Whenever there is a group bullying of a victim or victims, the bullies are usually divided into two categories. Most of the bullies, especially the last two, who have been covered from “He Was Weird,” fall into the first category, which I will call the aggressors. These are the ones who do most of the actual bullying as we know it and many examples of such have been provided in the previous posts. The second group is the one the group that this post talks about. They are the spectators or another word I could use is ‘passive’ bullies. They may not do much of the actual bullying, maybe a teasing comment to the victim. In many cases, they will actively egg the aggressors on and if not, quietly be amused by the bullying that is occurring and provide an audience for the bullies to do their dirty work. I fully intend to look at this in more detail in a future post but right now, let’s just look at the ones in “He Was Weird.”
Matt Barber is the foremost of said bullies. He doesn’t do any of the hands on bullying that Mark experiences from the other eighth graders in the story. However, he is there when a lot of it happens and encourages the bullies in making their victim’s life miserable. Even on the one occasion where he is physically aggressive towards Mark because he thinks Mark had him fired as editor of the school newspaper when the paper branded Mark “gay,” Matt does so with the help of his friends. The same with the teasing, he only does it when others are around.
While the rest of the passive bullies from eighth grade are unnamed, their presence is definitely felt by Mark and hopefully the reader. They are there to encourage the violence and threats Mark receives and to take great delight in David Roseman’s tale of he and Mark being homo buddies. It is an unknown character who asks David how many kids did they have. It is no wonder why when Mark exacts his revenge, he feels that everyone deserves to die.
When it does happen, there are many eighth graders who are either killed or wounded on that fateful day. Matt Barber does not escape the bullets either. He is wounded with a bullet in the abdomen and we learn later that he tries to use it to impress a girl by saying he was a great survivor.
The thing about this type bullying is that many of them don’t realise they were involved in the bullying and would claim innocence of any wrong doing. That is the problem with passive bullying, it is often too difficult for the victim to prove and in my case I wouldn’t be able to identify those people anyway. Still Mark Garbor, since he was my inspiration for the Matt Barber character, can see the effects he had on me. Therefore, he is the one who would need to apologise for my forgiveness.
Next post: Jim Friend
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442334097&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird