[Ed. Note: The YouTube video referred to is below. Understand that it is included for reference purposes only. The language used in it is very raw and not suitable for polite society].
My domestic tranquility has been disturbed by recent events, so I have decided that today I am going to use this forum to address the very serious problem of bullying in schools, specifically American middle schools and junior high schools. As a cat, I have a special understanding of bullying – we are the bullies of the animal world! What other animal will casually jump up on your dining table, stick their head in your plate, and start eating your food – and then scratch you if you dare try to push us away?
I understand the craziness of those teenage years; we have all been there. However, the craziness that prior generations experienced has been compounded by technology. Once upon a time embarrassing incidents reached a limited audience and could be quickly forgotten; now, they are videotaped using smart phones and uploaded to YouTube for the entire world to see. Today, I would like to speak of one particular bullying incident that has been uploaded to YouTube. I think you all know which one I am referring to: the bullied bus monitor, Karen Klein. I am hoping this message reaches those who were on the bus that day – those who participated in the bullying, and those who stood by and did nothing – as well as the parents of those students. This open letter is for them:
Hi! My name is Tazi-Kat, and I write an advice column for humans. I have dealt with many letters on various subjects, from how to hang the toilet paper (over or under) to important parenting issues. Today, I have an important question for you: Are the children in this video the type of person you raised your child to be? If so, this must be your proudest hour, and I congratulate you on reaching your penultimate goal of raising a self-centered bully who puts others down so they can feel good about themselves (or, as PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat.com would call them, a [feminine hygiene product] canoe. Yes, I was being kind just now; much worse things are being said about your child. Tell me, how does that make you feel? Offer as many excuses as you would like; I have heard them all before. The truth of the matter is that your child’s behavior rains shame upon you. That ugly, angry feeling you have in the pit of your stomach should be directed inward, not outward; there is no defense for how your child acted.
Your daughter called Miss Karen fat? I would like to see her figure after she has grown up and had a few children of her own. I want to be there when her husband tells her that she needs to lose weight because he no longer finds her sexually attractive and is embarrassed to be seen with her in public. If you think that no man would ever have the stones to do that, think again. I have received several letters on the subject, not just the one linked here. Mothers, maybe you should ask your husband what he honestly thinks of your figure. Or better yet, ask your child or any one of their friends who was on that bus – none of those kids seemed to have a problem with expressing their unvarnished opinions. Or is that kind of truth just too painful for you to hear? You may not be overweight, but I am certain you have some tender insecurities about your looks. How would you like it if your child exploited them for entertainment, and then posted video of it on the Internet? Do you now have an inkling of a clue as to the cruelty your precious child inflicted upon an elderly woman?
Before you say that your child would never have participated in such cruelty, listen closely to the video. Is your child’s voice on it? Is that their laughter? Every mother knows the sound of their own child, so do not try to deny what you are hearing. Even if it is not your child that you hear, all that this means is that he or she sat idly by and watched the abuse take place. Either way, you have done a bang-up job raising such a fine, upstanding young citizen! (I do hope that you understand my sarcasm. I would hate for this message to be lost to abject ignorance).
Speaking of this cruel video – which, in case you have not noticed, is over ten minutes long – I would like to know which child filmed it. Was it your child? I am wondering how you have decided to punish him or her. Please tell me that you have taken away their iPhone, or whatever smart phone they used to document and upload the entire event. Please tell me you have revoked their Internet access for even thinking it was okay to upload this type of filth to the web. Most of all, please tell me that you did not raise your child to be this kind of person. To paraphrase a line from the movie Animal House, inhumane and stupid is no way to go through life.
To those of you who sat and watched the bullying unfold, I have a few questions for you, too. Why did you just sit there? Were you afraid someone would start picking on you? Were you glad to see someone other than you was being bullied for a change? It takes a lot of courage to be a hero; courage that none of you have. Please do not try to defend your reputation now; your cowardice is painfully obvious. As news that you were on that bus travels (and believe me, it will travel) this event will become as painful for you as it was for Miss Karen. The world will know all of you for what you are: cowards and bullies, devoid of character. Care to put that nugget of information on your college application essay? I think that is something admissions counselors would like to know, so don’t try to pass yourselves off as anything different, or try to excuse your behavior as the folly of youth. The world looks poorly upon liars, too.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to address the person in charge on that bus. No, not the bus monitor; the bus driver. I want to know what, in the name of all that is sacred, were you thinking! Why did you not stop the bus? Were you in a hurry to get home and watch Oprah re-runs? Miss Karen is your co-worker, your partner in keeping order on that bus! You did worse than those who sat back and did nothing – you just kept on truckin’, like nothing was out of order. You disgust me the most of all, because you are supposed to be the adult, yet you acted no better than any of the children in your charge. You could have stopped the abuse; taken names; and reported the incident to the school principal who had disciplinary jurisdiction over the matter. I guess getting home five minutes faster was more important to you than standing up for your co-worker, who was obviously raised during a time when women were taught to take the abuse rather than stand up to it. Your behavior perpetrates the cycle of abuse that needs to end. How does it feel to be a part of the problem? I hope your employer and union boss both remember this incident when it comes time to renew your contract.
I am fairly certain that my words will not reach the ears of those who need to hear them, and that even if they do those involved will probably fail to recognize their part in this travesty. However, just in case this letter does reach you, I want you to know that even in my anger I have remained relatively kind towards you; telling it like it is without the use of obscenities or sexual slurs (but only because I advertise a family-friendly column). I have said my piece, and am done. The rest of the world is prepared to spend the rest of your lives judging you, and the court of public opinion can be a lot harsher than I have been here. If you think I am exaggerating, think again. Thanks to that YouTube upload, your actions will be haunting you for the rest of your life. For Miss Karen’s sake, I hope that none of you ever decide to run for President while she is still alive because she does not need to relive the horror of that video being played over and over during your campaign, a tool of your opponent to remind the world of who you are and what you did. As it is, I am sure Miss Karen will be reliving the horror of it every day for a long time. The world can be a cruel place, but you do not need me to tell you that. I have a feeling you are about to find out on your own just how much the world hates someone who picks on a Grandma.
I hope that the $500,000+ in donations that Miss Karen has received, offered to finance a well-deserved retirement, is a reminder to her of the kindness of strangers; not the cruelty of acquaintances.
Extra Snuggles to Miss Karen; Paw-Slaps of Disgust to the rest of you (with my claws out),
Photo courtesy of ICanHasCheezeburger.com
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.