I have never liked bullies. As a child, i was sometimes a target, and the few times i did gang up on someone, i always ended up feeling bad about it.
That doesn't mean i was a shrinking violet, for i'd say my piece and learned that even if my saying something didn't change the situation, it changed the way I felt about the situation. I could say that i had done all i could and move on, perhaps regretting that it hadn't turned out differently, but not living with the regret that i left a stone unturned.
After experiencing several occasions where a group wanted me to say something on its behalf, only to have them abandon me at the critical moment, where i stood to speak and turned around to see no one there, did i learn to say what i did wholeheartedly. If i didn't feel as the group did, i did not volunteer to be spokesman.
I've had a number of occasions since my childhood where i was ostracized for being different, taking the unpopular viewpoint, or for refusing to give in to lunacy. It can seem a rather lonely place, especially right when it's happening, but once things settle a bit, i usually find if not support, then others who have been in that place and give a nod.
I was reminded of that this week when a friend mentioned that he had to unfriend another friend on facebook. Like me, he uses facebook to keep in touch, and as a diversion that adds a light-hearted moment to a work day. One of the people he unfriended earlier was someone i also know; she decided to rant every chance she got when he posted something contrary to her views. Since she is narrow-minded, many things fall into the "right to rant" category. It grew tiresome, and even after he asked her nicely to let it go, she couldn't. So, he did.
From the sidelines, where i was, i could see the pressure building and that neither party looked ready to yield. Neither did, he unfriended her, and she spent quite a bit of cyber ink trying to rally support for her position. Surprisingly, she got it and even now works it into any number of conversations or comments.
I liken it to a bad spill, where there's the initial outpouring of the contents. Once it's spilt, it's spilt. Even then, however, one has a choice about what to do. One can do one's best to clean up the mess, or one can decide to spread the mess around. Even people who get along well will disagree on occasion, and there have been times where i've been on the sidelines and can see validity in both points of view. But when i see someone purposefully spreading the crud around in ever increasingly large circles, i lose respect for that person. They can content themselves to staying in shite all they wish; i have no desire to wallow in such muck.
The internet has given a whole new world for cowardly bullies to have their say, then run away, change their online IDs or ISPs. I can't say how often i've heard others complain about texts their children have received or sent that were bullying in nature. How can they think themselves cloaked when such things can be traced?
When i think back to my younger days with bullies, i find they all seem to be not quite bright and use the bullying to hide an inadequacy. Plus ça change, eh?