How to Stand Up to Bullies and Fight Crime: Crooks, Cowards and Courage; Work as a Team; Questions to Prepare; Education
Not long ago, I saw on television some CCTV footage which would have been hilarious had it not been so serious. It was on a programme akin to ‘Crimestoppers’ where people are asked to phone in if they recognise any of the criminals concerned.
Two potential shop thieves armed with large batons entered a store during the day, marched up to the counter and demanded the shopkeeper empty the till. Did he scream for help? Did he cower and give in? Did he run away? We would understand, not condemn, any of those reactions.
A Mop and a Pizza
Who Needs a Weapon?
No, he did none of those things. Not a young man, the shopkeeper, with amazing presence of mind, grabbed a mop which was nearby, aimed it at one of the burglars and chased him out of the shop.
At the same time, a shop assistant took a pizza from a shelf and, piece by piece, aimed it at the other burglar, so chasing him too from the shop.
Outside, members of the public who had stopped to see what all the fuss and noise was about then helped the owner and assistant to apprehend the robbers and detain them! I cheered them on from my living room. People power at its best! I was so impressed.
The Power of the Unexpected
Those two thieves (probably not their first time) assumed that they would win, that people would be afraid of them and give them what they demanded. They looked as though they were prepared to use force. However, confronted with resistance and counter-attack, they cowered and ran, hands over their heads for protection, right into the arms of others who weren’t afraid of them either.
Crooks and Cowards -v- Courage and Team Work
As with many criminals, I believe, they were cowards. They were bullies. They wanted to look as if they meant business, they wanted to scare people, they wanted to take illegally from others. Most of all, they assumed that they would get what they wanted. Their surprise and humiliation at being resisted and thwarted was so good to see. Their arrogance and ‘macho’ stance crumpled in two seconds. Apart from the thieves’ pride, no damage or hurt occurred. A mop and a pizza can’t inflict much harm other than a few stains. However, the courage shown and its effect can do so much good.
It's worth pointing out, though, that anything kept within reach intentionally for use as a weapon may not be looked upon favourably. These people just used what was available at the time, a spontaneous reaction.
The outrage caused by the thieves’ actions made the shopkeeper react without thinking, albeit with innate courage. It could have got him into trouble; maybe he wouldn’t have done the same if faced with guns. However, his courage enabled the assistant to summon up his own and the double attack worked. The snowball effect meant that those outside saw who was winning and they were more than willing to help. What team work!
Teaching Children about Crime and Bullying
Children, at home and in school, are hopefully taught not to fight or bully. They are also encouraged to report bullying. If you’re faced with the situation, though, you might not have time to stop to consider ‘What shall I do?’ To resist force is not the same as fighting back.
To be able to deal with a situation it helps if you’re prepared. Preparation requires having talked over the possibilities, with parents or teachers or friends, so that if you are caught in such a situation then you are at least partly aware of what might happen and what to do given possible scenarios.
Helpful Questions for Discussion
These questions can be asked for useful discussion:
‘What would you do if....?’
‘Why would you do that?’
‘Do you think that’s the best way to deal with it?’
‘What would the consequences be?’
‘What would you feel like?’
‘What would you think of the criminal?’
‘Do you think the criminal should be faced with his victims?’
It’s also important for children, for all of us, to realise that we can pull together to help one another in such situations rather than just walk away or ignore someone else’s potentially difficult or dangerous situation.
Stand Up to the Bullies!
Whilst we are encouraged not to fight back, not to put ourselves in harm’s way if we can avoid it, sometimes it is possible to stand up to the bullies, to show them they don’t always win, that others have much more courage than they do. Often, it only takes one to be strong and others will realise that it can be done.
Thieves, burglars, bullies come in all shapes and sizes, are in all walks of life, appear in all sorts of guises, at school, at work, out on the street, even at home. We can’t always have a pizza and a mop to hand when we’re in trouble but we can try to summon up the courage to resist the bullies, in whatever guise they appear. If we are prepared then the odds of succeeding are much greater!
Preparation means having discussions, considering all eventualities (like the questions above) and thinking carefully about the consequences. It requires a balanced view of any situation encountered.
Acting together is much more effective but acting together must be undertaken with care. Education is the answer, for all parties, victims and aggressors.
Above all, being prepared can make all the difference.
What would you do?
When faced with a burglar, would you...
Experiences & Contacts:
If this has already happened to you, what did you do?
If you have any experience of any incidents of crime or bullying and you want to share them, please leave a comment.
Some useful contacts: (if you know any other really useful ones, please let me know and I'll add them to this list - thank you)
© 2012 Ann Carr