There is a resurgence in the incidence of, or at least in discussions and public attention about, bullying in our society, and there are some things that can be done about the problem right off the bat [over and above dumping the bullies in a mine shaft!], but we need to see what might be causing it because we need to focus on a systemic cure.
It is important to realize that school-ground bullying is simply a microcosm of our national political policies, from the beginning right up until now, and so one cannot entirely fault street punks from picking up on and emulating that which our “leaders” teach and do on a regular basis.
Bullying, by definition, is the exercise of physical force and verbal intimidation by an obviously stronger person against an obviously weaker one. Bullies do not take on people of their own size and power, because they know there is a high danger of them getting cold-cocked: they are, in a word, cowards. But isn’t that characteristic of our national war philosophy?
We know the greatest evils against individuals and peoples, and the most wide-ranging genocides, in our lifetime have been, and are practiced, by the U.S.SR./Russia, and China. But while we get belligerently self-righteous about the supposed menace of their puppets like North Korea, Cuba, North Vietnam, Cambodia, and we get belligerently self-righteous about the comparatively lesser outrages by the Taliban and Iraq and Iran and Grenada and Libya and Yugoslavia, and by people we dislike in Pakistan and Egypt and Somalia and Syria and elsewhere, we never invade, attack, or threaten Russia or China. That is precisely the same as the schoolyard bully: we pick on and prod and invade and attack and execute the little guys [killing innocent civilians as “collateral damage”!], but we dare not move against the big guys.
And there is something in the American psyche that perversely celebrates, or at least tolerates, the bully. There was a recent criminal case locally in which a police detective absolutely, verbally brutalized the teenage suspect for hours, over and over accusing her of being a liar when she would not say what the cops wanted, screeching “Bullshit” at her, threatening her with lifetime incarceration if she did not say what they wanted, so she eventually was coerced thereby into saying what the brutish cops wanted. And we were certain that the jury would recoil against the over-the-top bullying by the cops. But they didn’t. They genuflectingly gave the government what it wanted out of the trial, thereby exhibiting the same values for jury trial practices as Benedict Arnold did for military practices - the jurors were traitors.
And then it has been found that the majority of school bullies were/are abused at home. They emulate their perverse parents, learning that threats and physical violence is a regular way of communication, since their parents communicate with them that way. Just as spanking by parents teaches kids violence by example, so too bullying by parents. We teach and learn by example.
So, if jurors allow and hence enable constabularial bullying, and if national foreign policy practices international military and diplomatic bullying, and if twisted parents practice bullying, and if some school teachers administrators practice bullying, then how are school punks supposed to understand that such is evil and uncivilized?
We need to examine ourselves and our views, and then we can begin to find a cure for bullying.