Thursday, December 14, 2017
Should you send money to a "gofundme" page for someone who appears to be a victim? Probably not.
In the recent news, a "controversy" about an online video about an appealing kid who describes being bullied. The controversy was that someone started a gofundme page and raised $60,000 for the kid, and a professional wrestler claims that he called the mother of the boy and she asked for money. There are also claims she posed with a confederate flag - I guess our sympathy for boys whose mothers pose with confederate flags is less or something.
Of course, this is amateur hour here. Think back to the bullied school bus monitor case near Rochester, NY, where a bus monitor, whose job was to keep a lid on bullies was in turn, bullied and people raised money for her - $650,000 in fact, plus a free trip to Disney. Hey, bully the fuck out of me, willya? For nearly 3/4 mil, I'll put up with all the mocking you can dish out.
It is gratifying to see that people care about their fellow citizens enough to send money to them over the internet. On the other hand, it strikes me as one of those meaningless gestures that people make - like donating old shoes to hurricane victims, which end up in a landfill somewhere, after the Red Cross spends $75 shipping them to Puerto Rico. People mean well, but they often are not very efficient in their largess.
There is also something disturbing about this victim mentality. Bullying sucks, lets be frank about that, and as someone who was bullied, I get that. The nice thing is, 30 years later, the bullies turned out to be losers - stuck in dead-end jobs, dead-end marriages, or working for low wages and generally having a sucking life. Some committed suicide. One fellow who used to taunt me, drove his car out onto the lake in March - and fell right though the ice and died. This didn't make me happy, it made me sad.
But time heals all wounds, and the perspective of time has taught me why bullies bully. They came from broken homes, or are beaten by their parents. They weren't very bright and struggled in school. They have no future - or a bleak future, if any. Most never left my hometown. In fact, none did. They pick on people they perceive as "different" or happy or successful or going somewhere. They are envious. They are sad, sad people.
What is sad to me is that kids kill themselves over bullying. They cannot see beyond the four years of high school to a different world where all the things that make them "different" now, make them valuable later. Being a science geek in high school marks you for abuse. But in college and the job market, it marks you for success. Meanwhile, the jock who bullied you in high school, breaks his knee in his freshman year at college, and his dreams of an NFL career are dashed (if they ever had a realistic expectation in the first place - many try, few are chosen).
But getting back to victimhood, there is something going on here that I can't quite put my finger on, but seems to be a trend. And while the Mom in the case in the news doesn't seem to be intentionally whoring for money, there have been others in the past who have concocted scenarios of bullying or racial or other hate incidents (spraying graffiti on their own car, for example) apparently to get sympathy. Or some do it to get money. The world is a strange place and people do strange things.
And I guess that is where I am going with this. If we elevate victimhood as the new paradigm, then maybe more and more people will posit themselves as victims. Hey, it certainly was profitable for that bus monitor lady in Rochester, right? $650,000 isn't chump change - and certainly a good days pay for a half-hour of being called "fatty."
I am not sure that posting YouTube videos or starting gofundme pages is the right answer. The right answer would be for schools to start taking this sort of stuff seriously - because it can escalate into deadly violence, particularly if gang-related. Maybe all that energy should be concentrated on eliminating bullying in schools, rather than showering money on selected individuals.