On bullies and Nazis…
In 5th grade I dealt with a bully. This awful little punk ass named John Curly (yeah, “John Curly”. Even his NAME was terrible). He spent a good deal of time verbally abusing me, making fun of my braces, calling me every conceivable name in the book. A couple of those names I later came to know as ethnic slurs.
This is decades before the time of zero tolerance. So teachers took the “kids will be kids, what can you do?” hands-off stance. They didn’t give a shit.
My parents gave me the well-meaning advice of “Be the bigger man and walk away. Don’t give him the satisfaction of responding to him. He just wants attention. Be better than him, Chris.”
By the way, that advice didn’t work.
One day I’m in the hallway and he comes walking after me, starting in with his usual verbal assault. This time I was at the end of my rope and I finally had it. At one point he’s directly behind me, basically screaming in my ear. So I wheeled around and George McFly’d him right in his stupid little mouth. Full on glorious movie punch. Fist? Meet face.
His hand went to his mouth and his eyes turned red and watery. He started crying. Then full on sobbing. I walked off. He tried running after me but I retaliated by shoving him down. He was a lot weaker than he looked. Or maybe I was just stronger than I realized. I walked off again as he shouted after me, but I couldn’t hear him anymore. A teacher eventually heard him screaming at me and sent him to the principal’s office.
He never bothered me at all after that. Or anyone else. We definitely didn’t become friends but we learned to coexist on the playground at recess. He seemed to know his place by this point.
Alt-right Nazi leader, Richard Spencer, getting punched in the face mid-hate speech at this weekend’s woman’s march made me think of this. It’s a situation that really couldn’t have been dealt with any other way.
Guys like Spencer and bullies like mine don’t respond to words. That have no interest in learning how to be better. And they sure don’t want to hear that kind of spiel from you or me. They want to carry on unfettered and without consequence no matter who it negatively effects. They need to be sent a message, loud and clear, that that is not going to happen on our watch. And a strongly worded email or petition just plain isn’t going to do that.
Nazis, like bullies, are there to incite violence and keep people scared and upset. They work better when people are afraid of them. Turning the other cheek and ignoring them doesn’t work, especially in the case of Nazis.
Of course as a hardline rule I’m not a fan of violence. It’s not the answer to every problem, etc. We all know this as sensible people. And it should be noted that Spencer was still standing after getting hit. As was the bully I dealt with. My bully seemed to have learned his lesson. Did Spencer? Guess we’ll see.
Nazis and bullies? They deserve to get punched.