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Legislature Not Tackling Bullying

I was under the impression that the Legislature was going to do something about curbing bullying. If it did, I didn’t notice, and there’s strong evidence that bullies haven’t gotten the word either.

I’m sure everyone has a definition of bullying, and many people believe it is learned behavior, and parents are the key to teaching their family members to not engage in bullying. Generally speaking, bullying can be defined as anyone who intimidates weaker people.

What’s troubling is that some of the weaker victims have taken to protecting themselves from bullies by arming themselves. In just one week’s time police arrested a 53-year old Makiki man for allegedly attacking a younger man with a baseball bat in Waikiki at 3 a.m. He was arrested on third-degree assault. No word on what lead to the attack.

Earlier, a 26-year-old Manoa man was arrested when he struck a 59-year old man in the head with a sword just before 10:30 p.m.

At 9:30 p.m., a 21-year old man approached another man waiting at a bus stop and talking on his cell phone in Aiea. There was a brief exchange of words and the man used physical force to take the cell phone from the victim.

To give some evidence that age, location and motive are always suspect in these acts of bullying, a fight between a boy and his sister in their Waipahu home ended in the boy’s arrest. The 13-year old demanded his 11-year old sister clean his room. She didn’t respond to the demand so the boy got a knife and threatened her. She ignored him and went into his room and laid down. The 13-year old proceeded to physically assault her.

In each of these cases, there was no word on what directly led to the attacks. What is pretty obvious is that bullying was involved and in most cases, escalated to terroristic threatening, assault, robbery or abuse. These cases come off the police scanner and are not fictional. They actually happened and more often than not leave law enforcement officials scratching their heads in dis-belief.

It seems evident that in a lot of these kinds of cases, the person being intimidated strikes back. It’s also probably true that when the unemployment rates soar and money is in short supply, people start to lose patience and arguments are more frequent.

So while we all wait for the Legislature to provide some kind of guidance, it may be that we should remember an old local saying when confronted with the temptation to intimidate or punish someone: “Cool head main thing.”

Almost too simple, but the restraint has to start somewhere. Like in the home or school.