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Something like this sickens me

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The kid was different, but not that different. What is it about school children these days that makes them so hateful and disrespectful of other people? Is it fun to bully someone because he is small or Hispanic or smart? Give me a bully like that and I can find a dozen reasons to make the kid look like a fool.

Where does this hate come from? Are churches spending so much time and money on gay marriage issues that they are ignoring the moral backbone of the people in their communities? Can you imagine a parent telling their child to go beat up a kid because he is small? I guess they allow their kids access to guns so why not? Maybe they blame gay people for all the ills in their lives. How stupid is that?

When I was in school anyone considered a bully was shunned. Today the bullies post the beating of their victims online. The hate that eminates from the social sites on the internet is astounding. Why is everyone so angry? I can post a minor rant like this because I am unhappy with the death of an innocent I never met, but he is just the symptom of a hateful disease that has embraced our society.

Perhaps we should take a page from the way the Chinese government is dealing with inconvenient issues on the internet sites. Type in the wrong word and they shut you down for a time. And you can imagine how quickly that gets around. Perhaps no one under the age of 18 should be allowed to use the internet without parental permission, we could get to that.

Before you scream First Ammendment at me, remember those under 18 don't vote so they have no voice, or at least no one listens to them. We can blame schools for the death of innocence when in reality it comes from home and the lack of parental control. I think hateful right wing churches feed these parents the crap and they take it home. Maybe we should have the FBI following these church people around...religious terrorists one and all.

But if I subscribed to religion, which I don't, then this would be the time for the Second Coming because it certainly seems like we are headed to hell in a handbasket and someone has to stop it. My personal belief would trend towards a benign alien race dropping through the clouds and telling us what we are doing wrong. That sounds more believable. But if they say "Take me to your leader" I'm afraid I won't be able to reply because it seems no one is in charge these days.

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The thing most of these kids seem to have in common is they don't share the depths of their despair with a caring adult. I wonder if there's a way to get that message across, in school assembly meetings or some other way. This kid did have adults who knew of his problems. But I have to think they weren't aware of how badly he was hurting.

We don't seem to be able to control the bullies effectively. Maybe a program to get the victims to speak up might help.

Of course, the adults would then have to listen and take steps, too.


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Banning the use of the internet for leaving hateful messages on Facebook and its ilk is akin to banning pens, pencils, paper, and writing for kids leaving a nasty note in another kid's locker. I understand the sentiment but the method of communication isn't the issue; ban one and they'll just use another. I agree with Cole. Supportive, helpful, caring adults and education for the students seems to be the way that works best in those areas that show the lowest levels of bullying and suicide.

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I agree with what Gee said.

The kids being bullied need to know that someone will listen, will care, will not turn away from their deepest pain or shame at being bullied for whatever makes them different. The kids need to know that people love them, like them, value them as human beings, including those differences the kids may not feel they can open up about, because they've already been so attacked about it from bullies or even, perhaps, at home.

It really does the kid no good if his parents say he should just ignore the bullies or if he should just fight back. The kid can't always ignore them and he can't always fight back or win. -- The kid needs to know how to deal effectively with being bullied.

The kid needs support from his parents and siblings. He needs support, not lip service or ignoring the problem, from the school system.

The kid needs friends his own age to stick up for him, and who he can talk to.

Now, if it's about someone thinking he is too gay, does gay things, is too sissy or girly or whatever ... that is all b.s. from the bully. But to the kid being bullied, it may feel like everyone thinks that, if no one's standing with him or talking later, to be friendly and say, you know, those guys, those bullies, are full of crap. I like you. Keep being you.

It also doesn't help if the kid is getting the message that he should stand up to the bullies, to act like a man. Uh-huh. If the issue is about being gay or about being called unmanly, then giving the kid the message that you too think he's not manly enough is not helping.

Would it really kill anybody else to be there for the kid and say, you know, I don't know about all this stuff, but I like you, I like you how you are, and it's cool with me if someone's gay or not. Yes, I said would it kill anybody else to say that, to let the kid know that *if* he does happen to like boys, that he has a friend who likes him as is. Because too many kids are dying because they are hurting so much and don't feel like they have anyone to turn to.

Would it be too much of a bother for anyone else to say, you know, if you're gay, that's cool? Would it be too much of a bother to admit maybe they have even the barest flicker of same-sex feelings, enough not to totally freak at the idea of expressing those feelings in any way? Or would it be too much bother to say, you know, if you're gay, I'd really like it if we could hug, kiss, make out, or do more, take the direct approach and try it out? Would it be too much trouble to be that much of a friend, or to let their own feelings out with a friend who needs very much to know his friend not only likes him, but maybe even loves him, or even simply would like to show each other physical love -- and the support that goes with it, the affirmation that the kid is not alone?

You will probably say, but that assumes too much. What if the boy isn't gay? Well, yes, that's the crux of the problem, isn't it? On the one hand, you most often have a kid who's being bullied for things that have nothing to do with being gay. On the other, being gay or effeminate is often right at the top of the list of insults the bullies use, and if it so happens that the victim has any same-sex feelings, he feels like he's being attacked for them. And if it happens that he really is gay and is somewhere along the way of figuring that out, from just beginning to notice, to already fully aware -- well, he might need a little positive support instead of negatives.

No, I'm not saying every time a kid gets called gay, some friend should offer to snog or to do something more, uh, explicit. For one, that is just as prone to backfire, even with the kid who does have gay feelings. After all, he's a nice enough kid, that might be a little forward ... and he might feel like he's being baited, set up.

What I am saying is that, for some kids, it might help to know from their friends (at school, in the neighborhood, at church/synagogue, wherever) that if that kid happens to be gay, he just might have friends who won't squick out over it, and furthermore, they might not mind if he hugs them or they hug him, just being friends, or, for a few, just maybe being more than friends, expressing those other feelings, even physically, might be kinda nice, and he'd be welcome. -- Welcome, as is, acceptance.

We can dance around it and be very proper about it. I often am. Maybe I have been too reserved about that. Being gay, someone knowing that you're gay, is, at its core, partly so risky because it tells people in a very direct way: This gay person likes people of the same sex, including as friends, also including for love, but the big one is, for physical love, for sex. Being gay means you would like to have sex with someone of the same sex. (Duh.) But that is a big part of what it's about, and many straight people, whose natural attraction/feelings are for the opposite sex, don't feel, deep down, those feelings for someone of the same sex. They don't have direct experience of what that's like. So they don't understand it. It's unknown to them, and maybe a litttle scary. But for the gay boy, it's, let's face it, what does it for him, the idea of not only emotional, but also physical, lovemaking. Sex. -- That is likely not too surprising, if you're gay or gay-friendly. People who are homophobic find such statements offensive. But if you're gay, you want that emotional love. And you want that physical love too. And having everyone around you know you're gay means ... they know that central, and very personal and private fact about you, that you'd like to make love, have sex, with someone of the same sex. (It is expected and not considered anything but perfectly normal to be straight and want to be with someone of the opposite sex. Yet to be homosexual or bisexual is somehow shockingly unexpected to a large section of (heterosexual) people.)

Now then, I've gone this far, I should say, if someone I knew had marched up to me out of the blue and said, hey, are you gay, let's do it! Uh, I would've immediately stared at him, looked everywhere at once, and wondered when the other shoe was gonna drop, probably on my head. (In fact, when one boy asked me in P.E. if I was gay, he bet I was, I did feel I was being baited. Um, that he also asked if I plucked my eyebrows probably had something to do with that. No, he did not offer to go do anything, and if he had, I wouldn't have said yes.) -- The direct approach wouldn't necessarily work any better than the more subtle approach. I was all clammed up by then, anyway, from prior crushed crushes or other teasing, baiting, etc.

But if someone I knew had taken the time to talk to me and had asked me if maybe I had feelings for guys, or if he'd asked if maybe I'd like to do something? Hmm.... Good question. Be it noted, as a teen, I didn't have much luck trying to talk with guy friends to see if they'd be open to talk about anything having to do with gay feelings or fooling around. I probably was not helping myself in that, because I hadn't come to accept myself yet either. But being a teen with active hormones, well, you know, the urge to merge was definitely there, and definitely frustrated. -- And finding anyone who'd listen or who I might like who might like me back or might want to ... well, that worked out way, way more rarely than I would've liked, as reserved (and mixed up and clueless) as I was. -- I probably would've been stunned if a friend had reacted positively or had asked me; certainly by high school. -- Yes, very personal, maybe too personal, but what the heck, I wish people would be, could be, more truthful and open about things.

But I'm trying to say, what's needed is the willingness, the openness and acceptance, for a kid to have his friends talk to him, hug him, accept him as is. I'm also saying, if they don't mind, maybe letting him know they don't mind is a good thing. Or maybe, letting him know that if he is gay, he has friends who might like to try things out might be helpful. At least he'd know there's someone available if he wants to. -- No, I'm not saying to go up to all your friends and presume that they are gay and offer to do it with 'em. Uh, riiiight, sure, buddy, that's a side of you I really didn't expect! Haha. :) But what I am trying to say is, if a friend is struggling, he needs to know that *if* he *is* gay, you're his friend. If he is gay, he needs to know you accept him. Heck, if he's not gay, he needs to know you're his friend and you accept him. And well, if he's gay, it might not hurt for him to know that at least one of his friends wouldn't freak the heck out at the idea of trying things out, of fooling around. No, I wouldn't suggest saying that right off. But maybe it might help a friend to know he has a friend or two who would be open to it, if he wants.

Is that too radical, too explicit? Or is it maybe being honest about one part of the problem?

Look, I think the main thing is to let a victim of bullying, a friend, know that he has friends who like him just the way he is, and will stand with him...or sit with him, even if it's not the cool or popular or approved thing. That's the main point I have.

The other...is wishing that any of those kids out there being bullied, who do have same-sex feelings, could have friends who accept them, will listen, will be with them as friends, and if there's maybe a basis for taking that friendshipr further, then fine. If, on the other hand, that friend (or the kid being bullied) is not interested beyond friendship, that it's OK that he or the friend is OK with being gay. Or that, if either friend expresses those feelings with someone, it will not get in the way of being friends. Acceptance, support, being there for someone, instead of turning your back and ignoring someone who needs to know he has friends.

Yes, this subject frustrates me, because yes, I know what it felt like to be the kid being made fun of, teased, bullied. I had friends at school and a few other friends, sure. It wasn't all bad. I made it, I grew up. But yes, I would've liked to be able to really talk with my friends and for sure with my best friends, about those feelings I was having. Um, and yeah, I would've liked it if the crushes I had could've gone somewhere besides getting crushed, including about a couple of those best friends. It's ironic to me that I was able to stand up, very vocally and without really thinking about it, to speak up for at least three friends who were catching flak because people said they were gay. But I didn't speak up when I was called gay, and more than once, I had to avoid a fight, and more than once, I did get beaten up. Yet for all that, I had friends and I did get through school and into college. -- But I sincerely wish I could've talked openly with some friends, or that a friend or two had been open to more or had asked. (I would've liked it, if those friends had asked or had let me ask, as quiet and reserved about it as I was.)

I can't help but think that for most bullied kids, they need friends who accept them and can listen, talk, just be there for them. For some of them, it would help to know their friends like them, including if they have some same-sex feelings. For a few, it might help to know they have friends who might like being more than friends. I think two of the biggest issues for bullied kids with same-sex feelings, are that they don't think their families or friends will accept them as gay kids, and that they don't feel like there's anyone they know who, if they like them, would like them back, to have a chance to figure it all out. The straight kids get to have crushes and flirt with each other, tell each other they like them, and even make out, date, or uh, perhaps more (use protection! be safe!) ... but if you're the only kid you know in school who *might* be gay (...and you haven't quite figured out for sure, but you're pretty sure...) and you'd like the chance to find out like it seems all your other friends are... bummer, huh? If it feels like you're all alone with no chance for happiness ever, to be accepted, have friends, find love... that is not exactly a recipe for a kid to grow and be happy. It's more a recipe to feel lonely, friendless, hopeless, and loveless, and to wonder if it will ever get better... and then on top of that, throw in family pressures, school pressures, and peers who don't accept you, and then on top of that, throw in the bullies who actively make life hell, at school or at home. Toxic. Perhaps we should be more surprised that more kids *do* make it. Geez.

Yeah, I went on a rant. I care deeply about this topic. I hate seeing yet more cases where some kid is smiling in a photo, has so much to offer this needy world, and yet the kid is beaten up or driven to self-harm or death, just because he is "too different" for some stupid bullies and gossips. I hate it when one of the reasons given is, people said he was gay, or he was gay, and now that boy will never get to find that love with someone who'd love him. I care deeply because I easily could've been one of those statistics, and I still fight depression.

There MUST be something better, some better way of treating people, that doesn't kill off the best and brightest, gay or not. There must be some ways of being that produce loving, accepting, supportive families, friends, schools, churches, neighborhoods... all of it.

Our culture MUST change. We are losing good kids whose only fault was they were a little different than the other kids. For some of them, their only fault was that they were gay, they would've liked to be with a boy or girl like them and have the chance to express that love, emotionally, physically, without other people saying they couldn't.

The worst part? Until our culture does change, we are doomed to see more cases where some nice boy or girl, smiling in some yearbook photo, with so much to offer the world, will not get the chance to share all that wonderfulness, that love, or those world-changing ideas.

I wish all the people so eager to hate what is different, or to hate homosexuality, would wake up and see the terrible harm they are doing, and stop hating and learn to love. They are killing people, indirectly or directly, and it is dead wrong.

What would happen if all those kids who died for that, could somehow shout and bring change to the world? I don't know. All I know is, I want a better world where kids don't die for being different.


Also -- It is not just religion. In fact, many of the bullies don't come from religious backgrounds. They come from backgrounds that say you should be tough and not take crap off anyone, homes that make being a bully into a virtue, or else homes that let the kids get away with whatever they do.

You ask about bullies, why they would beat up a kid just because he is small or Hispanic or smart. You'd probably wonder why they'd beat up a kid who's handicapped, right? Or if he "acts gay" (such as any of the things these bullies think are gay)? Or how about if he simply "looks weird" or "acts weird," again, completely wide open to interpretation of what's "weird."

Bullies do that because they perceive their victims as weak and the bully wants to be stronger, dominant, more virile, more powerful, get more credit/respect (or at least fear) from others...so the bully isn't at risk of being beaten down, so he remains in what he thinks of as power and manliness. I'd compare it to apes or dogs, but that would be a great disservice to all apes and dogs.

Yes, to a bully, it doesn't matter about church. It doesn't matter if the kid is short, skinny, fat, tall, what color his skin is, what color or shape his hair is, how smart or dumb he is, how "weird" he is, or how "gay" (or queer or fag) or if he just seems to them like he might be. Does he wear old clothes? Does he sound different? Does he look different?

It can be anything under the sun. All the bully wants is perceived weakness, and he will attack, with words and with physical harassment and with hitting, kicking, and other fighting. The bully's mindset is not humane or caring or intelligent. The bully's mindset is savage, animalistic, and predatory.

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^ Above: I actually wrote the comments about bullies before the first section. I got on a roll and...couldn't stop. Look, if it annoys people, I'm sorry, but it is how I feel. I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way, either. If it aggravates you, what I said or how I said it, I'm sorry, but shouldn't someone, somewhere, say something? There must be something better. There must be support for kids who get bullied. It doesn't matter if they are gay or not. I'm sorry for the rant, but...I hate that I was almost a statistic like that, and I hate seeing that some of the best kids out there are dying for lack of the simplest love and support from the people who ought to be there for them. I hate seeing that hatred and causing fear are tolerated. I do not blame only religion. I think the problem is wider even than that. It simply must change. We are losing too many, and it's totally needless and senseless and heartless. Things must change.

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Our culture MUST change.

Ben, that is a significant statement that comes only after some really deep thinking.

And then you back it up with all the compassion in the world:

I wish all the people so eager to hate what is different, or to hate homosexuality, would wake up and see the terrible harm they are doing, and stop hating and learn to love. They are killing people, indirectly or directly, and it is dead wrong.

What would happen if all those kids who died for that, could somehow shout and bring change to the world? I don't know. All I know is, I want a better world where kids don't die for being different.

Your posts are also making headway since you have been sharing your opinions with us.

Yes still a little lengthy, but I know what it is to get on a train of thought that has too many carriages full of things I want to say.

Well done. I found your rant worth reading.

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I and my brothers have felt a bit of what is being discussed. Down in our neck of the woods it is common behavior.

I have been thinking a lot about the idea of bullying... that it does not have much to do with the target, as the bully, much like rape it is an act of control and violence. The bully has to show their dominance over someone weaker than they are. That brings up the question of "why?". Why would the bully feel that way? Who taught them they could, or needed to? Or, were they bullied themselves? Possibly by their parents?

Those too weak, may not get to an age to be bullies. I do not pretend to know the answers, I wish I did. One thing I do know that works... be someones friend.... Go out of your way to make friends. Sometimes just a shoulder to lean on, or an ear to listen is all a kid needs. If you are afraid of public perception... there is always the Big Brothers program or the Mentoring programs.

My soapbox is not quite as big...

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Guest Dabeagle

One of the most difficult things to realize about kids is that despite their bravado or unwillingness to share their fears is that they are very fragile and at the same time volatile. One of the very things that makes teenagers interesting to write about, their deep valleys and high peaks of emotion, also is one of their worst, most destructive attributes.

My next door neighbor, a very sweet and independent woman, called me at eleven o'clock last night. That was an odd hour for a phone call and when I asked if everything was all right she burst into tears and told me her granddaughter, who lives on the other side of me as my house is between the other two, had hung herself. She explained that this loss, this pain they would carry for the rest of their lives was because the girl had broken up with her boyfriend.

Sometimes, even with a strong family support, with people close by, with intelligent kids and parents...we fail. It's not something to accept, but to struggle against through education and compassion. These things, like breakups, even though we can look at them with the perspective of years and know that the pain will pass; for them, it feels as though it will go on forever. Such loss, it seems as if it cannot be borne and yet it must be, so that we are here for the next child that needs us and the next.

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I'll repeat what I said in another topic on this subject a some weeks back: The kids, especially in middle school, have a no-snitch attitude that must be broken. Buddies are a way to break the no-snitch attitude. Bullying will never stop until schools have Buddies who look for bullying and step in to stop it and the rest of the kids tell a teacher or administrator when they see bullying.

Colin :icon_geek:

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It's so difficult to treat the dissease when it is human nature.

But it isn't impossible. We've made strides in many areas, and political correctness, which seemed absurd to me when it started, has played a role in this. Public opinion has certainly come down against bullying to a far greater degree than ever before in recent years.

If bullies find themselves universally scorned by society, it will have an ameliorative effect. We need more of that. And especially from the kids' communities themselves.


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I don't believe that human nature is a disease, or evil.

If we were naturally inclined to bully and kill for the sake of it, we would have long since destroyed ourselves.

I do think we build cultures that encourage bullying, as well as greed and avarice.

What we need to do is try to base our cultures on our innate compassion for each other's suffering.

That would of course mean abandoning much of our current cultures' economic and political structures, but given what we have achieved since the days when cultures were based on slavery and women were chattels, then it is not impossible.

As I say: Call me naive if you want, but without trust in the goodness of others, life would be intolerable.

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The thing most of these kids seem to have in common is they don't share the depths of their despair with a caring adult. I wonder if there's a way to get that message across, in school assembly meetings or some other way. This kid did have adults who knew of his problems. But I have to think they weren't aware of how badly he was hurting.

Communications is a huge thing, both with the parents, with his friends, with teachers, and with school officials. But I have to say, in all the bullying incidents I witnessed, and the couple of dozen (or more) that I personally experienced, not once did I ever tell anybody. I think it was just too horribly embarrassing to try to explain it to family members, and my dim memory was, if I didn't think about it, I could just suppress the experience and make it go away. If I had to relate it to somebody else, it would just open up the wound that much worse. So I think that's the thought process that goes on.

Something like a Facebook insult, or a nasty voicemail, an insulting email, or a libelous text is different, because that you can actually show somebody. It's easy to tell kids, "hey, you gotta tell somebody else you're hurting," but at this age, a lot of issues hurt so deeply, you start to believe you're never going to get over it. That includes breaking up with somebody, or losing a friend, or failing a test, or getting shoved into a locker. You never know what's going to be the straw that breaks somebody's back, especially if they're already on edge about other issues.

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I think Pecman is very accurate in his analysis. My own recollection, admittedly fragmentary, of school and bullying is that the victims, including myself, were most apt to hunker down and hide and withdraw until you could resume some sort of a public "face". The last thing you ever wanted was for other kids to see how much you were affected and hurting.

My school was small enough that sensitive and caring teachers were the ones most likely to spot that a kid was in trouble and usually were the ones whose private questions and behind-the-scene interventions were the saving grace for many of us. I know that I credit such a teacher with my own ability as a kid to regain confidence and direction.

If I were to propose a generalization based on my own experiences, I'd have to urge us to limit both class and institutional size in education, find a way to recruit and hold devoted teachers, and somehow restore a sense of community to our society. I fear that these aims are impossible to achieve in the world as we know it today.


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What with all the shite I had to put up from day one of school upto second year of highschool, I wonder how I ever managed to stay optimistic.

Self harm had been averted in my mind because my mother had told me time and time again that no one was killing yourself for, including myself.

It seems strange to me now that I took that to mean that life should be lived, no matter how much I was suffering. There is always so much to hope for, so much to discover, that I couldn't bear to miss out on any of it. I suspect my attitude was akin to what Codey (Codey's World) felt, as I was born with a heart condition that wasn't supposed to let me live much longer than my late teens. I wanted to live as long as I could, do as much as I could, and I wanted to experience everything.

All I can say is that at 68, life is just too short to do even a tenth, a hundredth, of what is available, but I'd want to do it all again and more, and I haven't finished yet.

It is necessary to work at not giving in to the negative outlooks that abound around us, don't listen to those voices that say it isn't worth the trouble, eventually living is always worthwhile...always worth the suffering, the pain and the immeasurable joy.

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