Bullies are mean. Bullies hurt folks. Bullies don’t consider the feelings of others. They are self-centered and conceited. Bullies take advantage of any weakness a person might have.
My one childhood experience with a bully came when I was about 10 years old. My younger sister, Gloria, and I, along with our friends Janice and Joanne Hardy, took our usual excursion to Neisner’s Five and Dime where we were enjoying ice cream at the soda fountain. Two older girls started calling us names. We got up and left. They followed. We ran down the street, around the corner and into the alley. I had enough. I pushed the tallest girl up against a building and threw a punch that didn’t connect. I ended up with a bloody fist.
As soon as the two bullies saw the blood, they took off. That is the extent of my being bullied.
In today’s world, bullying takes on many more faces. Kids are bullied at school and on the Internet to the point of suicide. How can these young bullies who don’t even know how to make change without the use of some electronic device have so much hate inside that they have to inflict it upon others?
Then we have those folks in hate groups, terrorist organizations and gangs. While these bands of haters have been with us throughout history, their presence today seems overwhelming. Being constantly bombarded with news of their actions via the media is one reason these bullies are at the forefront, but the specter of hate around us is real.
Call your credit card company, the IRS, an insurance company or the credit agency that wants to collect money from you, and in most instances, you are not going to receive compassion and understanding. On the other end of the line is a bully who is also being bullied by an even bigger bully. So the little bully who is talking to you has to take it out on someone and you’re it.
Now, you’ve had a rotten experience and your 4-year-old asks you a question, and you become the bully. Nice cycle we’ve got going here.
One nation bullies another. Nation A has to be the best and most powerful, no matter the cost. Weakness is unacceptable.
Politicians like to be bullies because it makes them appear strong to those who get bullied on a daily basis. Hey, that politician or candidate for some office is tough and shaking a sabre or an automatic weapon is how all of our problems will be cured.
Trample the weak into submission. Yell that message loud every chance you get, especially when the cameras are rolling. Now the bullied folks take the bait and turn their frustration toward a group they can bully. It’s their fault! Let’s bully them!
The entire world is not occupied by bullies but they sure do get outstanding media coverage. Someone somewhere has decided that this hate sells. Folks eat it up or else it wouldn’t be front and center.
Bullies are weak, empty shells, masquerading as humans. They use their size, bluster, authority, power, favors and money to intimidate and coerce us into believing their might is right. They have allies in their bully quest.
To stop a bully, you have to stand up to a bully — it’s not easy but possible. Standing up takes humanity, not hatred; words, not weapons. Standing up is thoughtful and understanding; not bluster and intolerance.
There is no quick fix to stop a bully, yet not accepting their empty haranguing and being sucked into their cruel actions toward another individual is a beginning.
Give power to kindness. Acknowledge the valuable tasks of others by demanding they be made newsworthy. Many claim the news is awful; all we see are crimes and misery, death and destruction. We can’t ignore reality, but we can insist upon more than two minutes of a human interest story at the end of a newscast.
You might stop a bully with a punch, but you might just end up with a bloody hand. We can do better.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-347-9924.