Tuesday, October 22, 2013
(H/T to ay2z for the link to the video)
Time to recognize that bullying is a national problem and should no longer be tolerated.
A little over a year ago, Melinda Coleman was forced to move her family out of Maryville, Missouri after her 14-year old daughter was sexually assaulted by a popular 17-year-old boy who is a member of an influential family. After the boy was arrested and charged, she was fired without explanation and her daughter was subjected to a campaign of vicious and relentless hatred that forced the family to move . Charges against the boy were dropped without explanation and the family’s empty home was burned to the ground. The daughter has twice attempted suicide since the assault.
Last month 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a tower at an abandoned cement plant in Polk County, Florida after being subjected to a campaign of vicious and relentless hatred by two jealous girls and their friends.
Although little is known regarding what prompted the shooting yesterday at the middle school in Sparks, Nevada, one student who knew the shooter has identified retaliation for bullying as a possible motive. CNN reports:
“He was really a nice kid,” schoolmate Amaya Newton said. “He would make you smile when you were having bad day.”
But for whatever reason, the boy, whom authorities have not identified, took his parents’ handgun to school, a federal law enforcement source said.
“I believe it was because I saw him getting bullied a couple of times, and I think he took out his bullying,” Amaya said.
Bullying is not confined to immature teenagers who believe it’s cool to be cruel. Crane and I have been subjected to bullying because we dared to seek justice for Trayvon Martin and I am certain that what we have been subjected to pales in comparison to what Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin have endured.
We understand how a victim of bullying can be driven to suicide or to lash out with a gun.
A person has to be self-confident and comfortable in their own skin to resist the urge to strike back at the haters. For some, suicide becomes the only way to find peace.
No doubt some people will react to this latest school shooting by blaming the shooter’s parents for not securing the gun. Others will argue for effective gun control. Still others will insist that the solution to school shootings is more guns.
The arguments are well known to us, but none of them are working because the shootings continue and nothing is changing.
CNN has the nationwide tally on school shootings since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Last week, a student at an Austin, Texas, high school killed himself in front of other students.
In August, a student at a high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, shot and wounded another student in the neck.
Another shooting took place at an Atlanta middle school in January, though no one was hit.
That same month, a California high school student wounded two people, one seriously.
The Nevada shooting comes almost a year after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, igniting nationwide debate over gun violence and school safety.
I believe we need to look beneath the surface to identify why students take guns to school, and if we do that, I believe we will find that bullying is a significant cause.
We may not be able to change the law to realize effective gun control in our lifetimes, but we ought to be able to significantly reduce bullying.