Here is another excerpt from Out of My Mind, from the section “The World as I See It”

An Age of Normalizing Bullying

I recently saw a news story about a nine year old Syrian girl who was bullied at school to the point where she committed suicide. That was bad enough, but then came the real kicker. This didn’t happen in some third world country, nor even in the United States, but in Calgary, Alberta, right here in Canada. When did Canada get to the point where nine year old children are being, quite literally, bullied to death? When did this become okay?

I am quite aware that bullying is nothing new. I, personally, was bullied in school. Maybe that is why I have a very low tolerance for it. I know what it is like to be teased, named-called, insulted, beaten up. I know what it is like to be made to feel that you are worthless. My parents moved to a small town in the Manitoba Interlake, where I was one of few kids who hadn’t grown up in the community. I know what it feels like to be different, and to have that difference make you feel unwanted. It is a feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I am even aware that it is no new thing for adults to overlook and minimize the seriousness of bullying. I remember once getting beaten up behind the school by two other students. Shortly after they left, the principal showed up, looked me up and down, and asked what happened. After I told him, he simply said, “You should learn to defend yourself,” then turned and walked away. Over the next few weeks, I managed to track and confront each boy individually. After each confrontation, the boy and I ended up in the principal’s office. I don’t think the principal even recognized the irony when he gave us the strap.

For those of the younger generation who may not have heard of it, “the strap” is a piece of leather about a foot (30 cm) long and two inches (5 cm) wide, that a teacher would slap across an offending student’s hands in order to maintain discipline. As opposed to what some people claim, I never felt traumatized by the experience, except for the time I got it in the third grade for working too slowly. Yes, teachers can be bullies too. I also don’t ever remember learning anything from it, other than that teachers can, on occasion, be hypocrites.

But even though bullying has been around for a very long time, in the last few years it has gotten much worse. There are several things I blame for that. Number one is social media, which makes it easy for people who wouldn’t normally say nasty things out loud, even if they felt like saying them, to fire negative, insulting, belittling, and even racist remarks, semi-anonymously, from the comfort of their own home, at people they haven’t even met. By semi-anonymously I mean that, even though they are using their own name and picture, they don’t have to personally confront the target of their wrath. This can be taken a step further with a completely fake identity, freeing an internet bully from any form of consequence. Social media allows bullies, stalkers, and other vermin the chance to track their targets right into their homes and private lives, and to continue harassing them, without revealing who they are. Let’s face it, social media makes it far too easy to be mean.

To read the rest, plus the other 71 stories, purchase it at:…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

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