Last week, Cherie White wrote and posted this poem on her blog, Chateau Cherie. I was so moved by it that I asked her permission and am sharing it with you now.
Don’t apologize for being who you are. You’re just the way God made you.
Don’t be sorry for being a woman, a man, your race, nor having brown hair, blonde hair, blue or brown eyes. For those are the things that make you you. Be happy and secure with it.
Don’t apologize for being a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, nor for holding certain values- for valuing your god and family. For those are the things you hold dear.
Refuse to be sorry for wrongdoings committed by others. You cannot control others’ actions, nor should you be expected to pay for their sins. That is between them and God, and they’ll be judged for it one day.
You’re not responsible for any sins other than your own.
When I wrote the joint post with Chateau Cherie about a month ago, I had an very interesting response from one reader. Before I talk about the response, let me refresh your memory or if you are a new visitor, give you a rundown of that post. Cherie and I were both targets of bullying when we were much younger and have written books about it. Since our bullying occurred more than thirty years ago, (fifty for me), we wrote a post about what our bullies would say these days about our books and if we called them out on it. We both believed that our bullies would remain unrepentant and would still see their bullying as something to be proud of. You can read the post here:
There was a good bit of response to the post but it was one in particular who is inspiring today’s post. The responder pointed out that some bullies are actually ashamed of the harm they had caused with their bullying. However, they may be afraid to come forward and admit they were wrong. He even shared an experience of when he bullied his brother leaving him feeling hurt for many years. He did apologize for the harm he caused to his brother. It could be a fear of a backlash from the former target or just the shame in knowing they were such a bully.
Those responses has given me food for thought over the past few weeks. What if the bullies who made my life hell during the three years I lived in Margate, New Jersey were actually sorry? Would they be willing to admit it and apologize? While my memories from the bullying experiences make me skeptical, I also believe that nothing is impossible.
Even now, skepticism abounds within me. I fear that they may only be sorry because of the anti-bullying backlash which is becoming more widespread. The town would openly apologize for all of the harm caused and even go as far as giving me some sort of official certificate declaring their heartfelt sorrow. While, I would graciously accept their apologies, my mind questions their motives. They might think that making this open gesture will shut me up, not that there’s any need for that. I said my piece when I wrote “He Was Weird.” Basically, the town would be putting on a good show for the media but I wonder if down deep, they were still resentful.
Now I know that I shouldn’t look deeper into things but that’s an effect bullying has. It leaves the targets to question the bully’s motives, despite how genuine the bully may appear. Saying that, if anyone from that town did apologize, I would accept it wholeheartedly. My hate was released when I wrote the book so there’s no need for me to have any now.
Today’s post is a collaboration with Cherie White, whose book “From Victim to Victor” I reviewed a few weeks back. Cherie and I had similar experiences with bullying and we both overcame and have gone onto lead good lives. Since our bullying experiences were several decades ago, we discussed what might our bullies would say now if they had found out that we were talking about them and their bullying of us. I present now Cherie’s and my thoughts on the subject.
It’s been half a century since I lived in the town where I was so badly bullied for three years. I have no interest in the town nor would I care to see anyone from it, even those who I considered friends. In reality, I don’t think they would remember me and that’s the first point. If they found out that I was talking about them and how much they bullied me, they would complain that I was bringing up something which they had forgotten a long time ago and that I should let it go. On the other hand, some of those would find it amusing that their bullying still burns in my memory. They would take some comfort in the misbelief that their bullying was still tormenting me some fifty years later. Here’s some of the things they would say and my counter to them.
1. Why are you bringing up something that happened 50 years ago?
80smetalman says: It’s easy for a bully to move on but not quite so easy for the target to do the same. The psychological damage caused by bullying can last for many years after the event. If not controlled, it can effect the target’s confidence for a long time. While the memories do eventually fade, they won’t totally go away. In my case, I didn’t drive the final nail into that coffin until I wrote my book, “He Was Weird” nine years ago.
Chateau Cherie says: I agree- it’s much easier for bullies to move on than it is for the target. And the psychological damage can last a lifetime. However, I refuse to let my bullies live in my head rent free. Therefore, I chose to take something bad that happened to me and turn it into good. When I wrote and published my book, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying,” I got to say what I really wanted to say all those years ago but couldn’t because I had allowed my classmates to silence me. And, let me tell you, it was a healing power like no other! Because the book was my mouthpiece!
2. We had forgotten about you until you brought this up.
80smetalman says: Again, it’s much easier for the bully to forget than it is for the target, and I believe that most of my bullies would have forgotten about it and probably forgotten about me. However, as the target, I will not forget the bullying I suffered back then. On the positive, I have been able to put it behind me and move on achieving great things in my life.
Chateau Cherie says: Absolutely. Bullying is in the eye of the target, never the bullies. When I wrote and published FVTV, and when a few of my classmates read it, I receive a huge amount of backlash from them, as was already expected. I got threatening emails and messages, they accused me of lying about everything. There were other remarks as well, telling me to “get over it,” and that they “were going to meet me in a back alley somewhere one day.” It’s funny how my bullies really exposed themselves once I spoke out. And in threatening and attacking me like they did, they only proved that everything I’d written in the book was true all along. Don’t you just love it when the masks begin to fall off?
3. You’re still a pussy whining about it.
80smetalman says: Actually, people have said the exact opposite. That I am brave for speaking out about it. Already, I can hear in my mind those bullies trying to be sarcastic about the last statement, but the truth is that I do think I am brave for coming forward. Bullies thrive on the notion that their targets will never speak up about it. Therefore, doing just that gets them all in a twist.
Chateau Cherie says: Yep! I got that reaction too, only slightly different. They told me that I must be crazy for bringing up old stuff. And the classmates who made this statement never denied what they did. But I can tell you that everyone outside of the Oakley HS crowd told me that they admired my strength and bravery for speaking out about the abuse I suffered at the hands of my classmates. Therefore, I don’t let my former bullies’ attacks bother me. I have a huge number of supporters and that, in itself, makes anything my classmates have to say irrelevant. My bullies counted on me to be silent and keep their dirty little secrets and when I finally began speaking out, that’s when the floodgates of hell opened and they unleashed their vitriol once again, 30 years later. It only goes to show that bullies seldom change, they only grow bigger and get worse as they get older. I don’t hate my classmates, but I do pity them. It takes some miserable people leading pretty miserable and boring lives to take pleasure in inflicting such abuse on another human being.
4. I had that effect on you that you still can’t shake it 50 years on, I must be good.
80smetalman says: No, you were just a bully. Bullies wear their bullying as some sort of badge of honour and many of mine would take pride in the thought that their bullying was still getting to me. If they want to think their bullying was something to be proud of, then they are the sad ones. I have shaken it off for good when I wrote my book.
Chateau Cherie says: I couldn’t agree more! Bullies are the worst kind of pathetic. My bullies from Oakley, Tennessee would love to think that they are still living inside my head. But nothing could be further from the truth. And yes, many of them still pat themselves on the back for the evil they did year ago. However, they’re not smart enough to realize that, people like them- bullies- are a pitiful bunch. People bully because they cannot get what they want in life by any other way than by force. When someone has to use force to get their wants and needs satisfied, it speaks volumes about them. It says that this person has no communication skills, no people skills, and no persuasion skills. It also says that this person is only compensating for the qualities they lack and for their own flaws and shortcomings. That’s a pretty sad and miserable person in my book, and they are to be pitied.
5.You’re just using your so-called Asperger’s as an excuse for all the weird things you did and now you want us to feel sorry for you.
80smetalman says: The other excuse the bullies would use was that Asperger’s wasn’t around back then, so they didn’t know better. Now that they do, they can realize that my ‘weird’ behaviour was down to a mental health condition, their bullying wasn’t ever going to cure it. Furthermore, I don’t want their sympathy, I have been without it for 50 years now so their ‘feeling sorry’ for me wouldn’t be any good now.
Chateau Cherie says: I’m neurotypical and don’t have ASD. However, my bullies did accuse me of being mentally imbalanced anytime I stood up to them. And they would probably say something to the effect of, “we have no sympathy for the mentally ill.” And like you, I don’t want their pity. I’d much rather have them hate me than to pity me because there’s dignity in being hated. But there’s no dignity at all in being pitied.
6. We inspired you to write a book, you should thank us.
80smetalman says: No you didn’t. What you inspired me to do was to clean the final skeleton of the many you put there out of the closet inside my brain. If you don’t remember, I had a very fertile imagination and I am getting ideas for stories coming into all the time. So, I should thank you because you making my life a total misery gave me inspiration? No, I shouldn’t have had that sort of ‘inspiration’ to begin with.
Chateau Cherie says: My bullies would say the same. I guess I would say something differently. I’d tell my bullies, “Yes, you did! You also inspired me to advocate for the very people that people like you seek to destroy.
You inspired me to speak out about the evil you did and to call every one of you out for your stupidity. You inspired me to take the lemons you give me and make lemonade. So, thank you. In trying to tear me down, you ended up building me up. And I’d say it with sarcasm and a smirk. And it would really take the wind out of their sails.
The easiest thing to say is that I should forgive, forget and move on, well I have. Those bullies will never realize the harm they did to me during those three years but if they were to find out that I called them out on it, the vast majority of them would react in the ways I’ve have stated here. However, there may be one or two who would actually apologize. To be blunt, bullying wrecks lives and that can have a lasting effect many years down the line. I write this not for me but as a warning to present day bullies and to let targets know that life can get better and that you can rise above the crap and lead a good life.
I have forgiven my bullies but I’ll never forget. Because if we forget, we’re likely to continue suffering the same treatment from other bullies. In other words, I hold no grudges nor ill will toward my former bullies. I wish them well. But I’ll never be able to trust them and, therefore, would rather sever all ties and move on with my life. It’s the safest way and I can ensure that everyone on both sides are happy.
I can say that a couple of my former bullies have apologized and for that, I’m grateful. The vast majority of them have not apologised and that’s okay. Many of them still hold the same resentment of me today as they did thirty plus years ago. Again, that’s okay. They are the ones who must live with themselves and with their anger and hatred. It’s their issue, not mine.
I agree with Michael that bullying does indeed wreck lives and it can stay with the target for the rest of their lives if they don’t educate themselves about the bully mindset, put in the inner work to get their confidence back and create enough positive experiences in their adulthood to balance out the negative experiences they had with bullies as a child or teen.
Bullying is traumatic for the target and the aftereffects of it can last for decades. However, I want targets to be assured that, life gets better…much better! There is life after bullying and you can begin to flourish and move on to a life filled with love, success, peace, and happiness. I’m living proof of this. And if I can do it, anyone can.
If you’re a target or survivor of bullying, always believe in yourself no matter what! Love and accept your flaws and imperfections, for we all have them. And love yourself for all that you are. Know that you have value and that you matter! You are enough!
Recently, I had a review of my book, “He Was Weird” on the blog Chateau Cherie. I would personally like to thank Cherie White for all of her comments.
Michael D. LeFevre, better know to the blog community as “80smetalman” has a book out entitled, “He Was Weird.” It took me a while, but I finally purchased it and, let me tell you, I’m so glad I ordered and read this book! The novel was engaging, engrossing, and very difficult to put down. It is an emotional roller coaster and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
“He Was Weird” is a fictional account of the bullying Michael suffered at the hands of his classmates during his time in school during the 70’s, only the story is set in the present day with fictional characters.
The protagonist is a boy named Marvin Leversee (later Mark Leversee, after his mother has his first name legally changed) who is found later to have Asperger’s Syndrome and DAMP (Deficits in Attention, Motor control and Perception), neurological disorders that, sadly, mark him as ripe for psychological torment at the hands of his classmates.
It seems that this poor kid can’t catch a break. The bullying he suffers quickly becomes a vicious pattern that escalates so much so that he can’t so much as blink without being ridiculed, name-called, and physically beaten. The poor young man also endures bullying from teachers and school staff as well.
Day by day, Mark endures this horrific abuse and his cries go ignored as most of the adults, school, and local police look the other way until the worst and unexpected happens.
The pressure and rage inside Mark builds to a horrific climax that shakes the entire town of Ramsgate, NJ and Mark finally gets their attention. This culmination of events also pits adults and kids who were once close friends against each other- turning once lifelong friendships into bitter enmity.
My heart goes out to Michael for all he endured during school and I support him one hundred percent! The character of Mark represents Michael and the emotions he felt during the years he was bullied, though Michael’s real-life outcome was much better than that of Mark.
This is a book I highly recommend for not only targets of bullying and their families, but everyone. You will get a targets-eye account of what it’s like to be the object of vicious bullies with no reprieve in sight. You will also get a front row seat to what can happen when a target is pushed too far and finally snaps.
“He Was Weird” is available on Amazon and other online bookstores. Order your copy today!
As I promised a few weeks earlier, I am writing my review on Cherie White’s book, “From Victim to Victor.” It’s an account of how the author endured years of horrific bullying and eventually overcame it and has gone on to lead a full and glorious life. As I read the book, Cherie’s experiences had me reflecting back to my own bullying experiences and comparing and contrasting them. Her well written, no holds bared account was very eye opening and very honest. While she was the target of such awful bullying, she doesn’t try to play the victim card and expect you just to give her sympathy but she does earn it!
Like Cherie, the bullies came out for me on the first day I started school in my new town. It seems neither of our towns were tolerant of new arrivals. I was immediately branded weird while without even getting to know her, Cherie was thought of as thinking she was better than everyone else. It was clear in the book that it wasn’t the case. Another similarity is that the bullying didn’t always end when we left school. Cherie’s happened on the school bus while in my case, I was targeted while walking home from school. Another similarity is that we eventually found someone lower down to unload our frustrations on. We sometimes were the bullies and fair play to the author here, she doesn’t try to justify it or sugar coat it in any way. This has given me thoughts for a future post but this isn’t about that.
Our schools showed little or no interest in our plights. However, while teachers at my school showed feigned some interest in what I was going through, although they were quick to believe the bully’s version of events over mine, teachers and the principal at her school blamed her for the bullying she was suffering. While I had some instances of victim blaming, she had it all the time. This includes parents. My mother thought my bullying was my fault because I didn’t fight back but Cherie was afraid to even speak to her parents about it as she felt it would have been worse for her. It eventually became that way for me.
Not that they weren’t there already but my sympathies were totally with Cherie at the end when she moved out of the town where she was so badly bullied. When I moved out of the town, I had no more connection with anyone living there. I think they were just as glad to see me go as I was to leave. And for both of us, our lives drastically improved when we got to our new towns. Our grades improved and Cherie was able to use her singing talents while I made the basketball and baseball teams. Unfortunately for her, the bullies caught up with her. First, she was accused by residents of her former town of destroying the high school. Then she was called up by some of those bullies and threatened with violence and even death. Thank God, I didn’t have that and that is why Cherie is a true victor!
In conclusion, I will go out on a limb and declare Cherie White’s book, “From Victim to Victor,” the Bible for anyone who has been involved in bullying in any way. Whether you have been a target of bullying, a parent of the target, a teacher or other school official or even a bully, then this is a must read for you. I know that the experiences of the author with stop and make you think, it did me. However, the best message this book can send is that even if you are being bullied, it’s not forever and you can overcome and go onto lead a full life. You can overcome!
After reading this book, I feel unworthy to post a link to He Was Weird in this post.
Originally, last week’s post about whether the police should be involved in bullying incidents was going to be a one off. However, this past week or so, I have been reading the book by author Cherie White titled: “From Victim to Victor.” It’s Cherie’s own account of how she was badly bullied in junior high school and then high school and how she eventually was able to move past her experiences and lead a great life. At the moment, I’m still on the victim part and not to the victor but when I do finish reading, I will give a full review of it here.
For the purpose of today’s post, I want to share a part from Cherie’s book which is related to the subject of involving the police. In this instance, one of her bullies (and there were many) follows her home from school after she refuses to give up her seat on the bus and attacks her in the street in the presence of her brother and his friends. Cherie’s injuries require hospitalization and her father decides to go the legal route against the bully. Without wanting to divulge too much, the bully is given probation and ordered to stay away from Cherie and pay her medical bills.
Reading this account, it had me reflecting back to my own experiences and my post about involving the police. In one instance, my mother did threaten to press charges on two bullies if such a thing was to happen again. My fear would have been that even if I had pressed charges on those or any other bullies, I don’t think they would have even received the sentence Cherie’s bully did. At worst, they would have possibly been handed a restraining order or some light ‘slap on the wrist.’ Worse though is that there would have been a good chance that they would have been acquitted! See, the father of one of the bullies my mother threatened to press charges on was a well respected lawyer in the community. Many lawyers did live in that town so if not the father, there would have been another highly paid attorney to do the job. Combining that with the fact that I was a kid nobody liked, there would have been a good chance of an acquittal.
Another point I would have had in common with Cherie is the aftermath. She received a lot of bullying from a friend of the bully that was reported to police. In my case, a light sentence or acquittal would have encouraged the bullies more. After all, the son of the lawyer wore what he had done to me as a badge of honour and boasted about being threatened with being charged. I knew he was confident that lawyer daddy or one of his associates would have got him off.
In spite of the gloom scenario I have just painted, I think there is a time when enough is enough and if the school or parents won’t address the bullying, the police should be called when it escalates and believe me, it will! If the police don’t do anything, then it should be the newspapers. No one should have to suffer the bullying torment that Cherie and I both had to suffer.
In my book, “He Was Weird,” there is a scene where Mark, the protagonist, is beaten up and his bicycle wrecked. When his mother learns of what happened, she goes into the school and has the parents of the two perpetrators brought in for a meeting. In this meeting, she informs the other parents that should something like that happen again, she would seek to press charges. In other words, she would involve the police.
This did actually happen to me and it happened pretty much as how I describe it. It also had a contrasting effect on the two boys involved. One boy was genuinely sorry and even offered me the use of his bike while mine was being repaired. (The bike repair is another story.) On the other hand, the other boy wore the whole thing as a badge of honour. He went around saying that next time, I was going to have him arrested for assault and battery. As a result, I was made out to be some sort of wimp because first, I got the school and my mother involved and then the idea of the police. As often times with bullies, these two boys were seen as heroes.
Now I admit, I may have made a mistake after the event. I thought that people would leave me alone if faced with the threat of being arrested. Therefore, if anyone threatened me with bodily harm, my response would be that I would have them arrested for assault and battery. In fact, one of the boys would sometimes warn the bullies that I might do that because I did it to him. The actual fact was that we didn’t actually press charges, we just said we would next time. However, this didn’t deter any bullying but in fact some bullies would carry on more to see if I would actually go through with it. One teacher even said I was using it to pick fights. After a few occasions when I told my mother of the bullying and she didn’t go to the police, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
While it didn’t happen to me in real life, in the story, Mark’s mother and grandfather is able to get a restraining order on another of his bullies. Unfortunately for Mark, it only encourages more bullying as the bullies would taunt, “I want you to get a restraining order on me.” I do believe that would have actually happened. Then shortly on in the story, the bully continues the bullying because he knows the police won’t do anything even though there’s a restraining order in place. The police don’t believe the bully is violating the order.
Another point in relation to this is that one of the bullies in the initial instance’s father is a top lawyer and well respected in the town. Something I convey more in the story, although this bully never said that everyone should beat me up so his father’s law firm can give them a discount defending them in court. If my mother did press charges against this bully, daddy or one of his criminal lawyer friends would have got him off. There was also the case that one of my other bullies and there were many, was the nephew of the chief of police. In small town politics, no charges would have ever been brought against him.
So, it begs the question, should the police intervene in instances of bullying? Well, if the target is at risk of physical harm or the threat of it, then definitely. Furthermore, schools or rich daddy lawyers should not be allowed to block any police action. Furthermore, some legislatures and local governments are taking steps to make bullying a crime. I think that might be a good thing.
For those who have been following me recently, it’s time to reveal that back in the 1990s, I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known more as The Mormons. While I am no longer a member of the faith, there is still much of their doctrine which makes sense to me. Furthermore, I have full respect to the followers of the faith. While, I won’t go into my full history into my time with The Mormons, I will post the first of several links to archives I have written about that in the past.
One reason I have so much respect for this faith is that unlike so many others, they don’t immediately cry foul at the first perceived grievance against them. When the play, “The Book of Mormon” came out, there were no shouts of protest from members of the church nor were there any death threats made against creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone coming out of Salt Lake City. In fact, I really liked the Church’s response. They bought advertising space at venues where the play was at. Their message was simple, if you want to learn about the faith, ask one of them. Again, I include a link to a past post.
“The Book of Mormon” play wasn’t the first time the creators of “South Park” used the Mormons as a source of comedy. There was an episode where a Mormon family moves into the town and the son tries to make friends with Stan. However, Stan is all caught up in the debate of whether or not the actual Book of Mormon was inspired by God or made all up by founder Joseph Smith. Now, here’s where Matt and Trey get my total respect. While the most of the episode is on the side of Joseph Smith making the whole thing up, the ending is quite enlightening. At the end, the Mormon boy says to Stan, “So what if Joseph Smith made it all up. It has given me a standard to live by which I am happy with. All I wanted to do is be your friend but you couldn’t see past my religion.” My take from this is that you shouldn’t make fun of any faith no matter how ridiculous it might seem to you. I’ve read the Book of Mormon and I have never found anything blasphemous about it and if Joseph Smith did make it all up, he’s got one hell of an imagination!
One point I have found about the faith is that it does plug some of the loopholes in the Bible. Take the story of Cain and Abel. Atheists and religious sceptics ask how Cain, when he fled after murdering his brother was able to meet a woman to marry. The Mormon’s answer for me is quite simple. The passage in Genesis has made people throughout many generations assume that Cain was Adam and Eve’s first born. The Bible never actually says that! It just says that Adam knew Eve and Cain was born. Adam more than likely knew Eve many times before that and had many other children before Cain and Abel. It’s just that putting it the way it did makes sense to the story. There is another point which for me explains the Creation vs Evolution argument but as I had written it in an ancient post, I leave the link for you to read at your leisure.
Now you may be asking why I am not in the Mormons anymore. In 2000, I went off the rails brought on by the end of my first marriage and I was excommunicated as a result. I don’t wear my excommunication as a badge of honour and I could go back if I wanted to. The thing is that I don’t. While I agree and deeply respect the teachings of the faith, there are things I am not ready to give up. What the Mormons call “The Word of Wisdom,” which bans members from smoking and drinking alcohol, coffee and tea is a main one. I like my dash of caffeine in the morning and some evenings, I like to cool off with a can of beer or glass of wine and when I am feeling like it or can’t get to sleep very late at night, a couple of puffs on the magic dragon does the trick. Another thing which is true with all faiths, while that faith might have been started on moral principles, they have all been corrupted by humans. This includes the Mormons as well. This is why I don’t wish to bother with them or any religion and am happy being a Spiritual Anarchist.
If anyone went to Margate, New Jersey, the town where I was horrendously bullied for three years and told them about the bullying hell I experienced, provided they remembered me and I’m sure someone there would, they would try to justify their bullying on account that I was a liar. That I told fake stories and lies. However, many of my supposed lies, although exaggerated in some cases, were just instances miscommunication because I couldn’t properly explain them due to my DAMP. Although, in many of those cases, they misinterpreted, sometimes intentionally, what I said so they could use it against me. So, I will now list those supposed lies and explain them.
I broke the world’s running record. My first two days of school, I ran home from the school. I was still in pretty good shape from playing football so I was able to run about a mile without stopping. At the time, I didn’t know that athletes ran much further so in my mind, I broke the world’s running record. When I told of my feat in school, it was immediately misinterpreted. Kids took it that I was saying I was a really fast runner when I wasn’t saying that at all. I was just happy I ran such a distance. Unfortunately, my attempts to explain this fell upon deaf ears.
2. Jim Lefebvre was my cousin. Throughout my childhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jim Lefebvre played second and third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Often times, I was asked if I was related to him because we have similar sounding surnames. At first, I would be truthful and say no. However, one day, someone suggested that I should say that he was as a joke. So, when someone asked me the question when I first moved to Margate, I said yes. Unfortunately, people there didn’t see the joke and I was made out to be a liar and as was the case, got blown totally out of proportion. In fact, a few years later, someone said that I was telling lies like the time I said my cousin was on the Mets. Jim Lefebvre never played for the Mets but my supposed lie evolved into me saying that. This brings me to another point. As is the case of bullies, they claim to only be joking but a target makes a similar joke, it’s conveniently not seen as such.
3. I was in a movie. Before I moved to Margate, a friend and I had this great plan of producing our own sci-fi movie and sending it to a local TV personality who presided over showing horror and sci-fi films on a local TV station in the early 1970s. This was just an outlandish fantasy of two nine year old boys. Now, we did have a home movie camera in our attic so we could have used it if allowed. My friend asked his father to be the director, which he declined. So, I was sort of telling the truth when I said the movie director turned me down. Once again, this got totally blown out of proportion, although it didn’t help that due to my Asperger’s Syndrome, I couldn’t properly explain it like I am now. Then again, even if I had explained it eloquently, those listening would have intentionally misinterpreted it so it could have been used against me.
4. My grandfather was a world champion miniature golfer. Okay, this was an untruth. Well sort of, he did win a local senior citizens tournament and I totally embellished it. By this time, my mind was so twisted by my DAMP and the intentional ignorance of people that I wasn’t sure what I was saying anymore.
5. I played ice hockey for the junior Philadelphia Flyers. This was a lie but I will still explain. First, my bullying had become so bad, that I coped by creating a fantasy world where I was the star hockey player. It helped me cope with all of the crap I was going through. Secondly, no one was believing my truths or totally misinterpreting them that this sinister part of my brain thought that why not tell a big whopper. What I should have found sad at the time was that some people seemed to want to go out of their way to prove my lie. These days I find it amusing.
Of course, should anyone from the town read this post and realize who is writing it and remember me, I am sure that they will say that this is me trying to explain my lies away. No, if I was able to explain things better back then and people weren’t so quick to want to twist things around, then there would have been no need for me to write this post. On the other hand, did any of my lies or fake stories really effect anyone? I didn’t bare false witness against anyone, everything was about me. Some might respond with “We don’t like liars.” Well nobody does but the things I said which were perceived as lies was not an excuse for bullying and abuse.
Since then, I have met others who have told taller tales than I ever did. While they may be talking bullshit, their bullshit doesn’t effect me and if someone wants to build themselves up by creating myths about them, then it’s not going to effect my life in any way. So, I simply say, “Leave them to it.”
As many of you know, last week there was a school shooting in Michigan in the USA where four people were killed. What I have found interesting about this recent tragedy is that the parents of the young shooter have also been arrested and are being charged with involuntary manslaughter. After all, they bought that boy the gun and from what I have been led to believe had no rules or restrictions on him using it. Therefore, I think it’s right that the parents should be charged.
While parental responsibility has probably been an issue in many school shootings, the Columbine parents were sued by the parents of many of the victims, I am a little surprised that there hasn’t been more examples of it. It seems to be all over the place in books about school shootings. In the book, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, the mother, Eva, is sued by the parents of one of the victims. While the suit is unsuccessful, the judge orders that Eva is not entitled to recoup legal costs from the other side. She also has do endure harassment and even physical assault. In Jodi Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes,” while the shooter’s mother is on the witness stand, a grieving father yells down at her for being a bad mother and of course, there is my book, “He Was Weird.”
Getting right to the point, in “He Was Weird,” Mark’s mother isn’t sued, harassed or assaulted. This is down to the fact that there were bigger cash cows for the lawyers to milk and the fact that three days following the shooting, Mark’s grandfather announces to the media that the entire family will be moving out of the town. The people of the town provide much assistance in making the move possible. However, the town turns its anger towards another, Mark’s mother’s boyfriend at the time, Ted. In an effort to bond, Ted teaches Mark how to shoot and even some military tactics. When he goes away for work, he gives Mark his house keys so Mark can look after Ted’s dog. Unfortunately, on that key ring is the key to the closet where Ted keeps his guns and ammo. That is how Mark gets tooled up for his big day.
After the shooting, Ted is sued by practically every one of Mark’s victims. There were 45 in total including 17 fatalities. Furthermore, he is charged with criminal negligence and though he pleads guilty, Ted is sentenced to six months in prison and banned from owning guns for the rest of his life. The town of Ramsgate personally holds him responsible for the carnage.
Parental responsibility doesn’t have to be limited to school shootings. What about bullying? If a child is bullying others, then the parents should shoulder some of that responsibility. Maybe if that was to happen, parents won’t see their child as a bully as something to be proud of, which many parents do.