Following alot of feedback from my latest blog around the viral video of Casey Heynes and his bully, Richard Gale, I thought I’d post a brief follow-up to answer a few comments, and give some more analysis on the event.
Also, as it’s National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence tomorrow, I thought It’d be a good opportunity to create a Part 2 of the blog post
Jeremy Vine Show – 17th March – BBC Radio 2 – listen to it here...
Listening to the Jeremy Vine show today on BBC Radio 2, I was a little bemused by the comments of Christine Pratt, who had been brought onto the show as an “expert” on anti-bullying and founder of the National Bullying Helpline.
A very worthy cause, and one which I am happy to link here...
One comment she made however, is something I’d like to challenge
During the interview she said something to the effect of “not advocating any type of violence as a response to bullying”.
When pressed, she offered the following suggestions as to how Casey should have responded and acted in the situation we have all seen on the video.
This has been taken from the National Bullying helpline website and I will happily remove it from my blog if permission to include it here is denied.
C.R.I. : CONFRONT. RECORD. INFORM.
If you believe you are being bullied, it's Cool to CRI
1. Confront the Bully. Tell the Bully to stop. Tell the Bully how you feel. Remember, Bullies bully because they can – so don't let them.
2. Record the Bullying. Keep a log of the Bullying. Start a diary. Keep a record.
3. Inform someone. Tell a responsible person. Tell a Teacher. Tell an adult.
Basically ,she said Casey should have followed the strategies of CRI, which firstly requires him to Confront and then Record. However, Confront does not mean body slam his bully to the floor.
Whilst I agree with this advice during the on-set of bullying behaviour, I think we can all see that this particular situation has gone way past the, discussion and reasoning phase.
Encouraging the bullies to see the error of their ways through rational discussion and statements that inform them of just how the bullying makes you feel, is hardly going to stop the kid from punching the bullied in the face.
These steps need to happen very early on, after all, most bullying is systematic, prolonged and progressive.
She did say that there is one condition that could allow the use of violence as a response and that is a self defence situation. However, having read something that my good friend Marc MacYoung has written, I have to suggest that this wasn’t a full blown self defence situation.
Ok, so let me clarify all of this.
Firstly, when I teach self defence, the primary option of the defendant is to escape, and the sooner they can do this the better.
Based on this fact, Casey could have pushed his aggressor away and ran off, making his escape and staying safe.
However, one huge factor in “Self Defence” is CONTEXT
Context means to look at not only the threat, and the environment, but also the context in which it is all happening.
If this had been an incident between two individuals who had only just bumped into each other and were highly likely to never meet again, then the context would allow for the likes of Casey to make a sharp exit.
However, as we can all see, the context here is that of a school, where the kids involved most likely all go to the same school. They are going to see each other every day, the aggressor is most likely to have a large following, the victim is highly likely to have had a prolonged period of bullying that has slowly escalated to events of this magnitude.
This context means that, whilst Casey running away would solve his immediate self defence problem, it would most definitely not do anything to halt the bullying. In fact, based on my own experience, actions such as this are only going to help escalate the levels of bullying in the future. ‘Casey is now a victim, he won’t fight back and is easy pickings for any bully.’
Of course, Casey could have then gone to get help, reported to an adult, and got the support from his parents. I doubt this would have made much difference!
Lets also look at the aggressor in this event. He is younger and much smaller than his victim. This means he will have had to perform an element of target selection and, as he’s not preying on his victim to rob him, the chances are this selection process has gone on for some time.
It would have started with initial “tests”; verbal abuse, monitoring the responses from his victim; making note how his victim behaves when others are doing the bullying, etc etc
All information gathering to bolster his own confidence before he “bravely” steps forward to start his attack.
This is all a case of vying for position and status in the pack, the aggressor looking to show his strength in his group by picking on a much larger and older adversary.
This event, as Marc MacYoung states, is not Self Defence, and more of a fight. Both individuals have engaged in the fight, whether provoked or not, and one person has come out on top.
The aggressor decided to enter and start the fight in order to gain status in his group. To pick on an easy target that he has probably done many times before – hence his courage to get into the fight.
The victim decided to retaliate as, “enough was enough”. He could have run away but this would not have solved his major problem, that of the continued bullying.
The aggressor was still in the fight when he managed to pick himself back up off the floor, until he realised his leg wasn’t performing quite as it should.
Casey didn’t immediately run away after he had dumped the kid on the floor – implying that he was either in a “freeze” state of fear and adrenalin, or more likely, still “in the fight” and actively deciding what action to take next.
What Casey did was enter into a fight in order to solve a bigger problem. He probably did this without rationally thinking it through, as is understandable under the adrenal state he would most likely have been in.
He took action that some are shocked by, but one which I feel he had no other choice but to do. As I said, running away would only have encouraged his aggressors and bolstered their confidence further.
He also responded in a composed way and did not continue his attack once the threat was neutralised, something we see in a lot of “self defence” class drills.
One final thought is this. Our aggressor has already entered into physical confrontation, which means this is a language he understands and respects. He feels that by physically dominating another individual he is better than them and higher up in the status rankings. If this is his language then the best way to communicate and get your own opinion across is to talk in the same language, and unfortunately that means having to become physical yourself.
Casey Heynes vs Bully by kleksiq
Thank you for reading
A brief clip of the forthcoming exclusive interview
Stay Safe and Have Fun
Personal Safety Expert
NB: I have now posted a final follow-up to this blog, with some more analysis and feedback from recent comments - CLICK HERE to jump straight to the article http://al-peasland.blogspot.com/2011/03/casey-heynes-bullied-fights-back-part-3.html
Fence Concepts DVD - the most effective self defence tool to manage confrontation!