Hey, Zangief Kid. Millions of people are talking about you these days. They are talking about that final bullying event, captured on video two weeks ago, that made you Internet famous. Reporters, school officials, and other so-called experts are discussing how such events should be “handled” or “managed,” as if they indicated a simple policy failure.
I think you know better, Little Zangief, and so do I. Now, rather than adding to the punditry, I’d like to say a few words to you directly. But first, a quick recap, and please correct me if I am wrong…
School bullies hounded you for years. They tormented you daily, to such an extent that others were reluctant to be seen as your friend, lest they be forced to share in your suffering.
When a group of bullies ambushed you, their scrawny leader throwing punches while the rest stood by in approval, you finally snapped. They had your back against the wall, both figuratively and literally, Zangief. So, on the fifth punch, you grabbed the bully and gave him a piledriver! Wow!
The Internet approves.
Violence was the solution
I guess you’ve figured this one out already, but when adults tell children that “violence never solved anything,” they are lying. At times, it can seem a harmless little white lie, offered by those who care about our children, and want to protect them from harm.
The truth is that violence is a solution. Maybe it is not an ideal solution; and yes, while it is solving one problem, it often creates another. But there is no denying, Zangief, that absorbing punches with your face constitutes a problem–and that your direct aggressive action stopped those punches immediately–and perhaps forever.
You can safely trash most of the advice you’ve been given thus far. No, every bully is not secretly a coward on the inside. No, they are not actually trying to be your friend. If common sense had any useful advice for handling bullies, this world would be a different shape indeed.
Bullies never die
Look at what is happening in Libya today, or the broader Middle East region (or any other region). Bullies do not simply evaporate after high school; they rise to the highest levels of business and government. Bad news, Little Zangief: bullies run the world, with help from their enablers.
You’ve already met a few of these enabling characters. They are the people who stand by and watch, while their leader smashes your head. They are the people who respond to such injustice, by enacting and enforcing “zero tolerance” policies on self-defense. Lacking the strength, courage and wisdom to conquer their own bullies, they choose to collaborate instead. Let’s hope your recent example will inspire them to make different choices.
The logic of the melee
Little Zangief, I realize that your Spinning Piledriver was not the product of a careful and deliberative thought process. They finally pushed you too far, and you reacted without thinking. For your own safety, this is a situation you must avoid in the future. It is best to simply never let them push you too far.
Did you overreact in this specific case? In light of what actually happened, I would say no. A few punches resulting in no serious injury, were traded for an awe-inspiring body-slam resulting in no serious injury. Fair and square. Evaluating your actions by considering what never happened, due to those actions, is a little trickier–and this is where the experts and authorities usually go wrong.
The truth is that, by the sheer magnitude of your response, you may have saved someone from getting stomped by a gang of thugs. That person was yourself, of course; and because it was yourself, some naive observers will feel justified in labeling you as a willing combatant, rather than as a hero.
They will insist that you should have done something else instead. Perhaps you should have predicted your ambush, and tattled preemptively. Or waited peacefully until your bullies’ little limbs were tired of pummeling you, then crawled home to await tomorrow’s beating.
Or maybe you should have responded to each single punch with exactly one of your own, in a display of perfectly “proportional” and “appropriate” self-defense. I counted at least three co-conspirators on the scene–so if you have eight arms, eight legs, and supernatural stamina, then it could work. Probably not, but just maybe.
I’d like to say that you can just ignore these silly folks; but you cannot, because they staff the organizations that will decide your fate. They are policemen, parents and concerned citizens, reporters and editors, prosecutors and judges, principals and members of the school board.
Welcome to the complex world of self-defense.
Welcome to adulthood, Zangief Kid!