Bullying’s Cure is Fighting Back

It’s as predictable as the equinox: school starts in the fall and bullying catches society’s attention anew.

It’s not as though bullying stops over the summer break, but then it is usually left-over momentum from the previous school year.

“Back to school” recharges it.

Schools decry bullying, often getting the community involved. It’s a halfhearted effort at best. Schools can’t eliminate bullying without undermining their own system since it’s based on authoritarianism — socially accepted bullying.

The dictionary says a bully is anyone who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate someone weaker, usually to force them to do what the bully wants.

Who, other than an insecure person with little self-worth, would behave this way? Whether it’s the schoolyard bully, the authoritarian teacher or principal, the politician or the politicians’ badged “muscle,” if you choose to push others around — literally or figuratively — to force them to do what you want, you can’t think very highly of yourself.

I pity bullies, even as I hope their victims fight back hard enough to make the bullies reconsider their poor life choices.

Fighting back is the only cure for bullying. The victims must fight back, and shouldn’t be penalized for doing so. Yet this is the solution no one in an official capacity, who claims to oppose bullying, is willing to accept.

Forcing victims to rely on someone else to solve the problem for them is also bullying. It doesn’t teach responsibility and won’t build confident character for facing life’s other struggles. Encourage the victim to stand firm. Back them up if you’re concerned about their safety, but don’t tolerate anyone who treats fighting back against a bully the same as bullying.

Some bullied kids have gone on to strike out in tragic, angry ways at those who didn’t bully them — themselves or other innocents. I suspect this is because healthy ways of fighting back were forbidden.

The frustration must build to intolerable levels, finally snapping in the worst possible way.

The victim, because of his lack of competence in dealing with bullies, becomes a bully. Or a mass-murderer.

It’s no excuse, but it is predictable.

You can create a monster by being monstrous to someone. Forbidding self-defense or turning a blind eye to officially sanctioned forms of bullying is monstrous. Society ends up paying the price for official cowardice.

Bullying is a problem. It won’t be solved by ignoring the solution or by making the social environment worse for its victims.

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The “Guns are Bad” Assumption

Assuming guns are bad handicaps you. It keeps you from being able to talk about them sensibly.

It would be similar to what would happen if you thought dogs are bad. You’d have trouble discussing them in a reasonable way. Your faulty assumption would creep into everything you think and color everything you say. You might talk about how to register them (or the people who keep them), talk about mandatory dog-owner insurance, or discuss what kinds of dogs people should be allowed to keep. You might claim that government gives people the right to keep dogs, so it can take away that right. I mean, dogs aren’t specifically mentioned in the Ninth Amendment as something you have a right to keep, so government dog-owner control is clearly Constitutional. And obviously the founders never envisioned pitbulls, so only whatever kind of dogs they kept are covered by the Constitution. Right?

Of course, it makes no sense. Not realistically, historically, or rationally.

But that’s the kind of argument you get over and over from people who live by the faulty assumption that guns are bad.

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September 11, 2001

This year I wasn’t going to mention “9/11”. And I didn’t on that anniversary. I thought I had blogged about my own experiences of that day years ago, but apparently, I never have. Ammo.com had sent me their article on the event, and I wrote back saying I wasn’t going to mention it this year. But I guess I will after all. Just a little late.

In 2001 I was living in north-eastern Pennsylvania (“NEPA”), working in a small shop which built custom picture frames and framed art for Manhattan art galleries. New York City was about an hour and a half away, according to those who went there (I never did).

The shop sent a truck into NYC every Tuesday and Wednesday evening to deliver frames and framed art and pick up our work for the next week. Our schedule was always tight. On the morning of September 11, we were all working like we did any other morning.

A couple of people had radios at their work tables and one of them announced that she had just heard that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I commented that it was an odd coincidence that such an emergency (a “9-1-1“) happened on 9/11. I had a radio in the room where I packaged the finished frames and art for the truck (my main job), so I turned it on to see what they were saying.

There wasn’t really much real news about it– they would just talk about “the accident” between songs, speculating on what went wrong and what kind of plane it was (there were differing reports).

Then they came back on and said a plane had just hit the second tower. I said to co-workers “that wasn’t an accident”. We all immediately suspected terrorism. Later they said a plane had hit the Pentagon and more planes had possibly been hijacked; they made it sound like there was a swarm of them (because at that point they just didn’t know anything)– and that there was one “missing” somewhere over PA. I got a little nervous. We were in the middle of nowhere– literally in a cornfield– but as it turned out, Pennsylvania fields weren’t completely safe either.

The radio stopped even trying to play music and went to constant commentary and reports from the scenes.

I was completely stunned to hear when the towers fell, one after the other– I hadn’t believed it possible. Only a little more than a year earlier I had gotten my only glimpses of them (and the Statue of Liberty) as I flew into, and then back out of, the airport in Newark, NJ, on my first trip to PA. To think that they were now gone was unbelievable.

I can’t remember how long it was before we got the first reports of the plane crash in southwestern PA, but it was a while.

At some point during the confusion, they announced that all flights had been grounded country-wide. That didn’t seem real, either.

Our manager updated us and said he hadn’t heard from, or been able to contact, any of our customers. The lines were either down or overwhelmed– maybe both. We were working blind. He said to keep working as though the truck was going out… for now.

On lunch break, some of us went outside to eat. I looked up and saw no contrails at all in the sky. Something I had never seen before in that area– there were always planes visible in the sky. I told my co-workers to look up at the sky and make a mental picture because they’d probably never see that again.

Soon we got word from some source unrelated to our customers that no trucks were being allowed into Manhatten. The trucks weren’t going anywhere that day. Or the next.

The mood at work was somber. And we were worried about our jobs.

As it turned out that was the last day I worked until the 13th of December (our workweeks always started on Thursday).

On a tangent: It’s almost callous to admit, but those 3 months I was unemployed were some of the most fun months of my entire life. Karaoke ’til 2AM when the bar closed– then the huge after-party at a friend’s house… 5 days per week. Going to bed at 8 in the morning– if at all. Much debauchery.

Soon after I got called back to work we started getting damaged art to re-frame from buildings next door to the WTC. Truckloads of it– anything that they thought could be salvaged. The broken frames all had a thick layer (an inch or more deep) of fluffy gray “dust” on (and especially behind) them. (I was as careful as I could be to not breathe it and to keep my hands clean, but I did save some.) The glass was shattered and the plexiglass was cracked. Some of the art had been pierced by flying debris. We kept the art at our shop until the insurance was all settled, then we began the repairs. We delivered the first repaired pieces back to NYC on September 10th or 11th (I don’t remember exactly) of 2002.

And there’s my story.

9/11 changed me, and not all in a bad way.

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Don’t Need Law to Dislike Something

We all have our own likes and dislikes. This means everyone likes some things other people dislike; sometimes the likes and dislikes are passionate and the disagreements get rather heated.

There’s a secret trick I discovered, which seems to be unseen by most people; one which seems nearly impossible for them to even consider. Here it is, presented for (maybe) the first time you’ve ever heard it: It’s OK to dislike something without wanting a law to ban or control it.

Seriously.

It really is OK.

There are things I’m not a fan of; some things I dislike a lot. I don’t dare list my dislikes since such a list would offend just about everyone in some way. I can almost guarantee there are things on my list you like. Don’t worry. I have no wish to use laws to force you to change or stop doing what you like.

Most of the time I don’t want to make someone feel bad for liking something I don’t like. Even if they like something I think is ethically wrong there’s usually no point making an issue unless they want to make an issue.

As long as you aren’t violating anyone’s life, liberty or property, what you do is none of my business, even if I don’t like that you’re doing it.

When I was a youngster and was exposed to something I didn’t like, my first thought was along the lines of “They should make it illegal.” Such a childish mindset. I’m glad I’ve grown up in the years since then. I wish everyone would.

“For your own good” is not my style anymore. Nor is “but it’s offensive.”

Now when there’s something I don’t like I just don’t join in. If it’s bad enough I consider it unethical, I try to stay far away. I may let others know why I think it’s wrong and try to convince them to join me in avoiding it, but I’m probably not going to try to stop anyone from doing things I don’t like on their personal property. Not unless they are violating the rights of others — and I don’t mean offending them — by doing so.

Since there’s no such thing as a right to not be offended, we can all keep our offended feelings in our pockets where they belong. Let people like what they like and suggest they extend the same courtesy to everyone else.

It’s the civilized thing to do.

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“Gun Crime”

I’ve lost count of the times people have insisted my feelings about guns would change if someone I knew was a victim of a “gun crime”. This shows their ignorance. And even if my “feelings” did change, the truth doesn’t.

I’ve had three close friends shot by bad guys. Two of them died as a result. Do I blame the guns? That would be as pointless and stupid as blaming cars for my daughter Cheyenne’s death.

In one case, my friend was shot in the head by an angry ex who had been in and out of mental institutions. While she sat at a red light. I don’t think she ever knew he was in a car next to her. She probably wouldn’t have been saved if she’d had a gun– which she was in the process of trying to get government permission to carry. But it wouldn’t have made things worse. Making it harder for her to “legally” carry a gun didn’t help her.

In another case, a friend was shot in a mugging. He didn’t hand over enough money (he handed over all he had, the mugger just didn’t think it was enough) and then tried to elbow the excited mugger. He survived. Since he was not situationally aware, was in a dangerous place at a bad time of night, having a gun might not have done him any good. But if he’d had a gun it wouldn’t have made things worse for him. And, just maybe things would have gone worse for the mugger– who was never identified or caught.

In the final example, a friend of mine, my closest teenage friend, was shot in the gut “accidentally” and left to bleed out for an hour or more until a witness finally decided to call an ambulance. It was too late. According to the shooter, it was accidental. But I don’t believe my friend would have held a gun by the barrel while handing it to someone– he was more careful than that. Although I also think drugs, possibly a drug deal gone bad, were involved. If it was really an accident, then his having a gun wouldn’t have helped. If, however, it was a murder, then perhaps he could have defended himself had he been armed. Either way, having a gun wouldn’t have made it worse for him.

It’s so dumb to separate “gun crime” (or worse, “gun violence”) from other archation. I’m opposed to the innocent being harmed or killed regardless of the tool used by the bad guy. I wouldn’t feel better had my friends been violated with fists, bricks, knives, boots, or “laws”.

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Science + Politics = Crap

I like to listen to scientific lectures. Unfortunately, it’s becoming rare to be able to listen to an entire lecture without hearing an awkward jab at the anti-science mindset of the Republican Party. I don’t disagree, but it’s still the pot calling the kettle “black”.

The Democratic Party is just as anti-science; they just differ in the parts of science they don’t like.

Years ago, the Republican anti-science condemned by the science lecturers was usually centered on biology/evolution. Now the irony is that it’s much more likely to be about “climate change“– a topic the Democrats are decidedly anti-science about. Occasionally it is anti-gun bigotry or genderism that inspires the complaint against Republicans, but those are a lot rarer in science lectures than the “climate change” stuff. And sometimes the reason isn’t even specified, it’s just stated as axiomatic that “GOP = anti-science“. I’ve even heard libertarians included with Republicans a time or two.

Basically, what they are implying is that if you aren’t a Left-Statist you are backwards and ignorant. Everyone but their team needs to be scolded and corrected like a naughty, stupid child.

When you try to mix a little politics in with your science, you have abandoned science for religion– the religion of Statism. It doesn’t matter what variety of politics you mix in, either. Politics has no place in science. None.

Really, politics has no place in society… or in life.

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