Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Kids Aren't All Right

I'll freely admit that while there's a lot of cruelty and injustice that I let roll off my back -- because I firmly believe that you can't allow everything to get to you otherwise you lose the ability to function -- the things that eat at me really eat at me. We are who we are, we feel what we feel and we're affected by what we're affected by. That's just how it works.

So while I don't let myself get too outraged over, say, the desperation of all those political prisoners and refugees overseas, the plight of every single homeless person in America or the pain that some animals suffer before winding up on my dinner plate, I admit that I can be moved to the point of righteous fury over a ten-minute video recording of a bunch of asshole middle-school kids bullying, verbally abusing and essentially torturing with ridicule an elderly widow on a school bus until she cries. It happened recently in upstate New York -- and it makes me want to beat the living shit out of every one of the little bastards seen and heard in the clip.

The good news: The internet is already rising up in support of this woman and to condemn her tormentors.

I confess that I often wonder what would have happened to me and my friends in high school had we grown up in the kind of self-perpetuated Panopticon that society today has become; did our crimes against decency rise to the level of what these kids do but we were simply lucky enough for no one to ever get it on video and beam it out around the world?

God, I really hope not. Because if we were this cruel at any point, I'm not sure I could ever forgive myself.

The Huffington Post: School Bus Bullying Video Draws Outrage/6.20.12


Steven D Skelton said...

We all have moments in our lives that make us cringe when they pop into our minds. One of mine took place on the middle school bus.

The kids decided I would be that days victim (no good guy here, I was usually on the giving end) and the taunt would be that my mother is overweight.

Rather than defend her, I joined in the chorus ripping on my mother for being overweight and echoing all the jokes. (mom wasn't on the bus)

When that memory enters my consciousness today, I want to go back and kick my own ass in the same way I want to kick these kids' ass.

This woman looks like my mom does now. The kindly grandma in her 70's. If she wasn't caring for my dying father, she'd probably be volunteering in a school.

I couldn't watch that video for more than a couple of minutes because I imagined that woman as my mother....and it just made me feel all the guiltier for my cowardly action on the middle school bus.

I'm glad no one was recording then.

I hope someone beats the fuck out every one of those kids.

J. Dack said...

I feel like I'm going to throw up after watching that.

God I hope somebody gets those motherfuckers back for this.

Atlantalee said...

I can't bring myself to even watch the video. My heart breaks just reading about it.

JosephW said...

Just curious. I haven't read the HuffPo story but it seems interesting that people are ready to (as you wrote) "beat the living shit out of every one of the little bastards seen and heard in the clip" because this is "an elderly widow on a school bus" while there seems to be LESS outrage when these "little bastards" terrorize their peers. Even when video has been shown of kids bullying their peers (for whatever reason), the general reaction seems to be "kids will be kids." So why does this reaction seem to change just because the target of the bullies is an old woman? Why is an old woman somehow seen as "more vulnerable" than a 12-year boy old who wears glasses and gets slapped in the back of his head or has his glasses snatched away from him? Why is an old woman "more vulnerable" than a 13-year old girl who's started "sprouting" and the boys try to "cop a feel?" Why should an old woman be "more vulnerable" to verbal abuse than the shy boy being called "faggot?"

Understand, I'm not trying to suggest this woman deserved any of the things that were described, but I'm afraid that most of her "supporters" would be far less concerned if she'd been a 12-year old suffering the same things day in, day out.

Chez said...

Bullying is wrong no matter who it's directed against because it implies that the stronger are picking on the weaker. It would be horrific to watch something like this done to a little kid -- and Lord knows that happens all the time. I think what's so awful about this particular incident is that it shows a group of kids showing no respect at all not only for an adult but for one who's largely defenseless and whom we can all imagine being our mother or grandmother. I admit that I paint a picture in my head of this woman that may or may not be in any way tethered to reality -- but I don't think it's ludicrous to imagine that she's seen a lot in her time and even after all that, all she's gone through that these kids can't even imagine, she's forced to endure this kind of an indignity. And yes, it makes me want to throw every one of those kids off that bus while it's still moving.

Steven D Skelton said...


I just may not be aware, but I don't think there exists anywhere a comparable video to this, in duration and level of cruelty, featuring a child as the victim.

I could be wrong, but I think your charge is baseless.

I have vowed never to be the asshole that says "show me the link," so I won't. But if such a video exists, I have never seen it.

J. Dack said...

On the bright side the fund raiser to send her on a vacation is up to over 28 grand now.

She may well be able to retire before this is over.

If so I hope that buses' next monitor is an ex-Marine.

StupidVelociraptors said...

I had an ad for Robert Land Academy military school (for underachieving boys gr 6-12) come up when I was reading one article about this story. Sometimes Google's timing is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I only expect this kind of thing to happen more often as time goes by. The overall lack of involvement seen by most parents nowadays alongside the very strong, positive selection pressure for sociopathy in our society can only lead to more of the same.

kanye said...

Children are almost always an accurate reflection of those who raised them.

Scratch a little monster and you're likely to find a bigger one, underneath.

Becky said...

I couldn't make it through more than a minute of that video. It absolutely broke my heart. According to the article, not only is she a widow, but her son also took his life. One of the things the kids told her is that "her family should kill themselves because she's so fat."

I'm so glad that the donations have reached over $100,000. I hope she goes on a vacation of a lifetime and I hope every one of those monsters go to prison.

Krissy said...

I would like to know what the parents of these kids did when (if?) they saw this video. I only got through 50 seconds of it before wanting to grab them all by the scruffs of their necks and ram their little heads into a wall. I wasn't always a saint as a kid but just knowing what my parents would do to me if ever they caught wind of me behaving like that was enough to keep me in line. It certainly suggests that these kids have been raised without being taught respect for others or consequences for their actions.

Anonymous said...

Child of the 80's here - kids were just as bad back then, they just didn't walk around with video cameras & have you tube to share with the world.

My MIL taught in the 70's & even back then they had classroom with cops/ex-marines...