The sad case of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old gay kid who committed suicide after being bullied, has inspired Lady Gaga to try to get involved in the situation. She’s insisting that bullying be made illegal. Since she’s a spoiled pop star suggesting an idea that’s about as sensible as wearing a meat suit, she probably won’t have much luck with it. And she certainly shouldn’t.
That being said, I have more empathy for Jamey Rodemeyer and other kids like him because I was bullied in high school and can tell you that it’s a horrible experience. Not only are you afraid that you’re going to be physically attacked, you flinch from the terrible things that are said about you. Worst of all you feel badly about yourself for allowing it to happen. It turns run-of-the-mill experiences — like walking from class to class, getting on a bus to go home, or finding out who’s going to be in your homeroom — into anxious nightmares.
You know why I was bullied? I was a quiet, meek, non-confrontational kid who liked to read and had zero interest in getting in fights. In other words, I was an easy mark. There was really nothing more to it than that. As I look back at it now, I can’t think of a single thing I ever did to merit being bullied. I didn’t mouth off, I didn’t pick on people, I didn’t want any conflict (as opposed to the present, where I’ve learned to revel in political warfare). This is one of the many reasons that to this day I roll my eyes when people say, “Why do they hate us?” I damn well know from personal experience that there are a lot of evil people who will try to hurt you for no other reason than because they think they can get away with it.
Let me also note that the tactics most people advocate to combat bullying are laughably ineffective. If you get bullied, go tell your teacher! Call a bullying hotline!
The reality is that if the teachers were really keeping a close eye on everything that’s going on around the school there wouldn’t be any bullying going on in the first place. The biggest reason bullies can exist is because teachers don’t pay attention to what’s happening most of the time.