One of the theories or assumed motives that go around every time a school shooting happens is the shooter was bullied as a child or teenager.
We get it. Bullying in America is a serious issue, but are the bullies the issue or the children who cannot stand up to them?
Every single human has good and bad in them. The problem is sometimes humans, especially children, do not know right from wrong or the basics of anger management, making peace difficult to achieve.
When we ask an upset child not to act on their impulses because hurting others is wrong, we might think that we are protecting the other children from being bullied. However, what the angry child understands is repression. Children do not understand fairness. Children understand consequences.
The bullied children grow up to be what people classify many millennials as: snowflakes. We were taught that violence is bad and we did not want to fall to the same level as the bullies. Nonetheless, we did not defend ourselves. Instead, we hoped the adults would do something about it. However, at best, the bully would get a slap on the wrist and the adult would tell you to ignore them and that what the bully says does not matter.
When you are a child being bullied, you do not want to hear a parent who is trying to make you feel better say, “What they said doesn’t matter,” because it might just be the most important thing that affected them that day. It mattered to that child.
From both points of view bullying is wrong, but it is also not being approached correctly.
As a person who was bullied as a child, I do not wish that someone told the bullies bullying was wrong because that was done plenty of times, and it obviously did not work. I wish I had been told to defend myself. Not necessarily violently, because I was mostly verbally abused, but to at least know that I did not have to just sit there and take it. There were very few times in which I stood up for myself, and it felt great. In one of the occasions, the bully never even looked my way again.
Children need to be taught how to defend themselves because life is not fair and neither are other humans. Teaching them to ignore the problem only allows the abuser to think they can get away with it. Of course, nobody wants to have the child cross the line and become bullies themselves. However, what good is sheltering them so much if they will grow up with traumas because they were bullied as children.
When you teach children to defend themselves, there is the chance they may get in fights. There is also a chance that bullies may never bother them again because they know they are not going to sit there and take their bullying. Bullies only learn the consequences of bullying when people stand up to them, and they have had enough fights to get the aggression out of their system.
When you grow up fighting, then you learn consequences. You learn that people get hurt. As an adult, you know the dangers of fighting are much more serious than when kids fight. You are more likely to steer away from fighting and unnecessary aggression.