October is Anti-Bullying Month- here is a story I feel that parents and none parents alike will take something away from.~Mj
So I was on Facebook the other day and looking at my "news feed" Which was filled with Buzzfeed quizzes, (OK FINE I took them too) pictures of babies, bad MEMEs and a picture of a couple that REALLY needed to keep their tongues in their own mouths, when I came to a post from a acquaintance from high school. He was a sweet kid who honestly I had a tiny tiny crush on- I thought he was adorable, he liked comics, I liked comics, he liked video games, hey man me too, I mean add the songs on his Discman mixes and I am sure we would have been 15 year old soul mates. What is funny is this is what caused him to be picked on. In this extraordinarily long Facebook status post (yeah it took me to it's own page) he retells the story of his experiences in bullying. He also shows us that bullying doesn't stop once you graduate high school. This is one man's experience and one man's opinion of why we as a nation are plagued with the recent bouts of horrific acts of mass and ordinary violence. You may not agree with him, in fact some of what he says you may think is complete and utter nonsense, but since we all have the first amendment on our side and I happen to think that what he wrote was- in a word (one of my favorite words) awesome, I asked him if I could share this with all of you. He said OK, and here it is. I must advise you that this open letter uses strong language and he doesn't like football- I understand that to some of you that might be more insulting than the language. That being said, I hope you all listen to his story.
"I've been seeing alot of posts about violence, mass murder, etc. it's the worst thing in the world. It's sick and twisted and horrific and one of the most abhorrent tragedies in the world we live in today. I get really choked up at the topic. I'm very emotional about it. And that said there is something I feel like I should say regarding the theory on why this happens. And I think it's society... But also probably football... Not the scapegoats society points a guilty finger to.
I've played video games, read horror stories and comic books, listened to aggressive music, and watched violent movies my whole life and none of it ever made me violent. However, when I was in middle school I was picked on all the time, always by adolescent males who played sports and were told by adults that that made them important. My parents would tell me that they wished I was better at sports and more like kids who were good at sports (sometimes even telling me they wished I were like kids that were picking on me). I was terrible at sports which led to my peers and adults rejecting me and me finding solace in things like comics, fantasy and science fiction, video games, and aggressive music, while kids bullying me were rewarded for ignorant and macho behavior. It made me feel very violent and it made me want to hurt them. Thankfully I didn't.
When I got to high school I was still picked on, but I was able to defend myself, and the bullying was soon a thing of the past. I thank the fact that I retreated to super hero comics that helped develop my morality, sci fi and fantasy for creating characters that are rewarded for their intelligence, and aggressive music for inspiring me to stand up for myself. Jocks, bros, and just straight up bullies stopped picking on me because I learned to stop being the victim society had raised them (and me) to believe I was. I also learned that they didn't matter at all, in any way, that our culture worships stupid things and that being a good person and respecting other people is all that matters. I learned this from spaceships, wizards, screaming, power chords, the Fantastic Four, the Sandman, Final Fantasy, and dragons. I learned nothing from sports.
However, my discovered self-worth did not stop bullies from moving on to other kids. In high school I got violent a few times, but it was only when I was made to feel like my back was to a corner, but thankfully I never hurt anyone.
Just recently I was on a night jog through the town I grew up in. I was in a pair of very tight running shorts, a tank top, so my tattoos were visible, a tiny bike hat, and neon shoes (admittedly i looked ridiculous). As I passed a bar four guys in tuxedos gathered around me and wouldn't let me go on. They had a bunch of well dressed attractive women with them that were yelling things like "c'mon! Leave him alone! Stop!" The biggest dude got in my face and said some very disrespectful innuendos and said he would acted violently against me. His friends laughed and egged him on while their dates passively asked them to stop. Finally he said "Lucky you have some women here to save you..""
They let me go and headed into the bar. As they walked away high fiving each other, one of the women turned to me and said "sorry they're drunk." A cop drove by after and asked what happened. I told him and he seemed really concerned and said he'd check it out. As I walked, still shaken and feeling unsafe in the town I grew up in, the cop drove by me again. He said "hey sorry about that, but no big deal, they're all coming from the fire men's ball. It's fine, they're just blowing off steam. They're actually good guys." I thanked him for his help.
The fact of the matter is that when they cornered me, when they made me feel small and inferior, I wanted to physically hurt them, honestly I wanted to tear his face off. I wanted to rip his fingers and shove them down the throat of each of his friends. Thankfully I didn't.
That time being bullied, is the only time I really felt violent in 16 years, since middle school, the last time I was severely bullied. it was caused by a bunch of men whom society has deemed acceptable to behave in a hateful, cruel way.
I told my parents when I got home, they said "you must have done something to piss them off. Stop dressing so stupid."
I'm grateful to the police officer for seeing this as a matter of concern, but he failed me, and mankind, when he negated their guilt through their civil service. Maybe they have saved lives as firemen, but I don't think anyone that behaves that way is a hero. Captain America is a hero, and he hates bullies.
I'm grateful to their dates for asking them to stop, for seeing this was wrong as it was happening. But they will fail me, and humanity, when they marry them, validates their callousness, have children with them, and allow them to instill the same macho bully attitude into those children who could grow up to change things but will instead become part of the problem.
I forgive my parents. They're my parents.
I'm a grown man (mostly), I have a doctorate in jurisprudence, I delivered pizza on bikes and waited tables to get myself through law school, I'm a practicing attorney, I help children who otherwise might get sold into slave labor for pro bono work, I have a girlfriend, I love animals and the thought of anyone harming anyone makes me sick. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying the "macho" stance that society embraces didn't get me any of the amazing things I have. Sports has done nothing for me. All the good in my life came from listening to others, genuinely caring, working hard, and Nintendo/Marvel Comics/punk music. I don't think I should have to be bullied. I should never have to be so bullied and rejected that I feel violent as a result. If I shouldn't, then a small child definitely shouldn't-ever.
In the end I guess I'm just saying that I really don't think people would kill other people if society didn't fail these people in the first place. Medicine isn't the answer, without proper therapy the medicine won't prevent a psychotic person from acting out. Banning violent games/music/books/etc isn't the answer because I think these are actually more helpful than harmful for outcasts. I'm grateful for the outlets I had during the toughest times growing up. I honestly don't know that I would have made it this far with out them. Gun control won't do much without looking at how we treat people as a whole. The sources have shown that if people want a gun, they'll get it- regardless of the laws.
Bullying and tolerating the bullying of other people should be crimes. if you see an "outcast", help them integrate, learning to deal with difficult people is a rewarding test. Teachers, if you see a teenager bullying someone, make them regret it. Parents, accept your children for who they are. Don't ever be embarrassed by them and always take their side if they tell you they are being harmed. Let them wear funny clothes and dye their hair blue if they want. Fiercely protect them from bullying. Love as many people as you can and make sure they know it all the time.
Honestly, everyone. We would all be fine if we all followed the one golden rule:" Don't be a dick.""
So there it is guys, one self proclaimed outcast's view of what is happening in today's society. Personally I think that sports do instill great values in children; team work, being social, etc, however I know some of the kids he was talking about in the past- and yeah they were jerks. It does all depend on how you raise your children- the values you teach them and how you help them deal with the bullies in the world. If your child needs help, help them- whether they are the bully or the victim. I also find a strong connection with the fact that the super hero movies that are based on the comics that this writer read have taken on such a mass affect on our country as a whole. Yes they are being developed to make money off the the geeks who loved reading their stories via the comics- but also we as a nation are craving a super hero to come in and save the day. We identify with them because deep down inside we know that if Wolverine really existed we would have a list of people in our lives that we would want him to save us from. But really I think that this article was really well summed up with this one line "Love as many people as you can and make sure they know it all the time." That and the fact that comics are AWESOME- to learn more about comic books, and introducing them to your children please visit KidsComics.com.