I've been seething about this story for a while, but after watching Dr. Phil just now, I felt compelled to post about it. I just wanted to send out a prayer to the family of Phoebe Prince, the 15 year old girl who committed suicide presumably because of intense bullying. It's a sad commentary on the state of our world and our young people, and it's just as sad story period.
I've always wondered what exactly it is that makes people feel they have the right to torment others. I'm sure it's a combination of bad/lax/inefficient parenting, a lack or moral teaching, entitlement issues, peer pressure...many things. But no matter how you slice it, no matter what sort of label you want to put on it or how you want to make excuses for it or defend, it's just. plain. wrong. End of story. There's NO excuse for pushing someone to the brink of ending their own life. The shit ISN'T FUNNY. These demented prick children and their brain-dead gaggle of followers even went so far as to create an entire Facebook page MOCKING the girl's death, and that doesn't include all of the sickeningly evil, disgusting comments that people made on her own memorial page.
I have heard some vile, despicable, evil and demented things in my life, but this is among the lowest.
There are so many failures here it isn't even funny. The school, and even the entire district, failed Phoebe. We as a society failed this girl. It doesn't seem that a DAMN THING has been learned from the Columbine tragedy, and that was more than 10 years ago. People knew what was going on with those guys...school officials had been warned that something might happen, but it all went on deaf ears. Phoebe's mother tried to get help from school administrators, but was sadly met with indifference, disbelief, and bureaucratic bull.
I wish I had 5 minutes alone with those so-called "Mean Girls". Somebody needs to show them what "mean" REALLY can be. I swear that none of them would last 15 seconds in some schools...the whole thing infuriates me to the point of a migraine.
I was bullied relentlessly in Jr. High school. It lasted from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, five days a week, every week until the end of the year, BOTH years. Prior to that, I had NEVER been bullied -- on the contrary, I was always the one that people came to for defense from bullies. I won't go into all the details here, but it was torture every day. I can't begin to tell some of the things that went through my head during that time, and when I look at Phoebe's story I can ONLY say 'there but by the grace of God go I'. It could've been me. It should've been me by many definitions, but thankfully I'm still here.
As horrible as my situation was, it almost pales in comparison to what some kids face these days. I was tortured relentlessly, but at least we didn't have the internet to worry about, or at least not in the same capacity that we have it now. Social networking has exploded since then -- I didn't have to contend with the big, scary mean bully girls AND Facebook & MySpace attacks AND lurid texts AND Tweets and all the other anonymous bullshit of today. In the same shoes, who can say how they would've reacted? Phoebe took the wrong way out -- in my mind, there's no question there, and no matter HOW dark the storm, it will PASS. But I understand her actions to such a degree that it literally makes me feel sick to my stomach. My heart bleeds for that girl, and for every other young person driven to such an end.
I am so goddamn sick and tired of this whole "Mean Girl" mentality -- it isn't even seen as a bad thing anymore. Those girls are cool and sexy and fun and trendy and mean and vicious...and people eat it UP. It's all just some big goddamn joke. School administrators have their heads in their asses...they're too worried about test scores and funding to pay attention to REAL issues going on in their own schools. Teachers have been lamenting these problems for YEARS -- they're on the battlefield and in the trenches and on the front line EVERY DAY and they see so much of these things that go on. And while some of them could be more diligent and are too lax with discipline, most of them simply have their hands tied; corporal punishment is non-existent, and you can barely even raise your goddamn VOICE at a kid now without getting slapped with a lawsuit. There's only so much they can do, but they MUST do more. And the administrators MUST do more. The parents ABSOLUTELY must do more -- be more involved in what's going on with their kids. They want to act like their children are perfect, well-behaved little angels, but they don't realize that they're the Devil's angels, not ones of sparkling light and peace and song.
I understand that many parents today know little or nothing of the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, and other social networking bullshit, but they HAVE to become informed. Once upon a time there were no televisons or VCRs, but parents had to learn to adapt to those technological wonders and get with the times. They had to be diligent and learn about different tv shows and movies and what effects they were having on their kids. Eventually we got Parental Controls, but that's only HALF of the answer -- a parent still has to be there physically, and many of these pussy parents of today haven't a clue. Not one damn clue.
Villages don't raise children anymore...whorish celebutantes do. Facebook Friends do. School cliques do. ANTM does. Are you fucking kidding me? Where are the examples? Where are the REAL role models? And somebody for the love of Christ, Buddha, and Vishnu tell me WHERE THE HELL IS DISCIPLINE? People are so damn afraid of coming across as "mean" or hurting someone's fragile little feelings or even getting sued that discipline -- REAL DISCIPLINE, not standing in a fucking corner for 2 minutes or getting SAC or saying "bad girl!"-- real discipline is just dead with the dodo. It makes me shake my head in disbelief and regret and just plain sadness.
Sometimes I sit around and think about what my future children will look like, how smart they'll be, or talented or funny. And then I have to ask myself if it's even FAIR to bring a child into this world. What sorts of challenges would they face? I'd like to believe that I'd be involved and be vigilant like my own mom was when I was growing up...but would it be enough? If someone tormented my child the way I was tormented, or the way they tortured Phoebe Prince, then heaven help them ALL -- I don't know WHAT I'd do. I'd most likely end up in prison, I can tell you that.
I want to believe that this fake, plastic, shallow, overly-sensitive, disillusioned society that we live in will evolve into something we can all be proud to be a part of, something that the gods themselves would smile upon (yours, mine, all of them). I want SO BADLY to believe that we can redeem ourselves somehow and at least begin to correct the grave mistakes and miscarriages of justice of the past. I want to believe...I want to have hope and faith in that. But I don't see it happening in my lifetime. Maybe it will take another couple of generations, once these kids' kids' kids are older and have children of their own, and once the internet and social networking are mere afterthoughts. Parents will be used to having to parent in these new and different ways, and they'll be able to look back on us in disbelief. Maybe they can usher in a new Golden Age, a social Renaissance, if you will. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments." ...
...I guess I'll have to be tormented a little longer, then.