Regular visitors to Chicken Soup will probably be familiar with a character named Izzy Kalman. I posted an excessively scathing opinion of Kalman back on February 25, 2011. After an extensive e-mail exchange with him I completely rewrote it, much to the dismay of at least one of my readers. Kalman refers to the current antibullying movement as a "witchhunt" and makes his living with a program called Bullies2Buddies. His program emphasizes the idea that victims of bullying should attempt to make friends with the bully. I suspect his heart is in the right place but I also suspect he has no concept of the difficulties involved with transforming a violent, predatory species into a civilization. Kalman also emphasizes that America's current efforts to combat bullying are failing and perhaps making the problem worse. On this point alone...I agree. Current anti-bullying programs are failing, and they're failing for one simply reason.
No one in the anti-bullying movement is willing to address the problem by undermining the bully's sense of legitimacy.
My teenaged son told me how lame our school's anti-bullying program was and I gave him a suggestion. I told him to ask the teacher why no one ever talks about the parents who raise bullies. He was understandably hesitant and I told him to forget it if he didn't feel safe. Apparently he's popular enough to get away with it because he finally asked the question. He came home laughing about the teacher's reaction. "She looked like she sat on an ice pick. Then she moved on as if the question wasn't asked." With that in mind, here's a simple exercise for anyone who really wants to understand why the current programs are failing. Read the following politically incorrect statements and compare them with your own memories and experiences. If they match your own opinions but you're unwilling to repeat them in public, then you understand why antibullying programs in our school systems are failing.
Bullies are like human feces. They emerge from the orifice of family character, and they're accepted with open arms by their peers in the cesspool of community character.
If you like bullies, bigots, and batterers, you'll love the criminally incompetent parents who raise them.
A bully is simply a bigot who does not prey upon a specific demographic group. If the bully preyed upon black people it would be called a racist. If it preyed upon Jews it would be called an antisemite. If it preyed upon women it would be called a sexist or a mysoginist. If it preyed upon children it would be called a pedophile. Bullies do not focus on any well defined demographic group. They simply choose anyone who appears vulnerable and safe to attack at the moment. But they're no different than any other violent bigot.
When assholes reproduce, the world gets another bully.
Soulless, social climbing whores reward the bully. Bottom feeding cowards blame the victim. Toadying sycophants fawn for the bully's favor.
Dogs, chimpanzees, and humans are all violent, predatory animals that employ the same basic social structure: the pack. Within a pack, rank and status is established by bullying. The alpha male will periodically run up and down, hooting, beating its chest, calling attention to itself, and physically abusing each member of the pack to test its authority. The alpha male eats first and is given most of the breeding opportunities. In a human pack, bullying lets everyone know, particularly social climbing females who's needs are to be serviced and who is to be shunned. Sound familiar?
Men like Timothy McVeigh, Eric Harris, and Adam Lanza spent their early lives waiting for adults to signal their disapproval of bullying by criticizing them. Clearly, no one uttered a word of criticism. They and many other young men learned something very important from their experience. A society that holds violent individuals in high esteem and looks down upon those who are least violent is not civilized enough to have earned the right to complain about terrorism. Either attack the bully's support system or stop feigning bewilderment when homicidal maniacs spray bullets into crowded rooms.
Here's some further reading that may stimulate those wonderful memories of your youth.