When I was four years old and not paying attention to the bigger picture, my home town school district convinced my parents to place me a year ahead in school, because I was already bigger and taller than all the other kids. The school district feared I would become a bully if I had another full year’s growth on me before my started kindergarten. Size equaled bully in their minds.

The principal was aware of this school district decision and kept an eye on me. So did my teachers. At least that is my modern spin on the case as I look back. I remember there was a period of a couple months that other kids could punch me, they would cry, and I would get hauled off to the principal’s office to be punished for being a  bully by a paddling. Yes, a paddling. A paddling with a real piece of wood, one inch thick and in the shape of a paddle with a leather thong through a hole in its handle to help insure grip.

Through my school years I remained larger and taller than most of the other kids, but I never became a bully. Fighting did not work for me since I was not very good at it and I did not have a pugilist father who intended to teach me that type of fighting. My father preferred reason and scientific method. He might have encouraged me to join debate club, but I do not remember.

I made it through university without becoming a bully. My six-five frame and two hundred twenty pounds never leaned into intimidation. We did learn to … (Oh my god! I just used the royal “we” in reference to myself and my body. You should stop reading this entry right now.) … run very fast. My speed did not come from being chased by bullies, but learning to chase down fly balls on the baseball field in my customary left field, with my dreams of being Billy Williams (not Ernie Banks) repeated in every sprinting breath.

It occurs to me the school district did both a good thing and a bad thing in teaching me not to be a bully. Bullying is wrong and should not be done, but they deprived me of learning to use one of my god given advantages: my size. The gym teachers taught non-contact sports. No boxing. No martial arts. Watching Kato do his karate thing on the Green Hornet television show was the closest I came to studying martial arts.

I bring this up, because there are plenty of physically small people who use their business position, their money, their lawyers to bully others everyday. And I find I regularly ask myself, Why are they socially allowed to be bullies with their assets, but I was taught not to be a bully with my god given asset.  In fact, some of these people are applauded for their ability to apply power to a situation and get their chosen result.

Slum lords are bullies.

Minimum wage employees are often bullied by their supervisors.

People who do not tip good service waitresses and waiters properly are bullies. (At Denny’s and its type of eatery, not at some 5-star, Micheline rated posh-ness where the waiters and waitresses make more than teachers or nurses.)

Every woman and man who has posted a hash-tag-me-too story has suffered bullies or worse.

Our government violating human rights of undocumented peoples proves itself a bully. (Our government has a long history of being bullies. So this current episode might be the evolution of governmental moral thought and practice in America from being slavers at the inception of our country to our fumbling through to equal rights and LGBT rights.)

President Trump demonstrates everyday he loves being a bully as he fantasizes bigger dictator type—Putin or Kim Jong-Un—bullying. (My opinion from what I see of our President’s actions in modern media, not some insight hacked from his psychiatrist’s records.)

In business bullying is used as a matter of course. It is called Leverage—to use (something) to maximum advantage. Where is the line that delineates leverage from bullying in society’s eye? And if leverage is simply bullying with an acceptable name because the rich and powerful employ it, why does society tolerate its daily use? Or tolerate the rich and powerful? Why do we consider bullying in any way, shape or form civilized?

Why was I not taught by my schools to leverage my physical size against others for my own advantage?

Love & Light

Kenneth P. Gurney

Post Script

While on the topic of bullies, our government’s current policy of separating children from parents I find quite enraging. As in, I feel RAGE!!! in spurts throughout the day. I wish some district attorney to show up at an ICE detention center with plenty of cops and SWAT. Once there, I wish them to arrest the ICE agents who have kidnapped these children.  Yes, I said kidnapped. I mean that. That is how I see it. I want the government prosecuted for this offense against humanity and all the child endangerment and abuse that goes with ripping children from their parents arms and storing them in cage-like pens.

All of this is being done without external review or oversight or transparency. And now the paper reports that the ICE has no plan to reunite children to parents. What happened to morals? What happened to common decency? What happened to human rights? Why have not the ICE agents quit in protest? Why have not the ICE agents refused these orders for being immoral orders? Are ICE agents the brown shirts of our time?

Okay. That is off my chest and not off my heart. I have written all my congress people at least once, since I became aware of this ICE child separating atrocity. I have donated to non-profits that help migrants / immigrants. I have donated to the ACLU. I have donated to the Red Cross, only to learn they wish not to get involved with the border. How disappointing.

The November poles are too far away. What do we do today, tomorrow and all the following days leading up to November to bring this to a reasonable, golden rule reflecting, solution?

Here is an article from Money on how to help.

Here is another article – this one from Elle magazine – on how to help.

One thought on “Bullies

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