Wow. This has the potential to be one of the most closely examined situations of bullying in our current times.
Who is the hero here? Casey Heynis, of course. Who is the villain? Ritchard Gale, of course. Easy peazy.
Or is it? Casey says he’s been bullied for forever. Called fatty, hit, duct taped to a pole. Ritchard says he was provoked, that he’d been bullied by Casey…in fact he’s been bullied in a variety of ways for a long time as well.
I’m weighing in.
Casey is not a hero. He is a child. A young man who became frustrated and couldn’t take it anymore. His story is classic. One kid bullies him. All his friends ditch him. He becomes more and more isolated, and more and more targeted. He’s not a violent kid. He was lonely, and he was an easy target. He couldn’t explain the severity of what was happening to his parents. Casey contemplated suicide. He survived with the support of his sister. But it takes more than one person to protect another, and the bully actions towards him continued. In this totally viral video, Casey snaps. No one can blame him.
Ritchard is not a villain. He is a child. A young man who is pulled in several directions by several influences. His story is classic. He has likely received inconsistent parenting (this is not a judgment on his single father – most of our society suffers from inconsistent parenting), he receives some acceptance from his peer group, who are egging him on in the bully actions, he likely HAS been bullied in a variety of ways, and he might not be prepared to sacrifice his status in his peer group – and put himself in a vulnerable position. I imagine that he has conversations about the incident that are extremely inconsistent, depending on with whom he is speaking. He is completely confused. and now HE is being bullied by the whole world. Shame on us.
Who’s fault is all this? THE ADULTS FAULT. It is our fault. It is every adult’s fault for not paying enough attention. For not noticing clearly what is happening, often right in front of our faces. For not providing better solutions for either child – ALL CHILDREN – in their bullying situations. We don’t bother to figure out what kids need. We make them heroes, we put them on pedestals, we vilify them, we judge them, we label them. But are we helping them?
Here is a stark comment on one of the you tube videos that would say we’re not: You fuckin useless adults didnt do shit so shut the fuck up. That faggot deserved to be pile drived.
And you know what…sounds like this person is right. Doesn’t seem like we’ve done shit.
THESE ARE CHILDREN. Ritchard is not a villian. Ritchard certainly does not deserve to be exposed to the litany of negativity that we’ve surrounded him with.
* a true hero, hopefully richard gale will kill himself
* he should have kept beating him while he was on the ground
* Fuck him an his homeless looking dad he can go suck a dick
* fuck that little skinny bastard, what the fuck kind of 12 year old would get a peircing, he was to be a big man thats what happens you little bastard!! little buck tooth fuck!!! cry me a river
Ritchard needs to be given the opportunity to examine his emotions, learn skills about understanding other people, understanding himself and communicating. Is he sorry? Much has been made of the fact that he answered no, looked over at his father and answered yes. How is he even supposed to know? His peers probably influence him not to be. He’s embarrassed, he feels foolish, when he talks to his mom he cries. Does he even know why he does what he does or how he feels? I would want to ask some questions. Yes. The kid needs help – but what’s all the judging about? Don’t the majority of our kids need some king of help? *Snap! Majority society awaken! The answer to that question is yes.
THESE ARE CHILDREN! Casey is not a hero. In fact, we might be setting Casey up for a big fall.
* i wish i could have done that in middle school. Your awesome dude.
* GOOO CASEY!!!! YOU’RE AN AMAZING HERO!!!
* Casey you a hero to those who were bullyed at school. Your people champion!!!
* casey he’s really a smart kid the things he says are very humble, good job casey great interview
Casey’s needs to be given the opportunity to learn the same skills. He needs to learn to communicate assertively, to very quickly stand up for himself verbally in order to keep from getting to the point where he explodes once again. Understand, we all love Casey, right? But is the world ready to provide him (or the next “victim”) with the lifelong support they will need if the other person happens to be killed and they are charged? *Snap! Majority society awaken! The answer to that question is no. If that had happened, Casey still might be made a hero….but he likely wouldn’t be smiling so wide. Support on facebook when you’re in jail only goes so far.
I have some other questions. Who is doing the video taping? Who is egging this Ritchard on during the video? Why aren’t any questions being asked about the role of the bystanders? Do I seem angry? Yeah? That’s because I kind of am. But I’m also hopeful…because these young men talking about their experience has the potential to help us all…if we use it properly.
After note: I haven’t even addressed the language in the youtube comments. Again, I say, shame on us.
We’re working on addressing this, over at http://bullyoutreachproject.com and on facebook at http://artist.to/stake-out/