By now I'm sure you've heard the story of Casey Heynes, the bullied boy who finally fought back. If you haven't seen the video, you can check it out here.
I talked about this on my radio show (listen to the conversation). I also posted it on my Facebook page where a spirited debate ensued.
A friend of mine took offense to my opinion and severed our friendship on Facebook, and otherwise.
I look at this story through the eyes of someone who was bullied as a kid. Like Casey, my parents didn't teach me to fight and discouraged violence. When girls would pick on me physically, I didn't know how to fight back. I would do as my parent suggested, "Be the bigger person and walk away" because "two wrongs don't make a right."
Funny how the right response can fan the flames. That's what happened to Casey too. In the video you see him take a punch to the face. The smaller kid who delivered it went back to land some more.
Finally, when I was jumped by the same girls who tormented me everyday, I snapped. My instincts kicked in. I pulled them down by their jackets. One girl claimed I ripped her earring out of her ear. I don't remember doing that, but if I did...oh well.
Casey finally snapped too. My opinion is that his experience was similar to mine...his instincts kicked in. He grabbed the boy, picked him up, then threw him down. My opinion is that the moment a bullied kid fights back is an unpredictable moment. My opinion is that if you don't want to feel the wrath, then don't be a bully.
My friend feels that Casey knew what he was doing. She felt that Casey could have killed this little boy with what he did. My friend felt that Casey was trying to impress a girl in the video. She also expressed "shock" that I would side with Casey and imply that he was a victim. She insists that a body slamming another to the ground is inexcusable.
I stood by my opinion. She responded "Mary-Lynn... sorry but I cannot associate with anyone who would be for this action. Condoning and endorsing this body slam of a child into cement pavement is without excuse. Cya."
I was surprised by this reaction. After all, we'd known each other for years. She was in radio. She is opinionated. I've always admired her and thought it was cool to actually debate with her on an issue. I told her as much. Her next response was "This isn't about opinion. You condone and endorse and justify the body slam of a child against cement pavement. Think about it." She went on to say "I can't associate with people who would think this was in any way acceptable or just what was deserved."
And with that, a friendship was severed.
I have to admit, I was stunned and a little hurt too. But ultimately disappointed.
I guess we were playing in a social media playground and I didn't want to play by her rules.
Thankfully in this case, we both walked away.