Shouldn’t “Under the Gun” Be Left as a Poker Term?
All of the school shootings that I knew from the news when I was growing up were all perpetrated by students, such as the Columbine school shooting and the Virginia Tech shooting. But it is the first time that I’ve heard of a near-shooting experience taking place inside a school – with the gun being held by an adult and the target being a high school student. You can read an account of the events from this link:CSA teen on bully’s gun-toting Dad: ‘I really thought he’d shoot my brains out
Let us now ask the questions that demand asking. How come that this school is terribly ineffective in sorting out bullying in that case? How come the school isn’t imposing zero-tolerance against bullies? There are creative ways to resolve bullying, such as giving the bullies something to be responsible about, involving them in situations that allow them to accentuate their positive attributes instead of negative ones, and so on.
In threatening or stressful situations, anyone should be encouraged to step in. Are the teachers even looking at their classrooms carefully to find out what’s going on with their students? Are the classmates observant enough; do they even have consciences? Any perceptive teacher would have approached Jaime and told him to bare it all; there should also have been some students who are strong enough to stand up and alert others of what’s happening.
If the school can’t even quell bullying, then we can’t really expect it to quell oppression in the parts of grown-ups, who have more physical strength – and worse, more ammunition. Because the school personnel saw crimes taking place, child abuse and a murder threat, they should have restrained the bully’s father and pinned him to the ground and then the police called. At least this is what should happen in a parallel universe where educators are more rational and more decisive in their dealings. The “banning from the premises” is not enough; the father and the bullied can still lock sights outside of school. It was inadequate, according to many news sources (such as the original article).
But let’s continue. In a parallel universe, Jaime (David) would have given Allan Bantiles (Goliath) what he deserved. He would have fought Allan; he would have given him the ballpen jujitsu that overturned his bullies and made the school safer for students. He would have punched Allan in the face with the force of a sledgehammer blasting a hollow block and bystanders would have followed suit in their defense of the little guy.
In an instant a revolution would have sparked; everyone would be tossing and turning the Bantiles’ car and declaring that the parents of bullies should better be forewarned – or else. The bullies, meanwhile, would cower in fear and get themselves out of the school with all the desperate speed of their hooves carrying them to the closest exit.
In fact, the revolution’s in place now. According to the report: “Ironically, the Facebook page has become an avenue for users to vent out their anger at Bantiles (even post his home address online) and in a way, cyberbully the father accused of gun-toting.” Here is the Facebook page: Allan Canete Bantiles: The Gun-Toting Man at Colegio San Agustin
In another parallel universe, however, the gun would have been fired – the worst that could happen.
Now what alternate universe would you want to emerge?
We’re always wishing that we’re in parallel universes which show the scenarios we want, right? But that’s not always possible. There will always be bullies and bullied – such is the truth as it stands right now in any school, unless this incident can change the whole landscape of students’ relations with each other and make all bullies hide in caves unless they reform.
The picture isn’t complete yet, though. We still have to hear from the bullies. As of now, we know that Bantiles’s son said that Jaime and him are actually best friends, but I suspect it is all PR to ensure that the masses wouldn’t think so badly of him as they are right now.
Jaime thought that Allan Bantiles was a “reasonable guy”. Perhaps he also thought the same of the bullies; that they will change their ways in due time. Perhaps that’s why he hung on for so long; after all, some bullied people even make friends with their bullies. It’s just human nature to retaliate when hurt so much every day.
Read what Jaime told News 5: “Kids everyday get terrorized, they get bullied. But there are adults who know better, who should tell kids that bullying is wrong.” Such a mature response. He believes that there is redemption for him as well as for the bullies.
This gives hope to many students, bullies and bullied altogether. The bullies will be given room to improve and become reasonable; the bullied will then be safer. I’m honestly troubled by the popular view that children fight naturally, along with the conclusion that there’s nothing we can really do to stop bullying. Children do fight, but only because they don’t know that better ways exist for them to get what they want (such as negotiating or deciding based on principles) or they don’t know yet the consequences that can detract from all the pleasure they may get from fighting.
Bullying “just being plain fun” is sheer nonsense. It isn’t no big deal as the bully claims. It’s absolutely no fun to be bullied (unless you stand up for yourself and become a hero, or unless, like the Columbine shooters, you end the no-fun situation by imploding and showering the campus with cold vengeance), or to be a bully (because you run the risk of vengeance, or it’s a sign that you have some family members whom a hardcore psychoanalyst can blame for your misfortune).
Here is another explanation why Allan Bantiles was so hot in pulling out a gun. Read on this link.
If we take everything mentioned here to be true, we have an additional dimension to the puzzle. A kaya pala, mayaman at may koneksyon. Ergo, he can do anything he wants with impunity. Is this the lesson we want our students to learn inside the schools?
We now know that in the Philippines, (1) anyone can beat up an MMDA enforcer with relative ease and MMDA enforcers can ask for bribes which are really “socially tolerated”, (2) schoolteachers can force students to eat paper, (3) protesters from a well-known religion can demand that anything that runs counter to their beliefs be forcibly censored by law, even if a simple injunction of not watching the movie is enough for them to soothe their egos and even if freedom of expression plus religious tolerance are in paper, and (4) undeserving clauses of well-meaning laws can sneak in and get unnoticed by government personnel whom I suspect of being non-readers.
Do we want our students to bear the costs of a society with all these in the foreground, among many other oddities and foibles?