Skip to content

Stop Children, What’s That Sound?

March 16, 2011

We’ve all seen it, or if you haven’t, then please do. Even if you don’t care about the actual scenario – there are some quite humourous youtube Zangief spoofs.

The point is, this year 10 kid is getting picked on by a bunch of year 7s (younger kids can be awful bullies,  they have do have a capacity for venom), one of whom is directly assaulting the year 10, Casey. These are hits to the face – probably not hugely painful, but this kid is definitely provoking him. Casey responds by doing nothing, and then upon successive hits, blocks them, punches him back and then picks the kid up and throws his entire body down to the floor. Completely painful, and the kid upon trying to gets up visibly stumbles – this isn’t slight confusion, he’s absolutely sprawling. Casey’s clearly damaged him.

But how much of this was the kid’s own making? While of course violence is never the preferred course of action, keeping a politically correct agenda of violence “never being the answer” is quite frankly, ridiculous considering our long history as human beings in which only the last fifty years has seen a radical criminalisation of many forms of violence, for good reason I may add. I still find there to be no valid argument for hitting children, at least not in the public sense – I’m not a parent nor a psychologist so I would not know whether spanking a child develops character or destroys it (albeit I can’t particularly see purely disciplinary spanking as any real issue). That said, to suggest the violence is completely absurd and unnecessary in any sense ignores the heart of the issue. This violence will likely not “solve” issues, it’s not desirable. But it damn well alerts the world to it, as we’ve seen.

“Their triumphant response to the older boy’s retaliation surprised seasoned experts.

“Our first reaction is obviously one of distress. That is a very distressing video for a number of reasons,” John Dalgleish, head of research at Kids Helpline and Boys Town, says.

“Often children … will blame themselves for actions done towards them. One of the first things we do at Kids Helpline is talk that through with young people and give a very strong message saying no child ever deserves or should be subject to bullying.”

It is understood the Year 10 student is a victim of repeated bullying at Chifley College’s Dunheved Campus, a middle school in a disadvantaged part of western Sydney.

But police and bullying experts are concerned by the video’s publication on Facebook and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the older boy’s retaliation against his attacker.

“We don’t believe that violence is ever the answer,” Mr Dalgleish says. “We believe there are other ways that children can manage this.””

Manage how precisely? What was the kid’s alternative? He’s been picked on time and time again, how can you intervene in that? Reporting the bullies only reinforces the perception that the negative esteem and embarrassment of the victim, not to mentioning antagonising the bullies. He resorted to the only means he had left. I personally see nothing surprising about the fact that people are celebrating the retribution of this impudent child preying upon someone weaker than himself. Many kids can relate to such feelings, which is why we can see such euphoric responses and Casey’s praises sung. I’ll openly admit I’ve been victim to several spates of bullying in my life, some more recent than you may think. It’s never nice. It’s never “just playing around”. It’s not “boys will be boys”. It’s awful. Unfortunately we all do it too, so we can’t be too accusatory either.

I understand it’s not going to solve anything. In fact it may make things worse. However does it really have to get to this point before the authorities understand that bullying is such a huge issue that affects most people? I understand the school’s policy of suspending both pupils – it’s not even a punishment as such from my understanding, more of a time-out zone, because any normal school engagements right now would be rather implausible.

The ultimate point is that victims are often bullies themselves, it happens to nigh everybody unfortunately. This kid shouldn’t be indicted of a crime, and of course neither should Casey. Bullying is a cultural element in society, in which individuals try to establish themselves as higher up the hierarchy. The smh article actually mentions the fact that one girl finally told the kids to get out. Which to me represents the ultimate goal of anti-bullying – which governments have been indirectly pursuing, albeit highly unsuccessfully – that it shouldn’t have to be punished by external forces (which are very ineffective and often complicate the issue, not to mention politicise), but instead other individuals should be able to negate it, either by neglecting those who act in such a way or forcibly intervening.

I do feel bad for the kid. He was acting like an absolute rat bag, but it did look mighty painful, and the response he’s getting will likely be vastly disproportionate to his relatively small (but horrible) crimes. The important thing is to realise it’s not just this kid (there were three others at least in the video), but it’s likely many people who bullied Casey, and who bullied other kids at the school. We can’t be too quick to revel in retribution, but it is so easy to understand why we do.

We’ll see how this story pans out in the next week or so anyhow.

Everybody look what’s goin round.

Advertisements

From → Personal, Political

4 Comments
  1. Good article Angus. The thing that makes me feel really uncomfortable with this whole situation is that a) Casey’s friend’s parent uploaded the video to youtube, which is the stupidest thing you can possibly do because it makes the issue a public thing (which it legally shouldn’t be because the children are under the age of majority) and also because the internet is full of fuckheads who will make jokes about it, spoofs (as you mentioned, but is unfortunately not available now?), etc. and this will – inevitably – change who he is and can be — he is basically a ‘celebrity’ now, and we know what happens to child stars; b) that the parent is basically trying to mobilise against the ‘bully’, who is a TWELVE OR SO YEAR OLD KID; c) and that people are doing this whole anti-bully campaign, which isn’t good, because it’s not necessarily ‘anti-bullying’ but anti-that-specific-bully — he is a little kid, he doesn’t know better, and yes he should be punished, but not through this mass campaign, and especially not by treating the situation as if they were adults, i.e. by using language of ‘responsibility’ and ‘punishment’ like they were going to jail or something.

    This is obviously a structural problem. This is a school. Where were the supervisors? Why is bullying an ongoing problem in that school? This is also a society. Why does bullying exist? Or more importantly, why didn’t Casey think he could tell someone about it? Or why couldn’t anyone do anything about it, that wouldn’t ruin either kid’s future, which this whole internet bullshit is probably going to do.

    Also…people have to realise that Casey is SIXTEEN. The other kid was in YEAR 7. There is clearly a MAJOR difference, not just of size, but of understanding (unless Casey was mentally impaired in some way, in which case we can’t blame him, end of story), and Casey did have power – the power of age. He should KNOW about his power, he should KNOW about what he can do, etc. I suppose he was sort of surrounded, but still…the ‘bully’ was just a kid, and in legal terms, he can’t really be held responsible. Casey can. At sixteen, he is technically a ‘young person’, and no longer a ‘child.’

    Finally, a like your point about resisting external controls over bullying, and promoting a sort of bottom-up way of fixing it. People talk about peer pressure as if it is a bad thing, but peer pressure can save lives.

    • Watched it again, fuck it, what can you expect? I mean, people do ‘snap.’ A major problem with the law is trying to figure out what is going on in people’s subjective, and because they can’t, they make arbitrary rules that govern who is right and who is wrong in a situation where it is a bit gray. I guess in this…

      OH, one more thing: I actually posted this on one of the ‘Casey’ facebook walls, and was told to ‘shut up’ — I honestly think if he was of ethnic descent or whatever, he wouldn’t have gotten this support. Whenever it’s an ethnic or an Aboriginal person, when they ‘snap’, it’s them just going back to their base primitive selves, rather than becoming a ‘different’ person like in Casey’s case.

    • One last comment: I think most people that are doing this whole ‘support Casey’ thing are doing it because of the ‘underdog mentality’ rather than any kind of informed idea of the situation/social structures.

      • I definitely agree with this last comment – they’re just glad to see the dick get what he deserved. To be fair, I was too. There’s a malevolent thrill about it all. If it were simply that kid bullying him, then that would be that, hopefully he’d learn his lesson (he wouldn’t, it probably would escalate things), and in any case it was somewhat deserved if heavy handed.

        But it’s not just that kid, it’s a whole culture Australia-wide (hell, globally) – many kids would be going through similar things at the school. This douchebag shouldn’t be centre of attention as he is the catalyst of all evil – he is year seven after all, he’s been at school for less than _two_ months. He likely has some personality issues if he’s taken to perform such actions, or maybe all of his friends egg each other on – likely both. As you said though, he is a kid, and at twelve years old none of us are who we are when we become adults. I agree, it’s not anti-bullying at all, it’s just simply violence for its own sake. If it wasn’t as dramatic (and frankly, cool) of a take-down then it wouldn’t have got nearly this much attention.

        I just think it’s important that we all understand that it’s neither of their faults, that there’s no real blame – it’s cultural behaviour and attitudes, and this a symptom, not a cause. I do think that the polity have got the idea right, but as with most things, they’ve just gone about it the wrong way and simply aren’t addressing the issue. Nobody likes to see each other hurt, even if they hate each other (I have never seen a kid punch somebody who’s crying), and it needs to be stressed not only how damaging bullying, but how it affects everyone involved – it’s cyclical and permeates all sectors of society and all relationships.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: