Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chicken Soup with the Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game (SCMRPG)...

At the request of one of my readers I'm writing about a website titled, "Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game" otherwise known by its acronym, "SCMRPG." No, I can't pronounce the acronym either.

The link will bring you to the front page of the site where anyone who understands why individuals choose to build bombs or pick up a gun will find two points of interest. If you scroll down just a bit you'll find the official trailer that features cheesy, early 1980's Atari style images of the videogame in question. These images are combined with an audio track where journalists reveal their ignorance about human behavior, or perhaps just their herd mentality by blaming mass murder on videogames. If you scroll down a bit further you'll come to a montage of windows. The lower right hand window includes a statement from one of the parents of the deceased.

"My son was killed in this senseless tragedy. He is dead now because two angry boys had very easy access to guns."

Being a parent, I can certainly feel sympathy for the individual being quoted. But, from the standpoint of someone who understands why it happened, his/her statement only reveals the usual mindless herd mentality of those who want to blame the Columbine Massacre on anything but a toxic environment where large, physically powerful sociopaths were deified, lavishly rewarded, and allowed to victimize anyone they looked upon as different and therefore unworthy. Consider the oxymoron "wrestling scholarship" while pondering the consequences of maintaining such an environment.

Several years ago I encountered an internet character known as "Trench Reynolds." During one of our online debate/arguments where he was displaying his usual hatred for individuals whom he labeled as "mutants," I asked if he'd ever bothered to talk to them and take the time to listen and understand their position. His response was to provide me with a couple of web addresses where "mutants" congregate and to wish me luck. SCMRPG was one of them.

I posted regularly at the site from about June, 2009 until January, 2013. I encountered a wide variety of characters ranging from articulate and cool headed to borderline explosive. I stopped going there largely because I'd learned about as much as I expected to and became bored with it. The name I was using, "Columbine101" linked to my Chicken Soup weblog which allowed anyone who was interested the opportunity for further reading.

A few days ago I learned that Adam Lanza also posted there under the name "smiggles." I don't remember him but given the fact that there are hundreds of individuals posting there and the possibility that we may never have posted under the same subject headings that's not surprising.

Feel free to visit the site and if you have any questions or comments particularly regarding anything I may have written, please address them here as I no longer post there.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chicken Soup with one of Ryan Tucker's most loyal fans...

Way back on November 17, 2010 I wrote about a violent, 300 pound sociopath and NFL hero named Ryan Tucker. Normally, he would have stayed in the background but at least one of his fans recently left a comment riddled with grammatical errors and what I consider to be blatant falsehoods.

"WOW! What is this all about? Do you know Tucker, as a person? Did you know Boyd, as a person? This was an incident that happened while all individuals involved were in their teens. Where are they now? Ever crossed your mind that this incident changed their lives forever? And yet they have to continue to read about it. I just don't understand why you would have to bring this back. Why not make a blog about positive events? A bar fight is the best you got? And that is simply what it was.... a frigging BAR Fight that was not started by any of the players. Check your facts, this is absolutely a ridicule of men who battle bad guys on a daily basis. These were boys behaving like immature boys!!!! Why glorify and condemn. That is not for you or anyone else on this earth to do. Do a current, where are they now story. See what good things all of them have done for their communities. My guess is that would be way too one sided and no fun for you to print due to your biased opinions. Totally immature!"

Based on this individual's claims, I'm left to assume that all of the authors who wrote news articles and the author of this book (scroll down to "Crime Pays") have all decided to blatantly lie in writing just so they can say bad things about poor, poor Ryan Tucker.

As for the "where are they now story," the individual who left this comment is welcome to have Bryan Boyd contact me and tell me all about his quality of life since the attack. And while you're at it, contact Scott Meyer and James Loftin. I'd like to hear their side of things as well.

As always...no one who is civilized enough to have earned the right to complain about terrorism would be caught dead defending what Ryan Tucker and his friends did to Bryan Boyd.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicken Soup with Izzy Kalman's latest Psychology Today article...

It may be my imagination, but Izzy Kalman seems more defensive than in the past. At the beginning of his latest exercise in victim blaming, Kalman declares his financial interest in the "anti-bullying industry" with an "Author's Transparency Declaration."

Then he includes a quote from someone named Rumi. "Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself." This isn't unusual. Kalman frequently uses quotes as if he believes that we'll become more supportive of his ludicrous ideas.

Here's a quote I dug out the Old Testament (Joel 3:10) that reminds me of school shooters:

"Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears. Let the weak say, I am strong."

The meat of his article tells the story of a man who learns that he is sick because of a bacterial infection from which he has no immunity. The doctor refers him to a company that will follow him around 24 hours a day, sterilize anything he's likely to come in contact with, and do whatever it takes to protect him from bacteria regardless of cost. Obviously Kalman is trying to equate what this business is doing with the efforts of the anti-bullying movement.

This is one of his worst analogies yet...

People are not bacteria. If you kill millions of bacteria with disinfectant spray, none of the other bacteria will become frightened and stay away from you. If you make an example of some of the worst bacteria by treating them like dangerous criminals and locking them in a cage far away from their victims, none of the other bacteria will learn from their example. If everyone ostracizes bacteria, all of the other bacteria will behave exactly as they've always behaved.

Really Izzy...

How does a man with a Masters Degree in Psychology shamelessly advertise his inability to tell the difference between human behavior and the behavior of bacteria?

Izzy Kalman then continues by attempting to equate administering an antibiotic with blaming the victim. The doctor refuses to provide penicillin because that would be the same as blaming the victim of the infection.

Where does he get this stuff?

I occasionally visit the websites of various hate groups and I've seen many of their members interviewed on television or in documentaries. There's no end to the creativity they'll summon in order to rationalize their hatred of whoever they happen to hate. I don't know why a school psychologist has chosen to fixate on hating victims so tenaciously but it's very reminiscent of more honest bigots.

Kalman titles the concluding section of his article, "Taking responsibility doesn't mean the problem is your fault." He includes a couple of ridiculous examples.

He says that if you own a house and it snows, it's your responsibility to shovel the snow out of the driveway. Owning a house doesn't make it snow so it isn't your fault. Kalman is correct on both counts, but he's hoping his readers are just stupid enough to miss the fact that meteorological effects, unlike bullies, are not predatory. Snow is just snow. Bullies are violent sociopaths who find hurting smaller, weaker people pleasurable.

His second example involve an individual who has developed "emotional problems" as a result of growing up with abusive parents. He says it's not your fault for being abused, but it is your responsibility for addressing your emotional problems. Once again Kalman is betting on stupid readers. If Kalman's such an expert at teaching victims how to stop making others abuse them, why doesn't he offer a little advice for those who are currently being abused by their parents? How about a program called AbusiveParents2AdmiringParents? Those who successfully turn their abusive parents into "Buddies" would never develop "emotional problems" in the first place making the whole question of taking responsibility for them academic.

As always...buyer beware.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chicken Soup reviews Izzy Kalman's book, "Bullies to Buddies."

I bought Izzy Kalman's book through Amazon and the sticker on the cover was a harbinger of things to come:


Let's begin...

Every book has a legal page where readers can find the copyright date, the ISBN number, the author's credentials (Izzy Kalman, MS, NCSP), etc. A couple inches from the bottom of "Bullies to Buddies" readers can find the following disclaimer:

"The advice in this book is based on the author's two decades of experience helping victims of teasing and bullying. It is not intended as a substitute for professional counseling and the publisher makes no claims for its effectiveness. If problems persist, the help of a competent professional should be sought."

I cannot attest to the legal effectiveness of disclaimers but I do know that many of them are inspired by insurance industry pressure. In the mid-1980's I was a skydiver living in California. A fellow skydiver had purchased a new canopy and was preparing to attach it to his rig. When he spread it out on the grass we all noticed the following warning label: "WARNING! IMPROPER PACKING PROCEDURES MAY RESULT IN INJURY OR DEATH TO THE USER!" No shit Sherlock. The label was made of the same material as the canopy, was about 18 inches on a side, and had been sewn in. It took the guy about two hours with a very small pair of scissors to remove it without damaging anything.

Back to Izzy.

Lot's of books include an acknowledgements section where the author thanks the patience of his long suffering family, the professionalism of his agent, editor, etc. and sometimes a particular teacher or other person from his past. Kalman does this as well but there was something different included. Izzy Kalman attributes his success in life to luck. His acknowledgements section begins with three sentences, "I am a very lucky person. I don't know how many can say they lead as satisfying a life as I do. It is all due to luck." Kalman attributes his high quality of life by using the words luck, lucky, and fortunate at least nine times in less than two pages. Most people who are remotely successful at anything make some attempt to claim some combination of hard work, self sacrifice, and personal wisdom to their station in life. Kalman, perhaps in an effort to appear humble goes overboard in his efforts to avoid doing this. In fact, he thanks his editor, Monica Rosenberg who "practically taught me how to write."

Izzy Kalman has a masters degree and twenty years of professional experience. I can't imagine how many reports he was required to produce in all that time. And he thanks his editor for teaching him how to write. This isn't a good start...

There is a two page section titled, "Introductory Notes for Parents and Teachers" that includes a startling admission. In the first paragraph Kalman mentions a "rash of tragic school shootings, epitomized by Columbine" and states, "It emerged that these horrific incidents were committed almost exclusively by victims of teasing and bullying." In contrast to the opinions of Trench Reynolds, Emily Bazelon, and no doubt many others, Izzy Kalman openly admits that Columbine was the result of bullying.

If there's one mistake Izzy Kalman makes that best sums up why this book should not be taken seriously it's his use of the terms, "bullying" and "teasing and bullying" as blanket descriptions for a wide range of behaviors as if they were all equivalent. I'll break that "wide range of behavior" down into five categories:

1) Playful teasing between two or more individuals who have a preexisting relationship. Individuals who belong to an established peer group often refer to each other in degrading terms. This is harmless but appropriate only within that established peer group. Many adults cite this behavior to claim that "all kids get bullied" in an effort to avoid any responsibility for addressing the problem.

2) Harmless Pests are individuals who have poor social skills, often the product of dysfunctional family environments. These characters will blurt out inappropriate comments in the middle of a lecture or crack a joke long after the correct moment for such a joke has past. They are not violent and will become embarrassed when challenged or criticized. These individuals are often targeted by bullies.

3) Potential friends will sometimes quietly tease another individual, often as a prelude to being invited into a peer group such as that described in Behavior Number 1. A lot can go wrong here. This can be misinterpreted by a previously abused individual as the prelude to more teasing leading to eventual physical abuse. If the individual being teased reacts badly, he can become something of a social pariah. This often attracts the attention of real bullies, most of whom are behaviorally indistinguishable from any other predator.

4) Verbal Bullying: A bully will often loudly insult a target individual in an effort to embarrass him, lower his social status, and make others afraid to befriend him. Unlike the behavior described in Example 3, the bully will be very loud and aggressive in the manner in which he insults the victim. The bully's behavior is often accompanied by what rape victims describe as "The Predator Stare". These individuals are dangerous sociopaths and should always be considered potentially violent.

5) Physical bullying was described in some detail here.

Throughout the book Kalman overtly places the responsibility for bullying on the victim. Here are a few examples:

Page 4: "Someone does have the power to make everyone stop tormenting you. That person is you."

Page 7: "Without realizing it, you are actually making them bully you."

Page 10: "I understand how I've been causing my suffering."

Page 42: "Everyone thinks that in a fight, the first person to hit is the one who started the fight. The truth is that the second person to hit really started the fight."

In the past a common defense for rapists was that the victim was "dressed provocatively" or that her station in life (wife, prostitute, promiscuous woman) meant that it was impossible to rape her. Kalman does this repeatedly with victims of bullying. He does cover his ass a bit on page 39 with the following warning:

"People who go around injuring others and aren't afraid of getting in trouble are dangerous. They are more than bullies. They are criminals. With such people, your natural fear is healthy. Be afraid of them, and stay far away from them. If you must be near them, make sure you have people around who can protect you."

Is he kidding?!! How does an unpopular teenager make sure he has people around who can protect him? What a moron!

On Page 2, Kalman describes people as what they are, "animals" and admits on Page 16 that "we are not biologically designed for the environment in which we now live (civilization)." This is a description I wholeheartedly support and describe in my Bully Enablers Post linked above in Behavior Number 5. Gavin de Becker in his best selling book, "The Gift of Fear" also emphasizes this fact with the statement, "We may live in the space age but we have stone age brains." Unfortunately, after admitting that it is the environment, not the population that is civilized, Kalman claims that people are civilized:

Page 18: "We are no longer cavemen. We are civilized people." Yeah, right.

He also repeatedly claims that because we live in a civilization, the law protects us from violent people:

Page 19: "They know we can call the police on them, and then they lose."

Page 39: "There is an invisible shield protecting me, and if they go through this shield, the law is going to punish them and I am going to win."

Page 42: "But we now live in a civilization. It is against the law to hurt others. The bullies know this, and they are not trying to send us to the hospital."

Page 47: "But we now live in a civilization. You are not an enemy looking to eat me. The law forbids you from injuring me; and if you do injure me, it is probably an accident."

From beginning to end, Kalman appears to treat all incidents of "teasing and bullying" as if they were examples of Behavior Number 3. In my opinion, Izzy Kalman is at best naïve and at worst criminally negligent. He leads his readers to believe that bullies intend no harm and that because we now live in a civilization that bullies who "accidentally" injure their victims will somehow be punished. This is utterly false and an hour or so of perusing this weblog will prove it. Bullies are given free rides and endless second chances while it is the victims who end up dead or in prison after being driven insane by their tormentors.

Anyone considering the use of his techniques or attending his seminars should strongly consider otherwise and remember the true meaning of the label on this book: "CLEARANCE $1.00"