Dealing with Bullies

I hear a lot about bullies in today's schools, and I wish that we lived in a world where kids would never have to face a bully. But that being said, bullies are a sad reality, and I don't think that we'll ever find a way to fully prevent them from doing harm to others. Today's bullies are often hiding across the Internet and posting terrible things about their peers from the safety of their smartphones and PCs, but that wasn't an issue in my youth. When I was in grade school, I had to face my bullies every day.

When I was the sixth grade, there was some punk kid who tormented me every day, and I was tired of it. One day, this schmuck was walking over to me, but before he had a chance to say or do anything to me, I preemptively landed two blows to the stomach with my right and my left, and as he started to double over forward in pain, I landed a perfectly executed uppercut to his jaw that sent him reeling backwards into the dirt. As I stood over the out-of-breath mass of bleeding and blubbering shock that was lying on the ground, I told him emphatically, "Don't EVER mess with me again."

Several things happened that day:

First of all, this did wonders for my self-esteem. I learned that I could fight my own battles. I didn't need to be a victim, and I didn't need someone to fix my problems for me.

Next, NO ONE messed with me at school after that; this entire showdown had happened while everyone was out of class, so I had a huge audience watching as I obliterated my foe.

And last - the schmuck never bullied anyone again, and we eventually became friends. It may seem surprising, but boys are like that; they want to establish the pecking order, and once that's out of the way, they know who they are and they can move on.

This generation goes out of its way to shield children in bubble wrap from the rest of the planet, but fails to realize that it will NEVER stop bullying. Sometimes what a bully needs is a mouth full of fist to knock them into reality; trying to give bullies a lecture and "time out" will only teach them not to get caught. On the other hand, when bullies have the @#$% kicked out of them, that will teach them how to become better people.

The Final Arbiter of Truth Isn't Me

Most people who have known me for some time have realized at one time or other that I tend to point out fake news when I see it posted to social media, and I have made no apologies for doing so. Over the years I have simply decided that I cannot bear to sit idly by when someone posts an article that I know is either an outright hoax or a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth.

With an upcoming election just around the corner, I have seen more and more people posting articles that simply aren't true about both candidates. I know that people want 'their guy' to win, but you shouldn't have to stoop to dishonesty and deception to promote your candidate.

Welcome-to-the-Post-Truth-World

However, my corrective behavior has quite often made people somewhat angry at me. I realize that no one likes to be thought of as a fool, and when someone (like me) points out that someone else is posting garbage, a few of those people have their noses bent out of shape when their gullibility is revealed.

That being said, the argument that I have had presented to me is, "Who made YOU the final arbiter of truth???" That's a great question, and my answer is: no one. Because I am NOT the final arbiter of truth; TRUTH is the final arbiter for itself.

If I post an article that refutes something that someone else has posted, that means that I have taken the time to do the research that the original poster failed to do on their own, and I have found a reputable source that sets the record straight. If I cannot find a reputable source that refutes something, then I do not post a correction. It's really that simple, folks. If you post crap, and I can prove it's crap, then I'll post something that says it's crap.

So to anyone who feels uncomfortable with the notion that I might shine a spotlight of unpleasant truth on your false narratives, you have my permission to unfriend/unfollow me, that way you can continue to wallow in the empty darkness of your comfortable lies. Otherwise, fake news is fair game.

Unpleasant-Truths-or-Comforting-Lies

Domestic Terrorists Come in Many Forms

As an honorably-discharged veteran, it should come as no surprise that an opinion piece with a title of "Why America needs to be Defeated in Iraq" would catch my attention. When I first read this ludicrous pile of drivel from a gentleman whom I shall henceforth refer to as "Mr. Whit," I was merely offended. His errant ramblings seemed to be another entry in a long line of deranged brain dumps from scores of deranged imbeciles that I seemed to discover whenever I ventured into another dark corner within the vast wastelands of west coast propaganda. I lived in Seattle for a decade or so, and I've seen this type of close-minded lunacy before. To paraphrase the Bard, the author of that particular op-ed, Mr. Whit, has no more intelligence in him than in a stewed prune. (Methinks he doth possess a great deal less.)

After a bit of time had passed, I pondered more about the context of Mr. Whit's article, and I was appalled by the abhorrent vulgarity of what his brief manifesto actually represents: Mr. Whit is a US Citizen who is outspoken and unapologetic about his desire that some form of harm should come to other US citizens. That admission makes him, using today's parlance, a domestic terrorist. Plain and simple. When one American's wish is that other Americans must suffer in order to make a political point, then that American is no better than the abomination that was Timothy McVeigh. After all, the late Mr. McVeigh only wanted to make a political statement when he and his accomplice bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, right?

Mr. McVeigh's vicious manifestation of domestic terrorism was responsible for the deaths of 168 innocent men, women, and children. However, for Mr. McVeigh, those people's fates were secondary to his cause. He believed that his principles were more important than his victims' lives. In the same way, Mr. Whit regards his self-appointed role as an oracle of truth as more beneficial to society than the meager value of average peasants, and therefore he believes that he has the right to condemn other lives to death in order to satisfy his misguided philosophies. The fates of those whom Mr. Whit would send to their graves are secondary to his gargantuan ego, and their lives are worth less than his sanctimonious convictions.

On the one hand, Mr. Whit accuses the US government of believing that "might is right" when it decides who gets to live or die, while on the other hand he freely chooses (from the sanctity of his word-processor) who else gets to live or die. Like Mr. McVeigh before him, Mr. Whit's deplorable appetite for others to suffer for his wretched aberration of morality is fully-vindicated within the boundaries of his twisted, little worldview. I am sure that somewhere inside his hollow, rat-infested cranium, Mr. Whit believes that the "ends justify the means." However, Mr. Whit doesn't have to face the consequences of his brain-dead decrees, whereas the innocent lives that he has condemned to death and their unfortunate families are left to suffer.

History has had more than its fair share of sociopaths who fail to take responsibility for their murderous actions, and Mr. Whit follows their example to the letter when he wishes death upon US troops while skirting away from any personal culpability by laying the blame for their deaths on the government. What Mr. Whit does not realize is that he doesn't get to have it both ways; he cannot pronounce a death sentence on others without being found guilty for his own crimes. He cannot claim that our government is guilty of terrorism, then advocate for the deaths of other US citizens and not be found guilty of his own brand of repugnant and unctuous terrorism. His self-righteous delusions do not grant him the title of judge, jury, or executioner.

It is ironic that short-sighted morons like Mr. Whit are quick to exercise their first amendment right to freedom of speech, while overlooking the sacrifices that were made on his behalf in order to guarantee his right to speak his mind without fear of reprisal. Long before Mr. Whit's feckless mortal coil ventured forth upon the country that he despises and condemns, the same sort of men and women on whom he passes his misguided judgment fought and died so that he might one day have the freedom to spit on their collective memories. Liberals like Mr. Whit never seem to realize that no one can have freedom in this world unless someone is willing to fight for it. It is clear that Mr. Whit will never personally fight for his freedom; he will continue to sit in the shadows and dispatch his putrid, little missives whenever a contrary wind ruffles his delicate feathers.

To be clear, I do not mind when someone exercises their freedom of speech. I do not mind when someone protests the war. (I have my own misgivings about the directions we are taking - or not taking.) I do not mind when someone calls the President a "war-monger." I do not mind when someone wants our troops out of the Middle East, and organizes a "million-man-march" on the capitol to demand that Congress should bring our brave men and women home. When you get right down to it, I do not mind when someone informs me that something I believe to be right or wrong might be true or false.

However, I damn sure mind when some hypocritical, warthog-faced buffoon signs a death warrant for members of our country's armed forces from the safe haven of his computer keyboard, tucked safely away in an office where no harm will come to him. And yet, despite my personal loathing for Mr. Whit, and in deference to my belief that simpletons like Mr. Whit are utterly useless to society, I do not wish that any harm should come to him. I served in our nation's armed forces so that even a miserable, vomitus mass like Mr. Whit has the right to share his pathetic sentiments in a public forum. And to be honest, if push came to shove, I would do so again. And this is the paradox that makes our country great: the strong and the brave will thanklessly sacrifice their personal safety to fight and defend the rights of the weak and ungrateful cowards who condemn them.

I'll get off my soapbox now.


UPDATE: This post is one of several that I had written, which I later discovered had never been set to "public."