Life Was Better When You Could Punch Someone

By: Peter Sessum

I am not an advocate of freeform or random violence, however, things were better when you could punch someone in the face without getting fired or going to jail. Of course you couldn’t just hit anyone; that would be wrong. But there was a time when you could punch a bully. After all, that is the only thing that a bully understands.

Remember the phrase, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” Now think back, when was the last time you heard it? It has been a long time hasn’t it? That question was always rhetorical. Not because you are not supposed to answer it but because if you came upon a bully pounding on a smaller kid he never verbalized his answer. Bullies never picked on someone their own size because someone their own size could beat them up.

Punch and consequences
If you came across someone being bullied, you could grab the bully and punch him. It was simple, the bully invoked the law of the jungle where the strong prey upon the weak and he is now subject to that law where someone stronger gets to beat him up. It has deep roots in Guy Code. While you are not defending yourself, you can use violence to defend others. Now, you go to jail. In the letter of the law since you are not in danger, you do not have a right to self defense. Or, since you had to approach the bully, you instigated the violence. And now you have a civil suit on your hands.

Knowing that your actions could get your punched in the face kept men in line. Mainly, it kept the weaker men in line. Without the threat of an ass whupping, the weak have come up with a new form of bullying. It is called “Little Brother Bullying.”

Little brother bully
Quite simply, it is anything that is annoying that you could punch your little brother for. The difference, is now you can’t punch anyone. Some guy keys your car, you want to kick his ass, but that is property damage, not damage to you so self defense is not in play. Even if you know that D-bag isn’t going to pay to fix it, you still can’t do anything. The law says you have to sue him for the property damage, you can’t touch him.

But the worst kind of little brother bullies are the ones who claim it is all in good fun. They harass other people and claim that they are just joking around. If the person gets upset, they are then ridiculed for being too sensitive. There is no escape.

Bully comparison
At the core, being bullied is being singled out for harassment that you do not have the power to stop. Where words or walking away won’t help and the bully does not care the damage or anguish he causes and in fact delights in it.

It is easy when it is a big kid sitting on a little kid’s chest saying, “Why are you hitting yourself, why are you hitting yourself?” If you ask the bully what is going on he would not say, “I am tormenting this kid because he is smaller.” He will almost without fail say, “just having some fun.”

That is exactly what the little brother bully will say. For a pop culture reference, Howie Mandel used to little brother bully Piers Morgan on the show America’s Got Talent. Mandel would relentlessly tease Morgan even to the point of disrupting the show. During breaks, he would move soda machines in front of Morgan’s dressing room door. He would delight in how much it bothered Morgan. When things would go too far, Mandel would tease Morgan for not being able to take a joke.

If Mandel would have thought that at any time Morgan could get up and slug him, the harassment would never have gone that far. But since he knew there was nothing Morgan could do, he kept going. On a day that Morgan was not there to judge, Mandel would forward acts that he knew were bad just so that Morgan would have to see them. Now he is pulling other people into his sick little game. How would you feel if you were being advanced in a competition just so that someone else could eliminate you on national television?

Sharon Osbourne was in on the torment as well. She would say nice things to Morgan and send pleasant tweets, but would egg on Mandel. Bullies often say they are friends of the ones they torment. They also don’t do well when the tables are turned. Take away Mandel’s hand sanitizer for a few minutes and see how he handles it.

Whether traditional or the new little brother type, bullies only understand one thing… a bigger bully. The tragedy is, when someone does get sick of a little brother bully, they will not have the skills to defend themselves.

Take it to the woodline
In the military, there are not too many little brother bullies. There are, however, plenty of bullies. It used to be that regardless of rank. You could invite someone into the woodline to settle your differences. It was a very, very rarely used tool to settle disputes and like Vegas, what happens in the woodlines stays in the woodline. Once the pair emerges, the dispute is over. Win or lose, you drop it. Often, the winner will gain respect for the loser for standing for what he believed.

Now, too many will hide behind rank to avoid the woodline ass kicking. In Panama, I invited another soldier into the woodline. We were the same level of position, but he outranked me in grade. He kept trying to push me around and finally I asked if he wanted to get off the truck and step into the woodline. But he was just a rank bully and declined even though I was giving up at least 20 pounds in the fight.

There will always be bullies. Until little brother bullying is recognized as a form of harassment, it will continue. This is why things were better when you could deck someone that deserved it. Not full on random violence, but just punch the guy that is going out of his way to tick you off and delights in it. If I were in his shoes I would have quit long before Morgan did. It is not worth going to jail for decking a douchebag on national TV.

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