To the Bullies Who Knocked my Granddaughter off her Scooter
Published in ChicagoNow, September 24, 2014 (cartoon by Marcia Liss)
Yes, you got away with it. You pushed a young girl off her scooter, I’m assuming because you wanted to steal it. You slapped a young boy who came to her rescue in the face. Then, cowards that you are, the three of you sped away on your bikes when an adult came running over.
The police were called and patiently took a report. But you and I know they will never find you. There are much bigger crimes to pursue than bullying a couple of kids. My guess is that someday you will be committing those bigger crimes. Someday you will be caught.
In the meantime, just on the very slim chance that someone in south Evanston knows who you are, I want to speak to you. You need to know that what you saw as a silly prank or an opportunity to steal something or just a chance to have fun by picking on someone has consequences. Even if you are not caught.
My granddaughter and her rescuer, although traumatized, will recover. But unless someone intervenes, you will continue bullying kids. This will make you feel powerful until it doesn’t. According to the American Psychological Association, one of you will probably have a criminal record by the time you are 30. You are also likely to continue on the path of delinquent behavior to crime and drug and alcohol abuse. Or you can make better choices.
Maybe the adults in your lives don’t know what you are doing when you ride off on your bikes. Maybe they are too busy with the challenges of their lives to worry about these pranks. Most likely, they have no idea you did this. But I am a grandmother who knows what you did and has the time to tell you this behavior is morally wrong and dangerous both to you and your victims.
You are just kids now. You can still make better choices than pushing a girl off her scooter and slapping a boy. There is nothing brave or honorable about doing that.
Perhaps you have been following what’s happening in the NFL lately. Even being a star athlete does not excuse abusing someone else. If Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson can be brought down for being super bullies, what do you think will happen to you?
Everyone knows that kids who are bullied suffer in many ways. But bullying can do long-term harm to the bullies as well. You may be popular and powerful now. But if you continue exploiting your status to intimidate the others, as you move into your high school years and beyond, you will come up short socially and academically. According to experts, eventually, it will be the bystanders like the boy you slapped who will be your undoing. As they stop tolerating your bullying behavior, your status with your peers will diminish. Someday, you will be the losers.
Can you handle that truth?