The look on my son’s face – I could tell something was wrong. Perhaps he was just scared, but he’d been on a lot more intense rides throughout our day at the amusement park. As soon as the ride was over, he made a beeline to me, burying his head in my stomach, and burst into tears.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He muffled something unintelligible against my shirt. I gripped his head and tipped his chin upward. “Say it again.”
“Some lady called me an asshole.”
It was like someone gripped me by the hair and dipped me in a bucket of rage. Who would call an eleven-year old child an asshole? “Did you do something?”
“I was standing on the railing and I guess I dripped on her.” It was a water ride that they’d been doing over and over.
He pointed her out. The lady with the black glasses, the insides lined in red. Barefoot (my shoes were dripping wet), I marched over to her. “Excuse me, did you call my son an asshole?”
She lifted her chin proudly. “Yes, I did.”
I couldn’t believe someone could be proud of talking to a little boy like that. “Why?”
He’d climbed on the railing and dripped on her. She said she’d asked him to move, and he’d told her she was going to get wet anyway. This is where I think the disconnect happened. He felt she’d snapped at him and was defending himself. She didn’t know or didn’t care if she had snapped at him. Either way, doesn’t excuse an adult bullying a little boy.
I tried to explain as much. She shot back that he needed better parenting and said some more rude things about my boy. I told her to grow up and act like an adult. That there was no excuse for talking to an 11 YO child like that. She stormed away, every inch of her drawn up in self-righteous indignation.
The whole situation has made me wonder where people’s compassion and tolerance have gone. Today, I’ve seen posts all over the internet calling for the boy(s) who started the fires in Oregon to spend the rest of their lives in jail. To fine their parents and take away everything they own. To tie them to trees and burn them.
All I can see is the townspeople grabbing their pitchforks to burn the witch.
People would argue that these kids deserve that and worse. That the comparison to witches fails because one group was guilty and the other innocent. I would say that the definition of “sin” is shifting, and while the target may have changed, the mob mentality is the same. Kill the other. Oust the sinner. Brand them with an “A” across their chest and cast them out. Because they deserve it.
How do you know what they deserve?
�Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.� ~ JRR Tolkein
What is happening to us? What happened to compassion? What happened to softness? What happened to loving one another? Are we really so eager to see the demise of another? To see them suffer? Aren’t we simply decrying them while turning a blind eye to our own guilt?
For the last few days, I’ve been working on forgiving the woman who bullied my son. I chose kindness, compassion, love, FORGIVENESS. I cast out hate, rooting it from my breast whenever it starts to flourish. I urge you to do the same. Spread sunshine instead of darkness. Compassion instead of hatred. Together, we can make a difference.
*note: I’m not saying these children shouldn’t be punished. I’m saying there is a difference between a mob screaming for blood and the order of the law.
I am also not saying that you aren’t entitled to feeling angry. But anger is a secondary emotion. What is your primary emotion? A sense of loss? Frustration over one person’s stupidity ruining things for everyone else? That always helps me move from working on an emotional level to a logical level.
“So Amber is allowed to feel rage and confront someone, but I’m not?” You feel what you feel. Under the circumstances, I feel I showed remarkable restraint. But you are entitled to your opinion. And in this situation, I was on the front lines. My son needed to see I had his back. He needed someone to stand up for him and defend him when he was defenseless.
“Parents have failed. Their kids have failed.” Are you an expert on the subject, or are you just making assumptions based off the news? Cause all I see are parents killing themselves to raise responsible kids. Most are doing phenomenally well. And kids make mistakes. They’re learning. Teenagers do dumb things. They should face the consequences of those dumb things, not be flayed alive by hate.
The Evolution of the Modern Day Witch Hunt ~Amber Argyle