In all fairness I can’t really say my parents beat me, at least not intentionally. My sisters and their friends and kids at school beat me pretty much daily and with impunity, but I didn’t get too many parental beatings. Mom could be rather severe when giving whacks or other physical punishments (i.e. being dragged out of church by the hair as any good Catholic mother would do if a child slips up on the proper performance of the Catholic calesthenics during Mass) but I really wouldn’t call those physical punishments “beatings” as they were probably deserved, or at least Mom thought they were. Mom is bi-polar and at that point in her life she was both undiagnosed and untreated, so she deserves a lot of slack on that one.
It’s in the news again- the media and others raising a stink about cyber bullying. Granted, the most recent case of cyber bullying in the news is rather shocking- someone broadcasting a video of a guy with his male lover in compromising activities- and I can imagine the emotional trauma involved, but suicide is a little extreme a response. I have to think the guy had problems long before his comrades took their nasty video into cyber space. There is no way to rightly justify the invasion of privacy and the just plain malicious nature of broadcasting such a thing and I don’t condone such activities, but to hold the perpetrators responsible for a suicide death or to call it a “hate crime” is a bit much. A lot too much.
I understand more about bullying than most people probably ever will, even though the Internet was unheard of when I was in high school and college. I endured not just name-calling and embarrassing pranks- but regular full-on physical beat downs that would be referred to as aggravated assault today. Yes, it’s traumatic. Yes, it sucks. Yes, I do agree that kids should face severe repercussions for inflicting physical abuse on others, unlike when I was growing up and everyone just looked the other way or just joined in on it themselves. But I draw the line at holding another culpable for someone else committing suicide. After all, suicide is defined as a self-killing, an intentional act of the will, and a conscious decision to end one’s own life. Believe me most people have had times in their lives when they have considered suicide for whatever reason (been there…more times than I can count) but thought better of it. In my mind I would want to live and to overcome if for no other reason than to stand in defiance to those who would destroy me, and to fulfill whatever purpose God has for me- even though I am far from clear on that one.
I don’t agree with the whole “hate crime” mentality, either. The motive and intent behind an action does not make the action itself more or less severe. The whole concept of “hate crimes” seems to violate the First Amendment in a way to me. In a free society we are entitled to our opinions and our thoughts as long as our actions do not violate the law. Who cares how much someone hates a particular group or person or behavior as long as they obey the law? A crime may begin as a thought, but the act of a crime is defined by what’s actually done, whether it be bodily injury or defacing property or even murder. Why should any crime be considered a more heinous offense simply because it is committed against a “protected” group? Does one group merit more protection than another under the law? Is it more evil to kill a gay man than a straight man? To me that idea – that killing a gay man may carry a heavier penalty than killing a straight man because the killing was done out of hatred for gays-perverts justice by placing a higher value on the lives and property of certain groups than others. This is disturbing. Aren’t both killings equally wrong? Aren’t both lives of equal value?
It bothers me that kids today are so sensitive to every slight. It bothers me even more that we are being conditioned to be ever so careful of sensitive psyches, that we can’t call failure what it is. I used to get beat up for “throwing the curve” in school- the rest of the class got D’s and F’s because I was the only one to get 100% on certain tests when the next highest grade was 75% or worse. I don’t agree with grading on the curve even though I usually benefited from it academically because it is individual achievement that should be measured when testing. Let each one stand on his or her merit. Today no one grades on the curve for a different reason- not to make the overachiever stand out, but to attempt to keep the underachiever’s failure under wraps. Instead of saying to the underachiever, “You have failed, you need to improve,” there is this horribly misguided idea that ignoring failure, or worse, dumbing down the entire class to the underachiever’s level, that everyone will be equal. All I can say to this is that everyone will fall to the same level of mediocrity and failure which is readily evident in the public schools today.
It’s about accountability. It’s sad that anyone would be driven to suicide by the callous prank of another BUT when all is said and done, suicide is an individual’s choice. The prankster didn’t physically push him off the bridge or take the pills or pull the trigger. No one wants to take accountability for their own wrong choices or failures. It’s easier to blame the bullies. I could do that. I could wrap myself up into my own little world of PTSD and blame everyone who ever smacked me around for all my shortcomings and failures. They did it because they could. They did it because it was funny. But that’s n the past and today I need to choose for myself what I would do today. I would rather be a thorn in their sides. I would rather stand up and overcome- learn from my failures, stand up to opposition and succeed in spite of all the circumstances in my life that drag me down.
I would rather be the one to take such nasty little bastards who would invade my privacy and publicly embarrass me to court and sue their butts into poverty for the rest of their natural lives. I know a lot about passive-aggressive revenge.
Another thing that bothers me is all the fussing about “sexual harassment.” To me as long as you keep your hands to yourself, say what you will. After 20+ years in the automotive industry I’ve cultivated a rather thick skin as well as a catty sense of humor. I’ve been called everything but a fine upstanding white woman at one point or another. So what. There aren’t too many things one could say to me that would really bother me much. Again there is such a thing as the First Amendment. Say anything you want, but touch me and you cross the line. How difficult is that?
Society needs to lighten up. There are plenty of beatings, shootings, stabbings and robberies being committed in the pursuit of illicit drugs. The illegality and the harmfulness of the drugs is eclipsed by the illegality and the harmfulness of the violence perpetrated in the pursuit of them. Legalize all of it, and destroy an entire black market economy in one fell swoop. When the junkies can get all they want and then they OD on it, then they will automatically chlorinate the gene pool as it were. The economics of supply and demand state when there is no more demand (i.e. the junkies have pretty much all OD) there will no longer be a market, hence no need for a supply. Human beings have been getting high for millenia and will continue to do so, legal or illegal. Might as well thin out the gene pool and let the stoners do as they will without the collateral damage.