Seriously, what is wrong with us? Bully no more

Bullies suck.

Bullies are over-compensating kids who express hurt, sadness, fear, need for control or some combination of all of the above by punishing those they don’t like or who are physically inferior to them. They pick on unsuspecting and undeserving victims to make themselves feel better about their Effed up life. And while I’d like to feel compassion for them, they make it really, really hard. Mostly, I want to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Bullies start out as children, but they rarely evolve. They trample their way through life. Few things are as sad as an adult bully. God forbid their children. Something about bullying stunts that better part of us that values other humans and pets and places and in the latest news, robots.

Some bullies happened across a defenseless robot who did nothing but hitchhike and spread cheer. They promptly beat it into disrepair, according to various news reports. The robot was the size of a child. It’s creators could track where it went. The robot sent back photos every 20 minutes. It moved only by the kindness of strangers, who’d then leave it for the next Good Samaritan to give it a ride.

The robot had crossed Canada and parts of Europe when it set out from the East Coast with a sign on it reading “San Francisco or Bust.” Can you imagine how this city would have greeted that little dudess? Bat shit. Just nutty insane.

Instead, it didn’t make it past some bullies in Philly, who beat the robot into oblivion and then sent a picture of its demise. The tracking device was broken so the robot’s owners can’t even go pick it up.

Like I said, bullies suck.

hitchbot.0

I was nearly a bully. For some reason in the second or third grade I had it out for a guy named Keith Klump, who, as I recall, did absolutely nothing to nobody. But I decided I was going to beat him up. I let it be known around the school yard, just as bullies do, that I was going to beat him up. Keith responded as most innocent victims do. He ran.

Turns out he was fast. Day after day, he’d bolt from the classroom at the end of th day and sprint home. The class bell was like a starter’s pistol. Day after day, I vowed to get him until one day I did. I think I made an excuse of needing to go the bathroom so I could be outside, waiting to pounce. I caught him in some bushes near the school and a small crowd gathered to watch the attack. I sat on his chest and waved a fist and noticed something strange. Keith never once fought back. He just laid there, limp as a dog, waiting. I yelled at him to fight back, and he ignored me. I cursed at him, and he ignored me. I fake punched him, and he ignored me.

In the end I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t hit someone that defenseless. Furious, I climbed off him and had a slew of choice words for him, but inside I was a dark knot of ugliness that I couldn’t tolerate. It took me awhile, but I realized I would never be a bully. I never forgot the courage of Keith Klump. It changed me. I’ve never apologized to Keith, but I have fought my inner bully ever since.

I have also fought bullies. I tend to seek them out. Most conflicts in my life circle back to this theme. When a bully does his thing, I bully right back. At times this may have seemed noble, but in the end it was just a continuation of the bully creed: violence, ugliness and hurt. At times I didn’t notice when the tables turned and I slipped into the bully role.

Peace is the greatest power in the world. It takes the real courage and makes the more lasting impact.

The robot may have met its demise, but the story has spread even further today because of it. For every American bully that gives us yet another black eye for our violent nature, our love of guns, our hate of those difference than us, our culture of bullying, a dozen Good Samaritans will rise up.

Somehow, I think a hitchhiking robot will ride again and this time when it makes it to San Francisco they bullies will know they never, ever, win.

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