Monday, January 11, 2016

Self Defense

When I was a kid, in the 70s, I had a little brother.  We got into fisticuffs often enough.
But I didn't fight at school.

For one, I didn't like to lose fights.  That hurts.  And I am a bit non-confrontational.  Deep down.  Nowadays I make up for that in bluster, but back then, no.
But there was something else.

"If you get caught fighting on school grounds you will BOTH be suspended and it will forever be on your permanent record."

I didn't want that!  My parents would be so disappointed and ashamed.   A blot like that means I'd never get a job.  Not in decent society.  Maybe I'd be a carny or something, like at the County Fair.  Those guys running the rides that smelled like burned rope.  Might as well be a hobo or rock band singer.  Just awful.

Suspension was like the death penalty in my 8 year old mind. 

But the lesson I picked up from them 30 year old teachers in 1977 is:  "Don't fight back,  Don't resist.  It is never justified."

30 year old them meant they were 21 when Martin Luther King died and probably took his lessons to heart, but took it the wrong way.  Then passes those wrong lessons on to their charges.  That lesson "All violence is bad, only non-violence is good."

Hence why both kids got suspended in 1977.  Plus it's hard to discern who the aggressor was in a fracas, so, just send both boys home.  Bullies sensed my hesitation in this and descended.

That lesson is horrible.  It delegitimizes self defense.  You go meek into the fray to be chewed up and digested.  Some violence is bad, yes.  Evil.  But some violence is good.  Protective.  Protective violence, of yourself or others, to meet aggressive violence, is an absolute good.

So the 70s taught me the wrong lesson and it would take some time to undo that in my head. 


abnormalist said...

So, when I was a kid the policy was the same. I took it the other way. If I'm going to get suspended for defending myself, leave the other kid bleeding on his back.

I got in a grand total of 3 "fights" in elementary school. I lost one. I won two. I learned the lesson, don't stop until the other kid stops trying, or they have to pull you off him.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Well then I might as well.

Old NFO said...

Totally different than in the 60's... Glad I grew up then. It was handled out back of the school and pretty much hands off by teachers, etc. unless somebody was truly getting pounded.

Sigman said...

I'm with Old NFO in that I grew up in the 60s and the schoolyard fight were almost always over by the time a teacher got there. The universal punishment was both got paddled in front of the class but I had 1 teacher who went a step further. After getting paddled, you had to shake hands and hug each other. The hug was more of a deterrent to fights than anything else to us boys.