I saw a video by my favorite YouTube vlogger, The Amazing Atheist. He talked about the Amanda Todd tragedy, and his take was actually rather poignant. He got me to think, and I have some responses to questions he asked in the video.
He pointed out that while Amanda Todd’s death is tragic, she isn’t the only one. Kids all over this country are killing themselves after being bullied, and they don’t get the national stage that she has. And people die all over the world from hunger every day. Where are their voices? Well, before we get to that, let’s answer TJ’s questions.
1. What makes Amanda Todd more important than Joel, Kenneth, Rachel and all of the other kids who have been pressured into of taking their own lives because of being bullied? And if she’s not more important — Then why are you focusing on her to the exclusion of all the other victims of bullying?
Well, to be honest, she isn’t more important. I freely admit that Amanda Todd is just one of the many victims. But to the second question, I am not focusing on her to the exclusion of all other victims. I am with Mr. Repzion on this. We need to use her as an example for how this can and is happening to all sorts of other kids right now. I am definitely trying to figure out how to deal with this on a larger scale. Amanda Todd, to me, isn’t so much a martyr, as much as a reminder. She is a reminder that this kind of thing happens all the time, and it goes unchecked, until the shallow society does as many have done with Amanda, and raise her on a pedestal and ignore everything else.
2. Why do you only care about bullying victims after they’ve killed themselves?
Again, I don’t. This happens all the time, and I hate that. I have seen it all the time where I grew up. Back in my hometown, a good 80% of the girls in my school were vicious snakes, and the rest were their victims. I always stood against that. Being a titan of a man, I was able to bring those who were outcast into my fold, and give them a place and a home. But there are many more who I couldn’t help back then, and who I realistically can’t help now. If we are going to use Amanda Todd’s death for anything, it should be to remind people of that.
3. Why isn’t anyone talking about what REALLY needs to be done about bullying?
That’s a good question. TJ brings up a lot of good points. The American education system is broken. That can’t be argued against. I have railed against the broken education system in this country time and time again. TJ’s solutions were pretty simple. 1. We need smaller classroom sizes. Kids are being crammed into these rooms because the government won’t put any real money in education, because clearly, going overseas and killing people is much more important. 2. We need more teachers, and better pay to incentivise teachers to stay. The average turnover rate of teachers is five years. After five years, most teachers give up on the profession because the pay is miniscule, and the work is mind-numbing. No teacher works an 8 hour day. They work a 10, 12, 14 hour day. If they didn’t, there would be no homework graded, no tests corrected, no tutoring, no coaching, no extra-curricular activities of any kind. A teacher has to work their ass off, and they are chipping away at their student loans with pay that is downright pathetic. It is shameful that we pay trained gorilla millions of dollars to throw a football, but we can’t pay the people in charge of the future generations a decent wage. 3. Children shouldn’t be left unsupervised on social networking sites before they can handle what comes with that. 4. We need to teach kids about how to fight against bullying.
TJ makes an especially good point there. You think bullying stops the moment you get out of school? Fuck no! There are a metric ton of adult bullies who use their power over other people to make their lives miserable. Kids should be taught to rely on nobody. Remember that video where these boys were picking on a fat kid, and the fat kid got up and beat the shit out of them? I remember that went viral. Good on the kid who beat them. We should teach kids to be strong, and not to take shit from anybody. It will serve them well in the real world, away from school. 5. Exploration into the root causes of bullying. Yeah, that makes sense. I am with TJ. Anybody who is against bullying should be for that.
4. Hundreds of thousands of people die every day from causes far worse than bullying. Where are their stories?
Yeah, that’s a good point. It is worth pointing out that America love a victim. An American victim who they can latch onto and make into a poster-boy/girl for their cause. And the reality is far more ugly than any of us can hope to believe. My retort, though, would be that one has to pick their battles. If my time being informed and seeing the world go to shit has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t take on the world. One can only charge at windmills for so long before they are broken against it. Now, this issue itself might be too big, but for those like me, who actually do want to do some good, this is far less of a windmill to climb than some of the others. At least, that’s what I think.
TJ pointed out at the end that if the story of Amanda Todd turns things around, he will admit that he is wrong in having contempt for those who have made this girl into a martyr. I would like it noted that I have contempt for them as well, despite how passionate my post about her was. This girl is a victim, and a tragic reminder of how our system has, and is failing. But, like TJ, I don’t think that that will happen. The news cycle will move on. Amanda Todd will be forgotten, Or, as he pointed out, we will pass some pathetic law, probably in her name, that doesn’t even try and solve the root cause of bullying. It merely looks at the symptoms, and thinks that if we patch it up, that’s enough. Because that is how America does. America does what they think is just enough, and won’t cost a lot of money, because non-existent God-forbid that we actually work and make things better. No, that would be just too much of a pain in the ass. Instead, we will do the bare minimum, and that’s it. Because America is the land of the lazy, and the home of the cost-effective.
Accomplishing real progress just isn’t in the fiscal plan for the year.
Until next time, a quote,
“And if you don’t like what I had to say in this video, then I urge you to prove me wrong. Not with words. Not with name-calling. It makes no sense to bully me in the name of anti-bullying. Prove it to me with your actions. Show me that I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about by showing me how really and truly dedicated you are to this issue.” -TJ Kincaid, THE AMANDA TODD SQUAD