Growing up I had my share of confrontations with other kids. We’d square off and have at it. The “Sweet Science” (referring to boxing) is anything but sweet when two kids are flailing away at each other, and what may have looked like boxing at first usually ends up a wrestling match in the dirt. After this exchange, each battler would check themselves for damage, usually in the form of scrapes, abrasions, lumps, a throbbing nose, and the taste of your own blood in your mouth. Win or lose, or even a draw (truce), you walked away feeling good about yourself. You stood up and defended yourself. There is something immensely satisfying in not backing down in the face of aggression. And as often as not, you became good friends as a result of the brouhaha.
My step father was a Marine in World War Two and was a strong, powerful man. He had an amazing grip. But he taught me to avoid unnecessary confrontations. I say “unnecessary” because there are times in life when you are not given a choice. As I grew into my early teens I was doing fifty pushups every morning and every night. They had to be done the correct way – straight body, chest to the floor, elbows locked at full extension. Even though I was shorter than most guys (and it seemed I was shorter than all the girls!), I had few fights because I was strong – and that kept the bullying-types away. And that was fine by me. In my mid-teens I decided I wanted to learn how to defend myself better, so I went into boxing and martial arts. With boxing I discovered I could block any punch with my face! In martial arts I was just a little slower than my average opponent. Not a good thing.
While serving in the Marine Corps I worked on other ways to defend and protect myself. I experienced my share of bullying as a kid because of my small size. I don’t like bullies, and I do not like to be bullied.
But kids today are exposed to a form of fighting and retribution that is way over the top. It’s not enough to simply have a fist fight. Television has introduced us to the embarrassment of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), what is euphemistically called (gag!), “Professional Wrestling.” Worse yet is the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), a barbaric form of gladiatorial combat which shows little resemblance in showing respect for your opponent. Body slamming is part of the drill in defeating your antagonist. Once down, the one on top showers punch after punch into the face and head of his foe. Never mind that the poor schmuck is unconscious! I fully understand why parents are fearful of their kids getting into fights. I got that.
So parents – teach your kids (boys, and especially girls) to learn how to defend themselves. If you think this world is going to become kinder and gentler (Did I just quote former President George H. W. Bush?) then you’re living in a fantasy.
Now back to this hubbub over bullying.
The present teaching offered through the hotly contested Common Core educational curriculum advises that anyone who is aggressive toward your child should be allowed to pretty much run rough-shod over them unopposed. The adults will supposedly deal with the bully. Such an approach merely weakens those who might otherwise stand up to bullies. Bullies do not like to be challenged. They particularly do not like being on the receiving end of a bloody nose.
Yet, as I watch our government operate these days I am reminded again and again of the tactics that a bully would use. Loud, confident, always trying to intimidate and silence any and all opposition.
There are any number of government agencies and departments that are behaving much like bullies. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) certainly comes to mind. So does the ATF (Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco). Senator Rand Paul has written a book recently entitled, “Government Bullies.” The following is taken from the book. “;Government regulations are out of control. They dictate how much water goes into your commode, and how much water comes out of your showerhead. They determine how hot the water needs to be in your washing machine, and how many miles to the gallon your car must achieve. Since the Patriot Act, your banking records, your gun registration, and your phone bill are easily accessible by government snoops. Mothers are arrested for buying raw milk. Families are fined for selling bunny rabbits without a license. Home and property owners are strapped with obscene fines, entangled in costly legal messes, and sent to federal prison, all for moving dirt from one end of their land to another. Unelected bureaucrats, armed with arbitrary rules and no need to back them up, stonewall and attack American citizens at every turn. The damage can be overwhelmingly taxing---financially, emotionally and even physically.”;
And there is much more. Next week I will look at the current attack and intimidation tactics being used by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid against a cattle rancher, Cliven Bundy, in Nevada whom Reid has labeled a “domestic terrorist.” This is governmental bullying of the worst kind. It must stop!