In September 2001, the school bully was playing happily in the schoolyard. We will call him Sam, to disguise his true identity. One morning, out of the blue, a friend of one of the children attacked Sam with a catapult and smashed both his knee caps.
Some of the children in the yard hoped that the terrible pain might cause Sam to pause, and take stock of why he was so widely hated, particularly by some of the children who did not share his right-wing fundamentalist beliefs.
This was, they thought, perhaps a chance for a new order to be established in the playground, and for Sam & some lesser bullies to start working constructively with them.
However, sadly this was not to be. Although still unsure who had attacked him or why, Sam lashed out at one of the weakest children, admittedly one who was highly unpopular in the yard, due to his drug dealing, harbouring of terrorists and destruction of works of art.
Some of the other children, who had also been behaving badly, decided to behave better, and stopped fighting or agreed to decommission their weapons.
This suggests that, had Sam behaved in a more constructive way after the attack, much good could have come from the tragedy.
However, the main effect, one year later, has been to reinforce Sam's bullying nature and has made him even more paranoid than he was before. He is continuing to threaten to beat up a number of children who he does not like, and one in particular.
Sam is at this very moment planning a home invasion to destroy the dangerous toys that Sam thinks this lad is hiding in his bedroom. Unfortunately Sam is completely blind to the fact that such attacks will only increase the level of hatred against him, and will surely lead to more vicious attacks such as that last year.
He is so confident of his great size and technological prowess that he completely ignores the advice of most his friends and of the school council. He is convinced that god is on his side and that all the other children should adopt his ideology.
Sam is also the major polluter in the schoolyard, and steadfastly refuses to adopt the pollution control measures agreed by almost all the other rich kids.
In this, as in his intention to destroy more of his enemies, he has one strong supporter from the south of the schoolyard, known as Little John. Little John is too puny to achieve much sway in the schoolyard on his own, and is so keen to have Sam's (somewhat illusory) protection from other bullies, that he blindly supports Sams outrageous activities.
Two-faced Tony who lives to the east of the school swimming pool is also an enthusiastic and unquestioning supporter of Sam.
So why is Sam, who so much wants to be loved, hated so profoundly?
Is it because he supports other bullies, including one who occupies other children's gardens and destroys their camps?
Is it because he enforces vicious sanctions against some of his enemies, causing untold misery to their families?
Is it because of his love of meddling in everyone elses affairs (such as their approach to drugs control)?
Is it because he forces the school council to adopt his policies, despite the fact that he is far behind in paying his fees?
Is it because he is so stingy in assisting the poorer children?
Is it because he imposes barriers to other childrens exports, exacerbating poverty?
Is it because he refuses to ratify the biological weapons convention or to support the international criminal court?
Is it because he forces poor children to eat the (genetically modified) crumbs left after he has finished his lunch (and fed his dog)?
For all these reasons and more.
Can he change his ways? Unlikely.
Can Sam's antics improve the level of contentment in the schoolyard? Almost certainly not. The future is dark and threatening, with a third schoolyard war a real risk.
Moral: if someone breaks your knee caps, try first to understand why and address the causes. Don't kick wildly with both legs, or you will certainly end up on your back.
8 Sept 2002
To see the latest antics of Sam go to :
THE BULLY - CHAPTER 2
For other NO TO WAR - AUSTRALIA Links see: