I recently read an article about a transgender girl who was being bullied at her high school. I relate to her situation.
I also like how many adults are becoming more and more involved, and caring about the situation. At the time, my personal take on the issue was too cynical to make use of that. Even now, as an adult, I still think that I made the best possible decision for that context.
I figured that the adults in my life were so out of touch with the reality of school-context bullying that it would be counterproductive to involve them. To act decisively they would need proof, which I had no way of supplying. Even then, I doubted that they would act decisively — and any action less than that would send the message to the bullies that they could get away with it, and they’d have simply become more brazen yet.
Bullies respect strength. That wasn’t what adult involvement was likely to convey. So, it was up to me. I don’t like how I dealt with it. I did learn martial arts but I didn’t use my skills in the way I should have. I should have focused on the ringleader and once I was ready, then the next time he bullied me, my self-defensive actions should have been so intense that it would have stopped the issue by hurting and humiliating him so badly that he’d be the one feeling the fear from then on. That wouldn’t have stopped the bullying completely, but it would have helped a lot. To stop it completely I probably would have needed one or two more repeat performances with the 2nd-level ringleaders.
Cultural education of the parents is likely to trickle down to bullying kids slowly, if at all. If we consider cultural sensitivity on a normal curve, then on the low side of the curve are the parents whose own lives are such a mess that they have other priorities than whether or not their own child is bullying others.
For these reasons, I doubt that sensitivity training will have any sort of actual preventative effect on bullying for many decades to come, if ever. The only hope I see for bullied children is for them to take matters into their own hands and to protect themselves vigorously.
A friend of mine has a small stature and was bullied mercilessly at school. He finally got tired of it. He took his dad’s gun to school one day, stuck it in the bully’s ear and announced that the bullying was going to cease from that day forward. It did.
The school’s officials reacted as you would expect. The gun was considered as self-evident evil even though its use was in self-defense. Whatever the school officials did or said didn’t matter to my friend. What did matter to him was that the bullying stopped. He sat through various official lectures, made remorseful faces and utterances etc. but each official act reinforced his premise that the adults were basically clueless and ineffective, and the only way he could secure justice was to act, as he’d done.
Nowadays, schools have an even more anti-gun stance. It has similar effects in schools than it has in non-school areas where the culture and laws are anti-gun. Muscle and size suddenly do matter. So, the bullied kid’s next-best self-defense option is to learn knifecraft or martial arts. These take time.
However, this all assumes that she’s isolated. What if she weren’t?
My fantasy is a situation where she’s not isolated — where a group of school-age transgender avenging angels stand by her and turn the tide and punish the bullies. That’s what this blog post is about.
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Bullying is basically terrorism, and I have an issue with terrorists. Bullying is often a life-or-death situation not because the bullies kill the bullied kid, but because the latter often finds the situation to be so miserable that she takes her own life. Transgender girls seem to be bullied more than most. I relate to that so much that this aspect is my personal focus.
My own sympathy for, and tolerance for, school bullies is: zero. I’d like to start a counter-terrorism task force, of kids who protect other kids. Many of the participants are likely to be transgender kids.
Right now, it’s just a fantasy. However, I have a habit of making my own fantasies come true as much as reasonably viable. Perhaps in a few years’ time, I will fund and set up a counter-terrorism force so that school terrorism a.k.a. bullying stops in the only way I that consider viable: with an overwhelming combination of counterforce plus counterculture so that it’s clear to the ringleader and his cronies that bullying is a bad idea operationally and morally. It’s important that both parts of the message must be delivered at the same time.
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As with all assumptions, the premise that bullying is going on in any particular context requires proof. The first step would be for the counter-terrorism force to personally observe that bullying is in fact occurring. Since they’ll be of school-going age, these observations are likely to be more available than if an adult were trying to observe this. For whatever reason, bullies tend to be very sly about behaving when adults are around and brazen when not, even when other children are around.
This burden-of-proof issue is important not least because misunderstandings can and do happen. For example, Houdini wanted to show off his ability to take a punch to the stomach and be fine after that. One day one such punch from an audience member ended up killing him. The person who had hit him hadn’t intended to do such damage and was simply responding out of morbid curiosity to someone saying “hit me, I can take it.” It’s not the sort of invitation that comes along every day.
When I was a teenager on a school bus trip, one teenage boy basically did the Houdini-trick thing. He conveyed that he was fine with being hit again and again on his bicep. As a teenager, I had a level of morbid curiosity. Although I now know that it was a stupid thing to do, I did hit the boy on the bicep again and again, on the same premise as the audience member had hit Houdini. The boy did indeed not seem to feel pain. At some point it all became uninteresting to me and I stopped. The poor boy, however, did end up with a very bruised arm and his mother was understandably aghast, and was convinced that I’d been bullying her kid even though it was not at all a bullying dynamic that was in effect. Though what I did was a bad idea, it was consensual in the Houdini-and-audience-member sense.
My point is that even seeing someone being hit, and seeing bruises, don’t make for sufficient proof that bullying is taking place. A good counter-terrorism force will need to be trained well so it does not by mistake become the aggressor. It must have solid reason to believe that it is acting in the context of the bullied kid’s temporarily-ceded right to self defense.
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If you think that the events of 9/11/2001 could have been prevented by sensitivity training, this is probably a good place for you to stop reading. Some people choose to be evil and it is inappropriate to appease them. It IS appropriate to oppose them. If you disagree with these points, you’re not going to like this blog post.
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The remainder of this story makes references to Israeli culture and the Israeli paramilitary secret police, the Mossad. I’m a big cheerleader for the essentials of Western Civilization (reason and what results from it). I generally tend to sympathize more with Israeli culture than with Arab culture since the former has more Western influence. That doesn’t mean I endorse everything about Israeli culture or that I fail to see many good things about Arabian culture. As you read on, I suggest you don’t read between the lines as to this point.
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I see a lot of similarity between transgender girls, and Jewish folks. Both groups have been treated badly by others over many years.
For a very long time, Jewish people were ostracized or picked on in many cultures around the world. It’s hard to imagine a worse offender than Nazi Germany. That time-frame seemed to make for a tipping point. The Jewish people were no longer OK with being treated as second-class citizens or worse. They founded their own country. Their Arab neighbors immediately declared war on them. Rather than being annihilated, the State of Israel fought back. It continues to exist to this day, many decades later, even though it is surrounded by hostile Arab states and has iffy support from the US.
Given a scenario in which the country’s safety is threatened, Israel is far more likely to act decisively and openly, with a good adherence to the principle of self-defense. The US equivalent reaction would typically consists of much hand-wringing and a much-watered-down response, with Liberals pushing for pacifism and Conservatives either pushing for compromise (on a principle that should never be compromised upon) or proceeding with subterfuge, i.e., doing the right thing in cloak-and-dagger style, thus ceding the moral high ground to their intellectual enemies. Even when the US does act decisively such as after 9/11/2001, it’s often with a mixed agenda of altruism and pacifism and a self-defeating sense of alleged “fair play” that is in fact unfair to US troops.
If my life depended on one agency’s decisive, principled action, and I could make only one phone call … then I’d call in the Israeli Mossad, not the US CIA. Here’s their seal:
I recall watching a movie about the 1972 terrorist attacks on Isreali athletes at the Munich Olympic games. The Isreali Mossad vowed to methodically track down and kill off everyone who was responsible for these terrorist attacks, however long it might take and regardless of where they happened to be. That’s precisely what the Mossad ended up doing. I like that sort of principled attitude.
This brings me to the subject of transgender bullies. A friend of mine got bullied in high school, with one particular individual being an exceptionally mean specimen. She told me about it, some years later. It was interesting to me how much anger she still felt towards that individual. Being creative and good at project management, I put together a little scenario. If executed, it would have exacted some very intense present-day revenge on the mean person — without initiating violence or involving dishonesty. It’s so well-planned that she has toyed with the idea of actually implementing it, but I’m not keen on masterminding the details. I wrote the high-level plan mostly so that she could visualize the situation and feel better.
Although there can be valid exceptions, I do see some moral, legal and operational problems with revenge, and also with holding an adult accountable for actions that this same person performed as a teenager.
In my opinion, a better way is to deal with the problem in the present time, and with peers involved that are in the same age group.
The best approach, in the long run, is to get the authorities involved so that the system is officially on the side of right, and so that the long arm of official justice eventually throws the book at the bad person. Often, this takes a long time, and those in charge of administering justice might require a vast amount of enlightenment and prodding so as to do the right thing. Still, that’s how the world becomes a better place in the long run, and I’m all for it. Meanwhile, however, I don’t like defenseless folks being left at the mercy of bullies.
This reminds me of a TV show I like a lot. It’s named “The Equalizer.” It involves someone who can be called in to stand by someone who is being hassled by a bad person, in a context where the official sources of help are … well, not much help.
So, thinking ahead … history tends to repeat itself, as to essentials. Here’s what I expect we will be seeing, in the near future.
September 23, 2018
Miss X is a transgender girl at a high school in California that has become a minor war zone, in more ways than one.
She was being continually harassed by bullies. As happens too often, she didn’t report it and tried to deal with it solo until she reached a point of desperation. She called in the “Avenging Angels” — a group of juvenile transgender girls who deal with high school bullying.
Officially reporting to no-one, they are impossible to find unless they want to be found. They are highly skilled in the use of weaponry and martial arts. They combine the physical strength of a partly-male physique with the agility and flexibility of a partly-female physique. Physically, they make formidable enemies. Mentally and psychologically, they have no mercy for bullies. They approach the world with a black-and-white approach to justice. Their cruelty is legendary. Many of them have experienced bullying first-hand and they are determined to administer justice against high-school bullies. They don’t initiate violence but instead they accept the bullied girl’s appointment, and they protect her and watch over her.
In the near future, when she is physically bullied again, they appear and they exercise her ceded-to-them right to self-defense. They count on their ability to vanish after they have struck. If they can’t vanish, they count on their young ages (some of them are as young as twelve and yet highly skilled) to prevent the bureaucratic system from throwing the book at them. As a last resort they can summon the demons of a massive and well-orchestrated public outcry in the name of justice, which is indeed what they mete out.
A natural consequence is that of a Hollywood movie being made, celebrating them as the heroines that they are. Instead, the Avenging Angels already make their own footage and publish their own art in multiple media, including video footage, stories based on fact, posters, music and photographs. An entire subculture has grown around them, and they have helped many stand up to injustice in ways that go far beyond the transgender agenda.
Although their videos are removed from official sites shortly after being published, the distribution is so viral that it’s easy to find many copies of videos that show their work. Their videography is of a high quality. One example shows a scene in which a male bully voices several insults at a transgender girl while a dozen of his cronies jeer in the background. Often, the harassment doesn’t stop there. It involves her being jostled, shoved around, her property being grabbed and thrown about or vandalized in front of her eyes or being stolen outright. Scene after scene of this is recorded until the viewer of such videos is typically bristling for the bullies to get their just deserts.
One more harassment scene takes a new turn when a dozen of transgender teenage girls appear as if from nowhere, in a time and place that’s tactically to their advantage. Their dress code is as unique and individualized as the nose paintings on US warplanes in the Second World War. Some of them are dressed in black, some in pure white, some in ironically cheerful colors including hot pink. Some wear bikinis, some wear catsuits. The material varies … leather, latex, stretch fabric and much else. Some are tall, some are tiny. All are dangerous. As a matter of principle, they like to match themselves numerically against their adversaries instead of outnumbering them. One on one, they confront their adversaries.
Almost always, the bullies initiate physical violence as if on cue, such as by taking a swing at the transgender girl standing in front of them. At that point, all hell breaks loose.
Special immobilizing techniques are used against the main bully, so that he is conscious of his accomplices being methodically disabled until he is finally alone. This mode is drawn out in time for as long as it’s viable. Often, the mere knowledge that he’s now alone is enough to make the main bully collapse into a blubbering mess.
Even if not, the violence unleashed against him is such that it makes the broken bones and disfigurement of his cronies downright pleasant against the graphic and well-recorded, painful and humiliating punishment that the main bully is made to experience. Although he is physically broken, the psychological effects of the medical damage will be much more debilitating and make it unlikely that he’ll be inclined or able to harass anyone ever again. The cruelty is so intense and so vivid that a viewer of the footage is likely to think “wow, I wanted to seem him punished, but that’s too much even for him” but since so many harassed teenage transgender girls take their own lives in extreme anguish, the bullies (as initiators of oft-repeated physical violence) are held to a level of accountability that is barely not a capital offense.
In the Hollywood version of the story, the bully magically develops a conscience for the first time in his life, deeply regrets his actions, expresses them in a way that blends dignity with self-admonishment, and is instantly forgiven. In the real-world version, the Avenging Angels expect no such developments nor are they interested in any epiphanies he might be experiencing. He serves as an example of what happens when someone bullies a transgender girl.
Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War” is said to have stated “kill one to terrorize ten thousand.” Although the bully isn’t killed off, his well-publicized punishment is enough to make other bullies think twice. For the same reasons as one doesn’t poke a stick at a wolverine, then if someone doesn’t want to get mauled, he doesn’t bully a transgender girl.
In rare situations, the bullies anticipated an attack by the Avenging Angels. They discovered the reason why the Avenging Angels spend a significant part of their training by playing chess, literally. The Avenging Angels learn to think of many potential dangers and how to be several steps ahead — or at the very minimum, that one crucial step ahead.
Word is spreading as to bullying of transgender girls being a bad idea. It would be better if all bullying were to cease for reasons of rationality, fairness and cultural sensitivity but the Avenging Angels are not waiting for that. They are expediting the process, and many a bully is experiencing “maybe this isn’t such a good idea” second thoughts as a result.