Tuesday, May 10, 2011

America's Little Sociopaths

"Touch me again and I'll cut your fucking balls off!"  That
line usually worked out pretty well for me.
Bullying is nothing new.  Children can be cruel, and they can be vicious little monsters that are particularly adept at sensing weakness.  They seem to operate on a herd mentality, and the perceived “weaklings,” are singled out and ostracized.

I don’t know the historical statistics on how many kids have offed themselves because of bullying, but it seems like that is something that is happening more often these days.  It could be because of increased media exposure on the issue of bullying in general, but for all my 27 years of living, I don’t seem to recall suicide from bullying being as big a problem as it is today.

So what in the fuck is going on with our kids these days?

Phoebe Prince was bullied to the point that she committed suicide.  The girls, more accurately described as stupid bitches, who relentlessly assailed her for months are potentially going to stand trial for what they’ve done.  During the hearings, one of the girls didn’t show any emotion or remorse, and while the other two cried when they were reminded of the horrendous treatment they doled out, only one of them actually offered an apology to Phoebe’s mother.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with our kids these days?  I personally find it frightening that kids can push someone to suicide and apparently not give a shit that they were the primary cause for it.  Please, don’t give me the “well they should be stronger than that,” argument.  That’s the precise argument that is causing this shit to happen: a complete lack of empathy and compassion.

I kept seeing signs that said "Bully Free Zone."  I couldn't
get the phrase "bullshit free zone," out of my head, and here
we are.
It wasn’t but a few months ago that some douche bags posted some dude’s tryst with another dude on the internet, and he offed himself because of the humiliation.  If I’m not mistaken, I do believe the people responsible for that are pleading guilty.

Why are our kids seemingly turning into little sociopaths?  First, let’s not fucking blame violent videogames.  For fuck sake, I’ve been playing violent video games for quite some time now, and I’m one of the most compassionate guys you’ll ever meet.  I’m the type of guy that likes to pick on people, but I generally only pick on my friends and people I like.  I know, it’s weird and juvenile, but if I genuinely do not like the person, or if I pity the person, I don’t say anything derogatory because I don’t want to actually be hurtful.

And in this case it was a group of stuck up bitches who probably don’t even play video games.

The only answer I can conjure up is that it must be a parental thing.  I always teach my kids to be compassionate and empathetic.  From day 1 I’ve taught my son that it’s never right to hurt another person.  I understand that every kid is going to turn out differently, sometimes regardless of how he or she is parented, but this sort of behavior I think is indicative of poor parenting.

Compassion and empathy are not innate in every human, and they must be taught and developed through active parenting.  My mother taught me to be compassionate, my father taught me to be a man who tries to always do good rather than harm.  Perhaps those are things that parents don’t think about anymore?

This is a depressing topic, so I figured I'd include a picture
of hot ass Heather Graham.  If you feel sad about this story
and our little sociopaths, just stare into her boobs.  I
mean eyes.  Nah, I meant boobs.
Perhaps it has to do with education and how that has started to increasingly suck shit since the 1950s.  The emphasis on art and the humanities has declined, especially since everyone wants our kids to be better at math and science than Koreans, and I think that is taking a toll on the American psyche.  The point of the humanities is to teach us what it means to be human, because once we understand that it’s a lot harder to treat another human being like shit.

Those kids carry most of the blame, as I am a proponent of 100% personal responsibility.  But we’re going to continue to churn out more little sociopaths like these high school bitches unless we seriously ask the question “why the fuck are these kids so god damned mean?!”


Silverfiddle said...

I think it is related to other phenomena such as how people no longer have the educational background to put things in historical context. "Everything is here and now and it all centers on me," seems to be the prevalent thought process.

Peer pressure has always been there, but maybe these kids are not as connected to their community and extended family, as in the past.

Take away these other groups that used to be common and add in more remote parents, and the peer group becomes all important.

Finally, are these kids being encouraged to dream about their future, and being made to realize that this isn't it? There's college or a trade school, a wonderful adult future for those who stay focused on their goals.

Or, more simply, the movie, Idiocracy explains it as well.

Jack Camwell said...

Well said. I was having trouble articulating this one because I really am not sure why kids these days act like little Hannibal Lecters.

You bring up a really good point about history and how it's taking a back seat. Like you said, it's all about me, here and now.

Anonymous said...

I would say that its because many people, not just children, are tied in to social media and networks. things that they have LITERALY always had.

In their mind they have no escape. they go to school and are ridiculed, they go home and check their facebook and get pwnd. their getting smack talked on xbox live and PSN (well.. .not atm).

if they feel they have no escape because everything they know is now exposed to the public... it can drive them insane.

KP said...

I believe there have always been bullies and that the number is about the same now. Maybe less due to political correctness. I was bullied a lot from age 11-13 when I moved to a school where I was a minority. That ended when I finally matured (damn slow maturing northern european ancesters) and punched somebody in the face. But bullying happened all around us in the 60s and 70s. I remember trying to stop it by befriending some one. In the 80s a kid hung himself where my dad taught school. In the 90s I sent my daughters to school with the to befriend the new students. U told them how I felt when I transferred and they got motivated to make it easier on the newbies. Great lesson for kids!

Now we have 24/7 media that spreads the bad news and the gossip so we here both more often.

We were talking about politicians on another blog and how so and so wasn't going to be able to run successfully because of his trysts. Crap, the old presidents were worse than anybody these days. We just know more about it.

I think the best way to handle bullying is to be pre-emptive. I taught my girls three things (1) don't bully and in fact make newbies feel at home (2) lead by example -- be kind (3)if all that fails turn around and punch the kid. And don't stop there. A combination is better that one straight jab.

KP said...

When I was about five my dad got me and my eight year old brother boxing gloves. When I was 10 I got a speed bag. We had boxing gloves at my house when my girls were that age. They practiced number three and thankfully never had to resort to it. Maybe just being willing to was enough! There was some carry over and it did help them in basketball, volleyball and flag football.

Anonymous said...

oh, anonymous was me btw!!!


Jack Camwell said...

Very good points made by all. I think that the advent of social media has allowed a venue for this sort of behavior to be exacerbated.

And KP I agree with your idea on being preemptive. I teach my kid to be kind to people, but also to never let anyone hurt him. He doesn't get messed with at school, generally.

And I think you bring up a really good point on the fact that it might just be more visible rather than increased. I realize that bullies have always existed, but these days it just seems more ridiculous. Like you said, though, it might just seem that way due to increased exposure.

Silverfiddle said...

At the risk of sounding preachy, I also think many of us have lost our sense of wonder at infinity, God, and the sense of our own souls. Again, it's all "here and now." No God, no heaven, no eternity, then what's the point?

KP said...

Jack, to be clear, just because the amount of bullying is similar doesn't mean we shouldn't be outraged. I could say the same about pedophiles. There may not be more of them percentage wise but we probably see (catch) more of the ones that exist.

KP said...

Silverfiddle makes a great point -- it is worth considering that a decrease in spirituality makes bad behavior easier to rationalize. As well, if you are the subject of bullying you may be more inclined to act out unless you are quite spiritual. We see this in generation to generation until a child matures and breaks the cycle through his own kids.

Harrison said...

I bet fewer kids kill themselves from being bullied now than during the Middle Ages.

KP said...

No doubt! Today, smart and motivated kids have the ability to record music in their bedrooms and make it look and sound an indie type professional. Many smart kids are uniquely prepared for the job market on the horizen. I think the 15-25 year olds are going to be BOLD.

Mustang said...

There were bullies in my younger days, too. I suspect there always have been those kinds of people who like to push other people around; usually smaller, younger people. My Dad had a rule: “Never back down from a bully, and if I hear you did, then I’ll kick your ass the next time I see you.”

I don’t remember anyone my age committing suicide simply because an older kid made a career of pushing them around. It must have something to do with the society we live in today, where everyone seems to be going out of their way to feminize our males. No, seriously … men have to get in touch with their feminine side? Are you kidding me? Men today are wearing “man make up” and carrying hand bags because … ? Today, people get an unlimited number of do-overs and ten year olds have nervous breakdowns …

Jack Camwell said...

Harrison: That could very well be attributed to the fact that the Catholic church taught that suicide was a mortal sin that would send you straight to hell. Everyone in Europe likely believed in that doctrine, and that likely made suicide less appealing.

Mustang: I think that as Smitty mentioned above, bullying has been taken to the next level with social media. As he mentioned, before you could be left alone once you left school, but now it has the potential to be ubiquitous, waiting for you when you get home to check your facebook status.

I still think that a large part of the blame lies on the parents. If I ever heard that my son was bullying anyone I'd ground him for eternity.

adamjaycarter said...

Poor decisions on both party's if you ask me!