Unheroic

Ah, Canada.  Land of moose and squirrel.  But not heroes.  

A boy is reprimanded for standing up to bullies.  It certainly grabs the attention, given our cultural fascination with stomping out bullying.  But let’s not be too hasty in our rejection of bullying and bullies.  The last thing we want is a bunch of people who are willing to risk their own safety for what they believe to be right.  Who are willing to step into a dangerous situation and put themselves at risk.  That’s a dangerous ideal to foster in people.  
We want to eliminate bullying and bullies, but we want to do so in the proper manner.  Not by individuals standing up against bullies, but through education.  Through intimidation.  Through peer pressure.  Through the appropriate channels of authority.  Only those in authority are capable of dealing with bullies.  
We must maintain the proper chain of command at all times.  The proper chain of command is one in which command is never assumed to be something an individual might possess in a specific situation and moment, based on the need to act in defense of an intangible ideal or value.  Our chain of command will identify the bullies for us and will deal with those bullies on our behalf.  We are to remain quiet and acquiescent at all times.  Meek in the face of bullies, lest we provoke them further.  Meek in the face of the chain of command, lest we demonstrate that the chain of command is sometimes inadequate, inappropriate, or perhaps, dare we say it, simply a codified system of bullies.
(End of tongue in cheek commentary.)
There are red flags in this article as well.  The boy seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time to stick up for people.  Heroics when necessary are a good thing.  Heroics at any opportunity might tend to become opportunistic more than heroic, particularly if there are strong incentives to act in a certain way – like trips to Disneyland.  There’s always the chance that there are behavioral issues at play with this boy, that he routinely refuses to utilize appropriate channels when they are appropriate.  But that is only speculation.  
Would it be fair to say that our continuing battle with disturbed people taking out their violence and angers on innocent people is fostered in part by a population that is unable – and unwilling – to confront them, to place ourselves at risk in order to save others?  If we systematically weed out the idea of deeper truths that are inviolable, standards of behavior that always apply – what are we left with?  The idea that we only act/react in our own self-interest, and only if nobody else is going to do so.  
I think it would be very fair to say that.  But that’s probably only because I’m a bully.  

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