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The BulldogPI candidly reflects: High school bullying, not a new problem.

February 28, 2012

I’m not sure what the answer is to adolescent bullying, but this is not some newly discovered issue.  Instead, it’s more like a stinky pair of sweat socks making their way out from the bottom of the hamper.  It’s about time someone cleaned up the mess.  I witnessed quite a bit of bullying first hand, during my high school years.  Ahh yes,  good old Christian Brothers Academy, in Albany NY.   

The schools motto?  “Give us your boys, and we’ll give you back men.”  

  Now reflecting as  an adult I understand the reasons for the animosity  a lot better.   During my high school years, when I witnessed the bullying taking place, I experienced this irresistable urge to ‘stand up for the little guy.’  I’m not trying to make myself sound like something I not…

I certainly have my faults and flaws.  but what I reveal here today  is the truth.  I’m not afraid to, in fact am proud to acknowledge that standing up took guts.  I had some size to me in high school, but  the student upper echelon took a strong dislike to me, interfering with their fun and all.  I was  a real downer.  Instead of participating in those periods of ‘playtime’  [when the stronger beat up on the weaker], I got in the way.

 Over time, this brought their wrath in my direction and I wound up attacked several times (typically in twos or threes…  how brave).   I have my scars, but  in a way those experiences helped shape me into the  man I’ve become.  I don’t go looking for trouble, but I don’t generally back down either.

As the  years, I came up with  strategies for fighting back.   The bully that attacked me one week,  had a little help falling down the stairs the next.  Guerilla warfare and developing a sixth sense (eyes in the back of  your head) were the keys to keeping my sanity.   But bringing a gun and shooting people?  No, I never reached that level of desperation and despair.  That was never even considered as an option.

 CBA high school was not a happy place, or at least wasn’t when I was there.    I remember a  gloomy and repressive environment.  Most parents that sent their sons to this particular high school had no idea  what really took place behind those walls.   Whats the popular phrase now?  “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”   The school had aquired a reputation for transforming adolescent boys into men.  I remember a certain, long since retired colonial, loosing his temper one day and choking a boy in detention. One of the bullies in question got a little too sure of  himself that day, and mouthed off to a military veteran from both the Korean and Vietnam war. Bad move.   Thankfully a fellow teacher was strong enough to loosen his grip.

 It would be unwise for me to mention name on my blog,  but at least  two fellow classmates that graduated from my class suffered severe mental trauma from their experience.   I likely have some minor scarring of my own, as it took several  years before the nightmares subsided.

Maybe it’s true to an extent that ‘what doesn’t kill you  makes you stronger,’ but that strength comes with a price.  Bullying within America’s school system, public and private alike, remains a very real problem.  It needs to be addressed.

This certainly isn’t an excuse for yesterdays terrible shooting in Chardon, Ohio.   Unfortunately  TJ lane will soon find mistakes and actions of that magnitude come with major repercussions.  Being the victim of bullies doesn’t give you the right or justification to go into the high school with guns blazing.  I personally own and often carry a firearm as part of my profession.  At the same time however, I treat that ownership and carrying of that firearm as a grave responsibility.   I have never pulled that firearm out of anger, never threatened to shoot someone.  Mistakes and actions of that magnitude come with major repercussions.

 I have no desire… no intent… to seek out some of the  real dirtballs from my past and extract some sort of vegence on them.  It’s fortunate I don’t,  for all concerned.  I’ve learned that anger allowed to simmer into hatred and violence proves destructive not only to the target of the wrath, but also to whomever decides to ‘go postal.’  Besides, my grandmother [Sarge] taught me that what ‘goes around, comes around.’  My strengthening faith and life experience has taught me that Sarge was right.  Think I’m tough?  Too bad you didn’t get to meet my grandmother, but that’s a whole other story.

So anyway, I don’t bother with my high school reunions,  don’t feel this burning  desire to play ‘catch up’ with former classmates.  The few guys I’ve kept in touch with over the years, seem to share my thoughts.  They just aren’t as outspoken as I am…  As for CBA’s  aging bullies of the past, continuing to ‘get their jollies’ every few years to runite and reminisce:  good for them.  

What ever blows your skirt up  I guess.

My  own sneaking suspicion is that part of that  need to relieve adolesence is because Sarge was right.  What once ‘went around’  has now ‘come back around’ to roost.  Perhaps  present circumstances and situations aren’t quite as  fulfilling for them as the days they picked on classmates.    Gee….  that’s too bad. 

Stay up there in New York, dirtballs.


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