Bully for you
If you rummage among the DVDs in a Walmart “Sale” bin you might find a copy of “Shane,” a western filmed more than half-a-century ago in 1953. For some of us folk of venerable vintage, “Shane” is the quintessential western.
Seeking a peaceful life, Shane, a weary gunfighter who has hung up his gun, rides into a quiet valley and settles down with homesteader Joe Starrett and his family. Of course, it turns out the valley is anything but peaceful and quiet.
Ryker, a heavy-handed cattleman, is bullying the settlers, forcing them to sign their small holdings over to him. Some of them resist. The most stubborn holdout is Joe Starrett.
One day while buying supplies in town, Shane, in his new guise as Joe Starrett’s unassuming hired hand, is backed into a fight with one of Ryker’s bully boys. Shane kicks his ass. His attention drawn to Shane, Ryker makes some inquiries and learns of Shane’s gun-slinging past. Fearing Shane might become the homesteaders’ champion, Ryker hires himself a gunman, a nasty piece of business called Wilson who immediately starts leaning murderously on the settlers.
“Harry, my never-to-be-a-cowboy honey,” says Dearest Duck, probably with fond memories of us cuddling on our chesterfield while Shane resisted Ryker’s henchmen on television’s Late Show, “why are you dredging up that old movie?”
“It came to mind the other day, my Duck, while I was visiting Mr. Google’s house and happened across something called the Pink Wrist Campaign.”
“Isn’t that an anti-bulling awareness program or something of that nature?” “Indeed, my Duck,” say I. After spending 10 indepth minutes reading about the Pink Wrist Campaign, I brewed a cup of Tension Tamer and hove off in my Lay-Z-Boy to reflect upon the perennial nature of bullying.
That’s when Shane popped into my noggin.
Schoolyard bullying, it seems, is a problem nowadays, especially in urban schools with large numbers of students. That’s not to say, however, the school yard is the only place bullying makes life miserable for people bullies hound.
Bullies have existed ever since Cain clocked his brother Abel with the jawbone of an ass, or whatever.
Even if it’s roots are biblical, bullying isn’t right. Never. Programs such as Pink Wrist strive not only to highlight the problem bullying continues to be, but also hopes to address the problem and offer methods designed to combat bullying.
Schools — God love their hallowed halls — are ever vigilant in the stand against bullies. Sure they are. From the tiny seats of kindergarten to the scarred desks of high school, students are taught to work together to smother bullies with … well, I s’pose, with ways and means to channel harmlessly their misbegotten aggression.
A spell ago one of Pop’s girls came home from school — from grade 4 or 5 or 6; my, how the years fly — wearing a pink T-shirt saying something like, “I stopped a bully today.”
She’s a mite of a thing and the Tshirt hung past her knees but the message was clear.
All hands band together to stop bullying, eh b’ys?
Sadly though, bullies still tromp around like ogres. They push and pull and often punch their weaker victims. They sneer and scoff and hurl those sticks and stones that, while they might not break bones, do hurt right to the heart. All this brings me back to Shane. “And about time,” says Dearest Duck, who, like a dandelion in a manicured lawn, can be both beautiful and bothersome.
Shane tries his damnedest to prevent Ryker from riding roughshod over the homesteaders, and to disarm dastardly Wilson without beating him at his own game, so to speak.
Even if you’ve never seen the movie you can guess what happens. Wilson shoots and kills innocent folks until Shane can stomach it no longer. Pestered beyond his heart’s content, Shane eventually straps on his gun, meets Wilson in the street — or wherever; I don’t rightly remember — and shoots him down.
Yet that’s not the way it should be. Fighting fire with fire invariably creates an inferno.
The Pink Wrist Campaign and other programs of that ilk seek civiler means of defusing bullies, of dowsing their fire with buckets of water.
Hopefully, the pinks are winning the fight [!] against bullies. Hopefully, a day will come when Shane can hang his gun belt on a peg and leave it there, eh b’ys?
Thank you for reading. — Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org