Sunday, January 26, 2014

Death of a Bully

When I started writing in this blog, I wanted to make it a visual thing... using photography... to mostly talk about photography.  Sometimes, I get in the mood to write, and this blog is my only outlet.

I don't write too much on Facebook.  Lots of people there who get butt-hurt over the easiest of things.  Also I wanted to write about something from my High School days, and there are people on Facebook who may know what I'm talking about.  I digress.

There's been a lot of talk lately about Bullying.  They talk about it on news shows.  They show videos on TV of kids bullying other kids.  It's sad.  I can talk about this subject because I was bullied in school.

My mother did a good job of sheltering and protecting me from what can only be described as real evil in this world.  There comes a day when the child leaves the house, and confronts real world evil.  I wasn't prepared.  I couldn't understand why someone would want to hurt someone for no reason.  I tell my son "there are bad people out there".  And they are out there.

I've been trying to remember a time frame for when it started.  I think I was probably in the 4th or 5th grade. Maybe 9 years old.  Zane was the neighborhood bully.  Can a child be evil at 9 years old?  I think so.  Without going too deep into the "why" aspect, from my experience in law enforcement, I believe that some people have a lack of conscience.  Some people call it a lack of a soul.  They seem to be unable to feel remorse, no guilt, and no ability to feel empathy for their victims.

The first experience I remember was when I had gotten a new bicycle.  Having a bike back then was a big deal.  It was like freedom for a kid.  You could move around the neighborhood.  It's like the same feeling when you get your first car.  I was riding my new bike down the street, and suddenly I was confronted by Zane.  He said something about it being new.  I remember he pushed me off the bike.  Then he picked up the bike, and slammed it down on the street.  I seem to remember it bent the handlebars, and the front fork.  I can't remember if I said something, but I remember getting hit in the face.

I never told my mother about that experience.  I think I told her the damage came from a wipeout on the bike.  It wouldn't be the first experience I had with Zane.

For the next few years, I began to see a pattern of behavior with Zane, and some of the other bullies that he ran around with.  They zero in on kids who are different.  Different from them.  If a kid has a different hair color, different skin, acne, fat, whatever.  I've always said that "hate" is a very bad word, but I think it was pretty accurate to say that I hated Zane.

In a very strange twist of fate, years later I became a police officer.  I had the ability to make bullies accountable for their actions.  There is no greater feeling than arresting some douchebag who has been beating his wife, child, or someone smaller and weaker than he is.  In the back of my mind, I always said a little karma prayer that someday my police radio would send me to Zane.  Then I could whisper in his ear in my best Clint Eastwood voice, "Remember me, asshole?"

Patient as I was, I never got that chance.  Fate had different plans for Zane, it seems.  I hadn't even thought about him for years, although the sting of his punches were still vibrant in my memory.  Then, out of the blue I came across his name.

I was communicating with some people on Facebook, organizing stuff for a class reunion.  One of the people who went to school with me told me in a message that he was dead.  That startled me.  I asked her for more information.  She told me that he was murdered.  Shot in the head.

Here's where it gets difficult for me.  I have always had respect for people, even the ones I don't care for.  I remember my grandmother always whispering to me that one should never speak ill of the dead.  It's just something that a gentleman doesn't do.  But for anyone who is reading this, I'll confess my sins:  I wanted to throw a party and do a little happy dance.

There.  I said it.  I'm a bad person... maybe.  The cop in me is not satisfied though.  I learned a long time ago to always double check information that people give you.  Google is a nerd's best friend.  So far, I haven't found any news story that confirms his death, or the manner of alleged death.

I'm left with questions about this person.  I wonder if a bully ever changes?  Was he a bully all his life?  Did one of his victims confront him with a gun? (before you raise an eyebrow, I have lots of alibis... it wasn't me)  So far in life, I've seen very little evidence that people ever change at all.  The person they were at nine years old, is the same person they are at 51.  Maybe a little taller, and different hair color.  I'll wager you that alive or dead, he still has no soul.  

I never got to whisper in Zane's ear.  I never got the opportunity to tell him that although he probably doesn't remember me, I will certainly never forget him.

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