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Should we just focus on prevention and the protection of victims, or should the bullies themselves face the force of the law if their actions lead to loss of life?
Mwood829 Mwood829 18-21, M 19 Answers Oct 21, 2012 in Community

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I do believe they should be held responsible. Real actions, real consequences. That being said, they have developing minds at that age, so I would want them reviewed over a period of time during their sentence. Should they get a life sentence with eligibility for parole? That seems fair as you can monitor their rehabilitation. To get off easily, knowing they bullied a weaker person to death seems highly unfair and sends a continued message that, 'this is all that will happen to you'. It should be taken very seriously. However, by way of bullying if it resulted in a death, that is a very severe act. To set an example would send a message that this is serious and has serious consequences. However, since the weapon of choice is cruelty, it's so subjective and therefor would only result in involuntary manslaughter. Since most are underage, juvenile detention seems beyond 'soft' for that type of crime. It seems like with the information we have today, knowing full well what cruelty and bullying can do, it should be looked at as a weapon. Like a kid that picks up a handgun and shoots someone, it seems like bullying should indeed be looked at in the same way and the consequences should coincide with that.

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Thanks for best answer :}

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But if this is the case, you also have to have standards for bullying. What is criminal bullying vs. just cruelty? Should I be sent to prison because some girl killed herself over me saying, "That skirt is the ugliest effing thing I have ever seen"? And in most cases, more than one child is in on the bullying. If Amanda, Lila, and Jenny are bullying Penelope, and Francine says ONE thing, is she indicted with Amanda, Lila, and Jenny? And what about non-lethal consequences? What if those girls bullied Penelope, but Penelope did not kill herself, or even harm herself. Then do they get charged? (in which case, they would be charged based on the strength of the victim) And if they do get charged, with what?
Unfortunately, I think bullying is too hard to actually regulate. There is a reason it has yet to be regulated. You're speaking too idealistically.

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I just told my husband about this question and he brought up that very point, which is why I referenced it being a very subjective subject to monitor. That being said, there could be protocols and standards you could have in place so there could be discussion for regulation of this. For example, should someone bully someone to the point of cracking, and the victims parents have gone to the school, has it noted, the words, 'I hope you die' are being used, also, the victim has expressed emotional weakness and instability...indeed, the bully now knows the full consequence of their actions...and should take caution of proceeding further. I do agree with you, regulation holds many gray areas, but something needs to be done in order to have consequences set in place so, if nothing else, people would think twice before jumping into that type of cruelty.

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"victim has expressed emotional weakness and instability" So now I am expected to regulate my behavior based on the strength of the victim?
" the bully now knows the full consequence of their actions" Impossible. You can never know what's going on inside someone's head. You cannot know WHAT is going to make someone crack and what isn't.
Also, the phrase, "I hope you die," gets used as a joke between friends. Uncouth, perhaps, but it is used. "You hit me with a banana peel in Mario Kart! Screw you, man, I hope you die!"
Even the precise scenario that you described, which is far more precise and dramatic than most bullying situations, is fraught with inconsistencies, assumptions, and ambiguity.

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I do understand your sentiments...and this is why it is a very subjective subject. I appreciate your feedback, it's a good discussion.

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I agree. Please don't think I'm attacking you personally. I just think people need to give this some more critical thought (nothing is going to change until they do, anyway). It's a very good debate subject, because, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT straightforward in the least. And people would realize that more if it was THEIR children or themselves involved. People are only too happy to condemn faceless strangers.

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I don't think you're attacking me at all. I actually enjoyed the discussion and liked hearing your thoughts and insight on the matter. The great thing about ep is that we can have discussions like this. Here someone 16-17 posed this question, here I am 36-40 talking about the very impactful subject of bullying and the effects it has, with someone 18-21, I find that really refreshing. If I had a child that did mild insults, I would take a look at their behavior and would try to correct it, as I would want them to know it's not ok. I think every child has experienced perhaps, both sides of the equation. You made a good point, in that a mere casual insult or put down, should certainly not deem a life sentence and I completely agree with that. Some of the bullying I've read about in the news was above and beyond anything that I had seen or heard. It was if they would target a person and use a group mentality on them for maximum abuse. When the children doing this, on an ongoing basis and for quite a long period of time, are not corrected, by way of the school, or parents, there poses a problem. How to go about addressing this highly escalated set of circumstances is what prompts me to think, there has to be some heftier penalties, or, like you and I discussing this...a more in depth look on the matter, as it seems to be something that's tucked away and given the 'kids will be kids' scenario. I appreciated hearing your thoughts :}

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Right. The problem is, it can't just be used for exceptional circumstances. Then you're just telling the kids, "Bully, but don't kill her." It's like saying it's okay to beat someone within an inch of their life. And it's also ignoring the parents', school's, etc.'s responsibilities. And what's the age limit? Can it be extended to adult scenarios? Many adults have depression and can't handle any sort of harassment.

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Yes, I wholehearteldy agree with your statements...therein lies the subjective nature I was expressing earlier...too many gray areas to be logistical. It has far too wide of a range to tackle legally with the current laws we have in place. However, a closer look does indeed need to be done, which is where their is a shared group responsibility between parents, schools, and individuals involved. If certain protocols were established there could be a more unified way of handling things which would hopefully result in rectifying the situation, or if not, penalties (based on how things we're handled with the above mentioned parties involved; parents, schools, etc..) can be reviewed on a case by case basis. I think there is media attention that has gotten more people discussing certain aspects of this. Still...on a case by case basis, it's virtually impossible to have core guidelines, as the minutia of the infinite amount of material that could, or could not be called into play in the court of law, would be so thought based by way of what the victim/bullies were feeling (MASSIVE gray area there) and their true intent, etc., etc.. The case would likely, (as is the state now with these cases), never get off of the ground, hence the problems we continue to have. It would open up a can of worms in the legal system because there would be objection after objection as voicing how one was 'feeling' needs now to have strong evidence of intent behind it. It will be interesting to see what development comes out of these cases that happen, and will likely continue to happen because there aren't any strong guidelines to follow. Thanks for a great discussion on the subject, I appreciated hearing your thoughts.

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I think we know my opinion based on my other comments. It would be nice, but I don't think it can happen adequately. Kids these days are too exposed and you cannot adequately determine who the bully is and why. Also, you're asking about students - why are we not charging the adults for neglect? What about teachers who see bullying going on but don't do anything about it? Or the parents who don't bother to talk to their kids and figure out if their kids are depressed?



All that seems to matter here is the blame. Where does the BLAME end? This is all AFTER the bullying has occurred that we decide to get upset about it. I agree with everyone else that we need to focus on prevention, because no amount of BLAME or consequences is going to bring a girl back after she has killed herself. And yes, legislation can be used for prevention, but it can also be used TO bully. It can leave a lot of bodies in its wake. We need to focus on educating and loving our children so that they know they have somewhere to turn. Focus on the victim, not the alleged perpetrators.

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What about victims of bullying that have become murderers themselves???

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the bad guys should face the music for their actions, but not for the bad choices their victim makes.

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suicide is the victim's decision.

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if i dump my girlfriend for no good reason, and she pulls the plug, should i go to jail?

if i get an F on my homework and kill myself, should the teacher go to jail?

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Yes

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There's an epidemic of bullying in the workplace, including by bosses. Unless you are suggesting it's a case of do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do I don't see the point.

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According to Juv Court system they are held responcible for any violent actions .

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We should do both because some would just ignore the rules and have their way with others so yes, they should be made to face the consequences for their actions.

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yes!

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No, not if we are talking about bullies who are still children themselves! I speak as one who was severely bullied as a child and considered suicide often. Bullying is sad and it is wrong, but there is always more to the story than that last incident before the suicide.

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Yes if it is proven then they should be charged with manslaughter

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If they were held legally liable for the death of the victim, what degree of homicide would the perpetrator be charged with?

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In Britain I would expect them to be sentenced to 3 or 4 years.

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How can you POSSIBLY prove that someone killed themselves because of one action? Maybe the victim who killed herself was bullied... but she also had hormonal imbalances, read a sad novel, felt inadequate because of her parents, etc. etc. What about the whole "I'm going to kill myself and then everyone else will feel sorry!" Wouldn't that mean that the victim is also the perpetrator? Why blame one party when multiple parties can be held responsible?

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they knew what they were doing and i think it makes sense for them to face the law

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Can you prove they knew what they were doing? Can you prove they knew that they were causing a person to SERIOUSLY consider suicide? And can you tell me who "they" are? Who do you consider the bully? Every single person who has ever said anything negative to the victim? Or just the people who say the most? How do you judge that?

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can you prove that they didnt know what they were doing? Can you prove that they didnt know that they were causing a person to seriously consider suicide..and do you seriously dont know who 'they' are..there has never been a positive outcome of bullying, whether its mild or severe..whether in any form, its an abuse to the victim..

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"Innocent until proven guilty." I do not have to prove they DIDN'T know what they were doing. I give them the benefit of the doubt until you prove otherwise.
And what you're proposing is that we use the government - the courts - to bully the bullies, and possibly other innocents. Where does it stop? Do you only charge those whose victims commit suicide? Or is ANYTHING that can POSSIBLY be construed as bullying get charged? in which case, can't I use the system to bully someone I dislike? Provoke them, and then sue them for their cruel words, faking mental distress? How are you going to stop me from doing that?

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all am saying is the bullies should face the law for the consequences of their constant bullying..the least it can do is it might prevent them or others from bullying in future, they will think twice..why is that so hard to understand?

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btw you are really good at this..proving, disapproving, speaking your mind..in short clever..good going

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But you need to have restrictions. What you're advocating can easily become just another tool to bully someone. Bullies SHOULD face consequences, but how would you propose making that happen? They SHOULD do a lot, starting with not bullying at all, but they DO bully.

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People SHOULD do a lot. Amanda Todd SHOULD have kept her clothes on. Her bullies SHOULD have left her alone. There is more than enough blame and idealism to go around.

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Thank you. I think we just need to give this issue a little more thought, because it IS an important issue.

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Yep. That should be something to motivate prevention. You will be held criminally liable for it. It's just like murder. Especially if the person bullied commits suicide.

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What happens if the person bullied does NOT commit suicide? How far do we go in charging bullies? What if I was bullied and I did not hurt myself in any way? Do my bullies still get charged? How do you determine who the bullies are? No one's nice to me, no one likes me, everyone says something mean at SOME point - who's the bully? Is it just the people who do it most often? So the people who bully occasionally get off scott free?

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YES they should but I also agree with Tamarite and focusing on prevention would be the better way to go.

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I agree that prevention is the way to go. Bullying itself is far too difficult to regulate and I'm not sure it properly can be.

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Yes, the individuals should be held accountable for their actions.

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