Politically Incorrect — Bully for Bullies


Politically Incorrect — Bully for Bullies

Don’t get me wrong, bullying is not the most pleasant part of growing up. I”m just not sure what you are supposed to do about it.

I received an article today about the topic. Here are the recommendations as to what to do:

• No one should make excuses for bullies.
• Parents should monitor their children’s cell phone and Internet use.
• Schools must be at the forefront of the battle.
• But the problem goes beyond the schoolhouse doors.

OK Fine. But did you notice that there not one word about what parents should tell their children as to how to react to Bullies.   It would seem to me that that should be the first line of defense.

I know you might find this impossible to believe, but I was a 90 pound geek in high school. Although I kept to myself, there was a group of malcontents who did harass and bully me. My father wasn’t a violent man but told me that the only way to stop it was to stop it. I had to face up to them.

So in my senior year I had had it.  I picked my time. The lead bully came up to me and started is shtick. I grabbed his arm, twisted it behind him and surprised the hell out of myself when he ended up on the ground with my on his back. He screamed and yelled but I just sat there.  Seems I didn’t know what to do next.  You can’t plan for every eventuality.

I noticed the football coach heading our way. I was sure he was going to give me detention but I just held on. He was walking very slowly. He stopped to chat with some students, and again at a drinking fountain to take a very long drink. He then walked over  and said in a very calm voice “having a problem Van Horn.”  “No” I said. He then walked away. I thought I detected a smile on his face.  Teacher know who the bullies are.

Sitting on your nemesis’ back can be boring so I let him up and he ran away. My fellow classmates were congratulating me and patting me on the back. I thought it was a big win.

The next week was the senior ditch day at Disneyland. If you don’t know what that is, ask your kids.  The word got back to me that my bully and his friends were going to ‘get’ me at the magic kingdom.  What to do?

I decided to go.  What the hell can they do at Disneyland (except maybe give you the measles). As I got on the bus, the bully group saw me and started trash talk. I wasn’t happy. My anti bully routine was a one shot deal.

Then the strangest thing happened.  The quarterback on the football team and his wide receiver sat with me on the bus.  I really didn’t know these guys well.  I was in the band, they were on the field.

When we arrived the QB said :  ” Stick with us. Our girlfriends are meeting us and they have some friends you might like to meet.”  Strangely I had no problems with bullies for the rest of my High School career.

I always wondered what would have happened if I had twisted that arm three years earlier.

I am a proponent of fighting in the sand lot? Do I believe that violence solves all problems. Of course not. But bullies aren’t typical of most violent issues.  They are cowards and work well only in groups. If you push back, often they move on to someone who is less trouble.

Don’t get me wrong. You have to pick the right time and place. Its helpful if your friends are around and its in the middle of school and not down a dark street at midnight. I’m not crazy.

Bu sometimes, and maybe most times, when you push back you find out who your friends really are. Sure I could have ended up with a bloody nose or a black eye. But the lesson learned would have been worth it.

Sure I was a wimp. And it took four years to work up the courage to take action. But I did. And although he never said a word, I knew my dad was very proud.

I wonder if the four suggestions above would have as much effect as a good arm twist applied at the right moment?

Who knows?






Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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