As the father of young children, today's news of the 12 year-old girl who committed suicide -- after months of ongoing bullying by classmates and apparent inaction by the girl's school -- is horrifying to me.
But we all know, from observation or experience, that unfortunately bullying exists, that kids do it to kids, but just as much that adults do it to other adults. And we know that it's not right.
If you would discipline your own child for bullying a younger sibling, for example, then it what way is it justifiable for an adult to intimidate or talk down to a classmate or co-worker, for example? It's not. The difference is that children expect to be admonished for bad behavior, while adults often resent being called out and judged for the same bad behavior.
In this land of the free, people want to be free to be assholes without being judged for it. "It's a free country, I can talk [to you] how I want," is the refrain from an impetuous grown-up whose behavior is no better than an undisciplined child. This is the culture we have created!
In our reality-show culture (with a reality-show star as our leader), there are those who feel entitled to talk shit to other people and demean them as a show of strength, not realizing that bullying is actually a sign of major weakness.
And as the heartbreaking story at the top clearly demonstrates, it's not just a matter of civil behavior. It's a matter of people's quality of life, well-being, and even their lives.
But no matter. I can step into Family Court or a SEPTA bus or probably any number of workplaces in Philadelphia and find adults talking to other adults in shitty ways, all in the name of "freedom." And this young girl, Mallory Grossman (God bless her soul) is dead as a result of the same pathetic behavior.