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How to Stop The Knock Out Game, Bullying, and Other Forms of Violence
Who is the ‘one’? They are the peace-makers frightened into silence. They are the pack member with the heaviest conscience. The one who knows their parent(s) raised them better than this, but lack the confidence to stand against the group. They are the ones who know if they speak-out; they will be next in line for punishment, pain, and ridicule.
It’s easy for adults to shake their heads in disgust and lecture about the need for children to tell an authority figure. To call them “feral wild kids,” However, the ‘one’ may want to get free, but their hands aren’t completely clean. They have seen too much and participated in many terrible deeds too. Maybe they agreed and went along with the crowd at first; just grateful they weren’t the one on the receiving end of abuse, this time. Unfortunately childish games can soon become hurtful, evil, senseless violent acts. At that point, the ‘one’ fears for their own safety.
Adults must realize the children are watching our example. They have seen us sit quietly and allow appalling deeds to go on without lending a hand. Some of us turn our heads and won’t call the police when we see a fight taking place on the street. We don’t want to get involved. Some look the other way when a friend or family member has a ‘domestic squabble’ when we know it’s really domestic violence. Sometimes we refuse to be the whistle blower at work, even when we know someone is being mistreated or discriminated against. Sometimes we laugh at the mean jokes that put others down. We might even compare ourselves against others who are unemployed, homeless, or less fortunate in order to build-up our own sense of self-righteousness. Although we may not throw the first punch, we might sit quietly by and let others do it.
In every gang, pack, or group there is the ‘one’. They sheepishly hide and hope things will end soon. On the outside they appear to go along. Smiling, they nod their approval and laugh along just like the rest. Don’t let that fool you. They hate what they are becoming and are disgusted by their fear. The truth is the ‘one’ is waiting for a chance to break free.
Rather than stand-up against the pack, they do all they can to just get through it or make things pass quickly. Sometimes they laugh louder than everyone else, hoping this will communicate “we’ve had our fun, let’s move on.” Other times they slowly make their way towards that back, farthest away from the terrible scene. The worst times are when the leader of the pack ‘puts them on Front Street’ which is to force them to send that threatening email, social media post, text, or even be the one to throw the first punch. The ‘one’ knows there will be hell-to-pay if they do not engage.
How do we stop senseless “knock-out” games, end bullying, and help our children become compassionate caring people? We model the change we want to see and we go after the ‘one’. We encourage them to be brave and know the benefits of choosing to do the right thing. We look past their feigned smirks and ‘I don’t care’ attitude and we speak to the fear that keeps them paralyzed. We let them know we understand the dilemma they face and we make it easy for them to come to us for help. We respect their need to anonymously tell someone, and provide them avenues to accomplish this. We reward their good choices. We take into consideration their need for acceptance and friendship, knowing the ‘pack’ just might be their only outlet. We become authority figures they can trust; ones who understand the serious consequences they face for up-to 4 years in school, 5 days a week, 7- or more hours a day as the potential target for retribution if anyone finds out they are the ‘one’ who broke the cycle of abuse.
There will always be a pack; whether it’s the mean girls at school, the cliche at the office, or the neighborhood gang. When we support and encourage the ‘one’ to stand up, they will find they are not alone. Together these ‘ones’ out number and overshadow the others for good.
If you or someone close to you was a bully or part of a gang, what helped you stop?
“Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence, I want you to love your enemies... for what we are doing is right, what we are doing is just -- and God is with us.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.-Mahatma Gandhi
"If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. he lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk"― Martin Luther King Jr.
- "Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of gravitation works, whether we accept it or not. The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than any of our modern scientists. Only our explorations have not gone far enough and so it is not possible for everyone to see all its workings."-Mahatma Gandhi
- "Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him"― Martin Luther King Jr.
- Nearly 700,000 youth were treated injuries related to violence in 2011 (CDC, 2013)
- Environmental factors contribute to increased risk for violent acts for youth and adults. Issues including poverty, past abuse, and even childhood neglect (Psychology Today, 2012)
- Childhood use of violent video games can in-fact increase violence and decrease empathy (Anderson CA, Shibuya A, Ihori N, Swing EL, Bushman BJ, Sakamoto A, Rothstein HR, & Saleem M., 2010)