If you find the following blog of interest - why not take a look at my website. Lots of articles, and information about Personal Safety and Self Defence - Al Peasland, 5th Dan British Combat Association
As a final follow up to my previous two blogs on the Casey Heynes bullying story, I wanted to highlight a few of the points that Casey, so articulately put in his recent interview.
I’ve also posted a video blog of the event, pulling out a couple of points around the act of Self Defence in this situation and how the bullying has most likely gone on for some time leading up to this event. It would seem, judging by Casey’s comments, that we were correct in making that assumption.
So, here goes….
Casey says the bullying has been going on for several years, on a daily basis (at least 4 years during his high school). This was also corroborated by a friend of Casey’s family who kindly took the time to message me via Facebook.
This just confirms our initial assumption that these types of event don’t just happen, there will be lots of bullying and intimidation that will lead up to physical confrontation such as this, usually escalating in magnitude and severity.
The particular bully in the clip had allegedly been involved for the past couple of weeks, starting with teasing and some slapping, until it reached this level of violence.
This is classic “Target Selection” that happens, not only in bullying, but in the vast majority of violent crime, assaults, muggings, street robbery, etc.
Muggers, attackers and bullies are usually quite cowardly and won’t attack someone who they think will retaliate or has the ability to beat them. That wouldn’t make sense and wouldn’t be good for ‘business’. So instead, they “test” their potential victim. In street crime this can be simply to walk past their victim several times to assess if they are switched on or day dreaming and unaware that they are being observed.
Sometimes this can be to ask questions and conduct ‘interviews’ in the street in order to assess their victim’s reactions and state of awareness.
In bullying it starts at a lower level, verbal abuse or psychological intimidation, in order to test whether they have found a suitable victim to continue bullying.
This is why it really helps to be assertive, and take a stand early on before it escalates to a situation where your options are limited and possibly only left with using a violent response.
Casey says in his interview that he didn’t react to the teasing and intimidation, and he believes this is why it continued.
Casey also says that his friends had slowly dissociated themselves from him when the bullying started. A sad fact but one which is worth noting as, his friends will have acted in order to protect themselves from being bullied too. I say “friends” in the loosest possible way, as good friends would stick together, but it shows how groups of individuals can often still think as individuals and take any threats of bullying personally, without being able to step back and consider that sticking together will create safety in numbers and possibly prevent bullying from continuing in the first place.
This is another good course of action during the initial stages of bullying. When it starts, stick together and it will help to prevent it from escalating.
Casey also confirmed that, it was probably because he was now alone, that they continued to pick on him. The bullies had effectively separated out their prey, isolated the one who was proven to ‘not retaliate’ and removed all chances of support and back-up for their victim.
What I have also talked about in my video blog is the act of Self Defence.
Casey states that he acted in Self Defence, and this is something that others have questioned.
I agree, looking at the video from the comfort of our safe homes, we can see other, less aggressive, courses of action that Casey could have taken. Equally, as we have a legal duty to escape at the earliest opportunity if we wish to claim self defence, we could argue that Casey should have run away, pushed his bully back to create some space, or shouted for help; anything rather than picking him up and slamming him to the ground.
However, we have to consider a few things here.
Casey will have been extremely scared, and with adrenalin comes fear and irrational thinking. He may not have even realised there were other options open to him, and we have to take this into account when we sit and judge his actions.
He actually states that “he snapped”, indicating he was no longer acting rationally.
Also, we have to consider Context, as I have mentioned before. Context means, not only do we have to look at the situation played out in the video, but the surrounding factors such as Casey may be acting to prevent further assault or increased severity of violence in the future.
We’ve already seen how, by not retaliating in early, less violent, events, Casey has confirmed to his bullies he is a good choice of victim, and so their bullying campaign continued and escalated. So, Casey knew that, unless he did something different, things would only continue to get worse. This, in my opinion, is good self defence!
What’s also interesting is that Casey says, it all happened really quickly. “He came out of nowhere”
This is a classic statement made by victims of muggings, and street crime the world over. All too often we let our guard down and our awareness slips to allow attackers the opportunity to strike. The element of surprise works in both war and on the street in violent crime. And, when an attacker does surprise you and “comes out of nowhere” you are often then left in a momentary “freeze” state, unable to logically process the situation and your options, and always, your options will be drastically reduced to what they would have been had you noticed the event sooner.
Staying aware means you spot potential attack earlier, leaving you more options on how to react and avoid the confrontation.
What was saddest of all was that Casey says he had contemplated suicide when the bullying was at its worst. To hear that from any child is awful and means we need to look at ALL options on how we can stamp out bullying and not just the views of those at either end of the spectrum.
I’d like to thank Casey and his bullies for giving us all this video to bring to the fore the world of bullying, and highlighting this as an issue that needs to be addressed.
I’d like to congratulate Casey on handling the situation extremely well and also for the way in which he has handled this explosion of media interest.
I thought he interviewed brilliantly and came across as very articulate, intelligent and a gentle human being.
I’ll end my blog with his final comments that
“School won’t last forever”
Everything will end, just stick at it and it will end, even if it feels like it won’t.
Thank you for reading, I hope you have found something of interest in my blogs and look forward to posting more on these and many other subjects around personal safety and self defence in the very near future.
Stay Safe and Have Fun
Personal Safety Expert
As a footnote to this and to keep a balance, I thought I'd include the interview of Ritchard Gale (Casey's bully)
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