Friday, September 4, 2009

Student Bus Hijacking Resolved Bloodlessly

Disarmed by a fit football player, a fourteen-year-old girl was taken into custody without apparent injury to anyone after she drew a .380 semi-automatic to threaten bus-riding students whom she accused of teasing and bullying her. Video is available.

Bullying and teasing are both cruel, and also often overlooked or discounted. Some observe it's ironic that its victims are more likely to be caught retaliating than initial aggressors are for their instigating behavior (about which, The Onion has a take). Obviously, wielding firearms on a school bus is neither ideal nor likely to achieve effective bullying reduction: for would-be vigilantes there is worse bullying in incarcerated populations, and for those facing "justice" the message is surely lost behind the medium. However, it's possible that sober adults should exercise a bit of responsibility rather than abdicate solutions to the imaginations of outraged teens whose self-worth lays in ruins due to years of steady abuse.

Bullying and its sequelae are not a uniquely American problem. It likely derives from fundamental dynamics of social organizations, as it has analogs in other species that live in social groups, such as baboons. Fighting bullying is likely akin to creating an ideal government: it works against the instincts of many who would be subject to the rules but prefer to avoid their application. It's a problem that requires real study and not simply armchair quarterbacking by self-proclaimed experts. Imagine the improvement in the quality of life -- and worldview -- of future generations if we get a handle on bullying among youth.

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