The Author asked me to write this month about bullies. I have experience with bullies. Anyone who has read her book about me knows that Wesley and I (mostly Wesley) got teased and tormented a lot when we were children. But it’s not only children who suffer from being bullied.
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Some use the obvious tactics of physical abuse of someone smaller or often younger. However, in your world, bullies have more sinister ways of torturing others. A bully is no longer the oversized brute who shoves you to the ground. With all the technology you possess, bullies operate from afar and use their words to inflict pain on others.
Bullies, in general, seem to have self-esteem issues. They must, of course. Why else would they feel the need to abuse or tear down someone who cannot or will not fight back. Bullies in your world are so much worse. Some attack for the pleasure of being able to do so without fear of reprisal. Your internet is full of these mean spirited little people. And where the oversized brute in the school yard has his minions, who blindly follow him and pile on whenever he attacks, your internet bullies needs no such companions. It seems that there are always those who are just waiting to jump on and add their harsh judgements and abusive comments, often without knowing the true situation and always without thinking of the consequences for those being attacked.
If I, Marabella, daughter of Mara and Geremiah, am attacked by a bully, I can defend myself. I find a precisely thrown rock or well-placed kick to the head can disarm and dissuade further abuse. With your internet, there are no such options. Any rebuttal from the one targeted is too often met with more criticism and abuse. And the little bullies just keep piling on with more and more mean comments. It is quite sad, cowardly, and terribly shameful.
The Author told me of an incident she recently witnessed. A small local business was targeted by an internet bully with too much time on her hands. She criticized the way this business operated and made inflammatory remarks about a staff member. In no time at all, there were dozens of little bullies bashing the business and the staffer with things unrelated and completely out of context. When the business issued a comment, the bullies attacked like a pack of wild dogs. The attempt to address actual concerns was met with more inflammatory remarks and criticism. Finally, some supporters rallied to defend the staffer and the business. But damage had been done. This type of damage effects the small business and the staff member. It can affect their income, which effects their ability to pay rent and provide for their families. I have also heard of too many instances of bullying that resulted in the targeted person becoming so upset and despondent that they actually harm themselves. That is so sad.
I guess what I really want to say is DON’T BE A BULLY! And please do not support those small minded tyrants by adding to a tirade that you know little or nothing about. Do stick up for those being bullied whether in person or on the internet.