks.

My left hand held a knuckle backer - a steel cylinder filled with lead. A thick leather jacket, sports cup for the groin, steel-toed engineer boots, - my wrists and forearms were wrapped with steel window screen under my jacket, to protect against knife cuts. Heavy leather gloves completed the ensemble. Every day I got into my armor and went to school.

I was always able to do more harm, than I received, and still I was able learn, but every time I fought back, the teachers and the principal basically blamed me for the trouble – because I should have stayed away from them – “take a different way to school, ignore them.” They even had the police take me in for questioning once.

One day my only friend told me that some adult gang members planned to kill me. They had a gun. So I was forced to leave school because the gangs ran the school, not the administrators. All of that led me to a life in martial arts – and that is where I eventually began to teach self-defense – to children and women.

So when I speak about our violent society; I know whereof I speak. If violence is permitted in school children, the place where it begins, we can forget about controlling it in adults.

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Note his sociopathic tenden... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 9:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by G: | Reply

Note his sociopathic tendencies in his school records, take the little worm to an assembly of the whole school and denounce him to everybody - and tell them all that anybody who behaves like him will get the same - then expel him.

Let his parents take him to a shrink, they made him that way!

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My kids are actually in sch... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 10:03 PM | Posted by Carol the Long Winded: | Reply

My kids are actually in school and one is in 3rd grade. He was congratulated when he intervined in school disputees - by his teacher. And fellow students. Granted its a Montessori school but watch the all/nothing shit. It damages your argument - damn Hume anyway.

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wow! didnt realize this is ... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 10:48 PM | Posted by ggb: | Reply

wow! didnt realize this is so pervasive. not just in school tho.
i live in a 3rd world country where electricity is illegally connected at times & one time, the electric post exploded in front of our house because of all the illegal connections. my grandmother & family were scared as shit! so I decided to tell the illegal connectors & connections to authority but my grandmother told me NO! lets not get involved, let God punish them, etc. but I did tell it anyway because I had to do something than just be scared or stay scared.

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"What kind of a maddening s... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 11:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"What kind of a maddening school indoctrinates kids that power is only allowed to be possessed by a) bad people; b) the authorities?"

The ones hoping to create voters attracted to large "safety nets".

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There are lots of power ... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 11:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by Reader: | Reply

There are lots of power dynamics the two "good" kids can use to their advantage in this scenario without having to fight or defer thoughtlessly to the teachers. None of those are considered here.
Bullshit there are. I have kids in public school (in a bad district). I have friends with kids in public school (in better districts). It's the same story everywhere, and it always follows this outline.
1) Bully picks fight
2) Someone with balls stands up
3) Teacher insists they back down and "handles" the situation
4) Ballsie kid refuses to play with bully
5) Bully whines to parents about how no one likes him
6) Parents say be nice (bully interprets as "butt in")
7) Ballsie kid's parents complain to teacher about harassment
8) Teacher conveys to bully's parents, receives sob story about [insert lame ass excuse here]
9) Teacher conveys sob story to ballsie kid's parents
10) Bully is a charity case adored by public sector workers, ballsie kid is now an over-priviledged snob who refuses to see how hard bully has it

The only thing the bullied kids can do is wait for the bully to strike and hit back harder, without ever involving authorities. Then they get one chance to cry, "I was defending myself." Hopefully, their single strike is enough to knock the bitch out of the bully (at least to them). If they've already reported it, and the authorities have already "intervened," the recipient's parents will be informed their child is baiting the poor, under-privileged little SOB. Because, obviously, the school's already handled it.

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That's racist.... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 11:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Reader's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

That's racist.

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Next time, connect some of ... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 11:34 PM | Posted, in reply to ggb's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Next time, connect some of the wires to your nut-sack.

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I think this is one explana... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2010 11:54 PM | Posted by Adrian: | Reply

I think this is one explanation of how a handful of people armed with box cutters managed to do what they did at 9/11.

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Something just like that ha... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 12:18 AM | Posted by BDM: | Reply

Something just like that happened when I was a kid, but it turned out differently.

I'm 22 now, but this incident in first grade still stands out as bright as day. I was being picked on by a kid named "Don" - looking back, I think it was because we were the two smart kids in the class, and he felt threatened by that. He would yell at me, follow me around when I tried to walk away from him, try to poke and slap me, etc. My parents had taught me "if someone bullies you, don't fight back - go to the teacher." So that's what I did.

The teacher was a thirty-something woman who was talking to another teacher friend of hers when I walked up to her and said "Don is picking on me, please make him stop." The teacher turned to the kid and said "Don, stop picking on him" and then went back to her conversation. When the teacher looked at away, this kid was right back at it.

So I went to the teacher again and said "Don is still picking on me." The teacher gave me an annoyed glance and then said "Don, cut it out." The moment she looked away - same thing. I told the teacher "Don is STILL picking on me." This time she didn't even look our way when she said "Don, stop it."

I tried to walk away from Don, but he wouldn't leave me alone. I was so angry. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, and just punched him in the nose. Hard.

Don's nose started bleeding, and he said, "BDM hit me!"

The teacher didn't even look our way to see the bloody nose when she said "BDM, stop hitting him."

I turned back to Don and beat the hell out of him. I broke the frame of his glasses and splashed blood on the pavement. When the teachers finally saw Don crying and struggling to get up from the asphalt, they were so angry at me - but I just shrugged and went "I told you he was picking on me." I knew how the game worked. Sure enough, I got a stern talking to about not hitting people and went on my way.

Now, on the one hand this taught me to solve problems for myself - but on the other hand, it taught me a lot of bad lessons. I got in a LOT of fights throughout elementry school after that, because I'd learned that was how I solved problems. It didn't even occur to me to try to reason with people, or go to the school authorities, because I knew that was ineffective. It was a lot easier to just break the rules and get chewed out for it later.

I'm curious how an incident like this would fits into the school narrative in the main post. What would have happened if that girl had ignored the school authorties and just gotten some friends together and beat up the Devastator?

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What kind of a maddening... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 12:46 AM | Posted by The Kid: | Reply

What kind of a maddening school indoctrinates kids that power is only allowed to be possessed by a) bad people; b) the authorities?

Oh. All of them.

That's the exact reason so many people hate gun control. Not "are opposed to," "hate." It's galling, I know, I get it. But if we had better gun control fewer people would die (the American murder rate dwarfs that of most European countries because we're inherently more evil?).

The little girl was, on the scale of life as a six-year-old, heroic. She did absolutely the right thing by trying to stand up to the bully. And if I was her parents, her teacher, any adult she told this story to, I would have said, "Just stay away from him, it's not worth it," just like the teacher in the story.

She's six. Her short-term safety is the highest priority. Everything else takes a back seat.

"You're talking like a coward." Cool, be brave yourself. But you are not allowed to encourage people to get into dangerous situations that they may share your virtue. Again, especially when they are six. You don't have to share a playground with Devastator for the next half-decade. Wovon man nicht sprechen kann...

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Yes, you do want her to int... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 12:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Pastabagel's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Yes, you do want her to intervene then. It's about standing up for what's right. The end goal is that she won't have to stand up to the guy 70lbs larger. That other boy will. And the rest of the kids on the soccer field. The addendum to the, "What's right is not always popular" rule should, "Some times you will get your ass kicked, but you stopped something wrong". It shouldn't be do what's right only when it's not detrimental to you.
The big movement right now is trying to prevent bullying by making it socially unacceptable in schools. The problem is, if you tell the kids to rat to the teachers, the behavior is punished by authority. It's still not socially unacceptable.
I won't use anecdotes, because no body cares, but I'm astounded how many times I've come across a situation where one person is harassing someone who can't stand up to them, and no one is doing anything. I couldn't believe I was the only one willing to intervene.
It's a sad state of affairs when you are commended for doing something that should be a natural reaction.

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Yes, even at 5 years old yo... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 1:00 AM | Posted, in reply to The Kid's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Yes, even at 5 years old you should be encouraging that kind of behavior. You can't teach kids to be cowards until they are 18 then say, "Now that you're an adult and entering the real world where there aren't teachers/nannies around, now you have to be brave."

Safety should not be the highest priority for anyone. If a person values safety above all else they should rightly be labeled as a coward. There are things bigger then ourselves, more important than our safety, even our lives. The situations that warrant putting ourselves into harms way may seem trivial, but they represent upholding a greater morality.

Why did President Bush encourage us to keep flying after 9/11? And why did we? At that time there was the potential that any flight could blow up. Is a business meeting across the country more important than protecting our lives? No, the business meeting wasn't the issue. The issue was not allowing ourselves to be bullied. Standing up collectively and saying, "You cannot do this to us."

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My teenage son got in a fig... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 1:09 AM | Posted by JJ Frank: | Reply

My teenage son got in a fight with a gang of neo-nazis while he and his friends were protecting some girls and escorting them home through the gang's taunts. He was knocked unconscious and ended up in the hospital, but in his school he is a complete hero to students and teachers alike. He became a man that day and learned that he had balls.

Sometimes bullies come in handy. Even when we lose the fight, we win something better.

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Actually, under a lot of tr... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 1:43 AM | Posted by Gil: | Reply

Actually, under a lot of traditional Western Law Codes there is a legal "duty to retreat". In other words, self-defence may be considered a criminal offence if there was a reasonable opportunity of running away from a fight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_retreat

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I hear you. But I think the... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 2:26 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by The Kid: | Reply

I hear you. But I think there's an important distinction between standards we should have for ourselves and standards we should have for other people (but hey, that's just me).

Good for you if you maintained your normal flying habits after 9/11 on principle. But I think that if you had a coworker who started teleconferencing instead of flying out of fear of terrorism, you are not allowed to call them on it. You're not a priest; you're not in charge of getting people to "uphold a greater morality."

By the same logic, the girl did the right thing, but someone who encouraged her to do it again would be doing the wrong thing. That's quantum mechanics.

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True, but there was that ot... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 2:30 AM | Posted, in reply to Adrian's comment, by G: | Reply

True, but there was that other group of passengers that stormed the flight deck. They knew they would probably die, but they went down fighting - there was nothing to lose.

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I keep trying to make this ... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:02 AM | Posted, in reply to Anon's comment, by G: | Reply

I keep trying to make this point: size is only part of the equation. I was a very quiet and polite kid; I never bullied and I never wanted to hurt anybody. Yet I managed to floor two adult males before I was fifteen.

One - a very large man - shoved me and insulted my mother; I buried my fist in his solar plexus - he went down gasping; another - a drunk - had me pinned on the floor and was hammering me with his fist. I got my feet up under him (like I had seen in the movies) and literally kicked him across the room - he hit the wall and went to the floor. I got up and kicked him several times for good measure.

I did not think about these things in advance; it was just pure instinct coupled with outrage at being abused. Each time, when it was over I was shaking.

Don't ever let someone get away with attacking you just because they are bigger and stronger; it is one thing to be beaten, but quite another to be beaten and humiliated.

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As much as I love and adore... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:32 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

As much as I love and adore my parents, out of all their children I was the scapegoat for everything that went wrong, and I was effectively "bullied" to regain their sense of control because I was the most outspoken in disagreeing with them. This only stopped after the two times I fought back, once instinctively and unfortunately much harder than I wanted, and the other just symbolically and pre-meditated, an "I am now an adult - hit me and I will hit you back. Deal with me without violence." This whole process helped both my parents and I grow as people, I think it was in fact possibly for the best. However that is only the case if all the parties do truly care about each other and are just initially blind to their underlying fears and motivations.

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This is like second hand em... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Erin's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is like second hand embarrassment week on TLC.

Yes, this comment inspired a lot of it.

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I guess I missed the citati... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:41 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I guess I missed the citation of the story that inspired this diary. Would have been nice to get the background ... in addition to the amazingly detailed, stenographic dialog of the participants. Glad it's not just someone's stalking horse.

For those of you who haven't had children (and you're obvious), there's really another, more obvious "problem that jumps out."

The teacher tells the mother that they have had a lot of trouble with that boy already, they are handling the problem, but in the meantime it's best if the girl simply stay away from him. "She was really brave, but we don't want her to get hurt or for him to fixate on her, so it's best if she stays out of it."

Most parents I know would be at that school and would not accept a situation where the bully was not immediately and personally sanctioned. Would. Not. Allow. It. And if you think teachers have the power to blow parents off when it comes to violent acts on school grounds ... you need to catch up to reality. We'd be in conference the next day. And there would be immediate consequences. Go ahead and google the following: violence grade school suspension. And join us in the real world.

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Later, the girl tells he... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 4:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by Whatever: | Reply

Later, the girl tells her mother, who calls the school. The teacher tells the mother that they have had a lot of trouble with that boy already, they are handling the problem, but in the meantime it's best if the girl simply stay away from him.

It's like that in many other countries too...and sometimes even worst. God help us.

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Anonymous - that may be the... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 4:44 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Whatever: | Reply

Anonymous - that may be the case in your part of the world but in many others it's not. We have a little monster here that has beaten up kids black and blue and appears to be sexually disturbed as well. Unless you have money and great connections - which most parents don't, nothing happens. Nothing.

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The people I stood up to we... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 5:06 AM | Posted by L: | Reply

The people I stood up to were the teachers. I got one fired for name calling. The other fired for sexual harassment. 5th grade and 9th grade respectively. My dad really likes the idea of people should behave honorably and if they don't they should be expelled from the group.

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It's been awhile since law ... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 9:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Gil's comment, by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

It's been awhile since law school, but this is about *deadly* force, yes? The law takes the unusual view that death is kind of a big deal, though aggression is too. And there are exceptions (castle doctrine).

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Yet another broad-brush ran... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 9:42 AM | Posted by Julian Murdoch: | Reply

Yet another broad-brush rant. Parents have choices. Not always infinite ones, but still, choices. My kids are in a Montessori school that goes through 8th grade. When stuff like this goes down (and kids are kids, so stuff does happen) it's the kids who deal with it unless there's an actual fistfight or serious safety on the line.

I'm not saying shit like this doesn't happen -- we are a world of confrontation avoiders. But there are systems and processes in many schools, and more importantly in many FAMILIES that don'r result in some sort of 2020 populated only by monsters and wimps, as this hyperbolic post would imply.

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Something tells me you're t... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 10:43 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by No Kids But The Three: | Reply

Something tells me you're the kind of parent Alone is writing about. So you're response would be to immediately punish the boy? Suspend him? Have a live parent-teacher conference with both parents?

Even if those things are done, the point is that they should not need to be done.If kids can handle it on their own, shouldn't they? But under the school's expert direction, kids have no motivation (or backing) to handle things on their own.) Read Alone's second to last sentence.

Or are you disputing that this story happened? Then you're plain silly, a point is a point, and this stuff happens just like that everywhere.

I can't tell what about your comments rubs me the wrong way, I think it's how you expect the school to just wreck this boy's life just because he's aggressive, but my guess is you also hate the fact that we incarcerate so many people in the U.S. So your solution appears to be "protect my kid, everyone else be damned, but also here are my left-leaning political beliefs and white guilt."

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G--- I have a friend who ex... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 10:49 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

G--- I have a friend who experienced the exact same thing as the only anglo. He was being abused at home by his priest grandfather, and he would preach. To gang members. As the only anglo kid. He got beat up every day. He did fight back but he never learned martial arts, he never could really fight them off. Nor could he at home. (He did try with the martial arts. He was really sure I thought he was soo sexy when he did his nunchucks. Because I was staring at him prepared to duck. "I know exactly where they're gonna fly when they slip out of my hand!" Sure you do buddy.)

The teachers repeatedly saw him as the trouble even when he turned up covered in blood and beat to a pulp.

He wound up addicted to hard drugs and homeless. I heard in an e-mail things had turned up for him. I really hope they have.

I'm so sorry you've gone through that G.

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Rox - I guess we could say:... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 12:29 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Rox - I guess we could say: "that which does not destroy you, makes you stronger." But I had a way out, that your friend seems not to have had.

I simply refused to go back to the school, against all of the pressure my parents put on me - "But you have to go to school, it's the law." They refused to believe that my life was in danger, if not my sanity. A classic double bind.

I got out of it by getting a job as a riding "Swamper" - that is, a helper - on owner/driver intercontinental moving vans.

Those men were my real fathers; they had grown up rough, but they had made a place for themselves in the world. They were tough red-neck men who were good-hearted enough to take a raw kid and give him a chance to survive.

The way they saw it was, if you worked like a man you were a man. So I got to see a lot of America; and "Women and whiskey and growing up fast." It was a few years of really hard work and honky-tonks. but it was like heaven compared to what my life had been.

God only knows what would have happened to me if I had given in and gone back to the school.

Sorry about your friend. "Priest grandfather"? What a ghastly hell he must have lived in.

Thanks for caring.

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But, who watches the birds ... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 1:03 PM | Posted by dave: | Reply

But, who watches the birds ?

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This might be best explaine... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 2:31 PM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

This might be best explained by the fact that the majority of teachers and staff in elementary schools are women.

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I stood up for myself & oth... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:13 PM | Posted by &y: | Reply

I stood up for myself & others and always ended up in the principal's office. At least my Dad taught me how to fight.

This is yet another reason I'm glad I homeschool my son.

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Oh see, and here I thought ... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by Lexi: | Reply

Oh see, and here I thought it was because the majority of teachers are liberals and socialists.

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"darüber" = "darueber"... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 3:53 PM | Posted by Scott: | Reply

"darüber" = "darueber"

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Is there a difference in th... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 5:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Lexi's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Is there a difference in the POV of a woman and a liberal?

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heh. There is if she's a li... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 5:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Lexi: | Reply

heh. There is if she's a libertarian. Or a Republican. Or a survivalist. Or is plenty fine with disabling violence as a perfectly reasonable solution to immediate physical threats. Or a fan of the right to keep and bear arms . . . or the idea that your rights end where her property line begins . . .

But hey, maybe those liberal college professors that look like men are just ugly women with sex changes. That sure would explain a lot! Especial if there is no difference between the POV of liberals and women.

Palin gets a bad rap, but I can't imagine her inner bear slayer would be at all upset if that little girl kicked the boy in the groin. Maybe she's actually a man.

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Jon:While your argum... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 6:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by Anonie: | Reply

Jon:
While your argument was well formed I'm going to disagree. Alone is describing the effect of institutionalized dehumanizing, deempathizing of societies' members as a whole. It is true that there will be exceptions who resist the programming (i.e. that one family who praises their altruistic-minded child, and the child internalizes that praise , and continues to do what is right rather than what is systematically appropriate). However, as a whole, most people go through these experiences and are programmed to be isolated, emotionless fragments of a faceless sea of some nebulous construct called society. Throughout our development we find ourselves praised for conforming to the massive sprawling hive-like social structure, obeying "the authorities" regardless of whether or not it is right to do so, and betraying our hunter-gatherer tribe instinct to protect, favor, defend your close friends and relatives. We are actively encouraged to abandon our genetic families from early ages, to view friends as disposable accessories who we fashionably wear depending on what we fancy our identity to be this year, to feel no emotional connection to nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion, to be "individuals" and forge our own completely novel identities (which in reality ends up being a subliminally programmed manifestation of media brainwashing)... the ideal living condition from a western perspective is a massive city full of aliens who might as well be faceless, where technological distractions pass the time, and elaborate industry-created illusions (e.g. fashion trends or any other "club") fill in as substitutes for our genetically immutable human need for belonging to a small tribe. Indulging in these illusions of belonging creates a false sense of safety and distracts us further from our unnatural isolation.

Humans are living in a social structure which is wholly unnatural to our evolutionarily designed brains. We invented agriculture and since then the natural hunter-gatherer band which shaped our neuro system has been replaced with this insect-like hive living structure. Narcissism (isolation and fantasy worlds and other distractions/illusions) are just the result...

The western human today with its obsession with fashion and trends and technological distractions and egocentricity and image, and above all else deafening sense of emptiness whenever it is forced to contemplate its existence... it's not unlike Harry Harlow's monkey clinging to the cloth mother. We did this to ourselves when we tried to become god and cut ourselves off from the sort of social structure which created who we are. You can't take a bunch of wolves and ask them to live like bees and think it will turn out well.

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Not everything is motivated... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 6:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Isaac's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Not everything is motivated by image. Bullies like "devastator" are not motivated by image, they are motivated by what freud would call the Id. They are primative, impulsive, not fully human and prone to frequently violate social rules, because they do not care about them, if they do even bother to consciously recognize they even exist. Expecting someone like "devastator" to conform into a pro-social role is like expecting lions to not eat a gazelle. They are biologically incapable of it. Some humans are cooked in such a way that they are unstable and a little reckless and not fit for socialization - usually they are males, young males especially. All you can do with people like this is threaten them with retaliation because that is all they understand, and if they believe you only then will they make an attempt to inhibit their antisocial impulsive crazed emotions and drives.

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Furthermore, people who are... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 6:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Furthermore, people who are motivated by image are people with the rudimentary capacity to belong to a society, as image preoccupation is the result of poor socialization which did not emphasize the importance of others (i.e. modern western society). The sociopath (which is what devastator surely will become) is entirely different and his brain is always going to be a poor fit for any kind of social structure, whether or not he is socialized properly can only affect how sociopathic he eventually becomes.

I would argue that sociopathic personalities are rather common today, probably because our social structure allows the genetic traits for it to go unchallenged so that each successive generation results in an aggregation of the genetic traits for this sort of monster maladaptive personality. In some instances it may even be selected for - in urban settings, for example, where the living conditions are the most unnatural and unsocialized.

People like devastator wouldn't last 2 seconds in a hunter gatherer band. His parents (with milder sociopathic traits) wouldn't have been successful and would not have reproduced. Even if this crotch dropping somehow managed to magically manifest from genetic thin air, he would be ostracized and would die of starvation, childless.

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A socialist would be emphas... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 6:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Lexi's comment, by Jane: | Reply

A socialist would be emphasizing solidarity, the polar opposite of the story alone describes.

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It´s just not that simple.<... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 9:03 PM | Posted by Alessandra: | Reply

It´s just not that simple.

No kid is hyper agressive for no reason at all. There can be many different reasons for agressiveness in children, but within certain limits, it´s not abnormal and it´s not unexpected. At a particular age, it´s much more the norm than the exception, specially for boys. They test each other all the time, and the bigger, stronger, smarter and wittier get the natural upper hand. It´s the educator´s job to make sure these kids don´t abuse this power and use it constructively, but it´s NOT easy.

What all the people who are saying "away with the bully" don´t seem to get is that this hypothetical troublemaker is also a student and is there to be educated just as much as anyone else. He´s not a psycopath, he´s a child who needs to be educated. Kicking him out just transfers the problem to someone else.

But I do agree that teachers nowadays don´t have much power when it comes to disciplining certain behaviors. It´s tough.

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I like this. I keep reading... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2010 10:10 PM | Posted by Greenpad: | Reply

I like this. I keep reading about how our schools try to make boys act like girls, but I think this fits better. It is less of a gender thing--both genders are punished for looking out for others.

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The travesty in this is tha... (Below threshold)

October 30, 2010 8:58 AM | Posted by TheDUDE: | Reply

The travesty in this is that the lesson to every kid involved is that they are powerless, that the self-correction of a society (even a 1st grade playground one) is not allowed. By going having an *authority* intervene at the hint of a problem, you reinforce your own helplessness. There is no greater power than your belief in yourself, and that has to be earned through perseverance, throwing a few haymakers, getting a bloody nose, and realizing you will survive.

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I'm sure you practice what ... (Below threshold)

October 31, 2010 12:34 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm sure you practice what you preach? It's always the biggest cowards who extol the virtues of reckless self endangerment for some nebulous altruistic intent.

GWB told us to keep flying because he wanted his corporate financiers to keep making money. No flights, less consumerism.

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3:41... you assume everyone... (Below threshold)

October 31, 2010 12:43 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

3:41... you assume everyone is a fat SUV driving soccer mom like you. I can say growing up in my town, there were many instances bullies got off scott free. You may be a royal pain in the ass and would mc-donalds and oversized car and american society your way all over the principles office... but many many other parents would not. Your narcissistic sense of specialness and entitlement of your children encourages you to demand special treatment ("I DONT WANT TO WAIT FOR YOU TO CONDUCT YOUR INVESTIGATION... I WANT DEVISTATOR BANNED NOW BECAUSE HE HURT MY PRINCESS AND I AM A SPECIAL HUMAN BEING, SO I HAVE SPECIAL RIGHTS THAT MAKE ME DEMAND SPECIAL TREATMENT!!!")

My parents are not fat mcdonalds suv driving american narcissists, so if I was bullied, I was told by my parents:
1) deal with it, it's the way of the world, people can be shits and it is your job to figure out a way to survive and
2) let the socially established system handle it, because you are not a special person and you do not deserve special treatment, you get the same treatment as everyone else.

THis idea that YOUR CHILD IS SPECIAL and the rules and regulations and systems dont' apply is such a fat narcissistic american idea. Ugh.

I work in healthcare now and I deal with this shit mentality all the time from the family members of patients... the GROSSLY ERRONEOUS AND GRANDIOSE CONCEPT that your genetic relative is somehow special and deserves privileges others don't get. Give me a break you american fat ass. If you want special rights, either obtain it yourself or earn it some way, don't expect the system to bend over backwards to accommodate your low class trash ass. You're no different than any of the other students/customers/patients.

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School isn't about turning ... (Below threshold)

October 31, 2010 2:22 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

School isn't about turning kids into heroes, it's about turning them into predictable and manageable cogs in the machine. Courage may make you a strong and upright person that others will trust and respect, but it also makes you likely to go do something quixotic instead of contributing to the GDP like you're supposed to. Character can't be quantified and therefore most institutions don't give a flying fuck about it.

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Goodness, I sense a touch o... (Below threshold)

October 31, 2010 5:04 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by David: | Reply

Goodness, I sense a touch of hostility in your tone. Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm 3:41 ...

I think we've established I'm not a mom and I don't drive an SUV and well ... I am overweight. You got me there. You write many things, one of them being

THis idea that YOUR CHILD IS SPECIAL and the rules and regulations and systems dont' apply is such a fat narcissistic american idea. Ugh.

Of course my child is special. We're bonded, we're securely attached, as they put it. I think she's the greatest. And it's not like your kid can't be the greatest to you ... it's just that I'm totally and completely in love with my child. I'm sorry you never experienced this.

"Rules and regulations and systems" really "don't apply" if my child is at risk. And any teacher who has to tell my daughter to simply stay away from him- "She was really brave, but we don't want her to get hurt or for him to fixate on her, so it's best if she stays out of it" is telling me in as many words that she's not safe.

Of course I'm not going to leave it up to a teacher or a principal. "Fixate on her?" Those are words you use to describe a bully who targets someone for abuse. Words you'd use to describe behavior you've seen. Already.

So no, I'm not going to wait for "someone else," I'm not going to wait for "the socially established system handle it," because so far, they've told me they haven't.

If necessary, I'll pull my child from the school. I'd rather not, but I'm a realist. I'll talk to the principle, I'll talk to the teacher, but unless there's some plan of action to ensure the safety of my daughter, we're not going any further. We have a pretty responsive school, an active parents group and the willingness to work through some of these issues. I recognize there are many schools where this is not the case and I probably should have acknowledged that in my first post.

The real deal for me is always ... as a parent ... am I looking out for my child's basic welfare and safety. Everything else follows that. Put as simply as I can: I disagree with you-the safety of a grade school child is not a privilege.

I'm sorry you work in health care. The level of rage you exhibit and the lack of empathy you show must make the job very frustrating for you.

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So when we call the police ... (Below threshold)

October 31, 2010 1:43 PM | Posted by Michm: | Reply

So when we call the police and they tell us that we should stay clear of a dangerous person, and let them handle it, do we become more narcissistic?

This is not how narcissism develops.

And how did the person who wrote this know exactly what the various actors actually did and said in the situation? Is the writer an invisible fairy? I call fiction.

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Dave, Your child i... (Below threshold)

November 1, 2010 12:24 AM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Dave,

Your child is special... TO YOU. Here's the thing, and this may shock you: you are not the only person that matters. In fact, you aren't important at all. Many 'daves" with daughters exist in this society. There are maaaany other Soccer Dads out there who think their little princess is the star of the sky.
Modern western society is constructed in such a way that people aggregate in large social structures called "cities". A school of children may, therefore, hold several hunrded if not several thousand students. Due to the large volume of humans in modern cities, our institutions, such as schools, have these things called SYSTEMS where in which various things are processed and handled in a routine way. Almost every school, for example, has a SYSTEM where by which conflicts between students are processed and handled. Even if you happen to think your precious little Caitlyn Sara is more important than the system, unfortunately, she is just another cog in the wheel like you are, and neither of you deserve special treatment. You need to wait your fucking turn and let them handle it the way they handle everyone elses' complaint.
Now, with that established, let me pose this question:
What happens when ALLLL the dave-shaped organisms demand that their crotch droppings receive special treatment? Sure, inside your bull headed brain you are all that matters and you are more important than the other dave-shaped organisms, but if we ALL refuse to acknowledge society and we ALL demand special privileges, none of the systems will work because the most obnoxious fuck gets the grease, delaying service to everyone else who is politely waiting their turn for their complaint to be handled.
It is one thing to fight an unjust system (i.e. you waited your turn and the system fucked you, they didn't handle your complaint, the bully kept on bullying for weeks). It's quite another thing to not even give the system a chance and to just scream like a fat indulgent fuck and demand special treatment "GET HIM OUT OF THE SCHOOL NOOOOW" before the school even has a chance to conduct any sort of investiation and find out what really happened. Maybe your precious little Caitlyn Sara was calling the Devestator a lambert-loving flamer? Maybe she threw rocks at him? Sure, not YOUR little Caitlyn Sara... but guess what, even Dahmer had parents and I'm sure they probably could never believe little Jeff could be the one to eat people's brains.
But, you're sure you're right. All of your statements keep talking about YOUR child and YOUR needs. With that sort of mind set, it's not possible to get a person to understand why they are a gaping goatse of an asshole.
I have to deal with SO MANY people like this on a daily basis. God working in the service industry sucks.

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Dave, Your child i... (Below threshold)

November 1, 2010 12:25 AM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by edited for formating: | Reply

Dave,

Your child is special... TO YOU. Here's the thing, and this may shock you: you are not the only person that matters. In fact, you aren't important at all. Many 'daves" with daughters exist in this society. There are maaaany other Soccer Dads out there who think their little princess is the star of the sky.

Modern western society is constructed in such a way that people aggregate in large social structures called "cities". A school of children may, therefore, hold several hunrded if not several thousand students. Due to the large volume of humans in modern cities, our institutions, such as schools, have these things called SYSTEMS where in which various things are processed and handled in a routine way. Almost every school, for example, has a SYSTEM where by which conflicts between students are processed and handled. Even if you happen to think your precious little Caitlyn Sara is more important than the system, unfortunately, she is just another cog in the wheel like you are, and neither of you deserve special treatment. You need to wait your fucking turn and let them handle it the way they handle everyone elses' complaint.

Now, with that established, let me pose this question:

What happens when ALLLL the dave-shaped organisms demand that their crotch droppings receive special treatment? Sure, inside your bull headed brain you are all that matters and you are more important than the other dave-shaped organisms, but if we ALL refuse to acknowledge society and we ALL demand special privileges, none of the systems will work because the most obnoxious fuck gets the grease, delaying service to everyone else who is politely waiting their turn for their complaint to be handled.

It is one thing to fight an unjust system (i.e. you waited your turn and the system fucked you, they didn't handle your complaint, the bully kept on bullying for weeks). It's quite another thing to not even give the system a chance and to just scream like a fat indulgent fuck and demand special treatment "GET HIM OUT OF THE SCHOOL NOOOOW" before the school even has a chance to conduct any sort of investiation and find out what really happened. Maybe your precious little Caitlyn Sara was calling the Devestator a lambert-loving flamer? Maybe she threw rocks at him? Sure, not YOUR little Caitlyn Sara... but guess what, even Dahmer had parents and I'm sure they probably could never believe little Jeff could be the one to eat people's brains.

But, you're sure you're right. All of your statements keep talking about YOUR child and YOUR needs. With that sort of mind set, it's not possible to get a person to understand why they are a gaping goatse of an asshole.

I have to deal with SO MANY people like this on a daily basis. God working in the service industry sucks.

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^^^ You should consider con... (Below threshold)

November 1, 2010 12:45 AM | Posted, in reply to edited for formating's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

^^^ You should consider connecting electrical wires to your nut-sack.

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I believe it to be a tradit... (Below threshold)

November 1, 2010 2:06 AM | Posted, in reply to R. Kevin Hill's comment, by Gil: | Reply

I believe it to be a traditional Western view the retalitory voilence is only permitted as a last resort and only proportional to the threat faced. However I heard this notion was disbanded in early America. However once again is the "duty to retreat". Which is to say if you choose to stay and fight when you had a reasonable opportunity to retreat then you could be committing a criminal offence. Of course, things may be different in various jurisdictions however the "duty to retreat" for most of the West.

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Since when does THE SYSTEM ... (Below threshold)

November 1, 2010 10:46 AM | Posted, in reply to edited for formating's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Since when does THE SYSTEM take precience over the actual PEOPLE? That's the problem, and it's a basic excuse for "Good Germanism". The idea is that you must always bow down before the system -- the government, the teachers, the authorities -- no matter what. In the case of the story, it is absolutely the wrong answer. The system has already failed, because the bully isn't dealt with (and bonus because another kid has been taught to submit to authorities without question). That's fasist thinking. Read about totalitarian systems sometime -- it's always the same mentality -- keep your head down, don't get involved. To do otherwise is to invite punishment from authority.

Devestator isn't going to be punished -- he's already gotten away with it. He gets to attack other kids, and they're on notice that attacking back and dealing with the problem is BAD. They'll be punished for sticking up for the little guy. Better to let the guys with the badges and authority symbols handle all your problems. Maybe the "authorities" will send home a nice note -- and he'll forge mommy's name on it. Or maybe she just doesn't care. Either way, he's now protected from the other kids. He knows they won't hurt him.

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All I'm saying is it is rid... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 12:23 AM | Posted by edited for formating: | Reply

All I'm saying is it is ridiculous to demand to have this kid expelled from school when we don't even know the whole story. Did anyone ask devistator what happened? This is a hypothetical situation, this is a figurative account, so we have the privilage of god sight, and we can clearly see Devistator is a rotten bully.

But if this were a real situation, we don't know if the girl is a bitch who has been taunting him, or if the boy was taunting him, all we know is that devistator rushed a kid. It's ridiculous to expell this kid and punish him full on without even asking anyone what happened. And please, in the real world you have to defend yourself, a 6 year old boy rushing a 6 year old girl isn't causing any serious injuries other than a skinned knee. Get over your dramatics. At that age girls are often bigger than boys anyway.

YES, you should let the system handle complaints before you scream like an unhinged nutcase over something as trivial as a 6 year old boy rushing another. The kid didn't bring a gun to school. Your child is not in immediate danger, and you aren't special, so wait your turn.

With that said, people should do whats right and the girl was admirable to defend the boy - in this hypothetical situation of course, where we have unlimited insight and all knowledge of facts. However, in the real world, when assessing such a situation, when reacting to it, we have to first find out the facts before we act... and don't become a bunch of drama queens over a school yard tiff between preschoolers for christs sake.

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But more important than my ... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 12:30 AM | Posted by edited for formating: | Reply

But more important than my statements above... what really pisses me off about people like dave is that they are SO FUCKING SELFISH.

They demand, DEMAND that the system bend over backward for them and their needs ("BAN THE CHILD NOW MY EGO IS HURT")
...
but they refuse to reciprocate for the system and work with it ("My selfish gut instinct is vengeance for my child, I want the child punished & expelled NOW..., but I will wait for you to conduct an investigation and find out what really happened and figure out a good fair course of action because that is only fair and pro-social of me).


No, people like this only think beyond their noses, their immediate reflexive gut instincts, and they don't care about the very real possibility that the problem could be their little shit of a child.

They REFUSE to work with the system, but yet DEMAND the system do whatever they want.

At least the vigilante response doesn't make unreasonable selfish demands of a system they refuse to work with.

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<a href="http://www.coachus... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 2:00 AM | Posted by asics running shoes: | Reply

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The idea is that you mus... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 7:35 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

The idea is that you must always bow down before the system -- the government, the teachers, the authorities -- no matter what. In the case of the story, it is absolutely the wrong answer. The system has already failed, because the bully isn't dealt with (and bonus because another kid has been taught to submit to authorities without question). That's fascist thinking. Read about totalitarian systems sometime -- it's always the same mentality -- keep your head down, don't get involved. To do otherwise is to invite punishment from authority.

Yes, yes, yes.

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Both Anonymous and <... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 8:11 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Both Anonymous and edited for formating have valid points.

There is a system and it can take a long time for the system to get going but once it does - watch out.

But one should also have a plan about what to do during the waiting-time or... in case the system breaks down. (Watch the opening scene of The Godfather for more details or read about all the kids CPS failed to reach while being too busy responding to fake calls made by nasty neighbors or exes.)

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Maybe he was confused and t... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Posted by summer dresses 2011: | Reply

Maybe he was confused and thought he was filming an episode of 2 1/2 men.
Come on people..give charlie a break!
Haven't we all had an allergic reaction to medication before?
Sometimes you break out in hives...some times you break furniture in the nude.

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I'm not saying that you sho... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 10:36 AM | Posted, in reply to edited for formating's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm not saying that you should never work with other people, just that blind obedience is a very dangerous and bad thing. If the solution is "authorities" as in call the cops or something, that's fine. But the thing with this and so much of the rest of what is done in schools is about teaching blind obedience. A better solution in this case would be perhaps all the other kids deciding to apply some social pressure. Nobody talks to him for a week or two, maybe he'll get the message. Maybe she really does alp him next time he picks on somebody. Either way, the problem is solved and the kids learn to deal with problems themselves rather than running to the first authority figure that they run across.

Authority exists to serve people, just like government, yet we teach people the opposite. It's kind of strange -- in all of these cases, we bow down to systems that are suposed to answer to us. We hire teachers to educate the young, and if they say "your kid needs ritalin" we get them ritalin. We created the government to serve us, yet we serve it. We say nothing as regulations pile up. Again, nothing against the existance of government or the legitatmate laws -- but it seems that once again, we look to government to tell us what to do.

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And yet so many people tell... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2010 12:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

And yet so many people tell us, homeschoolers, that our kids are missing out on socialization! That they are not experiencing "real life." That they will not know how to take care of themselves amongst "bad people." Right.

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So it's the school's job to... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 9:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Basho: | Reply

So it's the school's job to teach your values?

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November 4, 2010 9:15 PM | Posted by asics running shoes: | Reply

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I ran across this at:... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 3:34 AM | Posted by G: | Reply

I ran across this at:

http://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/

What to do about school bullying

Easy. Put the word out that bullies will be forced to undergo brain scans to determine if they are sociopathic or not. The sociopaths’ involvement will dry up almost immediately. Parents know if their child is a bully, but the last thing they want is for their child to bear the stigma of being an identified sociopath. Few sociopaths are criminally insane, in the sense that they can’t help themselves. Draw a line they don’t want to cross and they won’t cross it. For those without that self control, reopen the mental hospitals.

Also for schools with repeated bullying problems, require that the principal undergo the same scan. If sociopaths sense a sociopath at the top, they feel licensed. I think child sociopaths would be similarly sensitive, if inarticulate regarding the situation.

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This is pretty much why I q... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 9:20 PM | Posted by Benny: | Reply

This is pretty much why I quit teaching a year in.

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Albeit in a far gone exampl... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 10:31 AM | Posted by Brady J. Frey: | Reply

Albeit in a far gone example, a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle reminded me of this post; a young girl standing up to a convicted rapist, still in school, is told to stop and 'just avoid him' and public functions:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/05/MNDQ1G1R78.DTL&feed=rss.news

A lot more going on here then a bullying episode, but some parallels in the teacher/school relationship.

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And followed up by how our ... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

And followed up by how our schools treat rapists and people who stand up to them...same MO that entitles bullies to more freedom and protection than their victims. And punishes the victims for having the nerve to try to stand up to a sociopath.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148839/what_a_cheerleaders_sexual_assault_teaches_us_about_rape_culture

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The operative word is "anar... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 7:11 PM | Posted by Escapist: | Reply

The operative word is "anarcho-tyranny", i.e. punishing self defense/independence and rewarding bullies/dependency. Eventually it becomes ingrained and the idea of punishing bad behavior instead of paying it off is reflexively deemed immoral (hence the SSI solution in the other post, for example)

Obligatory self promotion: http://escapistart.wordpress.com

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I'd guess this problem runs... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 7:45 PM | Posted by zaci1: | Reply

I'd guess this problem runs much more deeply than this. The reason i think this way is - the girl was not the only one involved, since she stood up for someone else. So why didn't those people stand up for her? And i don't mean go and fight the bully, but refuse to have anything to do with him as a group. Huh, you wanna play with us? Well, WE don't play this way, try someone else? Oh, want the ball? Here it is, WE'll be playing hide and seek anyway.
But it's what generally happens when the teachers try to rely on authority (which is quite narcissistic as in "you must do as i say because i'm your Teacher") instead of their superior knowledge or charisma to solve problems that arise in class. Since the teacher is more important than every other person in the room, some will assume that it is a competitive environment, not an environment that values team work. The teacher is above, not one of you. If you can do something better, or be stronger, or whatever to impress the teacher, the means to an end are not as important when there's only one person you do not mess with for your own good.

*Btw, there is no such thing as competition in a team. Ever. Or its not a team, merely followers in a group. Group=/=team.*

When i was in elementary school, we didn't know there existed such a thing as a bully, and teachers always promoted team work, even allowing us to challenge their views. If I were to bully someone, i'd be excluded from the group. It didn't matter what the teacher did at this point, until every one agreed that the person apologized for what he's done or explained himself good enough, we'd make his life hard, or if the teacher got involved on the wrong side, exclude the teacher (yes, even when you're 7 if there's 20 of "you" the teacher will have to work on your terms until every one is okay with it. You cannot teach kids which sole intention just became being impossible to be thought. The usual divide and conquer approach involving parents is also useless against a passive fight against the masses, since nobody's done anything wrong. We just didn't know the answers. Poor us.). Believe me, kids can have common sense, so such situations were usually quickly resolved.
In our last grade, a rather peculiar thing happened. We got a new teacher for one of the subjects, and he started pressuring one of the students who didn't know the answer to something he thought was obvious, and most of us knew. We refused to do anything, even at the expanse of a couple of us getting bad grades for refusing to answer anything, and insted talking back to him. The situation evolved into the teacher actually forcefully dragging a friend out of the classroom and chasing another, who now refused to give up her walkman^^ No effect, the bell rang and we were so proud to have the bad teacher "defeated".
The next lecture this teacher got another class who were pretty much the same in working together as we were, in anger hit a student (though i wonder if that actually happened), and it wasn't a week when he lost his job due to his behavior.
So to ignore the bully could actually mean do not let be provoked by the bully to do things which either lead anyone to acknowledge anything he does, or lead someone to get in some active dispute with him. Go away, be passive, talk to friends and get people to your side, and if you have a choice not to help the bully when you don't actually have to do so (that is, not being stubborn, but just not doing things for him), just make his life harder.
Though i still don't acknowledge anyone because of authority as much as i should some decades later, and have a hard time accepting that sometimes there is also competition, not just cooperation (but im really not sure...;)) so maybe there's pros and cons to teaching kids this way)=P
Actively fighting is not the only way to win, and is usually a bad strategy against authority or someone who has access to using force, since people get hurt. You don't need to challenge, just decline. This way there is no us against them. There should only be us against your current behavior.
And really, trying to be a hero seems pretty narcissistic to me (since you assume that you are stronger than the others, even if mentally, and therefore better, and YOU will save them by telling an unrelated person (a teacher), who really as it seems didn't even notice what was going on. Also, with doing this you are furthering the dispute since you are using a resource the bully doesn't have, thus not fighting fair. Every side upping their resources just a little can end up with people bringing guns to school and someone getting shot. You gonna go this way? Than i will go this way too, i don't have a teacher at my side so i will bring a friend to fight you after school. Your friend hit me, you'll see when i get a gun. A teacher is supposed to be involved all the time, but who are we kidding, most of them don't care most of the time so really...) so there was probably no great damage done to the girl, since she already was a narcissist even before they would try to turn her into one. Maybe because they had already trained her before, as they did the other kids as it seems, including the bully.

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I wanted to thank you for t... (Below threshold)

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Generally I do not post on ... (Below threshold)

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You ought to check out the ... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 9:43 AM | Posted by Richard Kulisz: | Reply

You ought to check out the history of the creation of SWAT units in the USA. Especially the part where the sheriff deputized hunters on the scene to shoot at the sniper in the bell-tower in order to distract him. It worked fabulously. The response of the authorities was of course that this was unacceptable since civilians should never have any kind of power. And should never, ever stand up for themselves.

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Yeah, a government that all... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 9:57 AM | Posted, in reply to Richard Kulisz's comment, by GT: | Reply

Yeah, a government that allows it's people to stand up for themselves ensures they lose power in the process. It's a perfect recipe to create sheeple.

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that's dumb.... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 4:52 PM | Posted, in reply to zaci1's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

that's dumb.

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you write a great blog. wh... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2011 6:52 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

you write a great blog. who are you?

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Hi, just wanted to tell you... (Below threshold)

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A narc is a narc. The act ... (Below threshold)

June 3, 2013 5:06 AM | Posted by Domaonst: | Reply

A narc is a narc. The act could be virtuous but the elder must choose between a taddle or a fib. This isn't a perfect world, kids lie or choose to be Narcissistic in simpler terms a "Narc". By not addressing this kids want to be right the watchers are respected as an figure of authority/judge as it has been entrusted in them do so. Its called a lesson in tolerance as opposed to intolerance.

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I am the parent of a 23 yea... (Below threshold)

June 3, 2013 1:56 PM | Posted by Laura Looch: | Reply

I am the parent of a 23 year old and a 4 year old. When the twenty three year old was about 12, I was overseas when I heard she was having bullying problems at her school. Things hadn't gotten physical yet but there were a lot of threats from a GROUP of girls. So I called the assistant principal (in our neck of the woods, that's who handles these issues) and said, "I am extremely concerned for the safety of Bully A, B, and C. You need to know that if they jump my daughter, people are going to hospital and it won't be my child. Please let them know I am extremely concerned for them. My child is the kindest child in the world but she has only had a few years of ju-jitsu, enough training to break a lot of bones but not enough to know how to be gentle. You know it takes years to learn how to defend yourself without putting hurt on others." That was the END of her issues. I was not exaggerating. Only a year back, a boy had grabbed her butt and she had whipped off her belt and proceeded to teach him respect. I have not raised either of my children to believe that violence is never the answer===because sometimes it just is. "Kind by default, fierce when necessary" is what I stress.

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"I'm not saying she should ... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2014 3:30 PM | Posted by Doesn't Matter: | Reply

"I'm not saying she should have fought him (and I'm not not saying it, either), but what kind of school doesn't want a kid to stand up to a bully, especially when they're doing it to help someone else?
What kind of crazy school wants you to back down - and get someone else to protect you?
What kind of school indoctrinates kids that power is only possessed by
a) bad people?
b) the state?

Oh. All of them."
"But Devastator isn't the important person in this story."

Oh, I beg to differ, Alone.

Bad enough that 'girl in defiance' is told not to stand up for anyone [else], only to protect herself.

Devastator is not unlikely to grow up to be 'a', in the employ of 'b'.
He already knows not to stand up for anyone, it's practically an innate characteristic for him.
It should now be easy to explain how (if not why) cops can sequester nonviolent protesters and THEN pepperspray them; or any number of other forms of state-ignored/unpunished/passively sanctioned violent acts.

I'd like to think that if somehow, 'girl in defiance' had been ordered to use unnecessary force [on anyone], she'd not do as John Pike / Anthony Bologna did.

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It's a "problem family" at ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2014 9:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Erin's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

It's a "problem family" at the school; Devastator's older brother is Eradicator.

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