Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bullies, bigots, waterbuffalo and pink shirts.

So often the stories I have to report are depressing. Out of control cops, out of control government, bigots, hypocrites and the erosion of individual liberty and human decency. So a story that goes the other way for once is a pure joy.

At Central Kings Rural High School a new student showed up for class for the first time. The Ninth grader wore a pink shirt and a half dozen or so insecure morons started ridiculing him. They made anti-gay remarks, apparently these Neanderthals think only gay men wear pink shirts, and told the boy they would beat him up.

Word of the incident got around school and two Grade Twelve students, David Shepherd and Travis Price found the bullying unacceptable. Shepherd said it was the last year for him at the school and “I’ve stood around too long”. He “wanted to do something.”

They decided to show the bullies that other students didn’t agree with their bigoted attitudes and harassment. Using the internet to organize things they contacted other students and spread the word. They urged other students to wear pink to school to send a message to the bullies. They also purchased 75 pink tank tops to distribute to male students for the protest and handed them out to anyone willing to wear one.

They made sure to give the victim of the attack one to wear as well. They made pink arm bands as well. They estimate that around 400 students at the school wore pink that day. And they say the bullies were furious. Shephard said one irrate bully was throwing a chair around the cafeteria in anger and that another confronted him demanding to know if he understood that wearing a pink shirt means one is gay. Shephard said that it didn’t matter and shouldn’t matter.

As for the victim of the bullying, he “was all smiles” as if a “big weight had been lifted off his shoulder.”

He said: “Our intention was to stand up for this kid so he doesn’t get picked on.”

What I found interesting is that when the newspaper tried to find the boy who was bullied no one at the school would tell them his name. That impressed me. No doubt the last thing this kid wanted was having his name and picture in the paper as a victim of anti-gay bullying.

Things like this are a sign of hope for the future. Now before you get too excited about how this shows a changing America I should note this took place in Canada. No doubt if the same thing had happened in the US the local Theopublicans would be demanding the boys be expelled for pushing “the radical homosexual agenda” down the throats of other students and insisting they be given an opportunity to inform the entire student body that all gay students are going to hell and so is anyone who tolerates them. Maybe the deranged Phelps family will show up to protest the “fag enablers”.

The students at Central Kings Rural High did well. And kudos to Shepherd and Price for taking the initiative. Bigots and bullies, tend to be cowards. They are herd creatures who can't stand anyone being different. To ostracize them pushes them out of the "herd" and they don't know how to cope as individuals and panic. I believe that each of us ought to stand up to bullies or bigots and never sanction, through our silence, they actions or words.

This reminds me of an incredible video I once saw, and which I will put below, taken at Kruger Gamer Reserve. I've been to Kruger several times. It was my first wild game preserve that I ever visited. In this video you see some water buffalo going to watering hole to drink. A group of lions creep up on them.

Lions are like bullies really. In this case they picked out a young calf and cut him from the rest of the herd. As they tried to kill their prey they fell into the watering hole. And a croc moves in and tries to snatch the calf. This drags on for several minutes and then you see something very unusual.

The herd of wildebeest slowly and carefully start to return. Instead of running and being thankful they weren't selected by the bullies they came back en mass. And then they did the unthinkable. They attacked the lions. And the lions took none too kindly to be subjected to repeated attacks by the buffalo who finally succeed in rescuing the young calf. When I saw this it video the first time many months ago it struck me as symbolic of the bullies in society who use power or physical might to intimidate and control others -- being they bullies at school, bad cops or politicians. And I thought to myself that all this pain could be ended if people just followed the example of the waterbuffalo in this video and stood up to them.

I've seen it happen a few times. And now to see these high school students doing the same thing it only confirms to me that the decent, peaceful, tolerant world that so many of us dream of is possible. And the only way to achieve it is to stand up to the bullies and the bigots and do it in ways that don't mimic them. Enjoy the video it is an astounding few minutes of tape.

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