Bully for you

The Compass - - OPINION -

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 gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.