COLUMN: A Malat Musing: Bullying

Updated: 05/06/2014 1:44 PM By: Hannah Anderson

Photo: MGN Online

On Bullying Imagine, if you can, the world today, if no one stood up to Adolph Hitler. “Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli ~

“When a bully is held accountable for his actions, his future actions will change. Bad behavior only continues for those who allow it.” ~ Gary Hopkins ~

“Bullies are always cowards at heart and may be credited with a pretty safe instinct in scenting their prey.” ~ Anna Julia Cooper ~

“If there are no heroes to save you, then you must be the hero” ~ Denpa Kyosh ~

The current Safe and Supportive Schools bill proposed by the Minnesota State Legislature to deal with bullying hits a new level of silliness even for this body which has become infamous for such behavior.

Those who have ever dealt with this ugliness understand the folly in attempting legislation on such a matter. The folly stems from two indisputable realities.

One is that, by its very nature, it is subjective and can be easily overshadowed by vagueness and confusion. Secondly, the only way to end the behavior is to fight back – to say I am not afraid of you and will no longer allow you to mistreat me.

How can any of this ever be adequately addressed in any form of legislation? Let’s consider the young man who attended St. Charles Borromeo in Minneapolis. While the good nuns always taught students to turn the other check it was learned that it has limitations. Returning home from school could be treacherous.

Along the sidewalk that led to his home was a hillside field that contained heavy brush. Some older students found it sporting to hide in the brush and then rise up, run down the hill and attack this young man, his brother and one of their neighborhood chums.

After weeks of trying to avoid the pummeling by running away the young man decided: HE HAD ENOUGH! He stood his ground and focused his attention on one of the four attackers, the one he hoped he could handle. He didn't care if he lost or was badly hurt.

When he threw his first punch it obviously startled the four Huns as they stopped dead in their tracks. His second punch struck a second attacker while he maintained focus on his initial target. His mind now became a blur as he wrestled the thug to the ground and hopped on top of him.

Once in this commanding position he threw punch after punch after punch until the attacker whimpered for mercy and begged the beating be halted. But it didn't end there. When he arrived at school the next day he was told to report to the principal’s office.

Sister Gabriel said that the thug’s mother had called and was furious with this completely unwarranted attack on her son. She asked the young man if he was responsible and why he would do such a thing. After his explanation the nun looked across her desk and said; "sounds to me like you've been turning the other cheek long enough. I'll deal with his mother. You can return to class." He could also now return safely home once again with no legislation needed. For quite some time the thug’s mother believed the young man who fought back was the bully. She even chastised him publicly.

It wasn’t until years later the thug’s mother admitted to the young man’s mother how deeply she regretted her actions once she finally learned the truth. That was then. But how about today? Dwayne is currently in middle school. He is highly intelligent, wears glasses, has long hair and possesses effeminate mannerisms - the perfect target for bullies. When he complained to his mother and grandfather it was made clear to him these louts would not go away until he stood up to them.

After some thought, Dwayne approached the more vicious of the two. He told him it was time for the harassment to end. He suggested they meet and slug it out. Dwayne pointed out that while he would more than likely lose the brawl it would be of no embarrassment to him because that would be the expected outcome. However, should Dwayne land a couple of lucky punches and possibly make a good accounting of himself he would gain greater school wide acceptance while such an occurrence would prove to be a huge school wide embarrassment for this lowlife.

Dwayne also pointed out that even if defeated he would continue to challenge this aggressor until he either tired of the activity or until he was forced to regret his actions by losing the respect of all his buddies. So Dwayne concluded; “it’s a win-win for me and lose-lose for you. When shall we get started?” This ended the bulling on all fronts with no legislation needed.

Finally and equally as important, finding the courage and wherewithal to stand up to our enemies is all part-and-parcel of growing up and toughing up. This most certainly cannot be taught in the schools or in the legislature. It can only be taught by supportive parents within the home.

One can’t help but wonder if the 1964 Civil Rights Bill would have ever been enacted if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had grown up in an environment where he was dependent upon some bogus state legislation to deal with all his bullies.

Phil Malat is a columnist for