Pipe Dreams

This rather disturbing piece is why I wish we didn’t have to make laws about bullying.

3) Snitching is considered a civic duty. It began, understandably, with the post-9/11 “See something, say something” mantra, but these days we’re expected to report much more than abandoned backpacks on subways. Students are expected or even required to report incidents of “bullying,” which is often broadly defined to include any allegedly disrespectful or offensive word or gesture — like tweeting “he sucked.” The rest of us are exhorted to report whatever we consider “suspicious” activities, informing on people who photograph bridges or buildings, take notes in public, or view forbidden material.

Kee-reist! I take a photo (or two or ten) of the Mackinac Bridge everytime I drive over it! Because I love it!

We need to protect people from bullying. I know that kids are committing suicide because others are relentlessly making fun of them. But I think we are on a slippery slope when we feel we have to enact laws to protect people against these things. What is the language of the law? (Erp. Michigan’s new law is out there but I can’t quickly find it. And that is also a problem…) How will we decide whether or not an act of bullying has actually taken place? And who will decide that?

I understand why these kinds of laws are being enacted. People have been bullied since the human race began. As the tools for communication change, the tools for bullying change. When I was a kid, we avoided unsavory looking people when we walked home from school. Phone? We had an ugly black dial phone in the living room. Everybody could hear your side of your conversation with your boyfriend. My dad often answered the phone and when he said things like “Get off the goddamn phone”, bullies usually couldn’t get through. I was not bullied but I know that life was hard in those days because other kids find ways to bully when parents were not looking or maybe didn’t have the wherewithal that my parents did.

Nowadays there is social media. You can monitor the heck out of your middle school kid’s online activity when they are in your house but, the minute you give them a smart phone (which I think you *should* do, I would have), they are vulnerable to a different level of bullying than I ever was, with my parents answering the crappy old black dial-up landline.

Where was I? Life sucks. Sometimes. I think we need to try to give our kids the tools to deal with bullies. It would be nice if the schools and the government would do all of this for us but I am not sure that they really can. And I don’t think that enacting more laws will help.

I have a lot more thoughts about this but it is a complicated issue and I think I am finished with it for now. Today’s photooo is the obligatory first (significant) snow of the season. Walking this morning was interesting but okay. Driving? Sheesh. Why did I not telecommute today? At least for the morning? It was bad enough *getting* to work today. Driving *in* to work, I thought I might spin out at one point (I was *not* going fast at all). When I got out of the Ninja in the parking lot, I almost fell on my you-know-what. I slid my way across the parking lot as the salt crew began to de-ice the it.

One Response to “Pipe Dreams”

  1. Margaret Says:

    If we allow our kids to believe that they will always be protected from *stuff* they won’t be well prepared for life. And that’s all I have to say! Snow? I’m hoping for one or two snow days this year. I love it when the district cancels school and I can go out walking in it, after a relaxing mocha. (as long as we have power of course!)