Friday, September 24, 2010
In this book, Jodi Picoult masterfully provides the reader with enough insight into the villain that the reader is able to also see him as a tragic victim.
About the time I finished reading Nineteen Minutes, I heard a news story about a father, James Willie Jones, who had stormed a school bus to confront and scold students for harassing his 13-year old daughter who has cerebral palsy. He later apologized:
"At that time, I was a bully. And I apologize again for that. If you see the tape, I feel like I was backed up against the wall as a parent. I just didn't know where else to go. We definitely don't want to promote that. We don't want vigilantes going on buses, threatening kids, because kids have rights too."
YouTube Clip of Mr. Jones's Apology
Bullying isn't new in our society. Though the teasing in my life has been minimal, I do remember being teased in school about silly things - what I wore, braces, being a band freak, goody-two-shoes, skinny-minny. Still, I remember the hurt I felt.
Has bullying gotten worse, or does it seem that way only because of the added exposure it receives with 24 hour news coverage? Sadly, the consequences do seem to be getting worse: school shootings, suicides.
I see varying degrees of it everywhere, not only with school-age children. It exists between adults, too, on television reality shows, in politics, on radio talk shows. It all leads us to become desensitized to it.
Bullies seem to have lost empathy for how it makes others feel. Isn't that part of what makes us human?