Facing Down Your Worst Threat – How to Handle the Schoolyard Bully

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

It’s a funny thing about the lessons you learn in life. Not all of them are learned on the way to school. Some are learned on the way home from school.

Take Mikey (pronounced Mike-ee), one of my classmates. I wouldn’t know what he looks like today, where he’s at or what he’s doing. No Matter. I knew Mikey like the flat of my stomach in my elementary school days.

Mikey used to get his kicks smacking me in the gut on the way home from school. He thought it was fun to see me double over in pain, fall in a mud puddle and slink home with defeated tears.

I was always taught not to punch people out when they were punching you.

Like the Good Book says, turn the other cheek and pray for survival. Hope the creep will leave before he beats you senseless, or takes your life before you can try out for the Little League baseball team.

Fortunately, I came home once too often in this condition. My Grandpa Baker, God rest his soul, had better sense. He sat me down one day and asked what was going on.

I told him, because you can tell a Grandpa a lot of things you just wouldn’t tell anyone else. I was raised by my maternal grandparents the first 5 years of my life. After living more than 6 decades, I can say with confidence and gratitude that everything good in life I learned from my grandparents before my mother re-married. Grandpa had a sure-fire cure for Mikey.

He explained that as long as Mikey was allowed to slug me in the gut, he would think this was proper behavior and part of his daily schedule. Grandpa then gave me some advice and the next day I set his plan in motion:

Mikey lived at the other end of the block, so I went to Mikey’s house to see if he was home. He was, so I invited him out to play. Trust me when I say this was a first, I was never looking for trouble; trouble had found me too many times. I could already see his gleam as Mikey bounded down the steps, his eyes lit up like a Fourth of July firecracker.

When Mikey was square in front of me—I wound up and, without warning, slugged him just as hard as I could in the stomach. Mikey was suddenly speechless as well as not standing. Wherever I hit him, it was lethal.

In a few moments, he was screaming like there was no tomorrow. I turned around and casually walked home as his mother screamed at me in the distance.

A strange thing happened after that.

Mikey NEVER touched me again. Matter of fact, we sort of became friends.

Both Mikey and I grew up a little that day. I learned how to handle Mikey, and Mikey learned a new respect for me.

Prior to delivering my position on Mikey’s behavior to Mikey, I was as soft in the head as I was in the stomach.

The moral of this story is that some people don’t understand anything but brute force.

This is a fact of life that a lot of people have never learned. As a Vietnam Veteran, I can tell you that if someone is pointing a weapon at you, you had better fire your weapon first, and fire it accurately.

Even today—some 55 years after I smacked Mikey—I feel some humanitarians and bleeding heart, far-left liberal sympathizers will never learn some very basic lessons about people and what makes them tick.

Take a casual look at the American system of criminal justice. Look at the victims, look at the suspects, look at the lawyers, look at the courts, look at the convicted criminals, look at the prisons, and look at the rehabilitation programs.

I’m just an average American, but you don’t have to be a law enforcement officer, a lawyer, a justice, a prison warden or a victim to figure out that our present system makes about as much sense as a soft-boiled egg.

We say we respect life, but our practice is to ignore the victims of a crime and spend all of our time protecting the rights of the criminals, and finding ways to try rehabilitating the criminals.

It never occurs to us that some of the criminals are not worth the effort. Helping the families of victims would produce more positive results.

An added note: I am now past 70, and it is Tuesday, August 8, 2014. Today, all I hear about is how bad bullying is. Here is a word of advice from someone who knows: There can be no bullying without a victim.

When you choose NOT to be a victim (refuse to be influenced by what others say, think and do), the bully will have to find someone else to affect adversely. This may not totally stop his or her bullying, but at least they will stop bullying you, because it only works for them if you choose to be a victim.

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