Re: Bullying, etc.
Darla Keller (C60DJK1@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Tue, 20 Dec 1994 22:29:00 CST
This is a very complicated subject. There have been many great
postings. I've been away from my computer a few days.
I have little experience in bullying. I always hung out with my
older brother and his friends when I was little. I was quiet and
good natured and everyone liked me. When I was in high school I was
on the football and wrestling teams. People who knew I was a scout
left me alone.
John Oakes suggests a method of intimidation. Although that sounds
like it is against SCouting ideals... friendly, kind, courteous,
it is said that Baden-Powell once wanted to include a 13th law, a
Scout is not a fool. As a military man, B-P surely knew that force
is sometimes a last resort that can be effective, or just the show
I personally would not use John's approach simply because I don't
think it would be effective in my case. Although I am a biker of
sorts, I am 5'7" tall and ride a Schwinn. I think it would lack the
same effect that John could produce. Also it is very much against
my nature to be intimidating. I prefer to react to aggression in a
non threatening way. I am very easygoing and have few problems with
people. I am passive as a rule. I don't even like yelling.
Although there are exceptions to each rule. Sometimes I believe you
must stand up to aggression at times. Even me.
Once while on a U.S. Grant Pilgrimage in Galena, IL, one of my Scouts
was almost mugged. He got away. I wasn't there at the time. Later
while walking through town we passed a pool hall. The boy yelled,
"There he is", and pointed to a man in his mid twenties in the pool
hall. This was about 10 years ago. I know I should've called a
policeman, but they were too busy with 5,000 Scouts in town.
I entered the pool hall and confronted the man. He ignored me,
laughing as he played pool with his 3 friends.
I pushed him off balance, then grabbed him pinning him against the
wall. His friends backed away. I told him about how unhealthy it
was to mug Scouts. I left the pool hall shocked by my own actions,
but not as shocked as that guy and his friends.
Another trip took us into the Batopilas canyon of Mexico. We had
a 4am bus to Creel, 10 hours of dust and bumps. I was hungry, tired,
and not in a good mood. My wallet had been lifted while I slept and
a few hundred dollars were missing. The small bills were there, just
the big ones gone. If I hadn't counted my money, I would've missed
the theft. <Where we had been, you need cash, card & checks don't
work, they have no banks in the canyon>
The man in the seat behind me was acting very cocky. I confronted
him about the theft. He started saying americans always acuse
mexicans of theft. Four austrians on the bus joined in the taunt.
We were the only americans, the rest were mexican and tarahumara
indians. I decided violence might be appropriate.
I placed a frontal choke on the man, pinning him against the back of
his seat. He was surprised! I said in a very calm voice, "All I
want is my money". The more he talked back the tighter my grip. I
kept repeating my request. He spoke in a coarse whisper to his girl-
friend to give me my money. It had been rolled very tightly and put
in a mascera bottle in her purse. I recieved my money, and I broke
my grip around his neck. I think I might have intimidated him too
much because he also offered me his camera and tent. I said I only
wanted my money, we're even.
There were still several hours left of the trip. Believe it or not,
I made friends with the man and his gilrfriend before the trip was
over. She gave me a beautiful batik as a gift. I tried to refuse,
but they insisted. My Scouts shook their heads, "Cliff, how can you
be Clint Eastwood one minute and Mister Rogers the next?" I don't
know, that's just the way I am. I would not make a very good "Bad
Dude". I always want to make friends with everybody.
Intimidation, I would say it is an exception, not a rule, at least
Also, before our Austrian friends start flaming me, let me say I've
taken Scouts to your nation, I've hiked your Tyrolean Alps, visited
Innsbruck, Vienna, and Salzburg, and felt the warmth of your many
wonderful people. The four Austrians on the bus were exceptions to
how I feel about your country.
Mexico was one of my favorite Scouting adventures, I made many good
friends there as well.
I also liked Gary Sherwin's posting. It had many good things to say
about the subject. It reminds me of a saying by Jigoro Kano, the
founder of Judo <I competed on a Judo team during college>.
"Fear causes violence,
only a coward may become a bully."
I think that may say roughly what others have said, except in much
plainer language. Bullying will continue to be a problem in the
world no matter what we do as Scouters. The question is how we can
minimize the impact and overcome the reality.
Todays society has made a stereotype of SCouting as a goodie goodie
group of nerds. True we may have some floating around here and
there, but most Scouts are you average kid. They believe in some
good ideals <we hope> and satisfy their need to find themselves and
test themselves outdoors in constructive ways.
Negative peer preassure from teens makes it tough to be a Scout
today. It is almost a secret society at the high school level.
We need better PR.
My troop specializes in high adventure programs that are "cool" to
most kids. If what you're doing is "cool", then the organization
can't be too bad. That's what they tell their friends.
I have a question for John Oakes. Does your biker image intimidate
adults, and does that hurt your recruiting efforts? I'm sure once
they know you and what you stand for, there is no problem. But first
impressions can be very important. I like what you're doing for boys
and wish you luck. I have worked with ex-gang members in a non-Scout
environment. I know you must adjust your game plan in a major way to
relate to the kids. But the kids I worked with still wanted to be
liked and needed that. I naturally like most anyone, and had good
rapport with them. I stayed me, I didn't try to be anything else.
It worked. I don't think I could've ever gotten them into SCouting
though. They thought they were way too cool for that. You've got
to reach them however you can reach them. Good luck.
YIS, Cliff Golden
Three Fires Council, Illinois BSA
I apologize if there are blank lines after this, I'm having problems
building a document. My machine is one level below a 286.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City