I usually view all use of force cases and ask, “What lessons can I learn from this incident?” If you haven’t seen this viral video, it has caused quite a stir, with many opinions being shared.
Now you might laugh and believe there is nothing to learn from this, but I believe it illustrates a point I have seen in real life again and again. In this video a larger young man (Casey) is struck several times by a string bean of a boy (Richard).
The larger boy takes the assault for a short while and simply defensively deflects the blows as they are delivered. He initially seems to be annoyed as the ineffective strikes connect with his face and body.
However, I believe he was being patient and waiting for the opportunity to strike back, and strike back he did. Casey had enough, and Richard paid the price for all the bullies that have tormented Casey. The school suspended both boys for fighting (zero tolerance at work), regardless of the fact that Casey clearly acted in self defense.
Yet, the evidence never stops the critics. The critics have opined that Casey used too much force. That he was trying to cripple the bully. And others have said violence is never the answer to an assault, to which I say, in a boy’s world, it is definitely an option. When a bullied young person responds with aggression, he often forces the bully to respect him even if he doesn’t win.
There are many issues surrounding this incident that may apply to you:
Violence can happen without warning. What are you prepared to do?
If you use force to stop aggression, are you prepared for the critics (law enforcement, church members, prosecutor, fellow team members).
Do you recognize the necessity for training? In a stressful environment, “over-reaction” is very possible. A trained response to aggression is often delivered more effectively, and minimizes the possibility you may “over-react” and severely damage the aggressor (i.e. pick up the aggressor and body slam him).
Do you know what your options to aggression are? What is permissible? How should you report the incident? Were there better ways to respond?
It is difficult to respond without emotion, especially when you are afraid. Fear robs us of the ability to respond effectively, and empowers us to do more damage. On the other hand, repetition of action hard wires a response into our brain. When we experience the aggression against us, our bodies respond on auto-pilot if we have put the work in while training.
Although your response may be appropriate, it may not “look good” to witnesses. Will you be able to articulate why the actions of the aggressor called for a violent response?
Please note, common law affords us the right to defend our safety and the safety of innocent people. Legislatures around the country have stated an affirmative defense to assault is when a person acts in defense of oneself, and the church has articulated a position for just war.
I developed a program a few years back where I taught women and children how to recognize danger and respond assertively and aggressively if necessary, and I teach my children never to begin a fight, but if someone is attempting to harm them to never let it happen and respond quickly and effectively with precision violence if possible. After all, bullies choose their targets based upon whether they believe the target will offer resistance. My children have been taught to help bullies realize they chose the wrong target.
If bullies (criminals) encounter resistance, strong resistance, they will usually back down and/or cease the attack. This has been demonstrated time and again in school shootings, church shootings, robberies, and violent encounters. Conveniently, the media rarely reports all the successful citizens that repel violence by using violence.
For the brothers that advocate turning the other cheek, I am sorry, I don’t believe God wants innocent people harmed. Place that verse in context…if I am minding my business and am assaulted for no reason, I don’t think that verse applies. At the very least, he hasn’t made me this way. If I am a witness to injustice, and do nothing, I believe I am not doing God’s will.
My point? It is simply this: training is the difference between reacting well and reacting poorly.
My opinion on the bullying incident? Richard, “The Bully” wasn’t injured too severely. Although it looked bad, I am sure young Richard will think twice before he strikes a larger child, and remember the pain (humiliation and physical pain) he experienced. He was looking for trouble, and he surely found it.
Casey is a strong young man, and I applaud his efforts. Hopefully, this has cast him in a different light with his school mates and they leave the boy alone.
I welcome your comments below. Feel free to tweet this or post to your Facebook page.