Mar. 21st, 2011

thoreau: (New Thoreau)
21 March 1856 - "I noticed that my fingers were purpled, evidently from the sap on my auger. Had a dispute with Father about the use of my making this sugar when I knew it could be done and might have bought sugar cheaper at Holden’s. He said it took me from my studies. I said I made it my study; I felt as if I had been to a university."

title: hand me that purple thing
flickr user JoeDeluxe
thoreau: (Eyes Closed)
If you haven't seen the internet video of the two boys from an Australian high school here's the link.

One kid hits the bigger kid (the "fat" kid) in the face - and continues to hit him in the stomach - when the bigger kid suddenly block a punch then bodyslams the smaller kid onto the concrete.

There are follow up videos, interviews with the bigger kid, Casey Haynes, and his family and interviews with the smaller kid, "the bully", Richard Gale, in the video and his family.

The video has gone viral on the internet - and with it - the comments on the videos are 90% "Good for you Casey! You are a hero!" - along with comments telling Richard Gale "you'll burn hell you piece of shit" - and similiar comments about Richard's family which go way over the top. So while folks have posted the video going "GO CASEY GO!" thousands of times - can you imagine being Richard's family and hearing that your mother is a whore and your father looks like a toothless serial killer THOUSANDS of times. In the follow-up - Richard's Dad actually tears up about how horrible the stream of negativity towards his son and their family has been.

I get a real mixed feeling about this. on the one hand - high school was a shitty place for me - and I don't have a single fond memory. but if he'd REALLY injured the kid he bodyslammed? with a neck injury or worse - - this would be a very different story. Should his father be proud he stood up for himself, absolutely. Should the father of the kid throwing punches in the video be ashamed? absolutely. Does the kid who threw the punches deserve to "go to hell and burn" like people are telling him on YouTube? absolutely not.

Listening to the interviews, Richard was fitting in by picking on the weaker kid - who didn't end up being the weaker in this case. and I think even though his actions are reprehensible (hitting another kid in the face), he deserves compassion as well.

I think a tragedy of epic proportions was barely evaded here. I hope the school and the community get both kids some help. Casey needs to understand how close he came to SERIOUSLY injuring a smaller slighter kid that himself - and that while standing up for yourself is good; taking it a step further and being violent clearly isn't.

It's easy to take on Casey's side of the argument - - and cheer a kid that "socks it to the bully." But even Casey will say, "I snapped and really wanted to hurt him." which is hardly a healthy reaction.

I've been a teenager - it sucks. Even the best environments, pretty much suck when you are in that "not a kid anymore but neither are you an adult" place. You are testing your limits at school, at home and personally. I don't watch these videos - of the initial event, nor it's affect on the families concerned - - and think this is something we should be high-fiving Casey for - nor should we ignore Richard's actions that provoked Casey's response.

It's sad actually - that Casey had to bodyslam a fellow student before anyone took his story seriously. Richard, had to be coached to apologize, and lives in a divorced home with parents that wouldn't even appear on camera together. You can see what the immense spotlight is doing to both families.

I think it would be interesting to come back to both families in six months - and see what changes have really happened in both these kids lives? What did they come away from this situation learning - if anything?

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