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And The Darkness Consumes Us

I knew this day was coming.

I totally knew this day was coming.

People like to talk about kids being bullied.  Oh, just tell a grown up!  Tell the principal!  The establishment will protect you and your rights!  Doing that only got me picked on more until I fought back myself.  And I had the advantage that the establishment wanted to help me, there just wasn't much they could do.  Nowadays, either turning a blind eye (these people know who the kids terrorizing the school are) or going with the bullshit of, "We must be understanding, they are just acting out but are good inside," aids and abets this behavior.

The last argument is trotted out by people trying to show how intelligent and insightful they are.  They "understand" the psychology of the bullies, but they never give a thought to the victims.  It's an old flaw -- people think that those that are oppressed will never become oppressors themselves.  After all, these people have experienced first hand how terrible such behavior is, so they will never emulate it.

Wrong.  People do.  It's part of mankind's survival instinct.  Let me give you an example.  Let's say you are talking with someone you are friends with.  And partway through, politics comes up.  And you two, who are lifelong friends, will start arguing.  Heatedly.  Things that, any other time, you would respond to with either consideration or a simple, "Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man," you will challenge.  You will fight.  You will damage the friendship.  Something you never thought you'd do.  And sometime after you've calmed down, you'll wonder why the fuck you got so keyed up.

It's simple -- man, like all animals, is engineered to survive.  And that means, to win.  When emotions run high, those primitive instincts kick in, and finding compromise is not the goal, winning is.  It's irrational, but it's hardwired into us, and no matter how intelligent and enlightened and all that Zen stuff we think we are (and yes, that goes for me, too), we will still fall into that trap once in a while.

This also means that nobility of intention is a lot rarer than people are comfortable admitting.  People who get in a position to win, to wield power, it gets to a lot of them.  It's their chance to run things, to be feared.  It's payback time.  Revenge, a motivation older than sex (boys may think girls are yucky, but they already get revenge).  Given a power ring, some people will turn into Hal Jordan, but most will turn into Guy Gardner.

Welcome to Naples, Florida.  Last year, Jorge Saavedra was fourteen years old.  Dylan Nuno was sixteen.  They rode the same school bus, and Nuno was Saavedra's bully.  Saavedra was nearing the end of his rope.  He started carrying a pocket knife with him.  One day, on the bus, a scuffle broke out between the boys (Saavedra had shown the knife to a couple of other kids on the bus).  Saavedra decided enough was enough and got off the bus several stops before he usually did, intending to walk the rest of the way home.  Nuno and some others followed him off the bus and continued their harassment, with Nuno punching Saavedra in the back of the head.  Saavedra tried to get away.

And when he couldn't, he killed Nuno with the knife.  Twelve stabs in front of the kids who were Nuno's underlings at the moment.

Twelve stabs.  Chest and abdomen area.  Two of them would have been fatal -- one actually pierced Nuno's heart.

Saavedra was arrested and charged as a minor with second degree murder.

Saavendra has been released, scott free.

The judge cited Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.  As Saavendra was being punched, he was fighting back against a hostile threat, so his actions are self-defense and protected by the law.  The DA has said he will not appeal the decision.  The bully's family, obviously, is not thrilled about this.

To those of you who just sweep bullying under the rug, who are more interested in showing how sophisticated you are instead of protecting your charges, I want to warn you of something --

Each kid that gets picked on and sees your inaction as proof that they have no recourse?

They're going to think about this.

They're going to remember Saavendra.

They're going to remember Stand Your Ground.

They're going to provoke a situation, make someone start a fight that they will finish.

I called the stabbing happening.

And I'm calling this.

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