“Hurt people hurt people. We are not being judgmental by separating ourselves from such people. But we should do so with compassion. Compassion is defined as a “keen awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a desire to see it relieved.” People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain. Avoid the reactive response of believing they are bad; they already think so and are acting that way. They aren’t bad; they are damaged and they deserve compassion. Note that compassion is an internal process, an understanding of the painful and troubled road trod by another. It is not trying to change or fix that person.” ― Will Bowen
I need to say upfront that this blog article will discuss the acts of violence with weapons at school by youth and may not be for everyone, but it is important to me that we start facing the truth about the ultimate cost paid on the issue of bullying.
In the past, I have written about the other ultimate cost, bullycide or suicide of the bullying victim, due to bullying. While many involved with the studies of bullying know this to be true, many suicides don’t always have a note with them, so statistically, it is not always easy to quantify the true numbers of how many youths commit bullycide. We do know, however, that it is the second largest statistic for youth death.
But as I have said in the past, we can’t ignore the other side of what happens when bullying goes too far. This has been studied and we know that bullying victims are twice as likely to bring a weapon to school than those have that have not been bullied. This study also shows that, as bullying damage increases, this number goes up. I happen to know this to be true because I too was part of that statistic in my youth and have shared that in my personal stories and in my book, A Ladder In The Dark. It is the one thing that still haunts me that is hardest to let go. That I felt I had to make that choice. In my new book that just came out, Crossing the Line, I decided it was time to confront the violence which comes from relentless bullying.
Soon after I finished the book, someone told me about this video on YouTube called “Evan”. Take a look and try to watch it carefully.
I doubt you saw that coming. That’s the problem with the issue of bullying and school violence. In hindsight, we always say, how did we not see that? Here are a few of my thoughts on how we might be able to see what we aren’t seeing like you just saw in the “Evan” video. Not so ironically, these tips match the same concepts that Americans were told after 9/11 to try to notice terrorism before it happens.
- Talks of Violence.
Notice if a youth is using and sending messages on social media, any personal messages, and anything that is said to you that suggests an individual is contemplating violence. This can include suicide threats as well as threats against others. Watch out for anyone espousing the belief that violence is rational or necessary. In many past cases where bullying led to school violence, the youth posted warnings on the internet.
- Obsession with Weapons.
If you know a youth that seems to have a large interest or even has a lot of weaponry, report them. If someone you know has assault rifles and other weapons built to kill large groups of people, even if they came by all those weapons legally, keep an eye on them or let a trusted adult know. Again, that comes up in the movie.
- Change in Behavior.
If you see a youth start to withdraw, become quiet, have their grades drop dramatically, and start to separate themselves from the people around them, say something. This may be the most obvious sign that we miss. Yes, teens in particular start to change and be moody by nature, but not overnight and it doesn’t cause all the issues above. Any change in what was normal behavior in a person, youth or otherwise, should be noted. Something is going on. Maybe bullying or maybe something else. But ask yourself, is it worth staying silent and not doing something?
It is the time we take our blinders off. In the current climate of America, where leadership bullying is taking place, I fear we may see more issues, due to bullying than less. It seems now to be an acceptable practice by some government leaders that represent the climate of what others might be thinking and wanting to do. Again, my book “Crossing the Line” delves deeper into the issue of the extremes that bullying victims go to and why. I hope you will consider reading the book to learn more about this issue and other issues surrounding bullying. It’s time to be vigilant and stop the violence.