Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Victim no More, "Casey the Punisher"

So I'm a bit late in actually commenting on the "Cassey the Punisher" video because some of the story was still developing.  That and I tend to go "radio silent" on my weekends. 

That said start off here to check out the video:

Now YouTube has pulled the video, which is why the video the Daily Telegraph has posted is a recording of a recording.  Though I'm glad the Aussies did this so I could see it. 

Now there's been lots of reactions to this video all over the Internet, and of course the guys over at Penny Arcade have done one of the best in my opinion:

Basically the Penny Arcade, and many of the adults surrounding this are all saying the same thing.  "Hitting is bad, bullying is bad, but GO CASEY!"  The parents involved are saying some interesting things as well, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph Casey's Dad says:

"There'll be reprisals from other kids in the school and he still has to go to school somewhere," he said.

"He's not a violent kid, it's the first time he's lashed out and I don't want him to be victimised over that.

"He's always been taught never to hit. Apparently other people's parents don't teach their kids that."
This sounds familiar to me since I very much was Casey growing up.  Though I am by no means as nice as Casey was.  Watch that video again, see how many times he gets hit before doing anything?  Sure the tormentor is a little guy but I NEVER put up with that many strikes before doing something. (Just ask any of the punks I got in fights with in school.)  Also, I don't recall just "walking away" from a single attack as Casey did as well, I was known for pinning and punching guys, or just wrestling.  (I worse glasses as a kid so I did have a bit of a disadvantage at range in a fight.)  I think Casey's parents should be proud of him because he did walk away, he's a better man than I in the "nice guy" regard.

Which brings me to my take on all of this. Both my wife and I have a long history of dealing with bullies in our school lives. (She was even in Sydney where this all occurred.  Not this same school I think) We both took different tacks on dealing with them (I'll leave it to her to describe her trials if she so desires) but I think mine was a pretty common "American" view of bullying. 

See I was smart, fat, and had glasses, a trifecta for your usual bully suspects.  As such I can recall getting picked on since kindergarten. (I've had class mates relate a fight in preschool that I have no active knowledge on, then again I don't doubt it happened.  Needles being Needles and all we all knew each other.) I can also recall my family's often repeated point of view on fighting in school, "you can not start any fights, but you can end them." So I did.  At least once a year I got into some kind of fight, not all were caught by teachers, nor were all more than some shoving and yelling; but they were all what would now be considered "fights." 

I say "now considered fights" because when I was a kid beating on the back of some kid after a kickball incident wasn't a "fight" but boys being boys. Needles was probably one of the last places where kids fighting wasn't automatic suspension.  Did my folks get called in?  Yeah, but it wasn't as big a deal as it is now.  Then again back when I was in school we still did dodgeball. (One of my favorite games after all.  You'd be surprised how hard I am to get out in a good dodgeball game. ;) ) It wasn't until High School did I get suspension (that I recall) for any fight, and that was a dumb band fight that wouldn't have required suspension if friggin Fuller hadn't started the fight right in the band room!

Most of my fights were like Casey's.  Getting picked on, seeing red, lashing out kind of affairs.  A few were the "see you outside punk" kind but they weren't often.  Most of mine ended up as sort of "stalemate" affairs before being broken up.  Probably most school fights are unless one person is much stronger than the other.  Which I think is where I had an advantage growing up that other picked on kids didn't, I could fight.  I may be fat, but I've always been strong and when it came to a throw down I would literally throw my weight around.  Did I always "win" no, but who wins school fights really?  I just made sure that folks realized I wasn't worth poking past a certain point, and Needles being Needles most learned you shouldn't mess with Jim too much. 

So with all this rambling what am I saying?  I'm saying that bullying will always exist, even when we teach our kids to "not hit others" and such. (As we're trying to do with Bella.)  It is human nature to make fun of, taunt, and put down others who we feel we are better than or are threatened by.  As a parent all I can do is try and prevent my kids from instigating anything.  Let them know it's wrong and why, and now thanks to this video we can show proof of how poking the big guy can sometimes get you messed up!  There are consequences for everything, even if you don't know it right away.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to pass on my family's policy to my daughter for I really don't want her to get into any fights, but if she does she should be able to end them.

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