You should never trust someone with tight pants and rock and roll hair.
There is a scene in my book, “He Was Weird,” which I call the “Smiley Incident.” To bring those who haven’t read it up to speed, Smiley is a substitute PE teacher at Mark’s school. While Mark is playing basketball with his fellow students, Smiley begins calling Mark, “Coordination Plus.” Then at one point, when Mark has his back to him, Smiley pulls Mark’s shorts down thus humiliating Mark in front of his entire class resulting in him getting teased about it for the rest of the day. When he goes home after school, Mark tells his mother about the pulling down of his pants. His mother and his grandfather immediately contact the police and have Smiley arrested.
As is the case with Mark throughout the story, even though Smiley pleads guilty to indecent assault as part of a deal and is banned from working with children for five years and put on the sex offenders list for two years, it doesn’t end well for him. Fellow classmates who support Smiley take the consequences he faces for his action out on the victim. This leads to Mark being further bullied and even to physical violence because he told his parents and had Smiley sent away.
Like with so many instances of bullying mentioned in the book, this too happened to me. However, it did not happen during the three years of bullying hell which I suffered and inspired me to write “He Was Weird.” In my freshman year in high school, I did encounter a man nicknamed Smiley who volunteered as an assistant wrestling coach, I’m not totally sure of that fact, at my school. He did join in with us playing basketball at one of my PE classes and he did call me ‘Coordination Plus.’ Most importantly though, he did pull my shorts down. However, I did nothing about it. In fact, I never mentioned it until 14 years ago when I was in counselling.
Why didn’t I report it back then? Well the main answer to that is that if I had, nothing would have been done about it. Attitudes were different in 1976 and while this doesn’t excuse it, it does highlight the fact that if I had reported it to the school, Smiley would have gotten a mere slap on the wrist at most and I would have been made out to be the weak ‘pussy’ for telling on him. This was why I was so easily able to write about the reprisals on Mark in the story because I genuinely feared that would have happened to me if I had reported it. I probably would have been beaten up by the wrestling team, so I feared. That’s why I never said anything. Ironically, when working as a substitute teacher a few years back, I did tell a class of children around the same age Mark was in the story about it. They overwhelmingly stated that I should have had Smiley done. Oh, how things have changed.
For those same reasons, I have never told my mother. She passed away in March never knowing that her son had been indecently assaulted in high school. I believe at the time, if I had told her, she and my grandfather would have reacted the same way Mark’s do in the story and even though it was 1976, would have tried to have Smiley prosecuted. They probably would have succeeded in getting him banned from the school. However, my fears were that all of the above things mentioned would have still happened to me. I would have been the bad guy for reporting it, even more so because I got my mother involved and there would have been a backlash. Therefore, I never told anyone. Besides if I had brought it up to my mother years later, it would have only caused her more grief, so I’m glad I never told her.
One final reason why I am only posting about it now after all these years is down to my own Asperger’s fueled anxieties. Former abuse victims have been coming out and telling about their awful experiences and I praise them highly for doing so. That leads to another anxiety; having my shorts pulled down isn’t nearly as bad as some of the sexual abuse others have suffered. Because what I experienced isn’t horrific, I felt I had no right to talk about it. It’s only now that I do and what it has done is make me even more empathetic to those who have suffered worse things than I. Also there’s my anxiety that because people are coming out about their abuse, I will be seen as simply jumping on the bandwagon. While it might sound daft, I do hope that people don’t really think that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543425136&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird
Yesterday, I saw a presentation, I think it might have been Youtube but I haven’t been able to find it yet, about the misreporting of school shootings in the USA. Today, I’m kicking myself for not keeping the Google Alert where I found the article but that’s down to my mental health. Following my normal routine, I automatically deleted the alert, then a few hours later, I realized that this would be a good subject for my next post. That’s my delayed action memory at work here and that’s why I can’t show you the video.
What this video claimed was that the US Education Department says that there have been 240 school shootings this year when in fact there was only 11. Their evidence said that the Education Department backed up by the ‘liberal’ media has stretched the definition of a school shooting to substantiate their agenda. The presenters in the video said that the media claimed that any discharge of a weapon in or near a school was called a school shooting when it fact it wasn’t. Examples included a gun being accidentally discharged in a school and someone committing suicide with a gun while sitting in his car outside of a school. To this group, these weren’t school shootings and the liberals were only calling it such to strengthen their campaign against the National Rifle Association for tougher gun laws. Their conclusion was since the number of school shootings was actually so low, there is no need for tougher gun laws.
Let’s look at this. First, maybe the ‘liberal’ media has gone too far in calling any gun discharge a school shooting and maybe there were only 11 school shootings in the real sense of the term. In my opinion, that is still 11 too many and therefore, does not change my desire to see tougher gun laws in America. Looking at the their descriptions of school shootings that weren’t, there was a gun near a school, that gun was fired and in some cases, even with the suicide, there was a casualty. Call it a school shooting or not, in these cases there was a shooting of some kind. The semantics of what people want to call it makes no difference. Furthermore, if anything, it further forwards the argument for gun control. The NRA and other organizations playing around with technical terms has little to do with it.
Shameless plug to “He Was Weird:” There would be no question what to call the shooting which happens in the story, it was a school shooting and according to one reader, a brutal one. Arguing about what to call it would have made no difference, especially to all the victims.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542658973&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird
Eight hours, I’m a slave
A dancing puppet on someone else’s stage
Doesn’t matter, it’s only 9 to 5 because I got 5 to 9
Oh, 5 to 9 is mine
Tell the boss to kiss my ass, it’s party time
Have a drink or two and lose my mind
Yeah 5 to 9 is mine.
From the song “5 to 9” by Hair of the Dog
A couple of weeks ago, I was praising UK TV presenter Lorraine Kelly for her praise of American actor Rami Malek for his portrayal of Queen legend Freddie Mercury in the new film “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It turns out that Lorraine is back to her usual self of dissing America. Now, I am not one of those flag waving, fanatically patriotic types. I will say when America gets it wrong and I often do. However, in her column in “The Sun,” she is always quick to point the accusing finger at America at the first opportunity, even when a similar event occurs elsewhere.
For and foremost, I agree with everything she wrote in her column about the shooting in an LA night club at the weekend. Shooting tragedies have been allowed to go on for too long in America and there needs to be more gun control in the US. However, one thing she fails to point out was the shooter was a veteran, a decorated one at that. I’m not sure of his personal details, but I would not be surprised if he was suffering from PTSD. Lorraine would have been very quick to point that out if it had been a British veteran. That too had an effect as to why he shot up that club as much as his access to guns. The two of those combined make a lethal combination.
Now that the above rant is over, I want to make another point. When I pointed it out on here three weeks ago, Lorraine made no mention of the school shooting in Russia which occurred back then. It was just as tragic and there are many frightening similarities between that shooting and ones which happen in America. Still, it only got a brief mention in UK papers and not one word from Lorraine about it.
One could counter that the Russian shooting was a one off while things like this happen nearly every day in the US. True, but the worrying thing is that mass shootings seem to be expanding outside the US borders. There has been a shooting in Canada and nearly one in the UK. Furthermore, there was no discussion of gun laws and gun ownership in Russia. No debate as to whether the shooting was carried out because the shooter had easy access to firearms, nothing. Instead, Lorraine would just like to point her finger at ‘gun toting Yanks’ ignoring the fact, like many British do, that there are many Americans who want tougher gun laws. Fortunately for other countries, like Russia, there are no groups like the NRA who have loads of money and politicians in their pockets to keep gun laws as they are.
That wasn’t the only thing Lorraine said about us ‘daft’ Yanks. Yep, she called Americans that in her column the previous week because when the British TV drama, “The Bodyguard,” was shown in the US, some couldn’t understand why the man was calling his female boss, “Mum.” Some Americans, thought there was some sort of incestuous relationship going on between the two main characters. Yes, I’m laughing at them too but a quick explanation that “Mum” is a term used to address women in positions of authority, especially in the police force would have quashed doubts in most Americans. Ok, maybe not the ones who think with their bibles. Still, for Lorraine Kelly, it was just another opportunity for her to bash America, something she loves doing so much.
It has been said by some historians and others that World War One was the most senseless waste of human life in the history of this planet. I tend to agree with this notion and not because I’m some sort of hippy peacenik and I want to make it clear that I in no way want to disrespect the men who fought and died in this war. In fact, one of the reasons I am writing this is because those who served in the trenches deserve all the honour and respect going. It’s the wisdom of the governments at the time I am calling into question. In my view, the First World War was always a twentieth century war started by pre-twentieth century diplomacy or the lack of it.
Most people who have any knowledge of history know the trigger which started the four year carnage, a perceived act of terrorism when a young Serbian radical named Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. But how did this lead to a massive war involving nations from every continent? I will examine the main players to try to answer this.
First Austria-Hungary: The emperor of this nation was looking for any excuse to go to war with Serbia to regain the respect for his declining empire. That is why after Austria-Hungary sent Serbia an ultimatum over the murder of the Archduke and the Serbians agreed to every demand except for one, Austria-Hungary declared war on them.
Russia: Traditionally it has always seen itself as the protector of the Slovak people and that was its reason for rushing to the aid of Serbia. However, Russia was vying to be the number one nation in Central Europe and its main competitors were Germany and Austria-Hungary. Getting into a war would give them the opportunity to show it’s strength.
This leads me to Germany: They too were serious about being number one in Central Europe and saw Russia as its main rival. It was said by Kaiser Wilhelm that the two nations could not coexist without something happening. However, Germany didn’t just have its eye on Russia. Great Britain was number one in both colonizing the world and naval power. Germany, being number two, was more than eager to try to take the top spot.
Great Britain: They knew they were number one in the world at this time and wasn’t about to give it up without a fight. Furthermore, because they were number one, they often saw themselves as the world’s policemen. It was also because of their colonial power, they were able to drag countries such as India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand into fight on their side. What did any of these countries have to do with Europe?
France: A different story here, France had been humiliated in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 and as a result of their defeat, had to give two provinces to Prussia, who would later become part of Germany. The main issue about the land France had to surrender was that they were rich in coal and coal was the lifeblood of industry in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. They were looking for payback.
So, after a month of feeble diplomacy designed to prevent conflict ,the first shots would be fired. When I say it was a 20th century war, I point out the diabolical weapons that were used in that war that inflicted atrocious casualties on mortal men. My most graphic image of World War One is men going over the top from their trench, getting mowed down my machine gun and other fire in their thousands to take a few hundred yards of ground. When I look at it in this context, I immediately see the futility of it all. The men who fought and were mentally and physically scarred for life or died were truly lions led by donkeys and I’m speaking more about the governments who sent them into this madness more than the generals who presided over it although the generals should not escape blame either. Four years later, with more than ten million dead and more than twenty one million wounded, did anything really change for the better?
Now I am going off on a side track here but as an American living in Western Europe I must speak. Since I have lived here, I have from time to time had to put up with those who live in nations who fought for the Allies who have attempted to lay a guilt trip on the United States for their late entry into the war. Notwithstanding some of these are the very same people who would criticise America for sticking its nose in where its not wanted, I must state that the US doesn’t deserve such a guilt trip! After all, it was only trying to adhere to the 1825 Monroe Doctrine which stated that the United States should not meddle in European affairs. In the early years of the war, many Americans, both politicians and people, saw entry into the war as meddling in such affairs. The simple fact is that the United States never should have gotten involved in that war. Nor should have Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Turkey. Australia, New Zealand, Russia or Germany.
Taking the above further, it is historically correct that the US entry into the war tipped the balance in favour of the Allies and secured victory. However, Americans have no right to boast to its then Allies that they saved them in the war. Unfortunately, some of my fellow countryment forget the fact that the other nations mentioned had spent three years in the trenches fully facing all the horrors of this needless bloodbath called World War One before the US finally got into it.
Finally, all of what I have written here is all the reason why we should take the time during the centenary of World War One to honour the men who fought and died in the war, not their governments. It was these men who paid the ultimate price for their governments’ folly and misinformation. This is why I pledge now that whenever I see a monument for WWI, I will read each and every name on the memorial say a quick prayer that God will remember each and every one of them for what they had to endure and that is why I also wear the red poppy. The red poppy doesn’t glorify war, it remembers the futility of it.
American football, Americans, anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, books, bullying, christianity, communication, D.A.M.P., films, friendship, Great Britain, guns, He Was Weird, ice hockey, intolerance, Marine Corps, Michael D LeFevre, Mothers, music, police, school shootings, schools, Self Esteem, social settings, teachers, teasing
My main motivation for starting Peaceful Rampage was to use it to notify people of my book, “He Was Weird,” which has been out for more than five years now. I have attracted a good number of followers, but while many have followed me because they share an interest in one area, I tend to blog about many topics which individuals may not be interested. The thing is that nearly everything I post about does in some way connect to the book. Therefore, I thought I would spend this page relating how.
Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism: This seems to be the field where I have attracted the most followers. Unlike Mark, the main character in the book, I have never been diagnosed with the condition although I am convinced that I have it. Therefore, it is great to find that there are many people who are like me. I feel part of a community and I enjoy reading posts from fellow Aspies and hope they enjoy reading mine. On the other hand, I don’t feel the need to write every post about it.
Bullying: I was a victim of horrendous bullying for three years and that was the inspiration to write “He Was Weird.” I wrote the book and this blog to reach out to other victims in the hopes that together, we can stamp out bullying and silence the ghosts of our own pasts.
School Shootings: That is how Mark finally deals with his bullying in the story. See, my bullying was so bad that whenever I read about a school shooting, my first response is, “This could have been me.” I sometimes wonder if I have a morbid fascination with mass shootings and that worries me. What I am glad is that I never had any access to guns back then.
Religion: Religion was a part of my childhood and I became a Born Again Christian at 11. As it was during the three years of bullying hell, I put it in the story and even use scripture to give Mark the courage to carry out his shooting. Nowadays, while I still believe the basics of Christianity and found that the Mormon faith was the best for me, I don’t wish to follow any organized religion. Because of my Asperger’s, I think that religion messed my head up more than everything else, most likely because I believed everything so literally. Still, I respect anyone who has religious or spiritual beliefs and can live by those beliefs.
Politics: There is not much of this in the story except at the end when the peace group Mark’s mother belongs to is infiltrated by Homeland Security. However, I have been politically aware and have been on both right and left of the political spectrum.
Music: My first book, “Rock and Roll Children” is about music so it’s always been a part of me as well. In “He Was Weird,” people try to blame Mark’s shooting on music and of course Marilyn Manson.
History: I love history and so does Mark. He becomes quite good at historical strategy games like Age of Empires. While history doesn’t feature heavily in the book, it’s still there and it will always be a favourite topic of mine.
US-UK Relations: No I’m not talking about the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries. I am talking about the things I have observed about both countries during the second half of my life which I lived in the UK. That’s why after news of Mark’s shooting breaks, I do a BBC News report in the story. However, one thing I got wrong there is that the shooting didn’t lead the news and in reality, it would have.
Sports: I love sports, American football and ice hockey are my favourites. They are Mark’s too and like him, I had fantasies about being a great hockey player. It fits in well with the story.
There are probably smaller topics too but these are the main ones. I know not all of these will interest everyone but I hope that there is at least one that we hold your interest and make you read. However, it’s just not in my mindset to post about the same topic all the time. I just post what is in my weird mind at the time or I need to get off my chest. Keep reading as I am grateful for all who do.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541717422&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird
You spend your life just kissing ass
A trait that’s grown as time has past
You think the world will end today
You praise the lord, that’s all you say.
Jesus saves, listen to you pray
You think you’ll see the pearly gates
When death takes you away.
I wanted to play this song for Jimmy Swaggart. Hopefully Slayer will play it tomorrow night.