The Backlash of Bullying

13 Mar

He found himself thinking in the same vindictive spirit of his father, although he would have been at a loss to explain the connection. The connection was not superficially evident, for his father would never have stooped to name-calling. Instead, he would have offered the sweetest of smiles, and quoted something nauseating in the way of sweetness-and light. Dave’s father was one of the nastiest little tyrants that ever dominated a household under the guise of loving-kindness. He was of the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger, this-hurts-me-more-than-it-does-you school, and all his life had invariably been able to find an altruistic rationalization for always having his own way. Convinced of his own infallible righteousness, he had never valued his son’s point of view on anything, but had dominated him in everything-always from the highest moralistic motives.

He had had two main bad effects on his son: the boy’s natural independence, crushed at home, rebelled blindly at every sort of discipline, authority, or criticism which he encountered elsewhere and subconsciously identified with the not-to-be-criticized paternal authority. Secondly, through years of association Dave imitated his father’s most dangerous social vice-that of passing un-self-critical moral judgments on the actions of others.

Coventry, Robert A. Heinlein.

I hate bullies.

Seriously, I do. There are few lower forms of life than the bully, regardless of the form the bullying takes. Bullying is a form of abuse, be it physical or mental, and it leaves scars that last for the rest of the victim’s life. I hate bullying to the point that I am instantly alienated from a story where the main character, the supposed hero, is a bully. Indeed, as satisfying as someone going to school with Superman’s powers and utterly crushing the local bully can be, there is something about them that bother me. The lines between justice, revenge and naked bullying can be very thin at times.

Indeed, the bully often has – or claims to have – a justification for his behaviour. Any bully will instinctively home in on his target’s weakness, then use it to convince others to let him get away with it. If you’ve been on a schoolyard, you’ll probably have seen this in action; the nerds and geeks get pushed around by the bullies, while the other school kids think (or choose to believe) that the nerds and geeks deserve it for being nerds and geeks. It’s a rare child or teenager who chooses to stand up to the bully, not least because the bully often claims to have a ‘cause.’ “You’re defending the gay kid? Maybe you’re gay too!”

Bullies cast a baleful shadow everywhere they go. Their victims grow angry and, because they cannot release that anger in a healthy way, become curdled. It’s hard to think rationally, let alone tell when you’re sliding down the slippery slope, when your perceptions are being addled by bullying. You may bully younger or weaker kids because that was what happened to you, because you don’t know that it’s wrong or you simply need to displace the anger somehow. Or you may adapt to survive and then discover that your survival tactics get you in trouble in the outside world. And that will feel very unfair.

Point is, no one wants to be bullied. It’s easier to go along with the bullies – and point and laugh at their victims – then stand up to them. And yet, no one likes the bullies.

Bullies are not nice people to have around, even if they are nominally on your side. There’s always the risk that they might turn on you, just because they’re bored or because they’ve driven everyone else away. Their mere existence warps your social group so badly that many of your friends will walk away, if they can. (Schools are fertile breeding grounds for bullies and victims because walking away isn’t possible.) And the tactics people have to adopt to stay safe in such an environment haunt them for the rest of their days.

The reason I write this is because, wither we care to admit it or not, there is an epidemic of bullying sweeping through our society. It’s been growing for quite some time, made easier by the internet and the striking reluctance of the authorities to cut it down until it grew too large to handle safely. The tactics of bullies have been adapted to serve the purpose of social justice bullies. (Yes, I know they like to be called Social Justice Warriors, but they don’t deserve to be called warriors.) Call-outs, online shame mobs, boycotts, deplatforming … they are all bullying tactics. What’s the difference between a schoolyard mob laughing at the funny kid who doesn’t have fashionable clothes and a screeching mob screaming about racism, bigotry, sexism and whatever other cause is in vogue at the moment?

None, as far as I can see.

In the wake of the latest school shooting, people have been trying to demonise the NRA even though the NRA played no role in the tragedy. A vast number of people – the school authorities, the local police, the FBI – were asleep at the switch, choosing to ignore the warning sighs until it was far too late. And yet, the NRA is the target? There’s no more logic in attacking the NRA than there is in picking on the kid with glasses, but virtue-signallers have been jumping on the bandwagon with enthusiasm. This may make more sense if you realise that virtue-signalling is really a way to keep the bullies away from you, not a honest conversion.

The NRA isn’t the only people who have been attacked over the past few months. A school play was cancelled after a handful of students whined about the lead role going to a white girl. A handful of speakers at colleges and universities were cancelled – or heckled mercilessly – by student activists. A book was threatened with a boycott because a handful of people found it offensive. Facebook has purged a number of conservative accounts. And, of course, the mainstream media has continued its quest to delegitimize Donald Trump, turning every little bump in the road into a world-shattering disaster.

Here’s a question for anyone who thinks that this sort of behaviour is acceptable. What do you think it’s actually going to get you?

People don’t like being bullied. People don’t like being told what to do by self-righteous prigs who are blind to the irony of their actions. People resent and hate it when they are told that they are privileged – particularly when they’re not – and that they have to shut up, because they’re privileged. People get mad when they are accused of everything from racism to sexism and told they have no right to an opinion (which is, in itself, an opinion). And when people are denied even the chance to vent their feelings, this anger starts to curdle and turn very nasty.

Over the last year, I’ve heard from a number of Americans who voted for Donald Trump. They had quite a few reasons, ranging from approval of his policies and generally robust attitude to terrorism and foreign affairs to sheer horror at the thought of Hillary Clinton becoming President. They didn’t vote for Trump so much as they voted against Hillary. And there were people who voted for Trump because they saw his opponents as bullies, bullies who were trying to bully the entire American population. The tactics they used turned people against them.

The effects ran a little deeper than that. When people feel they cannot express their opinions freely, they hide them. (This may be why Weinstein got away with it for so long.) They don’t tell the pollsters that they intend to vote for Trump out of fear of being called racists or whatever, but they vote for Trump anyway. (Any organisation that is supposed to run on democratic principles, but lacks a secret ballot is doomed, because everyone will hide their true feelings until it’s too late.)

Worse, if you are silencing someone instead of debating with them, you give their views credence. Think about it. Why would anyone want to silence someone who’s obviously wrong? Why not let him make a fool of himself in public? You may feel that you are doing a good thing by deplatforming racists, sexists or whatever, but there will be people who will think that you are unable to debate with them openly and others who will see you as abusing your power. Being right, if indeed you are right, doesn’t always save you from a charge of bullying.

Worst of all, you make people so angry that their anger starts to curdle. Is it any surprise that the Alt-Right has started to adopt bullying tactics itself?


You might be right when you call someone out for something. You might be right when you raise a hue and cry against a convention official with wandering hands, screaming for his immediate dismissal and threatening a boycott if you don’t get what you want. You might be right … but it doesn’t matter. People who feel that you have stampeded them into making a decision without careful reflection resent it, even if they acknowledge (eventually) that you have a point.

And while you may win the battle, you will find that you lose the war.

I think it’s only a matter of time before conservatives start calling for new restrictions on social media, colleges and universities, perhaps even the media. And why not? If someone feels they’re being bullied, why not bully the bullies right back? But that’s an easy way to turn into a bully yourself …

… But at that point, people who feel they have been pushed too far no longer care.


44 Responses to “The Backlash of Bullying”

  1. David K Matthewson March 13, 2018 at 5:33 pm #

    Interesting post to make Chris… Whilst I generally take your point, I do wonder at the NRA suing the State of Florida for raising the age one can buy firearms at to 21 – the same age as booze – and mandating a 3 day wait period. Not very helpful IMHO..


    • Bewildered March 14, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

      They’re challenging the legality of the law and arguing age discrimination. Seems reasonable to challenge a law which you think violates other legislation and the Constitution.

    • Stuart the Viking March 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm #

      I am of two minds on raising the age to buy a firearm.

      On one hand, it might be one of the very few things that came out of that bill that could make a difference. The Parkland shooter was 19, and as far as I can see, purchased his weapon legally. So I can see where the idea of restricting those under 21 from buying firearms might seem realistic. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure it’s all that simple. Other school shooters (Columbine etc) WEREN’T old enough to buy guns, but managed to get them anyway. With what I’ve read about how violent and disjointed the Parkland shooter was (is), I can’t imagine he would have let this stop him.

      On the other hand, I’m a big giant Rights nerd. I’ve read the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Just as importantly, I’ve read the writings of the men who wrote those documents on their reasoning behind what they wrote. They really did write the Second Amendment as a guarantee that the people (and they did indeed intend that to mean individual citizens) would maintain the right to own firearms and carry them upon their person for both self defense, and the defense of American Liberty (the rights of American citizens). The militia part of the Second Amendment was added to emphasize this. Now, Who is the militia? By US law, the militia is comprised of every able bodied male, from the age of 17 to 45. It is defined right there in US Code. So, if the militia is every male from 17 to 45, and the Second Amendment specifically emphasizes the rights of the militia to own and carry firearms. How can raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21 possibly be constitutional?

      So in effect, all 18 to 21 year old citizens in Florida are having their rights removed, without due process, because of the crimes of ONE bad actor. A bad actor that could have (should have) been stopped before committing his crime when threats he made were reported to the FBI (and ignored). Some of those 18 to 21 year old citizens are members of the NRA with the understanding that the NRA would fight for their Second Amendment rights. Frankly, I think the NRA HAS to sue on this one.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm #

        The idiot shouldn’t have been able to legally purchase the guns.

        However, the school and police had not reported various incidents he was involved in.

        If they had, he would have been on the “Don’t Sell Him Guns List”.

      • Stuart the Viking March 14, 2018 at 6:09 pm #

        Yes, he probably would be on that list if he had been charged and convicted (which seems likely). Frankly, some of his behavior sounds like it would easily be worthy of being used to Baker-Act him, which should have been enough to disarm him.

        SO many governmental failures in this case… Yet it’s law abiding citizens who’s rights are in peril… And little to no consequences for the government actors who failed in their duties.

      • Vapori March 15, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

        Now true as that might be, Time changes anything. The constitution of the United states is by now a very old piece of work and written n in that spirit. Back then a 17 year old was seen as an adult was likely married or at least betrothed and if not that, and fully able to operate with his or her money as he saw fit.

        Humans back then had too mature faster and were given less leeway or preparation then they are given today. Drinking age was also different back then.

        And while the constitution and the declaration of independence are indeed great Achievements so were others and it didn’t stop there.

        The militia act and the right for everyone to bear weapons were quite simply very reasonable, after a war with England and an unknown number of Indianas to the west.

        But today? I’m not sure anymore that it is reasonable that anybody can buy a weapon basically unchecked. (when compared to other western nations that is basically what happens in the US. )

        Sure the due process must be followed, but the NRA is as much Bully as it’s a defender of the right to bear arms.

        They bully basically every politician and many others who want a change to more restrictive gun laws .

        Of course it isn’t bullying from their point of view they have actually a
        a constitutional right to defend.
        Even if a limit to that right might be reasonable. .

        From what I see I think that more people now want to move to more restrictive gun laws then people who support that, and basically every killing spree will change the mind of a few to a direction of more restrictive gun laws, I think that if these killing spree’s don’t stop at one point the people who want a change in gun laws be it in the form of bans or tighter control will at some point gain a majority big enough.

        On another note I think you are right about schools being a breeding ground for bullies specially when in the teens between 12-15 sometimes 17.

        the pupils are then bright and careful enough to get away with bullying in most cases while they still face no real personal consequences if they get catched.

        and something needs to be done about that, still it’s very difficult to do the later.
        On another note I don’t think that it gets really much worse, it has always been at least as worse as it’s now, but it’s just more noticeable with social media.

      • Stuart the Viking March 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

        “Back then a 17 year old was seen as an adult was likely married or at least betrothed and if not that, and fully able to operate with his or her money as he saw fit.”

        Are people getting dumber? That really seems to be what you are saying here.

        On another topic, the idea of the NRA being a bully amuses me. Where is the line between lobbying and bullying?

        NRA: “My members want X, if you vote against it Honorable Congress Person, I will tell my members not to vote for you!”

        Congress Person: “WWWAAAHHHH!!!! You are such a bully!!!!!”

        Sorry, I don’t buy it. Lobbying does not equal bullying.

      • chrishanger March 18, 2018 at 9:31 am #

        I don’t know.

        I didn’t really learn the value of money until I had a job, which was when i was 18. Someone who learnt the connection between work and wages at an earlier age might be more responsible than I was at the same age.


  2. Bob March 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

    Hey Chris… just a quick note to tell you that this was absolutely the best “Chrishanger” ever..The subject was timely, but the substance was spot on..
    Thank you,

  3. P March 13, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

    While I agree with the main point about bullies, the NRA is a bully. They attack people mercilessly and have no interest in having a reasonable discussion. I don’t think the name calling against the NRA is better, but a lot of people feel like if people would stand up to the NRA bully then we could have a reasonable discussion. In other words it’s like the NRA has bullied people so long to prevent discussion that people blame them–not because they directly caused the shooting–but because had the discussion they prevented took place, we might have been able to have done something.

    Obviously that requires a lot of “ifs” but they have threatened every politician that even suggests discussing any form of gun control. Sure, it should be the politicians that stand up to the NRA, but that’s just like saying the nerds should stand up to the playground bullies.

  4. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 13, 2018 at 9:14 pm #

    The NRA isn’t the problem as they are small compared to the lobbying organizations that support Liberal Positions.

    The Problem is that few gun-owners trust the “gun control” folks.

  5. Bret Wallach March 13, 2018 at 9:44 pm #

    chrishanger wrote: “There are few lower forms of life than the bully…”

    Oh, for crying out loud – grow a pair. Oh wait, that’s me bullying you – sorry snowflake. 🙂 Go ahead, bully me back, see if I care.

    chrishanger wrote: “…there is an epidemic of bullying sweeping through our society.”

    No, there’s really not. SJWs (or SJBs if you must) are, for the most part, so lame that I can’t take them seriously (there are exceptions such as antifa, powerful political operatives, etc.).

    When I was a kid I had to worry about guys with knives cutting me up or being badly beaten. That’s bullying. Being called a racist by some SJW? That’s pathetic. Sticks and stones and all that. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen or there shouldn’t be a concern, but there’s degrees of bullying and some folks I find contemptible flinging a few invectives? Doesn’t hardly count.

    • Bewildered March 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

      And what if those SJWs are the ones to shape legislation, or dictate who may speak on university campuses, or what phraseology must be used? Would you like to fail your degree simply because you refuse to reject reality and claim there are more than 2 genders etc? Would you like to have to shut your business because SJWs have deemed your views a threat to society and thus send you death threats, post 1 star reviews, or other such tactics?

    • chrishanger March 18, 2018 at 8:59 am #

      Bullying comes in many different forms.


  6. Kalenath March 13, 2018 at 10:28 pm #

    Might makes right. We all know this.

    No one gives a shit if someone weak gets trounced by someone strong. They deserved it because they were weak. They needed to become strong to keep people from doing that. Preferably buying a gun if they are American of the right ethnicity. Because guns make people strong.

    This is what I see in the media. In Hollywood. In many writers these days.

    This is also WRONG.

    The very THOUGHT of some middle or high school teacher carrying concealed in a place FILLED with angst and hormone ridden brats fills me with DREAD. (Because that is what middle and high school IS in the US)

    Because if the TEACHER is carrying? Why can’t all the STUDENTS start carrying? You KNOW some parents will say that and when their 13 or 14 year old kid asks if they can carry concealed to school, the parent will will go. ‘Sure! It will make the place safer if everyone is armed!’

    Suuuure it will!

    If I had carried a gun into middle school, I would be in jail right now. Because the first time some bully knocked me down to steal my lunch money? I would have shot him. He is bigger, stronger, meaner and likely has friends, but if I HAVE A GUN! It is all good. TV and Hollywood say I can defend myself using lethal force because I am in fear for my life and have NO idea what that actually MEANS since I am a FREAKING MIDDLE SCHOOLER IN THE US AND HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT REALITY!

    (Thank god I didn’t actually have a gun until high school and never carried it there! I had some sense. Batons, knives, pepper spray, yes. Guns, no.)

    I did learn several important lessons in public school in the US.

    1) The administration doesn’t care about anything but keeping their jobs. The TEACHERS and PRINCIPALS may or may not care about the kids, but the higher ups? Not a chance. Not their problem. If a few get injured or die, no biggie. There are always more.

    2) If you make noise, you are to blame and you will be punished. Period. If you try to be a squeaky wheel, you will get run over. Try to change things? Same.

    3) Everyone lies. Parents. Teachers. Students. Everyone lies. If you are not lying, you need to be or you will be in big trouble.

    If I ever have kids, I will homeschool them and dare any liberal fools to come and say I need to put them into the hell of willful apathy and ignorance that is the public school system in the US. They won’t enjoy my response.

    • Kalenath March 13, 2018 at 10:34 pm #

      (Edit) Meant to add, my dad from Texas. I grew up around guns. I belong to the NRA and am somewhat for gun control.There are some people who simply should NEVER be allowed to touch them.

      Do I want government to deny my the right to own them if I prove myself capable? No.

      Do I want every 14 year old I remember from middle school to have access to automatic weapons or artillery? OH HELL NO!

      There IS a middle ground.

      People just don’t want be bothered to find it.

  7. Ihas March 13, 2018 at 10:33 pm #

    The NRA allegedly has a history of whipping its members into a violent frenzy that results in, for example, thousands of harassing messages and death threats towards a dealer who plans to import smart guns or child safe firearms. I own more than ten firearms and participate in shooting competitions, but I won’t forgive the NRA for its stances against safer firearms that mothers of young children would feel safer carrying. And I think the NRA’s positions in this regard are ultimately counterproductive to its goals. If they truly want to win women over rather than alienate them, it seems like they ought to avoid putting mothers of small children in a position of being afraid to carry or even have a gun in the house. And while critics of smart guns may be correct that the safety mechanism can be defeated with a magnet, your 4 year old child is not going to know how to do that. So I have little sympathy for the NRA’s political action arm. What strikes me as truly sad is that the NRA was founded to instruct youth in marksmanship as a national security issue. I would support an organization that actually did that.

    • Kalenath March 13, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

      I would support that too. Much of the NRA today has forgotten what it stood for in the need to be heard.

      So many accidents could be avoided with basic instruction. With the most basic question- ‘Is it loaded?’

    • Stuart the Viking March 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm #

      The argument against “smart-guns” are that they are terrible, clunky, expensive, and under powered. Yet, there is a state that already has a law on the books that requires all handguns to incorporate smart-gun technology as soon as smart-gun technology becomes available. THAT is why the NRA is fighting them. Frankly, a vast majority of us would be perfectly happy for smart-gun technology to be an option. But note, option means CHOICE. If someone WANTs a smart-gun, they should be able to have one. As for me, I like what I got. I don’t want a “smart-gun” any more than I want a Glock (I’m just not a fan, not offence to Glock owners). You say you participate in shooting competitions… Take a look at the current state of smart guns, would you REALLY want to be restricted to using one of those in competition?

      • Ihas March 20, 2018 at 1:46 am #

        I just want smart guns to be commercially available for purchase by mothers of young children, etc. As for the law in NJ about all non smart guns becoming illegal as soon as the first smart gun is sold in the state, I think it would be repealed immediately if that actually happened. US firearm manufacturers have a lot of clout. They have no problem with the executive orders that prohibit or limit firearm imports like those first penned by Bush senior. And this New Jersey law is one more effective bar to import of smart guns. It’s a great way to whip up the base against smart gun imports. But I think as soon as that switch is flipped, the US firearm manufacturers will become a lot more concorned about the loss of gun sales in New Jersey, and use their money and influence to get the law repealed. That’s just the way I see it.

    • wolfcry March 25, 2018 at 5:36 am #

      The NRA still continues to instruct people in marksmanship and safe firearms handling. They just get less press than their political/lobbying arm. ; )

      IMHO, it’s not a lack of “smart guns” that keep young mothers and women in general from keeping firearms for protection, but a lack of education. Education about safe firearms handling, which is perfectly feasible even with young children in the home and without needing special “smart guns”.

      If someone is truly uncomfortable with firearms, they can start out with something else like a taser or pepper spray, learn martial arts, train with a baton, the list goes on.

      Being able to effectively use the bit between your ears is what really keeps you safe. If only more people understood this…

  8. Bob Stewart March 13, 2018 at 11:16 pm #

    The “conservative” backlash that concerns you is a product of your imagination. Conservatives tend to be restrained by their knowledge of history and human nature. They do not project their feelings on others and call that empathy. Jordan Peterson is the sort of person I have in mind when I think of a “conservative”. I think you will appreciate the following lecture he gave at Queen’s University in Ontario on March 5th:

    The contrast between his lecture and the thuggish left couldn’t be more clear. Which group will prevail in the end? The children throwing a tantrum and attempting to barricade the attendees in the lecture hall with garbage barrels stacked at the fire exits? They also smashed the stained glass windows as Peterson was talking. They only neglected to throw Molotov cocktails thru the broken windows. Is this the future we will seek? Will the “authorities” at Queen’s University continue to turn a blind eye to this madness? The left has no option but to continue to escalate the violence, since their current activities have not been productive, and they have neither the ability nor interest in persuading the citizenry. They have good reason to think that the authorities will bend and allow them to continue their with their violence. But the public will not stand for it if it gets to point of mass slaughter of those who attempt a dialogue.

    The American West had a tradition of “vigilance committees” that were formed when the supposed authorities were either indifferent to their responsibilities or, more often, the source of the abuses. The citizens who joined these committees were men of property, and they had much to lose. So you can be sure that they planned and executed their revolt with care. Oliver Cromwell isn’t a favorite of you Brits for reasons I don’t appreciate. His Round Heads took care of business. It if comes to that today, we’ll see the same thing. The aftermath may be as unpleasant has Cromwell’s Parliament, but that is another matter entirely.

    The trick is to avoid this path. Dialogue beats war. If the left refuses to talk, the authorities need to lock them up for their own safety.

    • Pyo March 14, 2018 at 10:34 am #

      So much fear.

  9. PhilippeO March 14, 2018 at 4:22 am #

    Wow, you go to Deep End this time. by applying term ‘bullying’ to everything that aren’t actually bullying, you make ANY social interaction impossible.

    • chrishanger March 18, 2018 at 9:28 am #

      I think there’s a very real difference between normal social interaction – and advocacy – and bullying.

      If you try to talk me into something, that’s advocacy; if you try to pressure me into doing something, that’s bullying. If you disagree with me, that’s disagreement; if you misrepresent my views or lie about me, that’s bullying. If you say “I can see where he’s coming from, but he’s wrong because …” that’s reasonable; if you say “he’s only saying that because he’s a racist/sexist/whatever” that’s bullying. Even if you think your cause is just, you’re bullying.

      And people will hate you for it, which is my point.

  10. Bryce March 14, 2018 at 9:20 am #

    The NRA is not the issue. I live in Canada and is I want to buy a handgun to go target shooting I have to get an initial permit then I have to get permit to buy a restricted weapon. those to will cost some where in the range of 1000 – 1500. Then I need a carry permit and to get that I have to belong to a gun club, this permit allows me to carry the fire arm straight to and straight back from the club. Then I can go purchase a Handgun or any other restricted weapon.

    Now in Edmonton where I live I see on TV news that there are shootings with handguns that are not registered. They are owned by criminals and they could not get the permits if they tried.

    So the NRA can say what ever you can raise the age to 35 and have a 12 week waiting period to get the weapons but the criminal or people will get them and they will bully people that they do not like.

    So we cannot stop it. As for bullies until we get a society that accepts a person for what they are and what they say you will never get rid of bulling. When you cannot say anything that is not politically correct at the moment you have an entire group of people that will come down on you and tell you that you are a troll you have no idea what you are talking. I have seen it in several discussion boards and in real life.

    The only way to change is for people to be accepting and say a lot more time I understand your statement but I do not agree so lets just part with we will not get to an understanding so agree to disagree.

    PS: When I was young through elementary and junior High grades 1-9 I was verbally bullied and it still bothers me to today and I am 53yo. So yes verbally can hurt as much a physically to a persons self esteem.

    And Chris I loved the way that was written and it was in very good taste.

    • Kalenath March 14, 2018 at 11:58 am #

      Anyone who says bullying isn’t problem either never was or is a bully themselves and doesn’t want their power threatened.

      It isn’t ‘quite’ the horror show that many pundits paint it to be. It is not supposed to be possible for a bully to beat another kid to death in the middle of a school hall and get away with it. Yet anyway. (Unless of course, said bully’s parents have clout, in which case, law does not apply to them and they can do whatever the hell they want.)

      Thing is, most bullies are cowards. They pick on targets that they know they can beat. They don’t go for jocks, they go for geeks. This usually works, but not always. Every so often, you find that Star Trek fan who studied Karate from the time he or she was four and that is a very rude shock to the poor bully who complains that life isn’t fair when the guy -or girl!- he was accosting actually fought back! The horror!

      It took me most of my time in high school to stop reacting to the creeps because I was told lies by parents and teachers and then told that I was ‘imagining things’ because that lily white poster boy couldn’t possibly be trying to hurt me. He wasn’t. He followed me home one day and pulled a knife just off school grounds. He told me he was going to kill me for tattling. At which point, I drew MY collapsible steel baton and proceeded to beat the ever living shit out of him. The difference was, I didn’t bully him. I didn’t bully anyone else. I did what I did to protect myself. I practiced restraint and did not kill the young fool who had just threatened to kill me. I did not report him to the authorities, because I KNEW it would do no good. (He was the son of a cop!) No one ever spoke of that to me. I was never arrested, never charged. I guess if you prove you are strong or crazy, no one gives a shit.

      I have never struck another human being in anger since because I scared myself that day. (Except my sister and she doesn’t count since she hit me first!) I could have killed that brat. If I had been carrying a gun? I would have and that scares me more.

      As for the NRA?

      The NRA today is seems to be nothing more than a horde of political morons who knee jerk at the word ‘control’. They are the only ones who ever get press after all, so they must be the only ones who exist. The rest of us are not worthy to be listened to.

      I belong to the NRA and have for many years. Only in recent years does that phrase make me sick to my stomach and I have seriously debated resigning my membership because of what they are doing now. I HATE how so many people who know better say that guns ‘make things better’ or ‘make you powerful’.


      Guns are tools. A hammer does not make things better or make you powerful. A screwdriver does not. Neither does a power drill. Why should a gun?

      Oh, wait. Hollywood.

      What the NRA and SO MANY OTHERS seem to miss is that not everyone is CAPABLE of taking a life. This is a good thing for any peaceful society no matter what some may say. Police officers and soldiers are trained for a long time, brainwashed almost, to take lives if needed. It still hurts most of them.

      So, the NRA wants put guns into schools close to bullies in the hands of people who are very probably (Like 80%) not going to be able to pull the trigger on another living being. So, they will likely have their guns taken away and maybe used by people with less morals. Is anyone else bothered by this?

    • Ihas March 14, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

      I’d say that children can deal one another lasting psychological harm. The reason fist fights among children are viewed as “kid stuff” is because the children can’t hurt each other physically in a serious and lasting way. American courts have begun to recognize, however, that psychological harm from verbal abuse and neglect can deal serious, lasting harm among children, and hold schools accountable for allowing it to continue. The children still are not going to jail, but civil penalties apply to encourage teachers and school administrators to intervene.

  11. Dan March 14, 2018 at 4:02 pm #

    To everyone who has or hasn’t been bullied at some point in their life. Being bullied is like a cigarette the first one won’t kill you probably not the second or third you wont even really see much lasting damage but that doesn’t mean it’s not hurting you. I was verbally abused and had some physical abuse a kick in the leg here a hard painfully slap on the back of the head in the hallway there. But it was the words that finally got to me in the end 12 long painfull years of five days a week 8:00am to 4:00pm everyday without fail there was at least one person who verbally abused me It Was HELL. now a single time isn’t really going to hurt you but if it were to continue?. For example say your a cool and handsome young 20 something walking down the street when all of a sudden someone passes you and says hey ugly. Now you stop and think what the hell? Before going on your way but then the next day it happens again same guy now your thinking what an jerk before going on your way then again and again then its more than just him it’s others to and this goes on for five years . Do you really think that young man still thinks he’s good looking or has an upbeat personality? Maybe but more likely there is great doubt in him there is pain and a feeling the entire world is out to get him even if it’s really only a few. This is the real danger. pain over time like that can bring good people to their knees especially when no one tells you otherwise it’s hard and to anyone whos gone through this or is going through this you are perfect just the way you are don’t let a few people tell you otherwise have hope find life in the things around you I promise there is good there you just need to look.

  12. pkohonen March 14, 2018 at 5:51 pm #

    The series of political posts (rants?) on this blog are becoming increasingly interesting as a “self-radicalization” case study. I.e., how a person talks themselves into increasingly radical points of view. A common theme emerges: 1) start from fairly conventional points of view, i.e., bullying is bad or it is good to respect your parents, 2) create a series of bridging arguments that, step-by-step, use rhetorical juxtaposition and sentiment to connect a desired “radical” point of view to a commonly held and trivial one. 3) iterate the logic until it is so tortuous that you could argue night=day and still sound plausible within the framework of the argument. 4) cherry-pick and and use strawman arguments as examples (proof) to demonize the “other side”, i.e., use their “worst-case” and misconstrued points of view against your own.

    In this case it is pretty absurd to claim “bullying” by NRA (if they are indeed even doing that). And by school kids at that! I suppose Martin Luther King was “bullying” the KKK during the civil rights marches (see others can do the same, reductio ad absurdum).

    I like a lot the Schooled in Magic (SIM) series but have been rather irritated by these other political writings on this blog as I don’t think they contribute in any way to my appreciation or enjoyment of the books (rather the reverse). I only hope that these posts don’t spoil the book I like for me. But I do begin to see value in them, though probably not as the author intended.

    • chrishanger March 14, 2018 at 6:07 pm #

      Well, not if that’s how you feel about it .

      I’ve always tried to understand social trends, both the obvious and the subtle, even if I don’t agree with them (or find them reprehensible). Trying to understand how the world looks to someone else – even if I think they’re bonkers – is a useful tool for a writer. Dismissing someone purely on the grounds that I don’t like them or I don’t agree with them is pointless at best, dangerous at worst.


      • pkohonen March 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm #

        I am trying to analyze them. So I am not dismissing them as such. I think they make inappropriate juxtapositions, i.e., defining something as something it is not. But maybe that is the essence of political differences. In the current case I do not see the bridge that is being created. But I am also tired of “trying to understand”. With large parts of the USA going its own way politically and Britain leaving the EU, isolating from the “cancerous” parts may be for the best. That does not mean I agree e.g., with completely free immigration, but the right wing “victim” mentality is also very childish. But also dangerous because “victims” usually talk themselves more easily into extreme acts, including terrorism or other forms of violence. Or political scorched-earth politics that lead to more authoritarian rule, which inevitably leads to even more corruption and “favour-the-rich” policies. If one sees oneself as a “victim” it is always a danger signal. I live in Scandinavia and am generally happy with life, and society. And feel that paying taxes, that help to pay for social programs for the less lucky (and sometimes for those that work less, but not usually), entitles me to enjoy guilt-free life.

  13. Lindsay March 16, 2018 at 10:09 am #

    One thing that has puzzled me…this second amendment that the pro gun activists hold so important also mentions ‘a well regulated militia’.. ..So my question is what ‘well regulated militia’ are these people members of?

    • Pyo March 16, 2018 at 10:59 am #

      Works like any other religion: you emphasize the elements you like, and quietly ignore whatever doesn’t fit your current mood.

    • Ihas March 17, 2018 at 1:22 am #

      During the Revolutionary war, the militia was made up of minute men and others who owned their own firearms or even cannon. For many years after the war, US citizens owned any weapon they liked, including the latest and greatest weapons available to the military. Does that mean individuals should be allowed to have their own nuclear weapons arsenals today? Of course not, but some would disagree. After the civil war, the NRA was started to improve marksmanship among the average citizens and especially youths, so future recruits would not be such miserable shots. Many would argue that the ready availability of assault rifles to day is needed to help ensure that new recruits will already be familiar with the standard weaponry available to army infantry. Of course, that goal could actually be achieved by marksmanship instruction in public schools, without the firearms being privately owned. Good luck with that one. Both sides would oppose it.

      • Ryan March 17, 2018 at 2:27 am #

        Its interesting, bordering on disengenuous, to discuss bullying while only citing one side of an issue using a prejoratve term to describe a class of people whom you seem to dislike. Right or left there is usually a valid issue that people have legitimate concerns over. That some individuals are unreasonable in their attitudes and tactics does not invalidate the concerns of the broader class.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 17, 2018 at 2:36 am #

        When the “Broader Group” allows the extremists to “speak for them”, then it is fair to view the “Broader Group” as the same as the extremists.

        Get back to us when the general population of Liberals start “slapping down” the SJWs.

      • Lindsay March 17, 2018 at 3:56 am #

        When I was in the navy I was told by a small arms instructor that there was nothing so difficult as trying to eradicate the bad habits of recruits who had been ‘taught’ to shoot as civilians. A blank canvas was far preferable to a recruit who had so much to unlearn.

      • Ihas March 17, 2018 at 4:40 am #

        Hey, Ryan. I’m curious regarding the “pejorative term” that Pyo, Lindsay, or I purportedly used? Or was yor comment directed at Chris? If so, then why did you reply to our comment chain?

  14. Puffin Muffin March 17, 2018 at 1:02 am #

    The sad thing is that what currently passes for debate in the West is screaming with fingers in ears and nothing much else.

  15. Big Ben March 18, 2018 at 3:13 am #

    I’m going to zero in on one bit of absurdity that Chump and the NRA keep spewing – arming teachers.
    I have one simple question … when (not if, but WHEN) a legally armed school teacher accidentally shoots a student, who is liable? The teacher? The school? The state or federal government?
    Trained professionals miss all the time. When I was in the service being rated Expert (hitting 38 out of 40 targets on a timed variable-distance pop-up range) or Hawkeye (40 of 40) was considered a badge of honor, because most soldiers aren’t that accurate consistently, even with hours of practice every month.
    And accuracy goes way down when someone’s shooting back at you. This is true for soldiers, cops and school teachers.
    And it’s not just about missing your target and hitting someone else by accident.
    Bullets travel easily through adult human beings. “Through and through” is the common term. They’ll punch through a child’s body that much easier, right on into the student that may be behind him/her.
    The answer to cancer is not smoking more cigarettes.
    The answer to school shootings is not more guns in schools.

    • Ihas March 18, 2018 at 5:35 am #

      I was sent to a private school that had experienced a riot during the 60s anti war protests. A few teachers made very sure to let us all know that they had guns. They never showed the guns to us, so they could have been lying. We still had an incident of a seventh grader in my class bringing a gun to school and leaving threatening notes in at least one other student’s locker. No one was hurt because the gun was also left in a student’s locker, and thus, taken into custody. This was in the 80s. So my point is that teachers have possibly been armed in some schools for many years, but it’s not clear if that prevented any incidents. I’m curious how schools with ROTC programs handle firearms at the school, or if ROTC programs in high schools generally do not involve firearm training.

      In an attempt to respond to your question, employers usually prohibit their employees from being armed due to liability issues. If they prohibit the employee from being armed, but turn a blind eye to the employee carrying protection, then the employer is in a much better position to avoid liability for the employee’s actions if there is an incident. It just makes sense unless the business is a guard service or the like. But governments have sovereign immunity to civil suit. If you hear about the state being successfully sued, it’s because the state passed a law waiving sovereign immunity in circumstances relevant to the suit. So a public school could potentially arm teachers but keep sovereign immunity so there is no recourse to recover from the school system or teacher for victims of any use or misuse of those firearms by the teachers or anyone else.

      I’m an attorney in the USA, but I’m not your attorney. This is not legal advice.

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