The Old Fashioned Way
By Justin Case
The White House recently took on one of the major issues related to federal policy—school yard bullying. Phew, with everything else going on, as the economy struggles to recover, as a budget crisis looms (even as it is ignored), as the Middle East rages and Japan radiates, we thought they’d never get around to this most pressing matter. And if they hadn’t, we’d all be left without the necessary guidance government alone can provide on this crucial issue, one we certainly cannot deal with on our own without federal assistance, along with Cowboy Poetry and all.
Not to worry, a School Yard Bullying Prevention Act of 2011 and the creation of the Federal Department of Bullying Prevention (FDBP) will surely address the problem (though like most federal interventions will not solve anything) and at a cost of only $50 million per bully. That money, as well, will create or save jobs at a similar cost, as one bureaucrat will be assigned to each bully, with a small staff of 30 social workers or so. Utopia, or a small slice of it, will then have been achieved—for government workers, not for the rest of us who will be on the hook for the $50 million per bully and perpetual funding for a newly created FDBP.
A group of radicals though (some call them ordinary Americans) have come up with an alternative. The plan, already under attack because it wouldn’t cost a dime, offers the following guidance and recommendations to federal policy makers and goes something like this: Mind your own business and let people deal with bullies on their own.
The radicals (the new term for people who prefer to manage their own affairs) offer a scenario as well that has been known throughout human history to counter the negative psychological effects of bullying while at the same time building character for all involved, bullies included. Again, all at no cost to taxpayers—which means no support from the powers that be. Here are the guidelines:
When faced with a bully who won’t listen to reason, and who has laid his hands on you, give him fair warning, look him in the eye, then, if he persists, sock him right in the nose with a well formed fist. Really let him have it.
In 99 percent of cases, studies show, a bully will then whine and cry while holding his bloody nose. The dripping blood, being deep red in color, facilitates the desired outcome (bullying prevention) by impressing the experience deeply in the bully’s emotional world. In the future, when faced with the prospect of bleeding and physical pain as a result of bullying, the bully will gravitate toward better choices. It’s all rather clinical.
In adult situations involving hooligans and such, the one targeted by the bully simply reveals he is in possession of a Louisville Slugger, then serenely goes about his business. He might, alternately, emphasize the sidearm strapped to his waste. This method incurs a materials cost for the Louisville Slugger (it can be recycled when the next bully appears) or for the sidearm, especially if it’s a pricy Glock, which does not lend itself to recycling but will hold its value indefinitely, even increase, so think of it as an investment.
The beautiful thing about this time honored technique of giving bullies a taste of their own medicine is that the bully stops being a bully and tries to make friends (often only the threat of force is required, but be prepared to back it up). Recognizing the futility of trying to dominate others, he becomes all warm and cuddly, and then seeks self esteem in more appropriate ways. Another plus is that the one being bullied, the slugger who now places himself menacingly in the on-deck circle, experiences a sudden spike in self esteem (the goal of public education) as he discovers the fulfillment that comes through the exercise of moral courage, and as other kids show him (or her) newfound respect.
In the private sector, we call this a win/win situation, actually a win/win/win, because not only do the two parties involved win (in the bully’s case he wins by losing) but the taxpayer wins too. The only loser is the federal bureaucrat at the FDBP who must now find a real job.
Of course, there is one other loser—politicians who hope to exploit social issues so they can get elected, while the new radicals insist on taking care of themselves without federal help—a novel idea. Or is it simply the way things were supposed to be all along?
Editor’s note: Justin obviously prefers the direct approach to problem solving, as did a rotund and endearing Australian boy recently (search bully on YouTube) who after having been repeatedly taunted and struck by a bully slammed him down like a rag doll. We cannot openly recommend such behavior among children (sturdy psychic posture alone usually does the trick). Some might react too quickly and imprudently, and diplomatic solutions are best learned at an early age. Neither though, can we ignore the efficacy of the young man’s actions, the appropriateness of the notoriety he has received for his courage, or the warning he transmits to bullies everywhere. Both boys, in short order, we’re suspended from school. One thing’s for sure though—the would-be victim is a victim no more.